Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Saturday, August 23, 2008


An Unfinished Life - Piano Sketches
Music by Christopher Young
BSX Records BSXCD 8835 (US)
21 Tracks 41:03 mins

Although Christopher Young's rejected score for An Unfinished Life was thankfully released last year by Varese Sarabande on their CD Club label, and included 14 solo piano pieces submitted to the director as demos of themes he had written, the composer had actually come up with quite a few more thematic ideas for the film. Now BSX Records has released 21 of the 26 themes written, reworked and expanded into three "books." It is Young's wish that one day they could perhaps be performed in concert, but in the meantime, here is an album of pianist Dave Giulli's exemplary interpretations of his themes. If you are partial to piano music this may well float your boat but, if you are purely a collector of film scores, you may wish to stick to the Varese recording.
Undoubtedly however, the music performed here is highly melodic, sometimes lively, at others more introspective, nostalgic, warm and lyrical; a mix of Celtic and Americana, with one hummable melody following another and, frankly, it's hard to see why Lasse Hallstrom went with another composer, especially as Young had done such a fine job on The Shipping News. But it's all ancient history now, I suppose, and at least the music isn't lost forever like so many rejected scores of the (mostly) recent past.
Order your copy from

Friday, August 22, 2008


Brideshead Revisited
Music by Adrian Johnston
Chandos CHAN 10499 (UK)
24 Tracks 47:19 mins

This new cinematic adaptation, by Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies, of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited comes some 27 years after the hugely popular Granada Television series, which made household names of so many of the cast. The current version is obviously hugely condensed in order to bring to the big screen and stars Matthew Goode, Anna Madeley and Ben Whishaw, well supported by more famous names like Emma Thompson, Patrick Malahide, Michael Gambon and Greta Scacchi. Directed by Julian Jarrold, it was a pretty foregone conclusion that Adrian Johnston would write the music, having collaborated with the director on numerous projects. What was not such a foregone conclusion, was that Chandos Records would release the soundtrack. The label has released some excellent re-recorded compilations of classic British film music and it is great to see them venture into the world of current soundtrack releases. I hope it's not a one-off, as much great British screen music fails to go unrecorded (particularly for the small screen) and any enterprising label, such as Chandos, could go a ways towards filling the gap.
Performed by the BBC Philharmonic, who have performed so admirably on so many of the aforementioned Chandos compilations, under the baton of Terry Davies, Johnston's score is filledwith themes and motifs representing the characters and their relationships. The flowing "Sebastian" theme opens the disc, in an arrangement for solo piano; followed by the continually reaching "Memory" theme. "Guilt" is filled with regret, but ends more positively. "Oxford" follows and is filled with an eager sense of anticipation. "A Crock of Gold" continues the optimistic feel, as does "Arcadia." "That First Visit" moves expectantly along, propelled by piano, turning somewhat hesitant, before continuing to its conclusion. "Faith" is suitably reverent; whilst "Venice" receives a European feel, with almost a Spanish sensibility, and echoes of gypsy violin. "The Lido" reprises Sebastian's theme, in an orchestral arrangement; and is followed by the expectant "Carnival." "Desire" is filled with urgent, passionate piano and string writing, followed by the exquisite piano and strings of "Contra Mundum." "Mid Atlantic Jungle" has a sad, yearning quality; with the "Memory" theme returning in "Between Dreaming and Waking," along with a hint of "Sebastian,"which also features in "Orphans of the Storm." Intense and quite tragic string writing for "Rex" follows, and then "Near Escape" presents anxious variations on "Sebastian." Calm is restored with "The End Of Our Day," with an echo of the "Venice" theme to conclude. The final cues, the nostalgic, ever-rising "A Small Red Flame" and "Always Summer," a piano and orchestra arrangement of "Sebastian," bring the music to a satisfying close.
To conclude, another gorgeous, melodic score from Adrian Johnston, beautifully played, recorded and presented, accompanied as it is by an elegant, glossy booklet of 24 pages, featuring numerous colour stills from the film, plus notes from Jeremy Brock and the composer, together with profiles of the latter, the orchestra and its conductor.
Already available in the States, the Brideshead Revisited soundtrack will be released in the UK next month, at which time you will be able to order your copy from

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Les Cauchemars Naissent La Nuit
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM117 (Italy)
18 Tracks 70:21 mins

Jess Franco's 1970 mix or erotica and horror, Les Cauchemars Naissent La Nuit, received a score from Bruno Nicolai, which is here presented complete and in stereo for the first time. Previously only some cues may have been available on Edipan library music albums.
The score is of an experimental nature, with much dissonance on display, utilising a variety of percussion effects and atonal strings. What melody there is in the opening track, "Tra Sogno Vita," struggles to be heard, coming through on cello and then piano." The following track, "Le Streghe" features bluesy sax over an out of tune piano backing. The same out of tune piano features in the following "Climax," an exercise in pure atonality. This is followed by the church organ track "Tempo," then more of the piano, in more staccato nature, for "Giostra." Surprisingly, a fairground waltz follows, but this is but a brief respite before the atonal strings return in "Infrarosso." The bluesy sax, joined by electric organ, returns for "Lo Specchio," a real cabaret-styled track, which goes on for all of 8 minutes.
A Spanish guitar nocturne opens "Cocktail," but soon gives way to a poppy number. This is followed by the rhythmic percussion of the guitar-lead "Verde Salvaggio." Sax returns for a second, more atonal version of "Le Streghe," accompanied by that out of tune piano again. Next up is my favourite track on the album, a piano-lead love theme "Amori," an oasis in a desert of extremes. More atonality can be found in the next two tracks on the album tracks, with yet another version of "Le Streghe," leading into a final reprise of the opening track.
A difficult album to appreciate then, though it does have its interesting moments.
The accompanying booklet features the usual array of colour stills and artwork from the film, together with Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes. Visit

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo
Music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion & Lolita Ritmanis
La-La Land records LLLCD 1073 (US)
26 Tracks 53:33 mins

Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis (otherwise knwon as Dynamic Music Partners) got their break assisting mentor Shirley Walker on Warner Bros animated Batman series, and have since gone on to become veterans of animation scoring. Included in their repertoire are the scores for Teen Titans, including music for the direct-to-video feature Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, released last year. Although their many fans would love all of their work to be available on CD, at least La-La Land's release of this score is a start.
In this film, in answer to an attack on their base in New York, Teen Titans Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy, travel to Tokyo to bring down the Japanese criminal behind the attack.
Given a larger budget than usual, the partners were able to use live musicians, guitars, strings, trumpets, trombones, French horns and woodwinds; whereas the budget for their scores for the TV shows only allow for one live musician per episode.
The score gets off to a guitars-driven, rocky start with "Meet Saico Tek," a dynamic (if you pardon the pun) action cue. Ominous synths underscore "The Interrogation," leading to an expanded arrangement of what is I imagine the Teen Titans theme over the "Main Title" (the show doesn't air here, so I haven't seen it). Pick of the tracks that follow include "Monster Attack," which gives a nod towards the traditional Japanese monster movie fare, driven at times by Taikos, and ending in a triumphal march, which also gives a nod towards Barry Gray's Thunderbirds. A much more laid back variation of the latter accompanies the "Troopers Tour." A very catchy, uptempo mix of Japanese rock/pop and Latin-styled brass accompany "Starfire Wins Videogame;" whilst "Moment Lost" provides a rare moment of pastoral beauty. More rocky action follows in "Tokyo Skyline+Robin Blots Out Saico Tek," with its somewhat elegiac ending; and then "All You Can Eat," with gentler fare following in "Boy Troubles."
Yet more guitars-driven action can be found in the likes of "Titans Attack;" "The Fight Continues;" "Bar Fight;" "Motorcycle Chase;" "Villians Makin' Copies;"with "Final Battle" being more synth-driven. More catchy action writing can be found in "Chasing Titans," which is much lighter fare, with strings to the fore.
"Brushogun Origin" starts off almost sympathetically, before turning big and menacing, and rocking out at the end; whilst there is brief, tender romance to be found in "The Kiss." A reprise of the main theme over the "End Credits" bring the album to a satisfying close.
As well as the sound of Taikos in some of the action cues, throughout the score subtle Oriental elements are added to give effective local colour
Accompanying the disc is a colourful booklet, featuring artwork from the film and behind the scenes photos, together with notes by the composers and Teen Titans producer Glen Murakami. Order your copy from

From: CineMedia

legendary composer, conductor, and PERFORMER lalo schifrin

celebrates his life with autobiography

Mission Impossible: My Life in Music Reflects On Life’s Work in Classical, Jazz, and Film

(August 19, 2008- Los Angeles, CA) – Scarecrow Press will release the autobiography of six-time Academy Award® nominated composer Lalo Schifrin this summer. Mission Impossible: My Life in Music, edited by Richard Palmer, is a journey from Schifrin's formative years in Argentina to the classical and jazz atmospheres in Paris in the 1950s; from his jazz career with Dizzy Gillespie to his development as a film composer.

Organized in eight parts, the book reflects on Schifrin's cosmopolitan experience providing impressions and vignettes of the extraordinary people with whom he worked. His music bridges three styles—jazz, classical, and film/TV—his autobiography offers insights on all three genres, as well as politics, literature, and travel. It includes over 30 photos, appendixes listing Schifrin's works, a discography, and an audio CD featuring some of Schifrin's greatest compositions.

As a young man in his native Argentina, Lalo Schifrin received classical training in music and studied law. He came from a musical family, and his father was the concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon.

After his studies at the Paris Conservatory, Schifrin returned to Argentina and formed his own big concert band. Dizzy Gillespie heard Schifrin perform and asked him to become his pianist, arranger, and composer. In 1958, Schifrin moved to the United States and began his remarkable career.

Since then Schifrin’s career has taken him in many directions. As a jazz musician he performed and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Count Basie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and George Benson. His classical activities include Zubin Mehta, The Three Tenors, Rostropovich, Barenboim, and others.

His longtime involvement in both the jazz and symphonic worlds came together in 1993 as pianist and conductor for his on-going series of “Jazz Meets the Symphony” recordings, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and jazz stars like Ray Brown, Grady Tate, Jon Faddis, Paquito D’Rivera and James Morrison.

Schifrin has written over 100 film and television scores including Mission Impossible, Mannix, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, The Cincinnati Kid, Amityville Horror, four of the Dirty Harry films, and more recently Abominable and the Rush Hour trilogy. To date, Lalo Schifrin has won four Grammys® (twenty-one nominations), one Cable ACE Award, and six Academy Award® nominations.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Angel on my Shoulder
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Screen Archives SAE-CRS-019 (US)
19 Tracks 50:10 mins

Screen Archives continue to champion the work of Dimitri Tiomkin with their release of 1946's Angel On My Shoulder, a little seen film with a complicated history .The film stars Paul Muni, Anne Baxter and Claude Rains and presents a twist on the genre popular at the time, of angels descending to Earth to help someone through a crisis, or God returning someone to Earth for a second chance. This time it is Rains, playing the Devil, who returns gangster Eddie (Muni) from Hell for his own nefarious purposes.
Returning to Hollywood after spending the war years working for the Office of War Information's feature film unit, it seems Tiomkin relished the challenge of scoring such an interesting project. The "Main Titles" presents the first presentation of the composer's lush love theme; followed by the turbulent, choir enhanced "Descent into Hades," which continues as a doom-laden march, quoting the now cliched Dies Irae as it proceeds. This is followed by the largely dramatic "Gotta Crash This Joint," though it does display a touch of whimsy along the way. "Earthly Ascent" trudges onward until a brief metropolitan statement greets Eddie's return to the streets.
There's more whimsy in "Calling Dr. Higgins," along with the first suggestions of the love theme between Eddie and Barbara (Baxter). More typical Tiomkin action fare features in "Political Brawl," with comedy to the fore in the following "His Honor Passes Out." Diabolical strains introduce "Barbara Consults With Dr. Higgins," before a sweet version of the love theme enters, and develops throughout the remainder of the track. The lengthy "Bellamy's Sudden Thought/Making Plans" follows and is largely lightly and sunnily scored, with much romance, sentiment, and just a little whimsy. Things take a much darker turn in "Nick Drops the "S" Bomb," which eventually concludes in a dramatic variation on the love theme. Tolling bells and organ music suitably accompany "A Bargain For marriage," continuing into "The Angel On Your Shoulder," with a spiritually uplifting passage for strings, before taking an almost tragic turn, leading into "Interrupted Ceremony," with solo violin leading to an uplifting conclusion; soon to be brought back to Earth in the following "Smiley Williams," which leads darkly to its dramatic conclusion. "And I Never Even Touched Him" continues the dramatics, building relentlessly to a powerful crescendo. The love theme resurfaces in "Farewell to Judge Parker," but ultimately the romance is doomed, at least as far as Eddie is concerned, as he has to leave the body of the man he has taken over, and the music reflects this, leading into a brief reprise of the love theme for the "End Title."
As always, Screen Archives have produced a wonderful accompanying booklet, with plenty of stills and original artwork from the film, together with notes on the film and its score, and the invaluable cue-by-cue guide. Order your copy from

Monday, August 18, 2008


Macchie Solari
Music by Ennio Morricone
Digitmovies CDDM114 (Italy)
22 Tracks 55:17 mins

Ennio Morricone wrote the score for this 1975 Giallo, which was originally only available, firstly as a 45 single, and then as 11 tracks on a 1992 C.A.M. CD (minus the theme heard on the single). Here then, for the first time, we have the complete stereo score, reuniting the theme with the atonal music heard on the CD.
Save for the theme, a pleasant, easy listening affair for orchestra and choir (I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni, featuring Edda Dell'Orso), which is heard on the opening and closing tracks, the latter being the original single version, this is a very hard score to listen to, being, as aforementioned, largely atonal and suspenseful music for orchestra and electronics, though the use of choir is always interesting and imaginitive, and pretty scary at times in the more dramatic moments, with what action there is driven by a persistent beat.
If you're a fan of melody, like me, this will definitely not be your cup of tea, but it's still good to finally have this complete version of the score to add to the extensive Morricone catalogue.
Accompanying the disc is the usual colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film and introductory notes by Claudio Fuiano and Pierluigi Valentini. Visit

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The Duellists/The Riddle of the Sands
Music by Howard Blake
Airstrip One AOD HB002 (US)
33 Tracks 73:52 mins

As promised, here is my review, as it appeared in the November 2000 edition of Film Music Bulletin, of this fine album featuring two great scores by Howard Blake:-

It's been a while since this enterprising label's last worthy release of Dominic Muldowney's 1984, but it's been worth the wait, as they've done us an even greater service in rescuing these two excellent Howard Blake scores, performed by the much-missed National Philharmonic, from Oblivion. Anyone not familiar with Blake's music for these films, from 1977 and 1978 respectively, are in for a real treat. The Napoleonic The Duellists was Ridley Scott's first film. Beautifully shot, it has become something of a cult classic.
Blake's main theme is truly memorable, an elegant, hanuting melody, performed either by oboe, flute or piano in its various incarnations. But whilst this melody dominates the score, there are other fine secondary motifs: the jaunty piano of "Mme. deLeon's Salon;" and the spirited flute over strings of "Armand and Adele." This latter piece is subjected to a couple of excellent variations in "The Chateau," where the flute part becomes a lovely pastorale; and the busy "The marriage." The "End Credits" presents the main theme in its most powerful arrangement for strings.
The Riddle of the Sands is no less an effort for this telling of Eerskine Childers' spy story. The main theme is another classic, boasting an appropriately nautical feel and replete with German lyrics, sung by The John McCarthy Singers. "A Walk in the Dunes" presentes a flute and oboe-lead pastoral variation; whilst "The Inn/Rowing Ashore" presents a travelling variation. The other main element of the score is the menacing martial music, heard in a number of cues. "Carruthers Reboards the Train" is a highlight, with its martial variations on the main theme, which is reprised in its full glory, with English lyrics, over the "End Titles."
The accompanying 12-page booklet features notes on both films and their music, with comments by Ridley Scott and Sands star Michael York, together with a brief biography of Blake. Produced for the promotional purposes of the composer, this excellent disc can still be ordered from

Friday, August 15, 2008


Batman: Gotham Knight
Music by Christopher Drake, Robert J. Kral & Kevin Manthei
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1074 (US)
26 Tracks 63:10 mins

Out on DVD is the animated feature Batman: Gotham Knight, a collection of stories following on from the live action feature Batman Begins. Perhaps surprisingly, Dynamic Music Partners, who have written such fine music for previous Batman animations, were not involved, but instead producer Bruce Timm turned to Christopher Drake, who scored two Hellboy animations; Robert J. Kral, best known for his work on Buffy spin-off Angel, and Kevin manthei, who recently scored Justice League: The New Frontier (also available on La-La Land Records) to provide the scores for each episode, which also feature widely different styles of animation, incidentally.
All the music is electronically created and performed by the composers, though live instruments do feature in "Have I Got a Story For You (guitar), and "Crossfire" and "Working Through Pain" (woodwinds and ethnic woodwinds).
Drake's scores are for the aforementioned opening episode "Have I Got a Story For You," and "In Darkness Dwells." The former introduces the Batman character through the eyes of four skater kids and a kind of alternative/punk rock sound, featuring guitars, as aforementioned, and drums, was decided upon for them, but for the kids' differing accounts of their encounter with the Batman, "The Living Shadow" features much bombast, dissonance and atonality; "Batmonster," receives a traditional 40s & 50s B-movie monster music approach, with again some powerful action writing; and a deal of metallic percussion features in the somewhat similar "Robobat" account's music. All this after a suitably grandious opening "Main Title" theme, featuring sampled choir. For "In Darkness Dwells," written by the co-writer of the new Batman live-action films, David Goyer, and featuring Batman Begins villain the Scarecrow, Drake aimed to write music that evoked the scores for those films, along with his own original themes, resulting in some dark electronic atmospheres, as well as more traditonally heroic and powerful action moments.
"Field Test" and "Deadshot" were scored by Kral. The former is pretty uninspiring, with only the last of the three featured tracks having any "life" to it, in its brief moments of action. "Deadshot" receives poignant keyboard-lead scoring for the opening "Parents Killed," but much of the music is dark and determined, with a march-like quality in early tracks, and some powerful action writing in "Gordon/Batman/The Train."
Manthei's contributions are for "Crossfire" and "Working Through Pain." The former is certainly far removed from anything else on this disc, with an Eastern quality (featuring ethnic woodwinds as aforementioned) and also a cold, electronic, almost otherwordly feel, enhanced by sampled choir. One of the ethnic instruments used in "Crossfire" also features in "Working Through Pain," as Bruce Wayne searches for help in dealing with his parents' deaths, along with other typically Indian sounds. Neither score will again find their way onto my CD player, I am afraid - not my cup of tea at all.
The album concludes with an "End Credits Suite," which features the best and worst moments from the scores.
To sum it all up, Drake's and, to a lesser degree, Kral's is the kind of music one expects for a Batman film, unlike the Zimmer/Howard efforts, and, for me, it certainly makes for a more satisfying listening experience, away from the film at least, than that esteemed composing team's efforts. As for Manthei, well, I've enjoyed much of his past work (that I've heard), and can only feel very disappointed by his music for Batman: Gotham Knight.
The accompanying booklet is particularly fine in that not only does it feature plenty of stills, but each composer provides introductory notes on his work for the film.
Order your copy from





For more detailed information, click on this URL:

Thursday, August 14, 2008


From Costa Communications:-



Burlington, MA – On September 9, Rounder Records will release Buffy The Vampire Slayer – The Score. The Score contains 29 tracks, all drawn from seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the cult TV favorite “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” which Time chose as one of the “100 Best TV Shows of All Time.”

Emmy-award winning Christophe Beck composed, mixed and produced this latest “Buffy” soundtrack. Beck has scored most of the “Buffy” series, including Once More, With Feeling, the musical episode and soundtrack that has sold over 200,000 copies in the U.S. alone. Beck has also scored many films including We Are Marshall, What Happens in Vegas, and Under the Tuscan Sun. He also composed the music for “Angel,” the television spin-off to “Buffy.”

Track Listing:


  1. Massacre (from “Becoming”)

  2. Angel Waits (from “Passion”)

  3. Remembering Jenny (from “Passion”)

  4. Twice the Fool (from “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”)

  5. Moment of Happiness (from “Innocence”)


  1. Loneliness of Six (from “Lover’s Walk”)

  2. Sugar High (from “Band Candy”)

  3. Tai Chi (from “Band Candy”)

  4. Kralik’s House (from “Helpless”)

  5. Magic Snow Music (from “Amends”)

  6. Slayer’s Elegy (from “The Wish”)

  7. Faith’s End (from “Graduation Day”)

  8. Drink Me (from “Graduation Day”)

  9. One Last Moment (from “Graduation Day”)


  1. Haunted (from “Fear Itself”)

  2. From the Grave (from “This Year’s Girl”)

  3. Demon Got Your Tongue (from “Hush”)

  4. Golf Claps (from “Hush”)

  5. The Princess Screams (from “Hush”)

  6. Spellbound (from “Who Are You?”)

  7. Fyarl in the Morning (from “A New Man”)

  8. A Really Big Sandbox (from “Restless”)

  9. Spaghetti (from “Restless”)

  10. Body Paint (from “Restless”)

  11. Xander’s Nightmare (from “Restless”)


  1. The Tower (from “The Gift”)

  2. Losing Battle (from “The Gift”)

  3. Apocalypse (from “The Gift”)

  4. Sacrifice (alternate version, from “The Gift”

The X Files: I Want To Believe
Music by Mark Snow
Decca B0011541-02 (US)
24 Tracks 71:51 mins

Currently in cinemas is the latest offering from the X Files team. Directed by the show's creator Chris Carter and reuniting stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, it's some ten years since their last big screen offering, Fight the Future, and even longer since the classic series ended.
This film is a stand alone piece, unlike Fight the Future, which continued the alien mythology which ran through the series; featuring Billy Connolly as a paedophile priest with visions, who may or may not be helping our intrepid duo solve a series of murders.
Composer Mark Snow is an integral part of the X Files world, having scored the series and Fight the Future, where, unlike his synth accompaniment for the weekly shows, he was given an orchestra to play with, and produced a much more "high, wide and handsome" score. Here again he was given the budget to bring in a large orchestra, but the resulting score is more intimate and lyrical, as well as being akin to his atmospheric, suspenseful and dissonant TV scoring, with Snow's usual electronics added to the mix.
The generous album (even though two songs, plus a dance mix of the famous main theme, are tacked on at the end, and account for nearly 15 minutes playing time) begins with the initially ominous, then exciting action of "Moonrise." "No Cures/Looking for Fox" is largely intimate, keyboard-lead piece, but takes flight in the middle, before returning to more intimate territory, including a brief nod to the main theme. The mood continues in "The Trip to DC," with more delicate piano, before the track again takes flight on urgent strings, providing one of the best moments in the score. "Father Joe" follows, again developing into some nice travelling music, enhanced by solo soprano, at its conclusion.
Suspense is first introduced in "What if You're Wrong/Sister," with electronics enhancing the orchestra as it picks up. "Ybara The Strange/Waterboard" is almost religious in feel, with keyboard and angelic choir, before turning dark and suspenseful. Electronics surface again in the rhythmic "Can't Sleep/Ice Field." "March and Dig/Girl in the Box" has some meaty moments, including somewhat frenzied action, with subtle religious chanting. More rhythmic suspense material opens "A Higher Conscious, " but then piano adds a brief airy interlude, before the suspense continues.
An expressive cello theme opens "The Surgery," enhanced by subtle voices and then joined by soprano, to provide yet another highlight. "Good Luck" adds more inimate sentimentality, before the menacing "Seizure/Attempted Escape" breaks the mood, followed by the excitement of "Foot Chase," with its powerful percussion and tense, dissonant ending. The dissonance largely continues in "Mountain Montage/The Plow," "Photo Evidence," "The Preparation," with its central burst of frenzied action; "Tranquilized;" "The Axe Post;" and "Box Them;" before relief arrives with spiritual keyboard and strings (with nods towards the main theme), leading to the final cue "Home Again," which ends the score on a largely sunny, sentimental note, with delicate keyboard and warm strings, with soprano leading us into a final statement of the six-notes that begin the main theme.
The accompanying booklet features colour stills from the film, plus full musical credits, and a note from Chris Carter.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CD REVIEW - THEY LIVE - 20th Anniversary Edition

They Live - 20th Anniversary Edition
Music by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth
AHICD 002 (US)
29 Tracks 74:11 mins

Produced by Alan Howarth for his website at, this limited edition of 100o units commemorates the 20th anniversary of John Carpenter's sci-fi actioner, which starred wrestler Roddy Piper as one of but a few people aware that aliens are in fact living amongst us (their true identities can only be revealed by looking through special sunglasses).
Carpenter himself, and he oft-time musical collaborator, Alan Howarth, provided the usual synth score for the film, enhanced by guitars and harmonica to give a bluesy feel. The original album's 11 tracks lead off the disc, followed by a further 18 previously unreleased cues. Some dialogue is included in less than a handful of tracks, just to give a flavour of the film and don't distract from the music on display.
Nominated for a "Saturn Award" in 1989, the score begins with "Coming to L.A., revealing the main theme, which has a real bluesy feel, trudging along to a beat, enhanced by fingersnaps, and with guitars and harmonica featuring strongly. Some tracks are more straight-ahead synths, but are often mixed with bluesy elements, like "The Siege of Justiceville," which starts with low-key variations on the main theme, then builds imaginitively, with percussive elements.
There's a good deal of tension and suspense in the score, with a few more uptempo moments, like "Wake Up,"but the main theme is never very far away and this and the aforementioned percussive elements, just about keeps me interested (traditionally, I don't like synth scores, as you probably know by now, if you are a regular visitor to the site). The additional tracks don't really add much to the original album cues, with some pretty harsh atonality on display at times, but "Roll Away" is quite poignant, as is the end of "Get Me Out;" and there's fairly catchy source material on display in "Commercial Break," "Car Commercial," and "Press on Nails." A straight reprise of the main theme brings the album to a close.
The accompanying booklet features notes on the film and its music, including Alan Howarth's recollections. If you're a fan of the cinema of John Carpenter, or of anything '80s, you may well find this a very welcome release indeed. Order your copy from

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I Lunghi Capelli Della Morte
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Digitmovies CDDM112 (Italy)
25 Tracks 42:07 mins

Carlo Rustichelli's complete score for the 1964 witchcraft horror I Lunghi Capelli Della Morte, directed by Antonio Margheriti and starring Barbara Steele, is here issued for the first time, having been prserved in the C.A.M. Archives all these years. At the time of the film's release, only a 45 was released and both these tracks are included at the end of the disc.
The score opens in very dramatic fashion, with the title track, which develops into a kind of fateful processional, complete with tolling bell. A more brooding version features in the next track "Adele Karnstein," with the spare "Tamuri di Morte" and the doom-laden variations of the main theme in the two-part "Verso il Roco" following, for the execution scenes.
A Theremin-like instrument introduces the tense and dramatic "Il Roco Della Strega;" and the instrument is featured throughout the score, to provide a suitably eerie atmosphere.
Much similar tension and drama follows in many of the subsequent tracks, but there are also low-key moments like "Triste Ricordo" and the church organ-lead "Matrimonio." Continuing the religious feel, Rustichelli composed a requiem for orchestra and male choir for ""Anima Mea."
For the 4-minute finale "La Fine di Kurt," the composer wrote "a kind of diabolical tarantella," introduced by tolling bells, which brings the score to a furious conclusion.
The disc is accompanied by the usual booklet, featuring mostly black & white stills from the film, plus full-colour original artwork, together with Claudio Fuiano's introductory notes. Go to

From: CineMedia


4213 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505
Saturday, August 16, 2008, 2pm

La-La Land Records and Dark Delicacies invite you to meet, and get your CDs autographed by, the composers of the thrilling music scores from the hit DC/Warner Bros. animated features “BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT” and “TEEN TITANS: TROUBLE IN TOYKO.”
Composers Christopher Drake (HELLBOY ANIMATED FEATURES), Robert J. Kral (TV’s “ANGEL”, SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY, THE DRESDEN FILES, DUCK DODGERS) and Kevin Manthei (JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER) examine the dark psychology of The Batman through their amazing scores to BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT.
Acclaimed animation composers Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, BATMAN BEYOND, BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE, TEEN TITANS) harness all the fun and excitement of the Teen Titans’ feature-length adventure with their music from TEEN TITANS: TROUBLE IN TOYKO.
Robert J. Kral will also be signing his SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY soundtrack.
Kevin Manthei will also be signing his JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER soundtrack.
The composers will sign more than one item, but one of the items must be a soundtrack CD purchased at Dark Delicacies. CDs are available now at Dark Delicacies and will also be available for purchase at the signing.
Can’t make the signing, but still would like to get autographed CDs? You can order CDs from Dark Delicacies to be autographed and sent to you! Check out their website for details!



For more detailed information, click on this URL:

Monday, August 11, 2008


I am reminded that you it is still possible to order the two releases issued on the Airstrip One label in 1999/2000. They are Dominic Muldowney's score for the 1984 (when else) remake of Nineteen-Eighty Four, and a pairing of Howard Blake's scores for The Duellists (1977) and The Riddle of the Sands (1979).
I reviewed both scores on their respective releases, both in the New Zealand Film Music Bulletin, for which I was UK Correspondent at the time, and the subsequent and sadly short-lived incarnation of the Bulletin under my own editorship. This is what I had to say at about Nineteen Eighty -Four in the NZFMB (my review of the Blake scores will follow at a later date):-

Nineteen Eighty-Four (Airstrip One AOD 1984)

Released on the fiftieth anniversary of the exact date of the first recording session, comes, finally, Dominic Muldowney's largely rejected score for Michael Radford's vision of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. At the time of the film's release, director Radford was so displeased at Virgin's treatment of his work, including replacement of much of the score with tracks by Virgin-backed band Eurythmics, that he declined a BAFTA Best Picture nomination.
Digitally remixed by sound designer and composer Alan Howarth from the orginal 24-track analog master tapes, this 54-minute CD, released by new label Airstip One in the USA, features Muldowney's score as originally intended. Normally I frown upon use of the Ondes Martenot, having been battered to death by certain composers' overuse of the instrument, but it is used sparingly and very effectively thoughout this score to give the music as somewhat off-centre feel. At the heart of the score however is the hymn-like "Oceana, 'Tis For Thee," performed both instrumentally in a number of tracks, most effectively in "Main and End Titles" and the particularly sensitive rendering of "The Place Where There is No Darkness;" chorally in "Party rally;" by soprano in "Winston Meets O'Brien;" and in a combination of the two in "Victory Square."
The Ondes Martenot really shines in the almost sunny "Dead Insects and Cheap Perfume," ably supported by violin, whilst "Paddington Station/The Hiking Song," begins with a distant march, as if played over a P.A. system, before turning into a rousing marching song, performed by children's choir. This march is to re-surface in equally rousing orchestral form in "The Inner Party Speaker."
"A Room Upstairs at Charrington's " introduces a folksy tune, given voice, though again distantly, by solo female as "The Washerwoman's Song," before being take up by orchestra.
Throughout, a six-note fanfare insinuates itself, sometimes opening cues, at others cropping up at some point, and receives variations in the penultimate track "Winston at the Cafe."
There is no doubting this is a score of the highest calibre, and I should love to see the film - plus score - as originally intended. Bravo then to producer Christopher Landry and Airstrip One for this overdue release, which is accompanied by a 12-page booklet, that includes an introduction by Radford, never-before-seen photographs and pre-production drawings, supplied by the film's production designer, Allan cameron, as well as liner notes by producer Landry.
Go to to order your copy.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Without a Clue
Music by Henry Mancini
BSX Records BSXCD 8832 (US)
35 Tracks 58:33 mins

This imaginitive spin on the Sherlock Holmes stories sees a turnabout in that it is actually Dr. Watson who is the master sleuth, with Holmes being played by an actor for hire. Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine prove an excellent pairing in this 1988 feature, which boasts a score by the late, lamented Henry Mancini, most of whom's film work has been preserved on disc in one form or another, but this very welcome release premieres a heretofor sadly neglected score from the master melodist and composer.
The album gets off to adventurous fashion with "Enter Sherlock Holmes," the music, whilst recognisably Mancini, is written very much in period England style, as is the "Main Title" theme that follows and which is at the heart of much of the score, which is made up of largely brief cues, though there is one lengthy cue at over 6 minutes, which opens with something of a hornpipe feel for "Surlock Docks."The rather jaunty, almost nursery rhymeish "Holmes Gets the sack" follows.
Besides the main theme, other goodies to watch out for include a noble motif for "Lord Smithwick," and a strident and suitably dastardly theme for Moriarty, played by Paul Freeman, which of course is pitted against the main theme in some enjoyable action set-pieces; and there is a flighty snooping theme, first heard in "Super Sleuth."
Lysette Anthony (whatever happened to her?) plays the love interest and receives a sweet and tender accompaniment, but perhaps the most attractive track on the album is the warmly nostalgic, accordion-lead "Watson Sees All."
A number of bonus source tracks, mostly tavern music, conclude the disc, though there is a welcome accordion-only reprise of "Watson Sees All" to finish.
In conclusion, a thoroughly entertaining listen, written in the old fashioned, tried and trusted leitmotific style. Would that more modern scores adopted the style, or at least had any sort of melody.
The CD is accompanied by Randall D. Larson's informative notes on both film and score, together with plenty of colour stills. Order your copy of this limited edition release from

From Costa Communications:-





Movie premieres August 15, followed by the Debut of the Groundbreaking TV Series, Premiering This Fall on Cartoon Network and TNT

Score Album Available on August 12 on Sony Classic

Hollywood, Calif. – Award-winning composer Kevin Kiner will carry the baton of the Star Wars universe when he creates the music for STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, from creator George Lucas, premieres as an all-new feature film in August, followed by the television series debut in the fall, in a partnership announced today between Lucasfilm Ltd., Warner Bros. Pictures and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Having conducted the London Philharmonic and The City of Prague Orchestra, Kiner’s orchestral expertise defines his latest project: composing for a 90-piece orchestra for the animated feature Star Wars: The Clone Wars. At producer George Lucas’ suggestion, Kiner has distinguished each planet in the mythic constellation with an individual geographical palette that incorporates indigenous ethnic sounds from Asia, the Middle East, Egypt, South America and other far flung locales. Incorporating and reimagining a main title theme that may well be one of the most recognizable musical signatures on the planet is a Herculean task and Kiner notes the enormous influence of the great John Williams with these words: “He’s always been my absolute hero.”

Produced by Lucasfilm Animation, STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS takes audiences on incredible new Star Wars adventures, combining the legendary storytelling of Lucasfilm with an eye-popping, signature animation style. STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS will open in North American theaters Friday, August 15. International release dates will be announced soon.

"I felt there were a lot more Star Wars stories left to tell," said George Lucas, executive producer of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. "I was eager to start telling some of them through animation and, at the same time, push the art of animation forward." The theatrical debut of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS is only the beginning of all-new Star Wars adventures that continue in the fall when the long-awaited television series premieres on Cartoon Network, followed by airings on TNT. Details regarding international broadcasts will be announced shortly.

Transcendent orchestral themes, rhythmic global grooves or edgy electronica: Kevin Kiner’s command of a vast spectrum of musical styles makes him a Hollywood go-to composer. Film music aficionados will recognize the composer from feature films including Madison, Wing Commander, The Other Side of Heaven, Leprechaun, Tremors III, and The Pest, and he has composed music for network television series and shows such as CSI: Miami, The Star Trek: Enterprise series, Stargate SG-1, The Invisible Man, Walker Texas Ranger, The Visitor, Dead at 21 and The MTV Movie Awards. Honored with Emmy nominations for outstanding achievement in music composition (Johnny Quest and Stuart Little), he received an Annie nomination for outstanding music in an animated TV production for Harold and the Purple Crayon.

A California native who began his career as a rock guitarist in San Diego, Kiner enrolled in UCLA as a pre-Med student. Gigs playing around Hollywood led from the stethoscope to the Stratocaster; hired as the musical director for an international touring group with bookings in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Korean and Japan, he departed Los Angeles for the world. Kiner had previously composed and performed in the musical stage presentation
A Taste of Honey with composer and future music executive Evan Greenspan. Returning from a world tour, Kiner planned to return to medical school, but Greenspan, now working at Alan Landsburg Productions, had a tip about a television show titled The World’s Funniest Commercial Goofs. Unsolicited, the two created a theme song and were subsequently employed to score the show. Next, Kiner scored Foul Ups, Bleeps and Blunders. “There were four different producers,” he remembers. “They all got their own shows and within a year I was scoring all four.”

Now entering its seventh season, Kiner’s musical soundscapes underscore the top rated CBS series
CSI: Miami. He notes that the musical components are constantly evolving. “We manipulate sounds, reverse pianos, and mangle different bits of audio to make percussion out of little snips of sound. We use singers, cello for emotional scenes, and sometimes a string section, but more often than not it’s sounds we create from scratch. That’s an essential part of the composition.”

Kiner’s evolution as a composer honors both his rock roots and the sophisticated legacy of the classic film composers. “Take the modern stuff, keep it modern, but give it a legit flourish; film scores need to evolve. I don’t sit around and compose unless I see picture or if someone gives me a script. There’s something about picture -- when I see it, I start hearing music."

Friday, August 08, 2008


Il Terrore Dei Barbari (Golith and the Barbarians)
Music by Carlo Innocenzi
Digitmovies CDDM113 (Italy)
24 Tracks 47:32 mins

Veteran soundtrack collectors will probably be aware of Lex Baxter's music (including his rousing main title march) for the American release of this 1959 movie, which starred Steve Reeves and was directed by Carlo Campogalliani. What they will probably not have heard before is the score for the original Italian release by a composer totally unfamiliar to me, and with the most unlikely name of Carlo Innocenzi, but apparently he did exist, although the accompanying booklet notes give very little information about the man.
What we have here then is that original score, conducted by the great Franco Ferrara and, having heard it, it seems strange that a replacement score was necessary, though that was the norm at that time for foreign films distributed in the states by Roger Corman's AIP.
After a dramatic opening, Innocenzi introduces his own main title march, which is certainly not as rousing as Baxter's pretty matchless composition, but is suitably epic nevertheless. A brief reprise of the theme appears in "Musica All'Accampameno."
Much of what follows consists of exciting and dramatic orchestral action music, with suspenseful moments here and there, for the various battle scenes between the invaders and the Italian defenders. But it's not all action and the composer introduces a somewhat exotic love theme for "Landa," which soars nicely on strings and has something of a nautical feel. The theme features in a number of subsequent tracks, including "Dichiarazione D'Amore, with its intimate flute and woodwind opening.
Completing the score are a handful of source cues, including a couple of dance cues, with the fast and furious "Danza Del Fuoco being particularly notable.
Both the main and love themes share the finale "Per La Sacra Corona; the album concluding with a bonus track, an alternate version of the finale, omitting the opening statement of the main theme.
The aforementioned accompanying booklet, as well as the aforementioned introductory notes by Claudio Fuiano, features plenty of colour and black & white stills and artwork from the film. Visit

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Vivo Per La Tua Morte/Il Misterioso Signor Van Eyck
Music by Carlo Savina
Digitmovies CDDM115 (Italy)
32 Tracks 69:00 mins

Two quite brief scores by Carlo Savina share this disc. Firstly, we have the premiere of the complete score for the western Vivo Per la Tua Morte (1968), which features strongman Steve Reeves in his only western starring role. Two tracks were previously available on the rare Savina's Western LP, which I have long treasured, including the opening song on this CD, "Go West Young Man," which features the talents of Don Powell and I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni, who himself provides the whistle, a galloping, rousing composition, which gets the score off to a great start. Much of what follows is of the tense, suspenseful variety, with bursts of dramatic action, although the theme crops up here and there in similarly dramatic form, with horns giving it an epic quality; also in a tranquil arrangement for Hammond organ; and there's a good, beefy tavelling version in tracks 6 and 14(there are no track titles).
Track 5 features a somewhat melancholy, fateful harmonica theme, with guitar performing similar duties on track 10; whilst track 11 features agonisingly tragic string work, with track 12 continuing the mood, before a vengeful ending. Harmonica returns to introduce a nostalgic love theme in track 13.
Of course no Italian western score would be complete without the obligatory saloon piano track and this fast and furious piece comes in track 15. Track 17 brings the score to a dramatic end, before resolving peacefully and leading into an instrumental reprise of the opening song, which brings the score to a stasfying close.
Hammond organ was used as a colour in the orchestra in Vivo Per La Tua Morte, but in the 1965 Italian-Spanish co-production Il Misterioso Signor Van Eyck, the instrument is the main voice, featuring in the pastoral main theme, a composition of luminous beauty, suggestive of the tranquil open sea, that leads off the 14 untitled tracks that complete the CD's lineup. The theme is often reprised throughout the score, sometimes achieving a more epic quality on the horns, and is always welcome.
A seductive theme for sax features in track 21; whilst the many scenes of underwater treasure hunting are given an appropriately suspenseful feel, with the composer utilising harp, vibraphone and celesta, along of course with the organ to create an almost otherwordly feel.
The disc is, as always, accompanied by an attractive booklet, featuring colour stills and artwork from the films, as well as introductory notes by Claudio Fuiano. Visit

Music by William Ross
BSX Records BSXCD 8833 (US)
17 Tracks 41:03 mins

This ghost story, set in a young offenders' institution, features William Ross as composer and performer of the score. The "Main Title" opens quite quietly on keyboards, but becomes a quite a forceful, beat-driven mover. The theme receives a mounful reprise in "Finding Jonathan," and a light, flowing variation in "Jonathan's Death." Of course, much of the score that follows is suitably eerie and mysterious, reflecting the film's premise, but there is some exciting, pounding action music in "The Gauntlet," which ends with brief bluesy guitar, and "David in the Hole;" and "Nightwalk #2," "Captain Kills Doc" and "Welcome to my World" offer forceful and dramatic scoring, the latter being particularly intense. By contrast, the brief acoustic guitar solo"David and Myra" offers a moment of sentiment.
"The Wrath of Jonathan" brings the score to its dramatic, beat-driven, climax; leading to a final reprise of the main theme in "Epilogue."
The album is completed by four songs from Immaculate Mess, The Devil Roosevelt and Split Window, all of which deserve a mention, if only because of their imaginitive names.
The accompanying booklet features notes by the film's director Tim Sullivan. Order your copy from

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Music by Randy Edelman
Varese Sarabande VSD 6916 (EU)
30 Tracks 77:44 mins

This third outing for Brendan Fraser & co. (less Rachel Weisz - replaced by Maria Bello), comes some 7 years after The Mummy Returns, and is directed by Rob Cohen, who has gone with long-time musical collaborator Randy Edelman for the score. Most critics seems to have panned the film but, from the clips I have seen, it looks an enjoyable romp and I'm looking forward to seeing it.
The previous two Mummy films both boasted excellent scores, by Jerry Goldsmith and Alan Silvestri respectively, so Edelman would need to be at his very best to keep company with such these fine gentlemen's efforts. With the film scored virtually wall-to-wall in old Hollywood tradition, allowing for the generous length of this album, what has been delivered?
Well, it is very Edelman, that one can say from the get-go, composed in his familiar style, and full of strong melodic material, featuring orchestra and choir, with just a few electronics; commencing with the adventurous main theme "A Call To Adventure," which is to feature throughout, as is, and in interesting variations like in "Yang Follows the O'Connells." I can imagine some critics looking down their nose at it, when compared to Goldsmith's score in particular but, for me, it pushed all the right buttons and makes for a very entertaining listen indeed.
Edelman's secondary theme, for the emperor, is introduced, initially sadly on cello, in "Silently Yearning For Centuries, but this is to enjoy much more menacing and powerful incarnations as the score proceeds and is particularly spine-chilling when it bursts forth majestically on horns. Often, it is pitted against the main theme, and I guarantee you'll probably have one or both themes playing on your mind by the time you've listened to this album.
Supporting the numerous action sequences, the composer produces some great complimentary material in tracks like "The Reign of Terror;" "Formation of the Terra Cotta Army;" "Crash and Burn;" "Shanghai Chase;" "Entering the Tomb;" "Visit from a 3-Headed Friend;" "New Year's Betrayal;" "The Emperor Versus Zi Yuan;" "Rick and Evy in Battle;" "Heartbreak," after its emotional opening; and "Shielding a Son;" but the score has its share of intimate moments too. The romantic "A Family Presses Close," "Love in the Hamalayas" and "A Warm Rooftop," with their tender piano solos, are nice, and there are some nice Oriental touches in "Reading of the Scrolls," with flute, harp and female voice featured; whilst "Alex and Lin" offers yet more tender romance. "Memories, Retirement and Dinner" adds some colonial elegance, complete with harpischord.
Traditional Oriental instruments are threaded subtly throughout the score and erhu features strongly in a nice version of the emperor's theme in "Ancient China;" but it's not all serious stuff, the breezy "Rick's Long Rod," adds brief comic lightness to proceedings.
The score concludes satisfyingly with a reprise of the main theme in "Finale;" the album closing with the torch song "My Sweet Eternal Love," performed by Helen Feng.
I don't care what anyone else might think, I love good melodic film scoring, and have no hesitation in procaliming this album one of the most enjoyable of the year.

From Costa Communications:-



Soundtrack available on Hollywood Records

John Debney contributes over 30-minutes of action music for The Mummy

(Hollywood, CA) Academy Award nominated composer John Debney scores Touchstone Pictures' “Swing Vote,” directed by Joshua Michael Stern, produced by Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner. The heartfelt comedy stars Kevin Costner as Bud Johnson, an apathetic, lovable loser, who becomes the deciding vote for the presidential election. Debney sets the tone for “Swing Vote” with an upbeat, patriotic score; along with guitar laden music [available now on Hollywood Records]. In addition to “Swing Vote,” Debney also contributed over 30 minutes of the score for Universal Pictures' “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” directed by Rob Cohen and starring Brendan Fraser. Both films opened on Friday.

John Debney has built a solid reputation scoring films in all genres. His credits include “The Passion of the Christ,” for which he received an Oscar nomination; “Idlewild,” a Prohibition-era musical starring the duo Outkast and featuring famed trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; animated films “Barnyard” and “Chicken Little,” comic-book inspired “Sin City,” and comedies “Elf” and “Liar, Liar.”

In addition to an Academy Award nomination, Debney has received numerous Emmy nominations, a Dove award for The Passion of The Christ, A CUE award for the videogame score for “Lair,” and the youngest recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement. Other film music awards include the Ubeda Spin International Film Music Conference, Turks & Caicos International Film Festival and the Ischia Italy Film Festival. Debney has also conducted concerts of his music with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

John Debney’s ability to deliver the perfect score has allowed him repeat performances with many directors. For Garry Marshall, Debney scored the black comedy, “Georgia Rule,” “Princess Diaries 1 & 2” and “Raising Helen;” for Tom Shadyac, he scored “Evan Almighty,” and “Bruce Almighty.” Upcoming, Debney returns to work with Robert Rodriguez, for whom he scored “Spy Kids 1 & 2,” “The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl” and “Sin City,” to score “Sin City 2 & 3.” Next month Debney’s score to Liongate's “My Best Friend’s Girl” can be heard in theaters on September 19th; which marks his third collaboration with Howie Deutsch for whom he scored “The Whole Ten Yards” and “The Replacements.”

Monday, August 04, 2008


Music by Vincent Gillioz
Spheris Records CD SR0703 (US)
34 Tracks 52:05 mins

A man awakes one morning convinced his wife is an imposter. That is the intriguing premise of this 2007 film from director Franz Josef Holzer, which has been likened to the work of David Cronenberg.
Vincent Gillioz's score for the film mixes orchestral (the Sofia Metropolitan Orchesta) and solo piano, the former reflecting, in the composer's own words "the slow and ineluctable march of the main character towards madness (like the pounding march of the main theme)" and the latter, "his love and loneliness."
Following the Sep & Pan Film Production Logo, the album gets off to a frightening start with the dissonant "Nightmare" (I'll be using the alternate English cue titles given on the album's track list); followed by the main theme, which has already been mentioned, a mysterious, piano-driven slow march. This theme is repeated on a number of occasions and in different variations, orchestrally, as in "In a Sweat," and on piano in "Presumption," "Tenderness," "Impossible" and "Souvenirs."
Much of the time, the music is tense, suspenseful and dissonant, as in "Bizarre;" "Elizabeth;" "Close;" "Beyond;" "Transformation;" "Unmasked;" "Drawning;" and "Gone," with its variations on the Dies Irae.
Violin joins piano on the somewhat melancholy "Obsession," with the latter going solo on the appropriately titled "Lonely," with the feel continued in "Medicine," "Kept Away," "Nothingness," and "On the City."
"Frustrated" reintroduces violin, backed with a Vertigoesque rising and falling figure; and a rare moment of light comes with the source jazz combo track "Date."
The concluding track, "Forever" at more than 6 minutes, builds slowly to its disturbing, almost resigned conclusion.
Don't forget to check out, where you can order copies of this and Vincent Gillioz's other scores.
This concludes my coverage of releases on the Spheris Records label, and I want to thank Vincent Gillioz for allowing me the opportunity of acquainting myself with his music. I hope in some small way to have furthered his cause with my modest coverage and look forward to hearing much more of his work in the future.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Scenes of the Crime/A Child's Game
Music by Christopher Young
BSX Records BSXCD 8837 (US)
12 Tracks 60:07 mins

In the recent past, the guys at BSX Records have been involved in a number of promotional releases by Christopher Young, but this interesting release by the composer is on their own label.
Scenes of the Crime (2001) reunited Young with director Dominique Forma, who, as music supervisor on the film, gave the composer his first big break away from the horror/thriller fare he had been known for, on the courtroom drama Murder in the First. Unfortunately however, Young was tied up on another film when he got the call for Scenes of the Crime, so was only able to come up with the thematic material, calling upton Gernot Wolfgang to actually fashion the score.
Here, he presents much of that material in a continuous suite of just under 18 minutes, which might be a little hard for film music fans to stay with, their being used to listening to shorter pieces, but I am sure Young's many fans will be delighted to have it in whatever form he chooses to present it and in fact, the nature of the score actually suits this treatment. It opens with a sleazy electric guitars and drums theme and, indeed, guitars are the principal voice throughout in what is a mostly atmospheric piece with very little to get excited about.
Again, a clash of interests prevented Young from finishing his score for A Child's Game but, in his introductory notes in the accompanying booklet, he confesses that he chose to preserve what he wrote because "I like a few of the themes I came up with and I'd hate to lose them." What remains are not finished tracks, but rather synth demos, culminating in a number of cues designed for music box, something he admits he has always had a "soft spot" for.
The opening 11-minute "Hide Me," features variations on a floaty, mysterious mover, with Tiff Jimber adding almost childlike, wordless vocals at the start and end. In between, it turns more pianistic and then is taken up in music box fashion. This is followed by the much darker, threatening "Vanish You," though this does eventually lighten up and turn more mysterious. Ms Jimber returns for "Seek Thee," reprising the opening theme, with variations thereon. There's a return to more threatening fare with the creepy "Wishing To," with its dark piano rumblings and intense strings. Again the main theme returns, along with Ms Jimber's vocals for the final cue "Be Found."
All of these tracks are quite lengthy, giving plenty of room for development, and with the music box cues closing the album, it is certainly an interesting score and particularly worthy of preservation. Order your copy from

Friday, August 01, 2008


God's Waiting List
Music by Vincent Gillioz
Spheris Records CD SR0702 (US)
36 Tracks 49:15 mins

This drama from director Duane Adler, writer of Save The Last Dance and Step-Up, features music by Vincent Gillioz, which won the "Best score" Award at the 58th Locarno International Film Festival, and which calls again on the services of mezzo-soprano Mashal Arman, and prominently features the solo trumpet work of Dennis Farias. Many of the tracks are quite brief, the longest being the final cue "Resurrection."
The disc starts out with bluesy solo trumpet over a rhythmic, progressive backing in "Rooftop." A kind of drifting piano piece follows in "Flower Store," with "Love Scene" bringing some tentative romance. The mood then turns dramatic with "Car Chase," with the trumpet returning for the subsequent "Ambulance." As things go downhill for the brother and sister at the heart of the story, the music follows the mood, with much melancholy trumpet and poignant piano work; and the disturbing "Evicted" featuring harsh, distorted guitars.
"Plant Talk" offers the first ray of hope, followed by the trumpet solo "First Kiss, and then almost spiritual strings introduce the piano solos"Sol's Story" and the flowing "Working Out." Trumpet returns, along with rhythmic section to join the piano in "Record Store," as it moves along almost resignedly. The brief but positive "Praying For Both" follows, with "Sniff Picnic" developing into a nicely flowing piece, though ending on an ominous note. The distorted guitars return for another disturbing track "Falling Apart." "Fixing The Orchid" and "Phone Call" mix sadness with sentiment. A number of brief cues follow, with trumpet returning a couple of times, before Ms Arman's vocals join with strings for the spiritual "Vision," and subtle choral effects add more spirituality to "Heal."
"Sol's Eviction" turns the mood dark again, followed by tension of "I Know Them." "In The Streets" brings a brief variation on the opening theme, before Ms Arman returns on "In Jail." An almost resigned piano solo features in "Fraud," before more spirituality arises in "Priest X." Matters come to a dramatic head in "Under The Bridge, before the aforementioned "Resurrection, which again features Ms Arman, eventually brings the score to a positive close.
You can order your copy, as with all Vincent Gillioz's Spheris Records releases, at

News from Costa Communications:-




Critically-acclaimed indie features opens August 6th

(Los Angeles, CA) Emmy winning composer Mark Adler scores “Bottle Shock” for director Randall Miller with whom he worked previously on the films’ “Nobel Son” and “Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School.” Starring an impressive and diverse cast that includes Chris Pine, Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Freddy Rodriguez and Rachel Taylor, the film tells the story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as "Judgment of Paris." The film opens August 6th.

For Bottle Shock, Adler incorporates an ensemble and personally performs on many instruments. His original score seamlessly segues into the seventies songs used in the film. Adler’s ability to transcend musical genre and period is apparent, from his Emmy win for the HBO film “The Rat Pack” to his numerous dance stylings for “Marilyn Hotchkiss” and collaborating with Electronica artist Paul Oakenfold on “Noble Son.”

Mark Adler has built a reputation as a leading independent and documentary film composer. He has had films featured at virtually every Sundance Film Festival. His scores include "Focus," based on the Arthur Miller novel and starring William H. Macy and Laura Dern, Miramax’s "Picture Bride," which won the Audience Award in 1995, Wayne Wang films "Eat a Bowl of Tea" and "Life Is Cheap," numerous National Geographic Specials, and three Oscar-nominated feature documentaries.

Adler has contributed in every form of music for films, working as music editor on “Amadeus,” “Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “Blue Velvet.” He wrote and produced source music for Philip Kaufman’s "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," and "Henry and June," and was a music producer in the re-creation of indigenous Brazilian music for the Saul Zaentz production "At Play in the Fields of the Lord." Adler recently scored "The Road to Memphis," for the Martin Scorsese-produced series, "The Blues."