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

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Music by Jon Ehrlic & Jason Derlatka
MovieScore Media MMMS08015
35 Tracks 60:52 mins

A year or so ago, I was thoroughly enjoying my weekend's TV viewing, with sci-fi series Invasion and Surface royally entertaining me. Then, suddenly, both series finished mid-plotline, leaving I and many more fans of both shows heartily disappointed. Invasion in fact had developed a large following, but despite the outcry, the show seems to have permanently bitten the dust.
The music for Invasion was written by composing team Jon Ehrlic and Jason Derlatka, who were previously Emmy-nominated for their work on The Agency, and were given the rare luxury of an orchestra. To help placate fans of the show just a little, MovieScore Media has now released selections from the scores.
The opening track, "The Lights" generates quite a bit of excitement, as the alien invasion gets underway. giving way to the much more intimate "Russ & Larkin," with its romantic delicacy. The mysterious beauty of "Mariel Swims," gives way to the poignant piano-lead "They've Lost Their Mother;" "Sirk's Abduction" commencing eerily before building to menacing action. After the weighty "Szura," we return to intimate territory with the initially delicate "The Rose" blossoming nicely. An almost spiritual violin solo introduces "Angel Mariel/Island of Hybrid Castaways," the music taking on a much more sinister and menacing character as it proceeds.
The brooding "The Locket" follows, again featuring solo violin. The mysterious "M.R.I." leads to two brief, but powerful cues: "Hybrids in Labor" and "Hurricane Approaching;" then the mournful "Couldn't Save Them."
The determined "Pria's Story" is followed by more initially mournful violin work in "Finding Mariel," but the cue develops warmly, before ending somewhat unsettlingly. "Emily's Theme" is light and airy, again featuring violin; the composers providing a nicely fateful conclusion to "There's a Boat Coming."
Other tracks of note, include action cues "Larkin Crashes" and "The Battle;" "Species Transformation," with more airy violin and piano leading to an unsettling climax; the sense of relief in "Help Arrives;" the drama of "Baby Steps;" the mournful "Leon;" the anguished "Last Moments;" the menacing "Stalker" with its twisted Lost-like brass; "Larkin's Shower," with its lament for female voice; the serenely beautiful "Evolution" which develops the airy violin/piano music from before; the tender romance of "When They First Met;" the truly menacing "Mob Rule/Moving Toward the Light;" and the concluding "Full Circle," which starts airily again, but becomes more and more weighty, driven by a repeating piano figure.
For a show of almost epic scope, it never loses sight of its core group of characters, and Ehrlich and Derlatka's score certainly reflects this in that is more often than not intimate and emotive, featuring plenty of delicate solos, particularly for violin, whilst still providing the necessary eerie moments, action and weightiness required.
Invasion is available exclusively as a limited edition CD of just 1000 units, so hurry along to Screen Archives or Intrada to order your copy.
Further details can be obtained by visiting

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Quantum of Solace
Music by David Arnold
J Records 88697 40517 2 (US)
24 Tracks 61:41 mins

This latest outing for the re-imagined James Bond is the first direct sequel in the long-running franchise, and has arrived to mixed reviews, for the most part saying it doesn't quite live up to Casino Royale. As I wasn't a big fan of that film and, as this is apparently even less like a true Bond film, I suspect I won't like it much either.
As for the music, well, I'm pleased that one element has stayed the same, in that David Arnold continues to score the pictures. His latest effort, whilst still incorporating some of the elements established by the John Barry scores, relies less on them than ever before. Instead, Arnold has started drawing on his own past efforts, well, Casino Royale, at least, by utilising his Vesper theme from that film within the score; a natural thing to do of course, as here Bond is out to gain revenge for her death. Of course, the James Bond theme is present, moreso than in Casino Royale, appearing in a number of interesting arrangements throughout the score.
With an absence of humour, gadgets and bedroom scenes, it's possible to liken these new Bond films more to the Jerry Bruckheimer action films and Arnold is therefore called upon to write a good deal of pretty high energy music, with tracks like "Time to get Out;" "The Palio;" the somewhat rocky "Pursuit at Port Au Prince;" "Target Terminated;" and the lengthy "Perla De Las Dunas" generating a good deal of excitement. And of course, there are plenty of more low-key, suspenseful moments along the way.
Local colouring is provided in tracks like "Bond in Haiti;" another actioner "Somebody Wants to Kill You;" "Bolivian Taxi Ride," with its interesting variation on the Bond theme; and there are a few intimate and poignant moments in the likes of "What's Keeping You Awake;" "Forgive Yourself;" and "Camille's Story," with its Spanish guitar colourings.
The weakest element of this album is undoubtedly the song "Another Way To Die" by Jack White and Alicia Keys, which Arnold desperately tries to prop up with his arrangement, but its format really precludes him from using it in his score, unlike the "You Know My Name," which wasn't liked either by many critics, but which Arnold co-wrote and was therefore able to incorporate into the score. Note to producers: always let Arnold have a hand in the song, and get someone in to sing it - it's the best way to go - just look at all the fine Bond songs of the Barry years.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Four Christmases
Various Artists
Decca 478 1543 (EU)
11 Tracks 32:39 mins

Seth Gordon's new festive comedy, Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon has arrived on a mission to break us out of our gloomy reality and kick start the Christmas spirit, allied by a soundtrack album (released in UK stores on 1st December) that brings a smattering of old familiar chestnuts, like Baby, It's Cold Outside, Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bell Rock, I'll Be Home for Christmas and of course White Christmas, with legendary (and not so) artists like Dean Martin, Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Gavin DeGraw (who?), doing the honours.

Four Christmases
Music by Alex Wurman
Costa Communications Promo
10 Tracks 13:11 mins

The incidental music for Four Christmases was written by Alex Wurman, and the composer's publicists kindly sent me a brief "best of" sampling of his score. No news as to whether a score album is likely, but I imagine there would certainly have to be a good deal more than the 13 minutes on offer here to make that a possibility. Not that any expense was spared in the score's realisation, with Wurman conducting a 90 piece orchestra and choir at Warner Bros Eastwood Stage. He saw the project as an opportunity to write a score with an old fashioned, classic, if you will, quality to it, incorporating orchestral variations on classic songs, to compliment the vocals utilised in the film and presented on the above-mentioned song album, and at the same time paying homage to the likes of Gershwin and Bernstein; also, in his own original way, underlying the emotional aspects of the film quite subtly, whilst providing larger, more bombastic cues like "Jump Jump Part 1,""Roof," and the martial opening to "Back Bedroom Boundaries Speech."

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Let The Right One In
Music by Johan Soderqvist
MovieScore Media MMS08022
21 Tracks 46:51 mins

The composer of Things We Lost in the Fire, Johan Soderqvist, has provided the orchestral score for the award-winning horror drama Let the Right One In, in which a bullied boy finds salvation in the form of an alliance with a female vampire. Of his music the composer says that it "gave me the opportunity to write a score that consists of both darkness and light. The filmmakers weren't looking for your typical horror soundtrack. The most important quality of the music in this film had to be melody and harmony, so even if the overall tone of the film and the score is dark and atmospheric, there is always a sense of hope and beauty."
The opening track, "The Arrival," speaks of sadness and oppression, but is followed by the slightly more hopeful "Eli and Oscar," with "Eli's Theme" a lovely, romantic stringed affair. We're back on darker territory again with "The Slaughter," which builds ominously to a disturbing conclusion. "Oscar in Love" is a delicate, tender piano interlude, before more darkness in "Hiding the Body." Hope surfaces briefly again in "After the Fight," before the poignant strings of "Oscar Strikes Back. The eerie "Virgina Wakes Up" follows, giving way to a very nice guitar-lead waltz in "The Father."
The score then heads firmly down the darker path, with cold, ominous and suspenseful atmospheres broken up by occasional surges of violence; just pausing now and then, as in "Then We Are Together," "Eli Bleeds," and the guitar variation on the main theme at the opening of "Going Home," to provide some tenderness and beauty along the way.
The album ends with the title track, which opens tentatively, before the guitar waltz leads us to a reprise of "Eli's Theme," concluding the score on a lovely, melodic note.
The album has received a limited CD release of just 500 copies, so you'd best hurry along to the likes of Screen Archives or Intrada, if you hope to grab a copy. Alternatively, you can download it from
Go to for further details.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


From Top Dollar PR:


Hollywood Music Awards© Nominated “Too Human” Soundtrack Available Now

St. Catharines, ON (November 25, 2008) – Silicon Knights, one of the world’s largest independent developers, has announced that the “Too Human” soundtrack is now available for purchase. This haunting musical CD, which was nominated for “Best Original Video Game Score” by the Hollywood Music Awards©, features tracks from the game, such as “Relic”, “Path to Attrition”, “The World Tree” and “Gods and Chaos”, along with 16 other harmonic tracks. All the music was originally scored by Silicon Knights’ award-winning composer, Steve Henifin, and performed by the FILMharmonic Orchestra and Choir Prague. This hour-long soundtrack is mixed in a continuous format with special extras and remixes to deliver a one-of-a-kind listening experience. Selling for $15.98, the “Too Human” soundtrack can be ordered at,, iTunes and the CD label’s own site Sumthing Distribution.

The game “Too Human” is based on Norse mythology, retold as a technologically advanced lost civilization. Great care was taken to maintain the Old Norse setting, and this goes for the music as well. The soundtrack feature period instruments, such as the Hardanger, Lyre, Alpenhorn and Langeleik, and Old Norse vocals that are loosely based off of the Norse Eddur.

The music ranges by location and scenario. There are moments of long beds of orchestral music, followed by electronic/metal sounding tracks that put the listener into a different space altogether. There are also vast ambient tracks that are made of layers upon layers of sample-based sounds and evolving electronic sounding textures as well.

In “Too Human”, the Cybernetic god Baldur is faced with the task of defending mankind from the hordes of machines bent on destroying humanity. The game’s music helps to evolve the player through tales of discovery, bloodlust, vengeance, and glory. “Music is key to character establishment, keeping continuity throughout the game play, and in its relation to the story” said Steve Henifin, Director of Audio for Silicon Knights. “Having the tracks evolve around each setting is something that draws you more into the experience and gives players a sense of progression.”

So while the music and audio is Norse in its presentation, it is not exclusively Norse in its sound. It branches out quite a bit, but still stays in the realm of an ancient lost world of technology. It also has its moments using a more aggressive contemporary sound. In places, the Silicon Knights audio team brought in layers of electronic elements, but in a more subtle way. The cyber elements are more elegant and organic in style. In some cases the song style was influenced by the style of the instrument itself, whether that be a Balaban, Bone flute, Frame Drum, Bagpipe or something else, making the phrasing and general feel of a song constructed around the characteristic of that one instrument.

For more information about “Too Human” and its soundtrack, go to and

About Silicon Knights
With games like “"Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem", "Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes" and “Too Human”, Ontario-based Silicon Knights has blasted to the top of the gaming world, working with the likes of Nintendo and Microsoft. With its emphasis on story-driven content, Silicon Knights is currently one of the world’s largest independent developers. Its games envelop millions of players in fantastical worlds that make the player think as well as act.

© Hollywood Music Awards. All rights reserved.
® Silicon Knights is a registered trademark of Silicon Knights. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Le Demon de L'Himalaya
Music by Arthur Honegger
13 Tracks 74:40 mins

Naxos have reissued this collection of music from four films scored by Arthur Honegger in the '30s, the music having been recorded in 1992/93 by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Adriano.
The generous disc begins with a suite of five tracks from 1937's Regain, director Marcel Pagnol's interpretation of the novel by Jean Giono, which tells a heartwarming tale of villagers in Provence. "Le Panturle" introduces a surprisingly heroic, march-like theme, with a stormy and turbulent interlude. "Hiver" (Winter) is appropriately bleak and gloomy; the mood continuing for much of "Printemps" (Spring), with the main theme returning hopefully at the end. "Gedemus le Remouleur," by complete contrast, offers a comical miniature polka. The concluding title track ends the score on a positive rendition of the main theme.
A five-track suite from 1935's Crime et Chatiment (Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment) follows, opening the "Generique" dramatically, before turning distinctively Russian in style. The subdued "Raskolnikov - Sonia" follows, and briefly introduces the bleak sound of the Ondes Martenot, played here by Jacques Tchemkerten. "Depart pour le Crime" is suitably dark and dramatic, as is "Meurtre d'Elisabeth; with the Ondes Martenot returning in "Visite Nocturne - Final," giving an almost supernatural feel to the early part of the track, before the music builds to a dramatic crescendo; the Russian theme returning to conclude proceedings.
Third up are "2 Symphonic Movements" from the album's title score, Le Demon de L'Himalaya, a mix of fiction and documentary, directed by Andrew Marton. The opening "Tempete de Neige" is an exercise in bleakness and ascending tension, which all ends very dramatically; whilst "Ascension et Chute" is constructed around a passacaglia, increasingly dramatic, and culminating with a big choral, here performed by the Slovak Philharmonic Choir.
The disc concludes with the complete25-minute score from 1934's L'Idee, one of two animated films scored by the composer. The music is presented as one continuous track, and opens very dramatically. Ondes Martenot returns in this score, playing in a more serene and poignant manner, and there is also a subdued march figure for solo violin and orchestra, as well as some dance-like rhythms; a strong, somber processional, together with a later scherzo variation thereon; leading to a turbulent passage, in which the Ondes is played quite wildly; concluding almost funereally, before the serene Ondes plays us out in more pastoral fashion.
Accompanied by an eight-page booklet, featuring the conductor's detailed notes on the films and their scores, together with brief profiles of the orchestra, choir, soloist and conductor, this is a very good example of the kind of film scoring of the period going on away from the Hollywood norm we are more used to, and a makes for a good introduction to the composer's work, if you are not already on familiar terms.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Music by edward Shearmur
Varese Sarabande VSD 6930 (EU)
17 Tracks 44:23 mins

Rodrigo Garcia's new film, Passengers, stars Anne Hathaway as a grief counsellor working with plane crash survivors, who becomes romantically involved with one of her clients, whom she suspects might hold the answers when, one by one, the rest of them start to disappear.
The music is by Edward Shearmur and begins with the steady piano and strings flow of "The Wreckage;" the theme continuing on piano in a more upbeat variant in the following "Group Therapy." "House Call," by contrast, is almost comical. Flowing piano continues to provide the main voice in "What Do You Remember," backed again by strings and mysterious electronic atmospheres, although harp takes over as the music intensifies. Busy, but light, percussion introduces "Norman," which takes on a heavier mindset, as it flows to its conclusion.
The music takes on a more mysterious feel in "At the Museum," with the following "Giving Eric the Key" more positive; the mood continuing in the almost playful "Eric at Midnight." "Arkin" is a much more melancholy affair for delicate piano and strings; the former becoming more weighty in "Rooftop." After all this introspection, "Motorcycle Fix" flows along nicely, but not for long, as it is quickly overwhelmed by some pretty menacing electronic atmospheres, only for piano to re-emerge romantically.
"Norman's House" develops into full-blown, propulsive action, ending in a sad refrain; to be followed by "Eric Remembers," which, after a tentative start, becomes increasingly powerful and propulsive, before ending quietly on piano. "Porch" returns us to the melancholy feel, with piano surrounded by the electronic atmospheres yet again. "Epithany" is just that, the music gradually swelling until it soars, before coming down to earth for a peaceful conclusion; with "At Peace" suggesting things are again well in the world.
It's nice to have an "End Titles," something that seems to be making something of a comeback, after having to endure cut-together pieces of score, or songs tacked over the credits of many films of the recent past. Here, Shearmur gets to shine even more with a quite lovely piano-lead theme.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Music by Clint Eastwood
Varese Sarabande VSD 6934 (EU)
16 Tracks 41:37 mins

Clint Eastwood's film is set in 1920s Los Angeles, and is inspired by true events. It starts Agelina Jolie as a mother whose son is abducted and apparently later found by the authorities, but she is convinced the boy who is returned to her is not her son.
Having once called upon the services of Lennie Niehaus to score his films, just adding the odd pretty tune here and there, in recent times Eastwood has taken over full scoring duties and does so again here. Now, most of us can come up with a tune if we put our minds to it; even I have written a few songs in the past. But, I needed the help of a trained musician/producer to really bring them to life and here, Eastwood is of course again assisted by Niehaus, who orchestrated and conducted the music, with arrangements by Clint's son Kyle and Michael Stevens. The results are presented on this disc, which begins with a pretty good "Main Title" theme which is essentially in two parts; after a smoky jazz opening, the piece warms nicely on piano. Not surprisingly, Clint being a bit of a jazz pianist and all, it's a piano-heavy score, continuing with "Ride to School," which starts on piano, before developing into a variant of the smoky opening to the main theme. The theme continues on piano in "Mom's on Call/Late to Trolley," with both elements being present this time, ending, as it does with the warm piano again.
The music takes a more dramatic turn in the anguished strings and melancholy cello solo of "Looking for Walter/Waiting for Police;" continuing disturbingly in "Where do you Live/Who are You?" "I Want My Son Back" presents sad strings and piano variations on the main theme, part 2. "Arrive at Ranch" offers a tentative piano, guitar and strings variation on same, before gloomy strings take over in "Looking for Sanford;" leading to a disturbing climax. More gloomy strings follow in "People Can't Change," and continue in "We Killed Some Kids," taking a decidedly dark and haunted turn with distant, tortured voices. The anguished "I Won't Sign it" is followed by more gloomy strings and piano, after a guitar intro, in "Sanford Digs;" the mood continuing in "Room 18."
Thank goodness, the smoky first half of the main theme returns to bring a bit of melody and hopefulness at the start of "What is Happening/Trial Montage," developing into a nice variation on same. But it's only a brief respite, I'm afraid, as variations on "We Killed Some Kids" dominate "Davey Tells Story." The penultimate track, "I Want to go Home," presents a solemn, cello-lead rendition of the main theme, part 2; becoming sunnier as it continues into the "End Title," before a troubled development of the first part of the main theme takes over, ending with a melancholy cello solo.
In conclusion, this is probably Eastwood's most accomplished score to date, as good as most dramatic scores I have heard in recent times. Mind you, how much of that is down to Eastwood, and how much to Niehaus, we may never know.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Two from Costa Communications:



Reteams with Director Bryan Singer for


Award-winning film editor / film composer John Ottman reteams with director Bryan Singer for MGM’s World War II epic “Valkyrie” in theatres December 26. Score album available on Varese Sarabande December 12. Ottman has edited and scored all but one of Singer's films including “The Usual Suspects," to “Superman Returns” Valkyrie is not John Ottman and Bryan SInger's first confrontation with the Nazis. "Apt Pupil" told the story of a NAZI war criminal who is living in an american suburb. Ottman's highly effective score to “Valkyrie” blends an 80-piece orchestra with carefully-designed electronic elements. When John Ottman couldn't find the right audio textures, he manipulated his own voice to create them. Ottman’s score subtly contributes to the tension and suspense.

“Valkyrie, ”starring Tom Cruise, is based on the true story of high-ranking German officers during WWII, led by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise), and their attempt to assassinate Hitler in order to end the war. The operation was code named "Valkyrie" for the emergency plan that was meant to be used in case of a revolt against the Nazi government.

John Ottman has successful traversed every genre as a film composer. His wide range of credits include the dark comedy Cable Guy, the thriller Gothika, Phoneboth, numerous superheros movies including Xmen 2 & 3, Fantastic Four 1 & 2, and Superman Returns as well as the drama Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starring Robert Downy Jr. and last years, Sci-fi blockbuster, The Invasion starring Nicole Kidman. His film scores have earned him a Saturn Award and several BMI Film Music Awards.

John Ottman won a prestigious BAFTA award in editing for "The Usual Suspects" and a nomination from the A.C.E. (American Cinema Editors). Ottman continues to edited all of Singer's films including the action-packed superhero films from XMen to Superman. Ottman and Singer first began collaborating while students at USC’s Film School on “Public Access,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.




Los Angeles, CA – Like the anonymous narrator in the hit CW series “Gossip Girl,” the Transceders have anonymously reached the ears of the masses. The group, consisting of Terence Yoshiaki, Brian Lapin, and Mike Fratantuno (founding members of the Black Eye Peas), wrote the iconic theme song, now familiar to viewers all over the world. In addition, Transcenders weekly compose the original music to complement the visuals and storyline within this controversial drama.

The Transcenders began working together in 1995. On the Black Eyed Peas first album, “Behind the Front,” Lapin mixed, produced and played keyboard and bass; Yoshiaki played drums; and Fratantuno played bass and guitar. Lapin left the band in 1999, but Yoshiaki and Fratantuno continued to tour with the band, writing the Grammy nominated hit “Let’s Get It Started” in 2004. The three formed the Transcenders in 2002 during a Black Eyed Peas tour break when they collaborated on the film score for “Cross Bronx.” From that point they realized that their individual styles complemented each other and they began creating music for various film and TV projects under the name Transcenders.

Along with “Let’s Get It Started,” Fratantuno’s songwriting credits include the #1 hit “Where Is the Love?” featuring Justin Timberlake, and the MTV favorite “Request Line,” featuring Macy Gray. On the film front, they recently scored the film “College” with Drake Bell and composed additional score music for the blockbuster film “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” They have also used their musical expertise to write original songs for “Superbad,” “Knocked Up,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Harold & Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” and “ATL.”

Gossip Girl revolves around the drama of a group of East Side Manhattan socialite teens who attend elite prep schools. The series was created by Stephaine Savage and Josh Schwartz and is based on a popular young adult book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. The show is the driving force for the CW Network and has given them #1 position on Monday nights among the 18 to 39 female demographic.

And Two from Top Dollar PR:


Music Performed by FILMharmonic Orchestra and Choir at Rudolfinum in Prague

New York – Nov. 19th, 2008 – Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc., through its licensing relationship with Gearbox Software, proudly presents Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway Original Soundtrack featuring the original music score composed by Ed Lima and Duncan Watt. Developed by Gearbox Software, Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway is the third installment of the critically acclaimed series of WWII video games. The original soundtrack will be released on Nov. 25, 2008 to retail outlets through Nile Rodgers’ Sumthing Else Music Works record label, and for digital download at and iTunes®.

Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway Original Soundtrack features the dramatic and emotionally poignant symphonic score composed by Ed Lima (Prey, Doom 3) and Duncan Watt (Need For Speed: Pro Street). As in the previous Brothers In Arms games, no music is featured during gameplay. Instead the score is focused on supporting the story and accompanies the cut-scenes and menus in the game. The music was recorded with the FILMharmonic Orchestra and Choir at the prestigious Dvorak Hall of Rudolfinum in Prague.

“The Brothers In Arms series of video games has always taken upon itself the responsibility to treat our nation's heroes and history with all the respect and honor they are due. It's an imperative that permeates every facet of Gearbox Software's development of this series,” said Ed Lima, Audio Director and Composer at Gearbox Software. “The music underscores the relationships that exist between these brave men, highlighting their connections, their trust in each other, and for some, their tragic ends.”

Track Listing:

1. Main Theme
2. The Story So Far
3. Baker’s Dozen
4. Double Time
5. The First Bad News / Letters To Loved Ones
6. For Matthew
7. We Happy Fewer
8. Eindhoven/Roadblocks/Frankie's Choice
9. Those We Lost
10. Farewell Is Goodbye.

Re-mastered versions of the scores to Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30 and Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood are now available for digital download at

Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway brings the critically acclaimed squad-based WWII shooter into the next generation of gaming with superior graphics and sound and new gameplay features. Delivering on the franchise’s compelling story, unrivaled authenticity and intense squad-based action, Brothers In Arms Hell’s Highway drops players into Operation Market Garden, the largest paratrooper operation in World War II. For more information, visit

About Gearbox Software
Gearbox Software is an award-winning independent developer of interactive entertainment based in Plano, Texas. Founded in February 1999 by game industry veterans, Gearbox quickly distinguished itself as a respected and recognized developer with the success of the company's debut title, Half-Life: Opposing Force. The company has since worked with such prominent franchises as Halo, Aliens, Tony Hawk, James Bond, and Samba de Amigo, and has also created successful new franchises with Brothers In Arms and Borderlands. Gearbox is committed to creating games that are technologically advanced, creative, and above all, fun to play. We employ the industry's most talented people and use proven production methods to create best selling games for all major platforms.

About Nile Rodgers
Award winning record producer Nile Rodgers is one of the most prolific music producers in history. Nile’s production accomplishments include such diverse artists as Diana Ross, Madonna, David Bowie, Duran Duran, The B-52’s, David Lee Roth, Grace Jones, Mick Jagger and top selling game soundtracks such as Halo® 2 Volume One. Records produced by Nile Rodgers have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. As a founding member of the perennial Rhythm & Blues dance band Chic, Nile co-wrote all of their big hits including "Le Freak" and "Good Times", as well as "We Are Family" for Sister Sledge. In addition to records, he has also scored or produced music for numerous films including "Coming to America", "Thelma and Louise", "The Flintstones", "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Rush Hour II," as well as a variety of television shows and commercials. Nile is a board member of several organizations including the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

About Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc.
Since its creation in the late 1990’s by the world-renowned song writer, musician and record producer, Nile Rodgers, Sumthing Else Music Works has become the acknowledged industry leader in licensing and distributing video game soundtracks. Possessing full in-house services worldwide, from creation of original video game soundtracks through physical distribution, Sumthing is partnered with the world’s leading video game developers and publishers including BioWare, Bungie Studios, Capcom, Crytek, Eidos Interactive, Epic Games, Gearbox Software, Microsoft, Mistwalker, Rare, SEGA, Silicon Knights, Sony Computer Entertainment and Ubisoft. Their catalogue of titles includes the best selling video game soundtrack of all time, Halo 2: Volume One, as well as award-winning titles including: Gears of War 2, Fable II, Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Contracts, Hitman: Blood Money, Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Unreal Tournament 3 and many others.

For Sumthing’s full catalogue please visit and their digital download service at
Sumthing Else Music Works and Sumthing Distribution logos are copyright of their respective companies. All other names of products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.



Los Angeles – Nov. 20, 2008 – Film, television and video game composer Garry Schyman has created the original music score for the newest installment of the acclaimed Destroy All Humans! video game series. Developed by Sandblast Games (THQ Inc.), Destroy All Humans!® Path of the Furon™ is set in the 1970's and the game’s score is inspired by music styles from that era. Schyman’s musical influences for DAH Path of the Furon include classic 70’s film scores by Lalo Schifrin, Jerry Goldsmith and Roy Budd. The DAH Path of the Furon score was recorded with a live symphony orchestra as well as brass band, flute soloist, saxophone soloist and wah wah guitar performed by A-list musicians in Hollywood.

“The idea for DAH3 was to continue the approach set in DAH1 and DAH2 as though I was a film composer writing in that period,” said Composer Garry Schyman. “Of course wah wah guitar is slathered throughout because it was so ubiquitous and influential. Personally this is my favorite of the three DAH scores. I love this style of music!”

Kevin Kraff, vice president of global brand management at THQ commented, “Following his critically acclaimed original scores for DAH1 and DAH2, Garry was the perfect match to create the music for Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon. Not only do we trust Garry's creativity to capture our vision for the franchise, but his unique skillset and bold repertoire is a natural conduit that truly connects and immerses the player.”

Garry Schyman's music for video games has received the Interactive Achievement Award from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences for “Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition,” Spike TV Award for “Best Original Score,” G4TV Award for “Soundtrack of the Year” and four Game Audio Network Guild Awards, including the prestigious “Music of the Year” Award. Garry Schyman is represented by the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency. For more information on the composer visit

Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon is scheduled to release for Xbox 360® in December 2008. For more information please visit

About THQ:
THQ Inc. is a leading worldwide developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software. The company develops its products for all popular game systems, personal computers and wireless devices. Headquartered in Los Angeles County, California, THQ sells product through its global network of offices located throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. More information about THQ and its products may be found at and THQ, THQ Wireless, Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon and their respective logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of THQ Inc. For more information please visit

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Rest Stop: Don't Look Back
Music by Bear McCreary
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1079 (US)
20 Tracks 64:38 mins

La-La Land Records continues its support of composer Bear MCreary with the release of his music for director Shawn Papazian's Rest Stop: Don't Look Back, sequel to Rest Stop, which Papazian produced. The disc also includes 6 bonus tracks from the original film.
The sequel takes up the action a year after the first story, with the missing Jesse's brother Tom and his friends finding themselves in the same frightening predicament when their search for him leads them to the mysterious Rest Stop.
Of course, one pretty much knows that when a project has Bear McCreary attached, the music is not going to be your usual run-of-the mill score. For these films, he adopted a kind of country rock/blues/gospel approach, utilising the likes of "distorted banjos, wailing electric bass and detuned country fiddle," describing his music for the sequel as "Lynyrd Skynard Trapped in Hell." Also running through the scores are a number of vocals, for which the composer provided both music and lyrics; with vocals by Brendan McCreary, Raya Yarbrough, and the Rev. Buford "Buck" Davis and his Minstrel Singers.
Of course much of the music for Rest Stop: Don't Look Back is suitably threatening, a mix of harsh guitars and quite menacing walls of sound; and even the more melodic moments like the rock instrumentals"Tom and Marilyn," and "Tom to the Rescue;" the touching "Nicole's Ghost;" and the inspirational choral "Cleansing The Sinnner" have their unsettling moments. The guitars-driven action of "The Last Stand," eventually gives way to a laid-back ending with a reprise of the "Nicole's Ghost" music mixing with an easy-going rock instrumental. The score however finishes on a typically unsettling note with "The Driver Gets Marilyn."
Three of the tracks from the original Rest Stop are vocals, with the score tracks including some powerful, guitars-lead action in "Gravely Mistaken Identity" and "Nicole Fights Back;" the former also featuring the aforementioned theme for "Nicole's Ghost."
The disc is accompanied by an eight-page booklet, featuring numerous colour stills from the film, together with notes by director Papazian, writer/producer John Shiban and of course the composer himself.
No news of a UK release for the film as yet, but it is already out on DVD in the States, and you can order a copy of this album by going to the label's website at

Music by Elia Cmiral
BSX Records BSXCD 8844 (US)
17 Tracks 37:17 mins

Award-winning director Toby Wilkins' first full-length feature Splinter premiered at ScreamFestLA, winning many awards, including "Best Picture," "Best Direction" and "Best Musical Score." The latter was provided by Czech-born Elia Cmiral, who is of course no stranger to the horror/thriller genres, and Splinter features both, with a convict and his girlfriend carjacking a couple, only to find themselves on the run from a deadly parasite.
I am afraid I have yet to be impressed by the music of Elia Cmiral. Ronin brought him early acclaim, and its score was pretty effective, I suppose; but since then he's been trapped in a succession of largely low-budget horrors and thrillers, where again his music has I'm sure been effective enough (though I have seen few of the films in question), but seldom has yielded anything memorable, making for a succession of pretty uninteresting soundtrack albums. This album is no exception. True, there are some pretty menacing moments, featuring powerful dissonance and nervy action, together with some truly eerie sounds, courtesy of a combination of orchestra and electronics; but there's also a good deal of tension and suspense along the way, where sometimes the music plays so low it is barely audible. At the end of the day, there's just nothing to latch on to, melodically.
Perseverance Records have promised a more melodic offering from the composer in their forthcoming release of his music for "Journey to the End of the Night ( a review of which you will also hopefully be able to read here) and this I greatly look forward to. Hopefully, more opportunities of this nature will come his way, but I fear, whilst scores like "Splinter" win him awards, Elia Cmiral will remain largely typecast in the genre.
If Splinter is the kind of score that floats your boat, you can order your copy from

Monday, November 17, 2008


Doctor Who - Series 4
Music by Murray Gold
Silva Screen Records SILCD1275 (UK)
27 Tracks 76:38 mins

I think my joy was audible when Silva Screen announced this title, having loved their previous compilations of Murray Gold's music for the first three series. The initial trepidation over the use of predominantly orchestral music in the initial reincarnation of the famous BBC series soon disappeared when I heard his great music, and he continued the good work through series 2, 3 and 4, the latter commemorated on yet another fine recording of highlights from the series. This time, however, the format is slightly different, in that there are more suites, which really give a flavour of the musical journey of each episode.
The album of course opens and closes with Ron Grainer's famous Doctor Who theme, even more souped up than before, perhaps to the point of overkill. This is followed by the theme for the Doctor's new assistant, Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate, who underwent a remarkable journey throughout this series, proving ultimately the unlikely saviour of the Universe, only to end up oblivious to everything that had gone before. The theme is quite a mix, part jazz, part Latin, lightweight, semi-comical, yet adventurous. Donna's grandfather, played by Bernard Cribbins, was also given a piano-lead theme, suggestive of the star watcher and dreamer he is, yet at the same time, solid and strong.
These themes out of the way, we have the first burst of typically exciting action writing in "Corridors and Fire Escapes." "The Sybilline Sisterhood" follows, generating a suitably ancient feeling for "The Fires of Pompeii" episode, with ethnic vocals to open and a suitably menacing finish. The alien slave race The Ood returned in series 4 and they received a suitably sad and downtrodden accompaniment, but with moments of soaring beauty, courtesy of Mark Chambers' vocals, demonstrated in "Songs of Captivity and Freedom." It's more action next with the driving "Unit Rocks." A kind of daughter to the Doctor was revealed, in the shape of ex-Doctor Peter Davidson's real-life daughter; and she was given quite heroic accompaniment, as she helped her "father" unite two warring factions, only to meet what initially looked to be a sad fate, as indicated by the music dominating "The Source." But I agree with the composer, in that something tells me we haven't seen the last of her.
"The Unicorn and the Wasp" is the first suite presented here, and is a mix of eeriness, intrigue and caperesque comedy, with a hint of romance thrown in. Next up is the return of "The Doctor's Theme," that had featured throughout the previous three series, but was more associated with his relationship with Rose, and therefore comes back in full choral majesty with her reappearance. The lengthy "Voyage of the Damned Suite" follows, and deserves such treatment as Murray's music for this special episode received a BAFTA nomination. The music covers just about every emotion in the book, revisiting familiar themes, and producing heart warming and rending moments amongst plenty of exciting and dramatic scoring.
The charming theme and almost fairytale variations for the little girl at the centre of the "Silence in the Library" episode follows, leading on to three further tracks from the adventure, with the magical, mysterious feel continuing in "The Song of Song," interrupted by some crashing action music. A folksy little tune for flute and guitar follows in "All in the Mind,"an approach which was subsequently rejected. The final episode title cue sees a return to the fairytale feel, whilst at the same time leaving one with a feeling of sadness at the ambiguous ending.
Choir features strongly throughout the lengthy and hugely dramatic "The Greatest Story Never Told," which presents variations on a number of the principal themes utilised throughout the series. "Midnight" is, by complete contrast, creepy, edgy and tense, and could easily have come out of an episode of Lost, with its twisted brass and string figures and explosive ending. Much mysticism accompanies "Turn Left," with its haunting, almost whispered vocals.
The tremendous series finale, spanning the episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" is duly represented by the remaining tracks on the album, starting out with the triumphant "A Dazzling End;" then followed by "The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble," with its fateful, almost spaghetti western-styled guitar-lead showdown feel. "Davros" sounds suitably deranged, and is followed by the all-conquering choral "The Dark and Endless Dalek Night." Some of the rhythmic, electronics-based action of "A Pressing Need to Save the World" actually has its origins in series 2 of Torchwood, as it flows to its exciting conclusion. The strange, propulsive mix of ethnic and electronica "Hanging on the Tablaphone" follows, leading to the showstopping choral "Song of Freedom," as the Earth is dragged back into orbit by the Tardis.
Accompanying the disc is the usual quality booklet, 16 pages of colour stills, the composer's guide to each track presented, and an interview with both Gold and his musical ally Ben Foster.
If you enjoyed the previous Doctor Who and Torchwood compilations from Silva Screen, it's a fair bet that you'll lap this one up also, so get along to for your copy now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The Battle of the Somme
Music by Laura Rossi
Virtuosa Records VRCD001 (UK)
5 Tracks 67:24 mins

In 2006, to mark the 90th anniversary of The Battle of The Somme, composer Laura Rossi was commissioned to write a new score for the digitally restored film of the same name, which was made by British official cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, not originally as a feature film, but once the import of their footage was realised, the British Topical Committee for War Films decided it should be presented as such. The film remains one of the most successful British films ever made, with an estimated 20 million tickets sold in Great Britain in its first two months of release. It was subsequently distributed worldwide to demonstrate to allies and neutrals Britain's commitment to the First World War.
Now the film has been released on DVD, complete with Laura's recorded score, which actually received its UK premiere this afternoon at a special screening at the Imperial War Museum. I was hoping to bring you my review of the music before the event to encourage you to attend, but unfortunately this wasn't possible. Still, I hope the event went well and that I can now encourage you to acquire the soundtrack at least.
Laura Rossi, whose past projects include the critically acclaimed Silent Shakespeare for the British Film Institute, and recent features London to Brighton and The Cottage, actually has a connection with the Battle of the Somme, in that, during her research on the film and the battle, she discovered that her great uncle Fred Ainge had served as a stretcher-bearer attached to the 29th Division on July 1st 1916. What's more, this unit appears in the film, and she actually thinks Fred can be identified. With the aid of Fred's diaries, retrieved from her aunt's attic, Laura visited the Somme Battlefields and was able to locate the areas in which he served.
The 8-page booklet that accompanies the CD, features three extracts from Fred's diaries, along with an interview with the composer; but if you wish to read the diaries in their entirety, go to Laura's website at
So, on to the music presented on this disc, which features the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine, who did such a splendid job on Tadlow's brilliant release of Miklos Rozsa's El Cid recently (see my review earlier on the blog). There are five quite lengthy parts, leaving plenty of room for development. Obviously, not having seen the film puts me at a disadvantage, so, as often is the case, I'll just have to rely on my impressions of the music.
Part 1 is the longest at just over 16 minutes, a somewhat ominous opening timpani roll giving way to a feeling of flight, and even anticipation, with a brief pastoral interval, the music resuming more purposefully for a while, before the timpani returns, giving way to a Coplandesque interlude, but then gaining fresh purpose and import. The track falls silent, the quiet only interrupted by menacing bursts on the timpani, joined by almost eerie strings; the full orchestra returning buoyantly, with the Copland Rodeo feel following on briefly. The mood doesn't last though, and its back to the menace from before to close.
Part 2 runs for 11 minutes and opens with fanfarish brass, the music continuing with something of a lilt, before turning anxious and expectant, building to a powerful crescendo; next racing forth eagerly, then determinedly, only to be brought down to Earth by powerful timpani crashes again. The strings struggle to emerge from the tragedy, but are soon crushed by the timpani, allowing only a sad woodwind refrain to briefly escape; the track ending oppressively.
Part 3, at 13:31, opens with a sustained timpani roll, giving way to a gradual feeling of dawning and a time for quiet reflection and largely muted thanks for having survived the horrors that came before. A pause leads to a pastoral conversation for woodwinds, which soon scatter in the face more ominous timpani rumblings, leading to a closing passage for increasingly impassioned strings.
Part 4, running 10:35 minutes, starts out quite airily, on woodwinds and strings, giving way to a noble, heroic passage for first solo horn and then full orchestra, rising eagerly to a crescendo on the strings, before lingering sensitively on solo violin; full strings returning to leave the track somewhat unresolved.
Part 5 is almost as long as Part 1, and starts out quietly, but a passionate violin solo leads the strings on emotionally, before re-emerging to herald the big and impressive finale, with its perhaps predictable, but always effective trumpet solos, more emotional strings , and powerful call to arms finale.
This is my first exposure to the music of Laura Rossi, and a fine introduction this CD makes. It's a passionate work, made so, I' am sure, as much by her family connections to the battle, as by the powerful images it accompanies. It certainly ticks all the right boxes for a work of this nature, and no doubt makes for an admirable accompaniment to this monumental film, which you can now add to your collection of cinematic greats by ordering from; and while you're at it, pick up a copy of Laura's soundtrack from You won't be disappointed.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection
Music by John Williams
Concord RecordsCRE-31000-02
Disc 1 - Raiders of the Lost Ark - 22 Tracks 74:17 mins
Disc 2 - Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom - 22 Tracks 75:22 mins
Disc 3 - Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade - 19 Tracks 76:54 mins
Disc 4 - Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 19 Tracks 77:28 mins
Disc 5 - Bonus interviews & more previously unreleased music - 12 Tracks 51:50 mins

To mark the DVD release of the latest in the Inidiana Jones series, Concord Records has released a splendid box set featuring the scores from all of the films in the series, all individually digi-packed, with accompanying booklets, featuring plenty of colour stills from each film,as well as reproductions of director Spielberg's original album notes; all housed in a brown box with a gold embossed Indy hat and whip on the cover.
But, on first inspection, what makes this even more of an item every self-respecting film music fan should have in their collection is that, with the exception of the Crystal Skull soundtrack, which was already generous and quite frankly could accommodate hardly a note extra, each of the original trilogy soundtracks features plenty of previously unreleased material. Raiders, which of course has already enjoyed an expanded release, features just 3 extra; but Temple of Doom boasts 10, which will please the many fans who have pleaded for an expanded release over the years; and my personal favourite, The Last Crusade 7.
A more modestly packaged bonus disc presents audio interviews with Williams, Spielberg and Lucas, as well as even more previously unreleased music: one track from Raiders; three from Temple; and six from Last Crusade. So, as if there wasn't already plenty of thrilling music from the trilogy in your collection, you can now add even more. Of course, I know some of you will not be satisfied until you have every note, but this may possibly be the best we can hope for.
Accompanying the discs is an equally impressive 32-page booklet, which features a even more colour stills from the film, as well as fascinating behind the scenes shots, and an introduction from Soundtrack reissue Producer Laurent Bouzereau.
Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection is another one of those must-have items for your collection, and is widely available from Monday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Flash of Genius
Music by Aaron Zigman
Varese Sarabande 302 066 933 (US)
23 Tracks 35:39 mins

I don't believe this biographical film regarding inventor Robert Kearns and his battle with the U.S. auto industry has reached UK screens yet, but was released last month in the States. The music is by the busy Aaron Zigman; the album opening with the rather mournful trumpet-lead "The Wherehouse," which is followed by the dramatic, and somewhat anguished "The Mustangs." "The Diner" is, by contrast, a feelgood track for guitars and organ. Strings provide a feeling of urgency in "Losing It," with a kind of lament for trumpet breaking through at one point, before the track ends on a sad, subdued note. After all this drama, the flowing, flute-lead piece "Pray for Rain" provides some light relief, before a variation on the opening music brings us down to earth in "Break Up." The mood doesn't however linger, with the track ending on a bluesy note. The anxious "Drive to Previck's" follows, leading to the melancholy piano and strings of "Take the Deal." The piano continues sentimentally in "Dennis Returns," accompanied by subtle organ shadings.
"Make Another Kid" is pure blues, with "Back Home," a more laid-back variation on "The Diner" theme. "Testimony Montage" flows nicely with piano and organ, leading to the initially subdued "It's Not Over." but there's renewed positivity with a brief return to the urgent strings, before the track ends on a subdued note again. "The Letter" shows returned determination; followed by more blues in "Get Out."
The tentative piano and guitar of "The Porch" is followed the slightly more positive "It's Alive." Four brief cues, including more blues in "Piece of Crap," provide little to latch on to, before "The Verdict" ends the album initially in triumph, though this mood doesn't last long before more of a feeling of relief sets in.
The score has its moments, and probably works extremely well on film, but doesn't make for the most compelling listen on disc, due mainly to the brevity of many of the tracks.
There is, I believe, a bonus source chamber work track on the commercial CD, but I am working from an advance here and so only have access to Zigman's music.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Music by Rob Lane
MovieScore Media MMS-08021
18 Tracks 47:05 mins

After years of toiling away, producing excellent work for many TV productions, I'm so pleased that Rob Lane is finally getting his music out there, what with Varese Sarabande's release of his music for the mini-series John Adams and now this MovieScore Media release of music from the first three episodes of the BBC's re-imagining of the Merlin/King Arthur legends.
Whilst the series may play fast and loose with the legends, not least in its portrayal of Merlin as Arthur's young manservant and Guinevere as Morgana's handmaiden, it is nevertheless good fun, and one constant is Lane's excellent music, utilising the services of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and choir.
The album starts and ends with Lane's wonderfully adventurous main theme, enhanced by mystical choir, a melody that sticks in the brain with repeated hearing. "Arrival at Camelot" soon however turns downbeat with King Uther (Anthony Head) overseeing the would-be execution of a witch, having banished all forms of magic from his kingdom, forcing the newly arrived Merlin to hide his powers from all but the wise old court physician, played by a bewigged Richard Wilson.
"The Tournament Begins" is initiially filled with excitement and anticipation, but turns somewhat menacing with choir. More supernatural menace follows in "The Witch's Threat." Much lighter fare follows in "Hunith's Letter to Gaius," with awe-filled, almost heavenly choir and bells leading to a peaceful conclusion. Comical writing, which owes something to John Williams' "March of the Ewoks," accompanies Merlin's first meeting with Arthur, before descending into pure slapstick; the track concluding with the dark mysticism of "Lady Helen Possessed," which builds to a menacing crescendo. "Fighting in the Market" is a bouncy, fun piece of action writing, with a Celtic flavour; whilst "The Magic Shield" is a dark, menacing piece, with sinewy string writing, representing the snakes that magically erupt from said shield. "Arthur and the Knight Valiant" begins with nobility, as the title would suggest, but quickly transforms into dark action writing, as the knight and his enchanted shield take their toll of tournament victims, followed by more mystical intrigue.
"Merlin Lost" sees a sad, pianistic variation on the main theme; with more comical capers following in "To Morgana," as well as the lovely lady's airy theme, giving way to a dark ending. "The Burdens of Duty" is a weighty, almost tragic piece, leading into the purposeful "Breaking the Spell." More dark magic features in "Plague in the Water," as Michelle Ryan's banished witch pollutes Camelot's water supply; with the lengthy "Arthur's Final Battle" opening tragically, before first female and then male voice give forth mystically, as the music builds martially to a crescendo. The track continues, as the title suggests, in a flurry of exciting and decisive conflict, based on what's gone before, concluding in peaceful strings, as the monster is vanquished and the witch thwarted. A sweet and tender melody for "Guinevere" follows, leading into the menacing "Defeating the Afanc," composed by Rohan Stevenson, sometime collaborator with Lane, who has also written music for the series.
Soprano Emma Brain-Gabbott voices the initially lullaby-like, but increasingly powerful "The Witch's Aria;" the album concluding satisfyingly with choir leading into a fuller version of the main theme to close.
The disc's digipack presentation opens out to reveal brief introductory notes to the series, a mini-biography of the composer, together with his notes on the music presented.
If you want to spend a fun, undemanding 45 minutes you could do worse than check out the series on BBC One each Saturday and, in the meantime, go out and grab yourself a copy of this fine CD, or download it from Maybe if enough copies sell, MovieScore Media can be persuaded to release more music from the series, and perhaps even consider revisiting some of the composer's earlier work, championing, as they regularly do, the work of less high profile composers, much to our benefit. Check out their site and be impressed by the range of composers whose work is available for download there.

Different Voices
Music by Debbie Wiseman
Naxos 8.572022
18 Tracks 52:11 mins

Whilst Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is a wonderful piece, Ian Maclay, General Manager of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, thought it might be time for a new piece, and suggested as much to Debbie Wiseman. Of course, Debbie has done much work to educate young people musically over the years, and relished the challenge of coming up with a new orchestral work, enlisting the help of the legendary Don Black, who quickly came up with a concept, as well as the lyrics for the "Different Voices" song, featured throughout. Writer Andrew Bremner then took the concept and developed it into the full narrative.
The finished piece was premiered, and recorded for this album, at London's Cadogan Hall in April of last year, with Debbie Wiseman conducting the Royal Philharmonic and Stephen Fry as narrator. Another of Debbie's regular collaborators, Hayley Westenra sang the song.
The story is about as far removed from reality as can be, with a little girl and her friends preventing builders from developing the local park, something that we all know is impossible to achieve in this day and age, as money talks, and the developers always win, despite all reasonable objections by the locals; at least in my experience, living in a town that is almost one large building site these days. Never mind, we can dream!
Fry first introduces us to "Ellie's Theme," played by the flute, with woodwinds then adding their support; the rest of the orchestra joining to give the theme a gay propulsiveness. Next comes "Jo's Theme," played by violin, then joined by the rest of the strings, another propulsive piece.
Ellie's father happens to be the mayor of the town and his theme is played rather importantly by the brass section, with percussive support. By complete contrast, harp takes the lead on "Ellie's Mother, an elegant, classically-styled piece. Ellie's kindly "Nanny Talia" is portrayed by piano and strings, another quite classical sounding piece, and somewhat bittersweet.
"The Story Begins..." with track six and from then on Wiseman interweaves all the above themes, joined by the busy, percussive theme for "The Builders," as the characters interact throughout the turbulent journey to its satisfying conclusion, with plenty of thrills, spills and intrigue along the way.
Westenra first introduces the song "Different Voices" in track 7, where Ellie is left alone by her busy parents, resurfacing again in "Pleading with the Developer" and closing the piece in fine style, following Fry's final narration.
The accompanying booklet, illustrated with scenes from the story by Robin Shaw, features biographies of the composer, Fry, Westenra and the orchestra, together with lyrics to the song and Debbie's introductory notes.
An enchanting piece, filled with memorable tunes, with an easy narrative that even the youngest children should find captivating; I see no reason why, in time, it shouldn't become as well loved as the Britten work.

From CineMedia:





(November 7, 2008 -- Burbank, CA)- Walt Disney Records will release the original soundtrack for Walt Disney Pictures’ animated comedy adventure BOLT on November 18, 2008. The recording features score written by Grammy®-nominated composer John Powell (Happy Feet, Shrek) and two original songs: “I Thought I Lost You” performed by the film’s stars Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, and “Barking at the Moon” by Jenny Lewis.

Composer John Powell has written music for comedies (Hancock, Pluto Nash, Alfie, Mr 3000) and action films (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, X-Men: The Last Stand, Face/Off and the Bourne film trilogy). Some of his most beloved work has been for animated films (Happy Feet, Kung Fu Panda, Ice Age: The Meltdown). The British born Powell began originally trained as a violinist. In 1995 he founded a London based commercial music house before moving to the United States two years later. He is one of the best known former members of the Remote Control (formerly Media Ventures) team of composers, where he first teamed with Harry Gregson-Williams, his collaborator on several scores (Antz, Chicken Run, Shrek).

Currently, Miley Cyrus is in production on her third season of her hit TV series Hannah Montana. The special edition of her #1 album Breakout will also be released November 18. In the spring of 2009, Miley will release a book sharing her inspiring story, spanning from her Southern roots in Tennessee to the excitement of her record-setting triumphs in TV, music and film. Her feature film HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE is scheduled for release on April 10, 2009.

The golden-voiced singer songwriter front woman, Jenny Lewis co-founded the highly acclaimed Los Angeles based band Rilo Kiley, with whom she has released 4 albums. Her first solo album “Rabbit Fur Coat” was released in 2006, followed by “Acid Tongue” which was released earlier this year.

For super-dog BOLT (voice of JOHN TRAVOLTA), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue—at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet—a cross-country journey through the real world to get back to his owner and co-star, Penny (voice of MILEY CYRUS). Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and the help of two unlikely traveling companions—a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voice of SUSIE ESSMAN) and a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino (voice of MARK WALTON) —Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero. Directed by Disney veterans Chris Williams and Byron Howard, BOLT is a hilarious, fun-filled, action-packed animated comedy adventure in Disney Digital 3-D.

BOLT opens in theaters on November 21, 2008. The BOLT Original Soundtrack will be in stores on November 18, 2008.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Max Payne
Music by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1080 (US)
17 Tracks 44:22 mins

I'm proud to have been able to review this enterprising label's releases right from the start and it's great to see them now getting to release soundtracks for new cinema releases, like this crime thriller with supernatural elements, which is based on the computer game of the same name, and stars Mark Wahlberg in the title role, as well as Beau Bridges, Mila Kunis, Chris O'Donnell, and new Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.
The music is in the capable hands of Marco Beltrami, this time sharing composing credits with hs long-time assistant Buck Sanders, who has done much synthesizer programming for Beltrami over the years, as well as composing the odd additional cue.
Dark electronic rhythms open "Max Attacks," before they develop into the questing main theme.
A variety of these electronic elements feature throughout the album, giving the music its ongoing pulse, with orchestra arising dramatically therefrom to give it it's emotional centre, as in the following "Investigation." Payne's secondary theme, a poignant piano-lead tune, representing the tragic loss of his family and partner, is first heard effectively detuned in "Payneful Piano." Initially subdued, "Colvin Quivers" marches relentlessly along to its slightly eerie conclusion; leading into the demonic opening of "Dethlab." "Storming the Office" sees a return to the main theme, which takes on an almost Bond-like quality; which leads into the lonely harp and strings of "No Respects For You." More relentless music accompanies "Lupino Spreads His Wings," leading to the uneasy suspense of "Max Returns Home," with a more conventional solo piano rendition of Max's secondary theme providing a poignant close. More rhythmic action follows in "Factoring Max" and "Window Payne," with Max's secondary theme returning and developing into a full orchestral rendition in "Dark Heaven." More action follows in "Vote for Dennis;" then the increasingly threatening "BB's Maxim" leads into the powerful and determined "Max Marches On." A sense of redemption fiollows in "Heaven To The Max," with its soaring strings; but the feeling is short-lived as the closing "Topless Fanfare" sees Max return to his relentless fight against crime.
The accompanying booklet features plenty of colour stills from the film, notes by the composers, a profile of Beltrami, and full music credits. Order your copy from