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

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Fable II
Music by Russell Shaw
Sumthing Else SE-2040-2 (US)
12 Tracks 45:13 mins

The original Fable video game sold more than 3 million copies, so I guess it was inevitable a sequel would appear and I'm delighted that, as with the first game, a soundtrack album is also forthcoming, with Danny Elfman's magical theme retained, as are the services of Russell Shaw for the scoring duties, utilising the services of the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, the Pinewood Singers Adult Choir, the Tiffin School Boys Choir, and specialist Celtic instrumentalists.
In Top Dollar's press releases, which you may well have read here, but it's worth repeating, Shaw describes the assignment thus: "we has a lot of music to record, covering many different styles including chamber, Celtic, classic, quirky, pure pizzicato, atmospheric and dramatic. Music was broken down into four distinct categories: region, script, combat and incidentals. Each region has its own orchestral theme which changes with the seasons in each chapter. Scripted moments have orchestral cues relevant to what is happening at that point in the story - sad, dramatic, mysterious, tension and danger. The final result is a very rich, Hollywood style score covering many genres."
What is certain, is that this is a very different listening experience to the last game score I reviewed, Gears of War II (also on Sumthing Else). Whereas that was a pulse-pounding action score, here we are talking about much subtler fare, the opening "Old Town" being something of a comical little promenade; the mood changing to somewhat of a mysterious and magical feel for "Bowerstone Cemetary."
A lonely Celtic flute introduces "Bowerlake," the cue proceeding on strings, with a solo violin over, before the flute returns, and then the distinctive sound of the pipes takes over to close this peaceful piece. Fittingly, haunting boys' voices introduce the mystical "Wraithmarsh," with trembling strings and delicate Celesta providing a quiet sense of foreboding. The elegant Fairfax Castle" follows, an elegant, classical dance-like cue with harpsichord providing that period feel.
Horns introduce the mysterious beauty of "Westcliff," with harp and flute moving the cue on to its ominous drum rolling conclusion.
"Oakfield" returns us to more quirky territory and is followed by "Bowerstone Market," with its pizzicato waltz and variations. "Shadow of Evil" could not be more different, an a capella choral of awe and menace, which spills over into "Howling Halls," before orchestra continues in sinister fashion, with choir returning to add yet more of that sense of foreboding from earlier.
The final cue, "Marcus Memorial," a solo for harp, ends the score on a much more delicate note.
This is without doubt a beautiful, relaxing album, expertly performed by all but, personally, I could have done with a little more of the drama Shaw talks about.
Visit for details of all the label's releases, and go to www.sumthing, should you prefer to download the album, rather than purchase it on CD from your usual retailer.

From Costa Communications:

Composer Michael Wandmacher

Scores 3-D Remake of


Score album available Jan. 13th

(Los Angeles, CA) – Composer Michael Wandmacher writes a chilling score for My Bloody Valentine 3-D. The film, from Lionsgate, is a remake of the 1981 horror film about a Valentine’s Day massacre. Tom (Jensen Ackles) returns home on the ten year anniversary of the massacre, only to find himself suspected of the murders that keep occurring. Jaime King co-stars as his old flame and the only one who believes in his innocence. The film opens in theaters January 16, score album available from Lionsgate Records on January 13.

Wandmacher has been a longtime fan of the horror and comic book genres. When asked about the score for My Bloody Valentine 3-D, he says, “The film is a rocket sled ride from start to finish. It starts on furious and accelerates to insane. The 3-D is amazing and the whole process has been an absolute blast. As for the score, it's about as big and brazen as a horror score can get. No mercy.”

Michael Wandmacher began his musical career as a commercial composer in Minneapolis. Since his move to Los Angeles in 1998, Wandmacher has lent his talent to a diverse range of projects, including feature films, TV series and videogames. His film credits include Train, Never Back Down, The Killing Floor and Cry Wolf. In addition, he scored the videogames Over the Hedge and Madagascar. Wandmacher also records, produces and remixes electronic music under the name Khursor and wrote and mixed music for Kelly Clarkson for the film From Justin to Kelly. He most recently wrote the score for Punisher: War Zone, which opens in theaters December 5.


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