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

Friday, January 30, 2009


The Dead Pool
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Aleph Records 042 (US)
12 Tracks 40:09 mins

1988's The Dead Pool was the fifth and final Dirty Harry movie, all of which, save for The Enforcer (due to a scheduling conflict), carried scores by Lalo Schifrin. In addition to star Clint Eastwood, the cast also included Patricia Clarkson and Liam Neeson, with a plot regarding a serial killer obsessed with the work of Neeson's film director character.
With this release, Aleph Records has now made available all the Dirty Harry scores (including Jerry Fielding's The Enforcer). The film is quite sparsely scored, with only 40 minutes or so of the 90 minutes plus running time featuring music. Some cues are very brief, so have been edited into longer "suites" for this CD release.
The album opens with the easy blues-pop of "San Francisco Night," perfectly illustrating the city after dark. The "Main Title" follows and is firmly rooted in the drum-loop scoring culture of the times. Dark doings are obviously afoot at the start of "The Pool," but the drums kick in as the track kicks off. "Time to Get Up" hints at the killer's warped state of mind, as the music builds to a violent crescendo. The feeling of madness continues in "High and Dry," with the persistent tinkling piano from the opening of "The Pool" returning to add to the same "warped" material from the previous track, but the drums return to provide an action-based conclusion. "Something in Return" provides some light relief, an easy listening piece of sax-lead source jazz, and there's more to follow in the romantic alto-sax theme and pastoral piano tune featured in "The Rules." After a tense opening to "The Last Autograph" there's a fragment of the composer's theme for Harry as the music picks up; but sadly it doesn't last, as funky dance music interrupts. More dark doings follow in this widely varied track, as another victim obviously bites the dust. The following "The Car" is largely a tense and menacing affair, with Psycho-like murder music to boot. "Kidnap and Rescue" is largely more of the same, though Schifrin's music tells us that Harry is on the case. The penultimate track, "Harpoon," offers propulsive, keyboard-enhanced action writing early on; with the "San Francisco Night" theme returning to conclude the score in satisfying manner in "The Pier, the Bridge and the City."
Accompanying the disc is a foldout booklet, featuring Nick Redman's detailed notes on the film and its score, together with stills from the movie. You should be able to pick up a copy at your usual soundtrack retailer, or you can order direct from The album is also available via iTunes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The Miklos Rozsa Collection: Music for Guitar
Agrrangements by Gregg Nestor
BSX Records BSXCD 8845 (US)
22 Tracks 67:05 mins

Rozsa fans will welcome this pleasant little addition to the late, great man's discography, a charming collection of music both for the concert hall and for film, arranged by internationally acclaimed guitarist Gregg Nestor, who was allowed access to the composer's personal archives to produce arrangements as "concise and accurate as possible to the composer's original intentions."
The disc commences with two concert works, the well-known Kaleidoscope, from 1946, a charming collection of stylistically different tunes, but all in the familiar Rozsa style; and the much later (1986) Sonata for Guitar. These are followed by arrangements of some of the composer's film themes, most of which work well enough for one or two guitars (Nestor is joined by William Kanengiser and Raymond Burley), though his more epic works, particularly the El Cid selections - with the exception of the main body of the "Love Theme," where Francisco Castillo and Carole Kleister-Castillo on oboe and violin also contribute, do sound somewhat lacking. Perhaps the reason so many of the selections work well is that, rather than going for Rozsa's most famous themes, lesser known ones have been chosen, though I can think of some not included here that would have worked equally well (like the love theme from A Time to Love and a Time to Die). So, instead of biggies like Ben-Hur or Spellbound, we instead have themes from That Hamilton Woman, Young Bess, Madame Bovary, A Woman's Vengeance, Providence, Blood on the Sun, Green Fire, Moonfleet, Tip on a Dead Jockey, Lydia, and the suite from Crisis, the score of which was of course virtually written for two guitars.
I'm not sure the album will appeal to the general film music follower however, who will be used to music with more "meat on its bones," but I found it a pleasant album to have on in the background.
The accompanying booklet features a memoir by another guitarist, Angelo Gilardino, together with Herrmann biographer Steven C. Smith's guide to the selections presented and mini-biographies of the artists involved.
Limited to just 1000 units, you can order your copy from

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Journey to the End of the Night
Music by Elia Cmiral
Perseverance PRD 030 (US)
24 Tracks 42:51 mins

This Brazilian-set 2006 crime thriller stars Brendan Fraser, Mos Def, Scott Glenn, Alice Braga and Catalina Sandino Moreno and features music by Elia Cmiral, who in recent years has been somewhat typecast in horror movies, producing seemingly endless unmelodious atmospheric scores that, whilst suitable for the films they accompany, make for pretty uninspiring listening on disc. So, I was looking forward to something of a departure from the composer, especially as melody was promised in the publicity.
Well, the good news is that there is melody; though few of his themes really hold the attention, save for the opening theme, first heard in "Prologue," a rather tragic sounding piece, with a lament for strings and solo voice, which sounds female, but which is credited to Kevyn Letta. This underlying feeling of tragedy is present throughout the score which, though it features the Orchestra.Net Prague and percussion by M.B. Gordy (most prominent in the likes of "Street Rage," "City Pursuit" and "Motorycle Chase"), is pretty much dominated by tense and atmospheric electronic soundscapes, care of the composer and David Glen Russell, with the result that, despite the return of the opening theme in redemptive style for the closing "Leaving Sao Paolo," at the end of the day, it's still pretty hard to appreciate away from the film. Different in style somewhat to the horror scores, but still unable really to hold the attention for much of its playing time.
Still, it's nice to see the composer working in a different genre, even if the film seems to have slipped under the radar, thus not helping him garner other more diverse assignments.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful 12-page booklet, featuring stills from the film, detailed notes on the film, its composer and score, plus a note from director Eric Eason, and music credits.
Order your copy of this limited edition release of just 500 units by going to

Monday, January 26, 2009


The Tale of Despereaux
Music by William Ross
Intrada MAF 7105 (US)
26 Tracks 59:04 mins

One of the most underrated, yet dependable composers working in Hollywood today is William Ross. Over the years he has written consistently good scores for the likes of The Amazing Panda Adventure, My Fellow Americans, The Evening Star, Tin Cup, Tuck Everlasting, The Young Black Stallion, Ladder 49 and The Game of Their Lives; as well as adapting John Williams' themes for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and working as orchestrator for many more films besides. Yet, sadly, little of his work is commercially available. So, I'm pleased to say that Intrada has released his music for the recent animation The Tale of Despereaux, about an heroic mouse and his companions on a quest to save a princess. The mouse is voiced by Matthew Broderick, the princess by Harry Potter star Emma Watson, with starry support from Dustin Hoffman, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Robbie Coltrane, Frank Langella and Christopher Lloyd.
Strangely, the album opens with two songs, co-written by Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard and Gary Ross, neither of which appear to feature in the film. With these unremarkable efforts out of the way, it's down to business, with Ross' music featuring solely thereafter, commencing with the largely joyful "Main Title/Prologue," followed by the initially sunny innocence of "The Village of Dor," but which becomes quite propulsive. Subsequent tracks mix light comedic moments with pure slapstick; full-blown, exciting and heroic action scoring with emotional music of sadness, warmth and triumph; as well as providing suitably courtly music for the likes of "The Soup is Served." And throughout, as with many of Ross' best efforts, melody is key. All-in-all as good and varied an accompaniment as one would hope for in a film of this nature, and one of the most enjoyable new scores I've heard in recent months.
The accompanying booklet features colour stills from the film, plus full music credits.
Once again, William Ross has come up with the goods and it's great that this score is readily available to buy, so get along to and secure your copy now.


Batman: The Animated Series
Music by Shirley Walker, Lolita Ritmanis & Michael McCuistion
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1082 (US)
Disc 1 - 36 Tracks 76:05 mins Disc 2 - 35 Tracks 74:02 mins

The success Tim Burton's live-action revival of the famous DC character Batman prompted WarnerBros. Animated to go ahead with the idea of creating a similar revival of the character to follow on from the movie. Their similarly dark take on the character took him in a completely different direction from the campy live-action antics of Adam West & co. that I had been raised on in the 1960s. Unfortunately, by then I had grown out of watching animated series, so it quite passed me by. However, prompted by the continual praise heaped on the series' music, I have since hired a few DVDs and can now see what all the fuss was about - and the shows themselves aren't bad either!
The late Shirley Walker was hired to write the music for the show, having been involved with the Batman film's composer, Danny Elfman, on a number of his projects. A wise choice she proved to be, and her work on this series, as well as a number of projects that would not normally seem likely to be offered to a female composer, proves that a composer is a composer, no matter their sex; and it's hard to see how any male counterpart could have come up with anything better. Her scores were suitably dark and serious (though there's some pretty wacky material as well, for episodes involving The Joker) and there's plenty of exciting, kick-ass action music to boot.
To share the load, she hired two young up-and-comers in Lolita Ritmanis and Michael McCuistion (later joined by Kristopher Carter, who, as Dynamic Music Partners, have gone on to score subsequent Warner animated series), though she of course handled the bulk of the music, providing her own distinctive "Batman Theme," though Elfman had specially arranged his own movie theme for the show's main titles.
For years, fans of the show and its scores have lamented the fact that none of this great music had been commercially released. Well, at last, that most excellent label La-La Land Records, has come to the rescue, producing a splendid 2-disc collection of music from the show, mostly concentrating on Walker's contributions, and featuring her episodes "On Leather Wings," "The Last Laugh, "Two Face," "Joker's Favor," "Perchance to Dream" and "Birds of a Feather;" but also featuring her collaborations with her young proteges on "Pretty Poison" and "Christmas with the Joker." Solo episodes by Ritmanis ("It's Never Too Late") and McCuistion ("Vendetta") are also included, making a total of some 2 and a half hours of great music to enjoy. Added to this, there is a splendid 20-page accompanying booklet, in which Daniel Schweiger details the story of the creation of the series and its music, as well as providing a show-by-show guide to the plots and the music provided for each one, of which generous suites are of course presented; and there are significant contributions from many involved with the show. All this, plus colour stills and music credits which, when added to the splendid music, make for the perfect package, which is rightly dedicated to the memory of Shirley Walker.
This really is one for any screen music historian's collection and, as it is a limited edition of 3000 units, I would advise you to hurry along to to secure your copy.

Muori Lentamente Te La Godi Di Piu
Music by Gianni Marchetti
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4123
35 Tracks 61:41 mins

This 1967 spy movie starred former Tarzan Lex Barker and was directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb.
The music for the film was composed by Gianni Marchetti and features contributions from the dependable I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni, featuring the fabulous voice of Edda Dell'Orso.
Originally released on LP, the first 14 tracks on this disc feature that programme, in mono, as they were originally presented, followed by the previously unreleased stereo score tracks.
This highly melodic score features a versatile main theme, first heard sumptuously in "Cieli D'America," followed immediately by a loungy take, featuring Edda, in "Donne Da Spiaggia." The theme is to appear frequently throughout the score, in all manner of styles, sometimes accompanied by Edda's solos, and will soon imprint itself on your brain. Edda also features on a bouncy new theme "Una Grappa per Vincere;" whilst full choral forces come into their own on the jazzy "Baraonda a Bordo." The loungy shake "American Palace" follows; and then more of the jazz choral material in "Omicidio Sull'Asfalto." Edda returns, intricately propelling "Voce del Destino." These are then the basic elements of the score, as first they appeared on the re-recorded LP. I presume that, because the unreleased score tracks often reveal differences in tempo and presentation and so do not just repeat what has gone before on this disc, thus holding the interest throughout.
As always, the disc is accompanied by a colourful booklet, featuring stills and artwork from the film, as well as principal credits.
Order your copy from, and hurry, because there are just 500 copies released.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Well, it took a day or two longer than I anticipated, but here (finally) is my latest of what I hope will be a whole bunch of reviews coming during the coming week:-

The Spirit
Music by David Newman
Silva Screen Records SILCD1283 (UK)
18 Tracks 47:06 mins

Having previously collaborated with Robert Rodriguez on bringing his own graphic novel characters to the silver screen in Sin City, Frank Miller has now gone solo to direct his adaptation of the late Will Eisner's The Spirit, starring the relatively unknown Gabriel Macht as the born-again indestructible hero, with a great supporting cast of Samuel L. Jackson (as chief villain The Octopus), Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson, with Miller even finding himself a part. The film is made in a similar style to Sin City and is currently in cinemas, where it is getting favourable reviews.
It's great to see David Newman (son of the great Alfred, of course) being given the music composing chores. Unfortunately, he has become somewhat typecast in Hollywood comedies though, don't get me wrong, he is quite masterful at scoring them, but also unfailingly delivers when he rarely gets the opportunity to tackle something more serious, like Serenity and another comic book hero film The Phantom. Here, he has written a good, old-fashioned leitmotif-style Hollywood orchestral score (enhanced by electronics and choir, as is often the norm these days), with each character being given their own distinct theme, which then interact throughout the subsequent score. There's the propulsive, heroic and rhythmic theme for The Spirit himself, which is often introduced by a somewhat Morriconesque harmonica; a dangerous percussive theme for Jackson's Octopus; and no less than four different themes for the female characters of the film: Lorelei (Jaime King) gets a haunting female vocal solo; Silken Floss (Johansson) a sultry piece of saxophone-lead jazz; Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega) a hypnotic woodwind-lead kind of bolero; and Sand Saref (Mendes) a piece of pure film noirish jazz. There's also a poignant piano-lead "lost-love" theme. Along the way there's plenty of dark intrigue and of course some exciting action moments.
The penultimate track "Spirit Kisses Sand" lets go in a rare moment of unrestrained romance, though this is soon squashed, with the lonely harmonica returning to introduce the final "It's You I Love/She is My City," which hints at some of the aforementioned themes, before variations on the main theme wrap up proceedings.
Rather than a booklet to accompany the disc, there is a colourful foldout, with full music credits and some original Frank Miller artwork.
The album is released on 2nd February and can be ordered from

Thursday, January 22, 2009


It's just that I have had to spend some time reorganising my ever growing music collection. I think I finally cracked it today so, fingers crossed, I should have some reviews for you over the next few days.

In the meantime, in case you weren't aware of it, it's awards time, and A.R. Rahman has already taken the Golden Globe for his music for Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. What's more, he's also in line for both BAFTA and Academy Awards.

The other BAFTA nominees are Alexandre Desplat for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Thomas Newman for WALL-E; Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard for The Dark Knight; and the probable winner, Benny and Bjorn of ABBA for Mamma Mia! Don't get me wrong, I love ABBA, but this probable winner shouldn't be in the same category as the others.

The Academy Award nominations were announced today, and alongside Desplat, Newman and Rahman, the other nominees are Danny Elfman for Milk and James Newton Howard, not for The Dark Knight, but for all his own work on Defiance.

Final piece of news, and I have to sadly report the passing of composer Angela Morley, on January 14th, at the age of 84. Morley of course began her life as a he, Wally Stott, whose best known work was for the radio comedy classic The goon Show. After the sex change, Morley was probably best known for her music to Watership Down.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Maurice Jarre: Concert Works
Film Score Monthly Vol.12 No.1 (US)
7 Tracks 72:44 mins

An interesting historical document, if nothing else, this new FSM release features concert works composed by Maurice Jarre during the ten year period between 1951 and 1961, all of them originally broadcast by Radio Television Francaise, the latest performance dating from 1974.
Now, before you Jarre fans jump for joy, I have to warn you that this is not the Jarre we have come to know and love through his film scores. Indeed, it is hard to imagine this is the composer of such memorable themes as Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. No, rather like Ennio Morricone, it seems that the composer had a very much different approach to his concert music and, frankly, I found some of it hard to even call "music," so excruciatingly painful did I find it that I couldn't even finish the disc.
Interestingly, however, what I did learn from it was that Jarre's fondness for the Ondes Martenot, used often in his later film scores actually dated from the earliest piece included on this disc, the Three Dances for Ondes Martenot and Percussion. The other works presented here are the Passacaglia to the Memory of Arthuir Honegger; The Night Watch; Mobiles for Violin and Orchestra; and the Ancient Suite for Percussion Instruments and Piano.
The accompanying booklet is as detailed as always, with notes on the composer and his work, together with Jacques Hiver's introductions to each of the pieces presented.
If you like your music challenging (to say the least), or if you are a Jarre completist, you may want to take a chance on this, but I'm afraid it's just not my cup of tea at all. Still, I am glad it is out there, all the same; and you can of course get an idea of what to expect by visiting, where you can listen to samples, find further details and order your copy of this 1500 unit limited release.

Friday, January 16, 2009


The Reader
Music by Nico Muhly
For Your Consideration Promo (US)
17 Tracks 48:28 mins

This Stephen Daldry film stars Kate Winslet, who has already won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a mysterious older woman who has a post-war affair with a young man, who encounters her again much later during the holocaust trials. With a BAFTA nomination also under her belt, what's the betting she will make it a hat-trick when the Academy Award nominations are also announced.
The music for the film is by a newcomer to me, Nico Muhly, a product of the famed Juilliard School, where he studied under John Corigliano. His orchestral works have been premiered by many world famous orchestras, and he has also worked as performer, arranger and conductor in the pop and folk music fields. In 2006, he took his first steps into the film scoring world with Choking Man, followed by Joshua in 2007.
I am working from a "For Your Consideration Promo," sent to me by the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, but I am pleased to say the score has been released commercially by Lakeshore Records in the States and actually features two extra tracks.
Muhly's music for the film is very much piano-based and often quite understated. Early on, it has an air of innocence about it, but with an off-kilter edge to it, and a certain coldness, perfectly underlying the complicated relationship between boy and woman, and hinting at the latter's dark secrets. Eventually, more positive emotions rise to the surface in "Reading" and "Cycling Holiday; but things immediately turn darker in "Sophie/The Lady with the Little Dog;" the turmoil of "Go Back to your Friends;" "The Failed Visit" and so forth. But before the score concludes, we are reminded of lighter, more innocent times with "I Have No One Else to Ask," "Piles of Books" and the bittersweet "Who Was She?"
It wouldn't surprise me if Muhly receives Academy Award recognition for his work on this film. It's not a showy score, with no hummable themes to take away with you, but is a serious work that is bound to lead to more offers in the future, should this versatile composer/musician choose to take that path.

From Costa Communications:-






(Los Angeles, CA) Award-winning composer CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ scores ADAM, the romantic dramedy, directed and written by Max Mayer (BETTER LIVING). The film is a unique love story about a young man named Adam who is affected by Asperger’s, a high functioning form of autism. ADAM will debut as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance on Monday, January 19 at 12:15p.m. in the Eccles Theatre, Park City.

For this film, Lennertz creates a simple theme reflective of Adam’s life; as Adam’s life becomes more complex so does the music. Lennertz wanted to use a record-like ensemble, with a Beatles influence, rather than a large, score-like orchestra. The ensemble consists of a guitar, upright piano, cello, bass, drums, mellotron, marimba, celeste, and a bansuri (eastern wind instrument). A small six piece string section is added on a few cues to enhance the romantic scenes. Lennertz uses some unusual techniques, like reversing harmonic guitar notes and lowering the pitch of the bansuri, to create some otherworldly textures (to underscore Adams love of astronomy). He uses affected, organic sounds, such as looped heavy breathing, scraped detuned dulcimers, bowed copper bowls, and backwards finger cymbals, to create atmospheres when Adam experiences moments of terror and panic due to his condition. Lennertz plays some guitar, all of the electronic, and odd processed instruments on the score.

Lennertz’s musical talents transcend from film to TV to videogames. His score for the CW’s SUPERNATURAL earned him an Emmy nomination, and he received the Interactive Achievement Award for his score to MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN. Additional film, TV and videogame credits include: SOUL PLANE in which he collaborated with RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), Fox’s ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, TORTILLA HEAVEN (collaborating with Ozomatli), Fox’s BRIMSTONE, THE SIMPSONS GAME (nominated for Best Action Game at the 1UP Awards); and MTV’s TOUGH ENOUGH which appeared on the Billboard’s top 100 charts for weeks. Lennertz’s powerful, full orchestral score for the Stephen Spielberg-created videogame, MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN, led him to score more MEDAL OF HONOR games as well as the popular JAMES BOND videogame. Christopher Lennertz’s upcoming projects include THE OPEN ROAD starring Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges, and Warner Bros.’ CATS AND DOGS.

Thursday, January 15, 2009



Music Composed by Stephen Rippy and performed by FILMharmonic Orchestra and Choir Prague

New York – Jan. 15th, 2009 – Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc., through its licensing relationship with Microsoft Game Studios, proudly presents Halo Wars™ Original Soundtrack featuring the original music score from the action strategy game for the Xbox 360 developed by Ensemble Studios. The Halo Wars Original Soundtrack is released Feb. 17, 2009 to retail outlets through Nile Rodgers’ Sumthing Else Music Works record label, and for digital download at

The Halo Wars Original Soundtrack 2-disc set features over 50 minutes of the adrenalized and sublime original score from the Halo Wars game. The music was composed by Stephen Rippy (Age of Empires series, Age of Mythology) with performances by the FILMharmonic Orchestra and Choir Prague. The second disc is a DVD with nine additional bonus tracks, nine 5.1 mixes of tracks from the music disc, two cinematic trailers and one behind-the-scenes video.

“For Halo Wars I wanted to write music that fit both the size of the story and its sense of discovery,” said Stephen Rippy, Ensemble Studios Music & Sound Director and Composer for Halo Wars. “Each of the various worlds in the game feels a little different; each of the main characters brings something to the mix. More than anything else, it was important that these tracks fit comfortably into the existing Halo universe. I hope they’ll take the listener to some new places as well.”

Track Listing:

1. Spirit of Fire
2. Bad Here Day
3. Perspective
4. Money Or Meteors
5. Flollo
6. Just Ad Nauseum
7. Unusually Quiet
8. Flip And Sizzle
9. Put The Lady Down
10. Six-Armed Robbing Suit
11. Action Figure Hands
12. Status Quo Show
13. Part Of The Plan
14. Work Burns And Runaway Grunts
15. Freaked Out
16. Rescued Or Not
17. Best Guess At Best
18. One Problem At A Time
19. De Facto The Matter
20. Part Of The Problem
21. Fingerprints Are Broken
22. Out Of There Alive
23. Through Your Hoops
24. Under Your Hurdles
25. Insignificantia (All Sloppy / No Joe).

Based on the legendary Halo universe, Halo Wars is an action strategy game for the Xbox 360 developed by Ensemble Studios. The epic campaign will allow players to command the armies of the UNSC warship Spirit of Fire in mankind’s initial encounters against the Covenant, an alien coalition threatening to obliterate the universe. Halo Wars immerses players in an early period of the storied Halo universe, allowing you to experience events leading up to the first Halo title for Xbox. For more information visit

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: Halo Trilogy, Gears of War 2, Fable II, Too Human, Brothers In Arms, 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.


Composer Austin Wintory Scores


Premieres at Sundance on Jan. 16th

Los Angeles, CA – Film composer Austin Wintory returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his score for the psychological thriller Grace, the feature film debut of writer/director Paul Solet. Austin Wintory is currently receiving critical acclaim for his score to Academy Award contender Captain Abu Raed, which won the Audience Award at Sundance last year. At just 26 years old, Wintory has already been BAFTA nominated and last year was presented an award for “Best New Film Composer.” Grace will be shown as part of the Park City at Midnight series, premiering Friday, January 16, at 11:59 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre.

Wintory’s role in the production of Grace went a step further than that of a typical composer. As a friend of director Paul Solet, Wintory was involved with the film very early on. Before any filming occurred, Wintory wrote 20 minutes of music based on the script, and then flew to the set to play the music for the actors and discuss their characters. None of that music was ever meant to be part of the score; Wintory wrote entirely new music for the finished film.

For his Grace score, Wintory took an experimental approach. The score consists of manipulated sounds, including recordings of creaking floorboards on the set, a baby crying and flies buzzing. Wintory even used traditional instruments in non-traditional ways, weaving a piece of plastic through the strings of a cello and assembling the largest group of clarinets ever recorded in London at Abbey Road. The score also features vocalist Lisbeth Scott (Captain Abu Raed, Passion of the Christ). Scott wrote lyrics to the lullaby sung by the mother, which is repeated as a theme sung by Scott throughout the score. “I have no intention of ever working with another composer,” said Solet.

Austin Wintory taught himself how to compose, orchestrate and conduct in high school, before attending NYU and USC. His first short film at NYU won a local scoring competition and premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center. At USC, Wintory studied under Golden Globe nominated composer Christopher Young (The Shipping News, Spider-Man 3). In the three years since beginning his professional career, Wintory received a BAFTA nomination for the videogame flOw, was named “Best New Film Composer” at the Hollywood Music Awards and is listed as an Oscar contender for Captain Abu Raed by the Los Angeles Times. His upcoming film projects include the comedy Knuckle Dragger and dark drama The Sunset Sky.

Grace stars Jordan Ladd as a pregnant woman who loses her unborn child though a sudden tragic accident. She carries the stillborn baby to term, where she miraculously wills the delivered corpse into life. But it is not too long before the increasingly isolated mother realizes that something is not right with baby Grace, and she must make horrible sacrifices to keep her living.





(Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer JOHN DEBNEY scores DreamWorks and Nickelodeon (Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer JOHN DEBNEY scores DreamWorks and Nickelodeon Movies’ film HOTEL FOR DOGS, directed by Thor Freudenthal. The family comedy stars Lisa Kudrow, Don Cheadle, Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin. Debney’s score to Hotel for Dogs is a playful blend of eclectic instruments and rich melodies. From "Friday's Theme" to the grand "Hotel Theme," the score reflects the fun and whimsy of the film. Debney recorded the score at the Eastwood Stage located at Warner Bros. studio with a 90 piece orchestra and acoustic guitars.

Recently Debney completed the score to THE STONING OF SORAYA M., (adapted from the New York Times best seller) which received critical acclaim at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. His other 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; the animated films BARNYARD and CHICKEN LITTLE; the comic-book inspired SIN CITY, and the comedies ELF and LIAR, LIAR.

Debney’s ability to deliver the perfect score in a wide variety of films has made him one of the most sought after composers in Hollywood. For Garry Marshall, Debney scored the black comedy, GEORGIA RULE, PRINCESS DIARIES 1 & 2, and RAISING HELEN; for Tom Shadyac, he scored BRUCE ALMIGHTY and EVAN ALMIGHTY.

In addition to an Academy Award nomination, John Debney has received several Emmy awards, a Dove award for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, a CUE award for the score to the videogame LAIR and several gold and platinum selling albums, including THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Debney was the youngest recipient of the ASCAP Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement, and has conducted concerts of his music with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

In HOTEL FOR DOGS, a pair of orphaned siblings, Andi (Roberts) and Bruce (Austin), are forbidden by their foster parents to have a pet. The kids stumble upon an abandoned hotel and transform it into a dog-paradise for their dog Friday--and eventually for all Friday's friends. Barking dogs make the neighbors suspicious, and Andi and Bruce use every invention they have to avoid anyone discovering "who let the dogs in."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


You May recall I reviewed the Walt Disney records release of John Powell's music to the new animated film Bolt on its US release (see Now the same label is to make the soundtrack available in the UK from 2nd February, just prior to the film's release on our screens from 6th February.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Music by Alberto Iglesias
Varese Sarabande VSD 6929 (EU)
21 Tracks 58:23 mins

Steven Soderbergh's portrait of the legendary Argentinian revolutionary came in at some four-and-a-half hours and so the powers that be have deemed it should be released in two parts. Part one is in cinemas now, with the second part to follow next month.
The film stars Benicio del Toro in the title role and Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias was selected for the score. Now, I must admit to not being at all familiar with his work, although he has been quite prolific in his homeland and is now receiving international acclaim for his work on the likes of The Constant Gardener and The Kite Runner.
I can only assume that the soundtrack album features highlights of Igelsias' score for both parts of Che, the disc opening with the rather spare guitar track "Ese Hombre es el Che Guevara." The ominous "Ten Years Earlier" follows and then the often tense and somewhat threatening "Sierra Maestra," which in turn is followed by the desolate "Landscape;" a mood continued in "I Want to take the Revolution to Latin America." More desolation follows in "New York, December 1964," then more tension in "Across Mount Turquino."
After all this pretty uninteresting music, the purposeful "March" at last brings something worth listening to, though even this is given in fits and starts. Regrettably, there's little of interest to follow, save for the rhythmic "Camino a la Habana," which is quite stirring.
Ordinarily I would be critical of the two songs, by Mercedes Sosa and Silvio Rodriguez that round off the album, but at least they provide some melody after the largely unmelodious and frankly boring score tracks that precede it. On the evidence of his music for Che, I certainly won't be rushing out to listen to more of the composer's work.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Music by Bear McCreary
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1081 (US)
24 Tracks 64:04 mins

This spin-off from the popular Terminator films has developed into one of the best sci-fi shows on air these days. Composer of the show's music, Bear McCreary, can usually be depended upon to provide offbeat and unusual music for his projects and he followed up Brad Fiedel's Terminator scores in particular with a sound that, whilst quite different in its own way (though it does briefly nod towards Fiedel's theme at the conclusion of the "Opening Title"), fits right in to that world. Of course the electronics are still there and are much in evidence in the action scenes. McCreary turned to Jonathan Snipes of the band Captain Ahab to assist with these. Another important element is the composer's use of percussion and the disc's booklet notes also reveal that McCreary and percussionist M.B. Gordy spent much time creating a sample library of the sounds of many metallic objects being struck, from the more conventional anvil to the less so garbage cans. When these elements are welded together they make for some powerful and exciting action music, perfect for accompanying the bad terminator Cromartie,which has its own distinctive and terrifying theme, as it seeks to assassinate the teenage John Connor. Examples can be found in the likes of "Cromartie in the Hospital;" "Andy Goode's Turk;" "Highway Battle;" and the wild "Motorcycle Robot Chase," for which Captain Ahab get a performance credit.
For the tortured Sarah Connor, McCreary utilises a quartet of string players, which can be warm and hopeful at times, but there is always a current of danger and readiness to move on underlying. Examples of this approach can be found in "Sarah Connor's Theme," where percussive elements eventually overwhelm the strings; "The Hand of God;" "There's a Storm Coming:" "Perfect Creatures;" and the uptempo, percussive arrangement over the "End Credits."
"Central America" introduces ethnic flutes and guitars to the mix; "John and Riley" offers a touch of bittersweet romance; there's martial defiance in "Prisoners of War" and the more urgent "Derek's Mission;" poignancy in "Miles Dyson's Grave;" a nod to good old-fashioned cartoon-style music for "Atomic Al's Merry Melody;" flute-lead nostalgia in "The Reese Boys;" genuine hope in "I Love You;" and a threatening coldness for "Catherine Weaver."
McCreary's arrangement of Shirley Manson's cover of Reverend Gary Davis' "Samson and Delilah" opens the album (Manson herself plays a mysterious type of terminator in the show), and another needless inclusion is from BrEndan's Band.
The aforementioned accompanying booklet is filled with colour stills from the show and character portraits, together with notes from Executive Producer Josh Friedman, John Connor himself, Thomas Dekker, Shirley Manson, and of course Composer Bear McCreary, as well as full music credits. Go to

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Music by John Ottman
Varese Sarabande 302 066 937 2 (US)
18 Tracks 63:25 mins

After a spell in the world of the superhero, director Bryan Singer comes down to earth with a film about real would-be heroes, those gallant German officers who sought to assassinate Hitler and bring to an end World War II. Of course, the story has been told and re-told, and we know the plot ended in failure, but the director chose to have another stab at the story anyway, with Tom Cruise playing leader of the plotters Colonel von Stauffenberg, supported by a solid cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Terence Stamp.
Of course, where Singer goes, his composer and editor, John Ottman, usually follows, and this is indeed the case here. Ottman's score for the film is best described as an exercise in tension, a virtual wall-to-wall accompaniment in the old Hollywood tradition, and something one rarely finds these days, save for in certain action thrillers. Also unusually, is the fact that the music runs underneath the dialogue as well as the action, driven on by synths and samples, including the composer's own filtered vocals when he couldn't find the sample to fit the chugging noise he was hearing in his head. A generous sampling of Ottman's music is present on this disc, with an 80-piece orchestra providing the thematic material over top of the propulsive underpinning.
The score reaches its tragic conclusion with the emotional "Long Live Sacred Germany," which leads into the impressive choral end title piece "They'll Remember You," performed by the Rundfunkchor, Berlin, with featured mezzo soprano Sylke Schwab; which nonsensically opens the album, instead of concluding it as it should.
The accompanying booklet features colour stills, music credits and a fairly lengthy note by the composer, but if you want to find out more about his score, just google him and the film's title, and you will find interviews with him, both audio and in print, all over the net.

Sex and the City
Music by Aaron Zigman
Decca 478 1541 (EU)
18 Tracks 44:59 mins

Following two song albums from the big screen adaptation of the popular TV series, finally the composer of the score, Aaron Zigman, gets his due with an unexpected, yet very welcome release of his music. Of course, it's nothing earth-shattering, and is suitably light, fluffy and whimsical for the most part, but it also features more than its fair share of emotion, with delicate piano playing by the composer himself, and of course the show's original theme and variations thereon is incorporated here and there to provide that distinctive Latin feel. Overall, an entertaining listen, and I'm pleased the composer wasn't left out of the party. Just don't let the album's pink cover put you off buying it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Ringo Il Texano
Music by Nico Fidenco
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4121
32 Tracks 63:24 mins

Two of the three recent releases in this fine series are from Italian westerns. I'll deal with the third release at a little later date, but in the meantime I'll lead off with this gem of a release of Nico Fidenco's music for the 1966 Audie Murphy starrer Ringo Il Texano.
The original LP has long been a treasured item amongst my ever increasing (thanks a good deal to this series) Italian western score collection, and was presented in stereo, and was probably a special album presentation of the music, as the the complete score, presented here for the first time, is in mono, as were many genre soundtracks of the time.
It's good enough having the original album readily available on CD, with its dramatic opening song, voiced by the composer himself, with the usual reliable support from I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni, and its many and varied instrumental reprises, let alone having the full score, which reveals even more versions of this splendid theme. OK, so the score is principally one-themed, but when the theme is as good and versatile as this, it can be just as effective, if not more so, than one with themes for practically every character and situation.
Of course there are other aspects to the score, including the usual suspenseful scoring, some tragedy, and rousing source music like "Country Sound," but its the theme and variations I always return to.
The accompanying booklet features colour stills from the film, original artwork, and principal cast and credits.

La Belva/Se T'Incontro T'Ammazzo
Music by Stelvio Cipriani
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4122
13 Tracks 39:59 mins

This double-header features two brief scores by Stelvio Cipriani; the first ten tracks being taken from the 1970 Klaus Kinski starrer La Belva (The Beast), with the final three tracks coming from the same year's Se T'Incontro T'Ammazzo (Finders Keepers), with a cast including genre veteran Gordon Mitchell and the beautiful Femi Benussi.
La Belva's title track is a slightly slinky flute and bassoon-lead theme, with an easy beat and brassy bridge. The theme bleeds into "El Mexicano" where it transforms into a flamenco dance. This is followed by another source track, for harpsichord, "Spinetta Polka" The score takes a disturbing u-turn in the jazzy "Inseguimento," which really has no place in a western. Thankfully, the main theme returns in "Crudele E Spietato," followed by an uncredited vocal version of "El Mexicano." The score concludes with two more variations on the main theme.
Two of the three tracks from Se T'Incontro T'Ammazzo are versions of the galloping, yet somewhat initially restrained, "Cavalcata Al West." However, after a surprising organ interlude, the theme really takes flight. The remaining track features a laid-back variation on the same theme, with a slightly jazzy bossa feel, which again seems a little out of place in a western, but is much more acceptable than the track from La Belva, simply because of its seductive rendering of the melody.
Again, the accompanying booklet features colour stills and artwork from the films, as well as principal credits.
Go to for these and all your Italian film music requirements.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Miklos Rozsa: Viola Concerto/Hungarian Serenade
Naxos 8.570925 (EU)
9 Tracks 60:41 mins

Naxos has released yet another volume of Miklos Rozsa concert works, one, the Hungarian Serenade, from quite early in his career and his Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, from 1979, which was in fact not only his last concerto, but also his last orchestral work.
Recorded in Budapest in 2007, the music is performed by the Budapest Concert Orchestra MAV and conducted by Mariusz Smolij, with Gilad Karni featuring on the viola.
The disc begins with the later work, and consists of four movements: the brooding and dramatic "Moderato Assai;" which Frank K. DeWald in his booklet notes likens to Rozsa's scores for the likes of Providence and Fedora, is followed by the energetic "Allegro Giocoso," which reminds considerably of plenty of action cues written by the composer for films over the years. No one wrote a nocturne quite like Rozsa and his last one features next in "Adagio. It is, as one would expect, filled with warmth and passion. The concluding "Allegro Con Spirito" returns us to the energetic territory of before, though there is also a vaguely familiar oboe-lead theme.
The five movement Hungarian Serenade, a popular favourite among the composer's concert works, opens in fine style with "Marcia; giving way to the rhapsodic strings of "Serenata," and then the lively "Scherzo, which also features a quite noble central theme." Another great "Notturno" follows; the piece ending satisfyingly with the orchestra in full force for the "Danza."
The thing about Miklos Rozsa's concert music is that his distinctive style shines through and can be enjoyed just as much by lovers of his film scores.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
Music by Michael Wandmacher
Costa Communications Advance CD
17 Tracks 73:48 mins

Although Michael Wandmacher's score for this 3-D remake of the 1981 horror is due a commercial release by Lionsgate Records on January 13th, a quick search of the net has failed to find any further details, so I can only assume that it will feature the tracks on this disc that the composer's publicists have kindly sent me.
The film stars Jensen Ackles and Jaime King and opens in the States on January 16th.
Wandmacher's score opens with a huge burst of sound over the main title track "Buried Alive," which then proceeds relentlessly on its way. The composer utilises both orchestra and electronics in his music, the latter coming to the fore particularly on the numerous suspenseful and atmospheric tracks that follow which, whilst I am sure serve the film well, make for pretty hard listening on CD. Mind you, quite a number of these are quite lengthy, and powerful bursts of menacing action intrude at quite regular intervals to keep you on your toes.
Amongst all the suspense and mayhem, "Prodigal Son" stands out, with its poignant keyboard theme. However the theme soon transforms into a pulsating rock number. And there's more poignancy, with delicate, almost inaudible piano in "Evidence of Bodies" and "A Troubled Conversation;" whilst a kind of Twin Peaks feel is given to "One Weird Place." Concluding track "First Responder" provides a moment of reflection, before rocking out.


From Costa Communications:-



Clement to Record Original Score at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch

(Hollywood,CA) Award-winning film composer SHAWN CLEMENT to score the much anticipated 3-D, CGI, sci-fi film QUANTUM QUEST. The film boasts an all-star cast including sci-fi film icons Chris Pine, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayden Christensen, Amanda Peet, Robert Picardo, Brent Spiner, James Earl Jones, William Shatner, Mark Hamill, and Astronaut Neil Armstrong. Clement’s Sci-Fi music credits include such projects as BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and BATMAN: RISE OF SIN TZU. He will record his original score for QUANTUM QUEST at George Lucas’ legendary Skywalker Ranch in April. QUANTUM QUEST premieres in theaters in late 2009.

QUANTUM QUEST is a new 3-D, computer animated, large format, action-adventure film that interweaves animated sequences with actual space imagery captured from seven ongoing NASA and NASA/ESA space missions. QUANTUM QUEST takes place in an atomic world, where the forces of the Core and the forces of the Void battle for the fate of the universe. The Core is a kind being, who lives inside all suns; his children are protons, photons, and neutrinos. The Void is that which existed before the Big Bang; he hates everything and everyone in the universe for invading his nothingness. The Void has an army of anti-matter that he uses to try and destroy the forces of the Core. QUANTUM QUEST centers on the story of Dave, a young photon, who is forced out of the Sun on a journey of discovery. Dave must get to the Cassini Space Craft and save it from the forces of the Void.

Shawn Clement is credited with establishing the definitive dramatic musical style of the reality genre format; his efforts have earned him ASCAP Film & TV Music Awards. Clement’s music has set the tone for the voyeuristic sensations including AMERICAN IDOL, NEWLYWEDS: NICK & JESSICA, SNOOP DOGG’S FATHER HOOD, MY SUPER SWEET 16 and HOGAN KNOWS BEST.

A multifaceted composer, Clement’s film credits include WE MARRIED MARGO and LAST CHANCE. His television credits also include such phenomenas as BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and QUEER EYE. Shawn Clement has expanded his musical palette to include video games. His music has set the gaming tone for hit titles including OPEN SEASON, THE SIMS 2 and BATMAN: RISE OF SIN TZU.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I'd like to say I'm back and fully recharged, but truth is I've been doing a lot of thinking over the holiday when I finally had a little time to actually take a breath, between all my jobs (7 days a week, morning and night - and sometimes in between) and my film music study. Thing is, I'm beginning to feel my own mortality. This past year hasn't been the healthiest for me and, as I'm now into my fifties, I think it's about time I started trying to find some quality time for me. The paid jobs I can't do much about, particularly in these times of global recession, where I'm forced to take on as much work as I can possibly find just to keep my head above water, but how I spend the rest of my time is a thing I can do something about. So, without actually making any New Year's resolutions (who ever can keep them anyway?), I am determined to spend less time on some things and more on others, which means perhaps more selective film music appreciation and more actually seeing some of the films I'm hearing the music for. For the last two years (or maybe more), I've increasingly had to record films for future viewing and then struggled to actually view them (I've still got films on video from two Christmases ago I haven't watched). As for new films, well it's a struggle just to find time to hire a DVD, let alone go to the cinema, which is pretty much impossible anyway, with my working day.
Regarding film music; of course I still love it, but I find that now, whereas I can still hum a theme from a score from the 80s and before, it's increasingly hard to remember anything from scores I've been reviewing in recent years. Now, I know that many writers bemoan the fact that there just aren't enough good themes being written for films these days, and this may well be true, but the fact is that where I used to be able to listen to a score three times before reviewing it, all I now get time for is one casual listen and then a concentrated listen as I write, which is not a very satisfying situation at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm eternally grateful to all the fine record labels, publicists and composers who so generously send me their product to review, and I hope they still approve of my efforts, it's just there's so much of it to get through and often I'd love to give more time to a score that really takes my fancy, but have to treat it the same as one which does very little for me.
So where is this leading me? Well, this is just to say that, whilst I have no intention of closing the site down (though believe me, it had more than crossed my mind), you may not in future find quite so many detailed reviews, nor will I beat myself up if I don't post a review most days of the week. Of course, should the suppliers of the material I review not approve of my changes, there may not be much to review anyway, but I hope they will bear with me, as if I like something they send me I'll undoubtedly want to pass my enthusiasm on to you, the reader.
Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. All I can say to conclude is please bear with me and we'll see how things go.

So to my first review of 2009:-

Captain Abu Raed
Musicf by Austin Wintory
NeoClassics Films Ltd. For Your Consideration Promo
10 Tracks 17:04 mins

Austin Wintory is a new name to me, but obviously one to take note of, as his score for this the first-ever Jordanian entry in the Academy Awards' foreign language film category, has already won him the "best New Composer" award at the first annual Hollywood Music Awards, whilst the film itself received the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Described as a "story of dreams, friendship, forgiveness, and sacrifice," the film follows a lonely airport janitor who, admittedly through a deceit, attempts to make a difference to the lives he touches.
Wintory was actually a film music fan before he taught himself to compose, orchestrate and conduct, going on to study at universities in New York and California. Still only 26, he has now taken his first steps into the world of feature, short films and videogame scoring, receiving a BAFTA nomination for his work in the latter field on "fl0w." His score for Captain Abu Raed mixes traditional Arabic instruments with orchestra and other less conventional western instruments like sleigh bells and castanets, and is performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony, with vocals by Lisbeth Scott.
This rather brief CD, kindly forwarded to me by the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, is I imagine just a sampler and let's hope for a full commercial score release at some time in the not too distant future. The disc opens with Ms Scott's haunting vocals for "In the Fog," against a background of rather spiritual strings. An elegiac horn soars above yet more of those uplifting strings in "More Stories," which is followed by the initially bubbly "Storyteller," and then the wistful "Goodbye and Ascent." "Airport Revelations" first introduces more eastern elements, though ends on the strings again. A delicate harp solo opens "The Two Captains," before cello takes up the warm melodic line. "Progenicide" presents the first moment of discord and features oppressive strings building to a climax; whilst "Abu Murad" follows mournfully after. Things pick up with "Fly By Night," a quite brief, but tense action cue; the disc concluding in satisfying fashion with the warmth of "Tea with Um Raed."
From what little I have heard of it here, this is truly a lovely score from a composer whose name I shall be looking out for in the future. This certainly bodes well for a long and successful career in the art Austin Wintory has admired so much since the early age of ten.