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Monday, June 08, 2009


Music by Stuart Hancock
MovieScore Media MMS08012
14 Tracks 43:32 mins

The first of two releases on the MovieScore media label by another new composer to me, Stuart Hancock, is his largely orchestral score for Chee Keong Cheung's Underground, which enjoyed a UK DVD release last month. The film concerns 12 fighters from different backgrounds competing in an underground tournament for the £500,000 prize. Hancock's score for Cheung's most recent offering, Bodyguard: A New Beginning, is released tomorrow and I hope to bring you my review shortly.
In the meantime, what of the composer's score for Underground, well, simply put, it's fabulous, largely because of its powerful, driving main theme, which dominates the score. It's so rare to find a really memorable main theme in films these days, so when you find one like this, it's precious indeed. The theme first bursts on to the scene in the "Opening Titles," flowing nicely to an underlying electronic pulse. It re-enters dramatically in "Mark v Leon," as a prelude to the rhythmic fight music that follows, and is given an intimate piano treatment in the following "Intermezzo," poignant at first, but then rhapsodic, before giving way to a feeling of menace.
The obligatory "Training Montage" follows, giving the theme another impressive workout. The poignant strings of "Tragedy" precede the percussive action of "Weapons Fight," with yet another variation on the main theme closing the cue dramatically.
"Bo v Liang" builds to a thumping crescendo, before giving way to another poignant reprise of the theme on piano. The heroic "The Finalists" follows, complete with sampled choir, and gives way to more action in the grimly determined "The Cage Fight," with the choir again featuring; the main theme emerging triumphantly, before a subdued ending. A slower, decisive variation on the main theme dominates "Last Man Standing;" giving way to the slow building "Epilogue," which ends with yet another poignant brass variation on the main theme, before the "End Titles" provide an inspiring set of variations on the theme to close the score in style.
Available on CD, or to download, visit to listen to samples and for all you need to know to secure your copy of this fine score.


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