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Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Cheshire Adventures
Music by Edwin Wendler
iTunes Digital Dowload
33 Tracks 70:00 mins

I very recently had the pleasure of reviewing Edwin Wendler's score for Home - A Horror Story, available on iTunes. His latest offering can also be found there, Cheshire Adventures, which features his music for three in a series of five short films made by the non-profit organisation Cheshire, whose Film Camp each year brings together some 40 participants, both able and disabled, to create a film, often with the participation of known movie and TV faces, the project culminating in a Hollywood-style premiere at a major LA venue.
The films and scores featured here include the pirate musical The Return of the Muskrats, the superhero adventure Sky Squad Eagle Eight, and the time travel story Selling The Future: The Adventure of Lenny Maloney.
Up first are the 16 tracks from The Return of the Muskrats, some of which include outtakes and alternate versions, and which feature the songs "Captain Ron and Daggerface" and "It's Good to be a Pirate Mate," with lyrics by Will Halby, both performed by the Cheshire Ensemble. The score tracks are synthetically realised by Wendler, with the addition of some vocals, and commence with the initially big and adventurous, then more softly sentimental "Out to Sea!" "Map & Mayhem" gets off to a mysterious start and features a darkly comic march, before turning into a percussive action cue. There is one other brief song in the score, "Ronnie's Lament," written and voiced by Rob Simonsen, and this follows. "Call to Arms" starts off quite magically, before the expected heroics kick in. This is followed by the largely tender "Muskrat Judy," though the previously mentioned march adds menace to its conclusion.
The first of Halby's songs, "Captain Ron and Daggerface" is a fine pirate song, performed with gusto, and is followed by "Doubt and Decision" which, after a melancholy passage, becomes determined and heroic; the heroics continuing in the action-packed "The Plank & Rescue," where they do battle with the march of the villains from before. The grim duelling music of "Sword Fight!" follows, with evil appearing to triumph, but no, all is well in the end, judging by the sunny conclusion. The spirited "It's Good To Be a Pirate Mate follows, concluding the score proper, with the Ensemble again in fine voice.
The first bonus track, "Wrap Party, " provides an easy listening mood; the lightness continuing into "Soap Much Drama," before giving way to slightly darker, percussive fare. The mystical "Words of Wisdom" follows and then the suitably expectant "Plan of Attack. The last two tracks include an alternate version of "Sword Fight!" and the trailer music for the film, concluding the selections in adventurous fashion.
The nine cues from Sky Squad Eagle Eight, which numbers Shannon Elizabeth among its cast, follow; the opening cue, "Billy's Quest" offering a mix of wonder and pathos. "Dad's Secret" is largely low-key, but ends with a brief heroic flourish. There's a feeling of the mysterious East in "Hilda's Prophecy," complete with the cliched wailing female, before the music takes flight in "Eagle Wings," though the heroics give way briefly to more suspenseful material. The martial drum-propelled "Joining the Squad" follows; with more of a pop beat opening "Save the World." However, the celebratory feel soon gives way to some kick-ass conflict. There's something of a spacy feel to "The Discovery," which gives way to the easy "Everyday Heroes," with its strummed guitar accompaniment. The suitably heroic title track concludes the score in fine style.
The final offering, Selling The Future: The Adventure of Lenny Maloney, in which Tori Spelling appears, commences with the brief, but adventurous "Starting Time" and is followed by the bouncy, bass driven comic antics of "Hard Times." "Time for a Visit" is quite funky and beat-driven, whilst, "Stuck in Time" offers a mix of cacophony, comedy, suspense, action, and ethereal textures. "Time Travel" is another mixed bag, with all kinds of styles on show, from weird and jungle-styled percussion, to ethereal vocalisations, to bursts of action, and easy listening guitar. "Times Have Changed" continues in the same vein, with hints of John Williams' Hook, mixing with more beat-driven material. Guitar returns at the start of "Fixing Time," but quickly gives way to more synthetic textures, before a feeling of calm and then excitement brings the track to a close; with "Good Times" bringing the score to a warm and satisfactory, Hook inspired conclusion.
A digital booklet accompanies this release, which includes track listings, credits and lyrics for the songs of The Return of the Muskrats.
This venture is very much worthy of your support, with all of the album's profits going toward funding the next film camp. For further info on the Cheshire Film Camp, go to


Blogger Edwin said...

Many thanks for the detailed review, Jeff! Please let me point out that the URL for ZMF has an "org" at the end, not a "com":

12:07 PM  
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1:00 AM  

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