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

Friday, October 02, 2009


Music by Michael Giacchino
Walt Disney Records digital download
26 Tracks 53:21 mins

Latest offering from Disney Pixar is Up, which follows the adventures of a cranky old aviator who flies his balloons-propelled house to South America, with a young stowaway in tow. The film has been went on release in the States in May and was a huge success. Now, finally it gets a UK release from 9th October, with the score, composed by the ever-busy Michael Giacchino, available for digital download from the 5th. This is the latest in a line of Giacchino scores for these wonderful animations, following his great successes with The Incredibles and Ratataouille.
The album gets underway with a brief piece of '20s-'30s styled source music, before the main theme, again a vintage styled piano-lead waltz tune is introduced in "We're in the Club Now." The theme continues into "Married Life," where it undergoes a whole series of delightful variations, some sparkling and carefree, some more intimate and romantic. Fluttering woodwinds and flute open "Carl Goes Up," giving way to music of brassy grandeur, before a transition to an airy and expressive version of the main theme, before turning somewhat melancholy. "52 Chachki Pickup" is a desperate action piece that gives way to the serene beauty of "Paradise Found." "Walkin' the House" offers a loungy kind of promenade based on the main theme, then it's action again with "Three Dog Dash," followed by more of the lounge style in "Kevin Beak'n."
There are echoes of Giacchino's music for Lost in the "Canine Conundrum," with its twisted brass and increasingly menacing jungle rhythms; the brief, pianistic "The Nickel Tour" offering light relief, before taking an ominous turn at its conclusion. "The Explorer Motel" opens mysteriously, building to a menacing crescendo. It's action all the way again in "Escape from Muntz Mountain," which cleverly pays homage to Bernard Herrmann's North By Northwest theme, without ripping it off in any way. "Giving Muntz the Bird" opens with a brief scherzo on the main theme, before more menacing action erupts. The following "Stuff We Did" offers a nostalgic, piano-lead treatment of the main theme that leads to an adventurous and inspirational treatment in "Memories Can Weigh You Down." Thrills and spills follow in "The Small Mailman Returns," "He's Got the Bird" and "Seizing the Spirit of Adventure." Calm is restored with floaty variations on the main theme in "It's Just a House," with the nostalgic piano version of the theme returning for "The Ellie badge," but becoming warmer as it proceeds.
In the lengthy "Up With End Credits" Giacchino really puts the theme through its paces in all manner of delightful treatments, with another pseudo-vintage track, complete with uncredited male vocal, "The Spirit of Adventure," following. The final three tracks on the album are given over to effects and seem a bit pointless really, and are hardly worth a mention. But these aside, this is quality film scoring from one of the very best of the current crop of composers, with a winning and versatile theme, coupled with some genuinely exciting action scoring. I do hope the label will consider a CD release in the UK, as it would be a great shame to deny this treat of a score to those film music enthusiasts who haven't the means to download.


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