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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Music by Christopher Young
For Your Consideration: Best Original Score CD
14 Tracks 49:21 mins

Whilst best known for his horror/thriller scores, Christopher Young has shown himself to be more than capable of composing for any genre. Witness his work for director Jon Amiel, which encompasses the crime thriller Copycat, the spy spoof The Man Who Knew Too Little, the caper movie Entrapment, and the sci-fi blockbuster The Core. Amiel's latest is of another genre still, the story of Charles Darwin and his controversial book "The Origin of Species," written partly as a reaction to the loss of his precious daughter. Darwin is played by the excellent Paul Bettany, with his real life spouse, Jennifer Connelly as his on-screen God-fearing wife, whose own reaction to the tragedy and to her husband's book causes conflict in the marriage.
The film has already played in UK cinemas to mixed critical reaction, but is due to open in select theatres in Los Angeles and New York on January 22nd.
I am indebted to Christopher Young's publicists, Costa Communications, for allowing me to preview the composer's large orchestral score, prior to its release next month on the Lakeshore Records label. It is certainly one of his more melodious, emotional and intimate works, and its title track opens with a gorgeous, yet yearning violin solo, joined by the orchestra, which gets things off to a lovely start. "Princess in the Sky" follows, with piano leading the orchestra in a delicate and beautiful waltz theme. The theme continues in more melancholy mode for "Unity in Form," with solo clarinet, giving way to an off-kilter piano variation. "Cunning Gunning" takes the theme in a flowing, airy direction, but is followed initially by more melancholia in "Pleasure Perfect," but the track soon takes on a lighter, then increasingly purposeful tone. The purposeful feel continues in "To Emma," though, as it proceeds, the track again takes a more melancholy turn. Ascending and descending string clusters give "Partly Part" a really heartbreaking quality, before solo violin brings things to a more positive and peaceful conclusion. There's a feeling of urgency and expectancy to "The Treatment at Malvern," giving way to the grim "The Struggle for Survival," with its almost unbearable tension.
"The Giant Sloth of Punta Alta" offers welcome relief, with a new, enlightened melody for piano and orchestra. This is followed by the questing "Fuegan Children" which, half way through takes a surprising Celtic turn, before proceeding in almost comical fashion. After this lighthearted interlude, matters turn grim again with "You've Killed God, Sir," as Darwin's theories cause considerable controversy and disdain.
The penultimate track, "Knowing Everything I Know Now" offers much hopefulness and a genuine feeling of enlightenment, leading to the final and longest track on the album, "Humility and Love," where the orchestra positively soars, before reprising both the "Princess in the Sky" and "Creation" themes.
This has to be one of the most beautiful scores to hit the big screen in a good while and, assuming it will be properly represented, as here, on the forthcoming Lakeshore release, I can highly recommend it to those of you who delight in melodious film music. And I do hope Academy members will take time to listen to this promo, as it's certainly well deserving of a nomination.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Panic in Year Zero
Music by Les Baxter
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1111 (US)
16 Tracks 49:33 mins

Here's another one of those completely unexpected releases that La-La Land come out with on a fairly regular basis, Les Baxter's surprisingly jazzy score for Ray Milland's 1962 American International production, Panic in Year Zero, a post-apocalyptic tale of the kind popular at the time. Filmed in black and white and with director Milland also starring, alongside Jean Hagen, it's a rarely seen film (at least I don't recall it showing on TV in the UK, possibly ever), and Baxter's music is far from the norm for this sort of film. In fact, it reminds me more of the kind of jazz-pop scoring that became popular around this time and in subsequent years for spy thrillers, cop films and shows, and even super heroes; and is sometimes quite reminiscent of Nelson Riddle's work on the likes of the Batman TV series, particularly in the more suspenseful passages of the score; with a touch of Leonard Rosenman thrown in for the darker moments.
However, it all gets off to a swinging, big band start in the "Main Title" track, which then becomes the principal element of the underscore, appearing in many variations, many of them nicely propulsive, and often sax or trumpet lead; also dominating moments of conflict, and occasionally played sleazily and seductively, with sax very much to the fore. But, amongst all this, there's a rather sweet little theme for "Marilyn" that surfaces warmly in a couple of tracks, often played by flute, culminating in a full band arrangement at the conclusion of "Chop Chop."
The big band arrangement of the main theme returns for the "End Credits," which is followed by the bonus of an extended version, with a lengthy bass intro.
The tracks by and large combine a number of cues, playing like mini-suites, with much variation throughout, so there's always something to hold the interest.
In conclusion, if you like the cool, jazzy scores of the late 50s to mid-60s, you're sure to find this a welcome addition to your collection.
Accompanying the disc is the usual quality booklet, with plenty of stills from the film and Randall D. Larson's detailed notes on both film and score, including cue-by-cue guide.
Go to for samples and to order your copy of this very limited edition album of just 1200 copies.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Under The Mountain
Music by Victoria Kelly
MovieScore Media MMS09029
27 Tracks 60:23 mins

Composer Victoria Kelly is thus far mainly known for her scores in the horror genre, but then opportunities are I suppose few and far between in the limited world of the New Zealand film industry. She must therefore have found working on Jonathan King's action-adventure, Under The Mountain, based on the novel by Maurice Gee, a refreshing change. Kelly has of course worked with King before, most notably on Black Sheep, but this is probably her largest scale score to date, recorded with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The film, which stars Sam Neill, opened in New Zealand on December 10th, but I have no news as yet of its international release.
The album begins with the "Opening Credits" which, after a dark and mysterious opening, builds to a majestic, if ominous, climax. "1888/Nowhere to Run" opens powerfully, and continues that way, before eventually dying away to nothing. A much softer interlude follows with "Rachel and Theo," which hints at a romance, without really developing. "Auckland/The Gathering" has more hugely powerful moments, with a particularly menacing ending. "The House" is largely suspenseful, but again ends menacingly. There's more powerful menace in "Knock Knock," which proceeds percussively, before again dying away. You can probably see that a pattern has already been established and what follows continues to be a mix of mystery, suspense, and powerful moments of menace, with quite savage bursts of action, which are largely unsustained. Having said this, there's a certain majesty to "The Gargantua Rise" and a suitably 'all is well' feeling following in "Let's Go Home," which becomes more and more triumphant as it continues into the disappointing "End Credits," which start well but, sadly, as so often is the case with this score, just dies away to nothingness. Overall then, there's just very little to really latch on to in terms of thematic material, and what excitement is generated just leaves one wanting more. Let's hope the film isn't as frustrating as the score suggests.
Go to to listen to sample tracks and for details of how to obtain your copy of the album on CD, or as a digital download.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


The Boys Are Back
Music by Hal Lindes & Various Artists
Silva Screen Records SILCD1304 (UK)
19 Tracks 49:36 mins

On 18th January, Silva Screen release the soundtrack to Scott Hicks' Australia-set drama, The Boys Are Back, with a performance from Clive Owen that is already attracting Oscar buzz. The film is already being described as Hicks' best since 1996's Oscar-nominated Shine.
The album is a mix of songs and score, with numbers by Sigur Ros, Ray LaMontagne, Elbow, Mayfield, Carney and France's first lady, Carla Bruni, who does her best to murder the classic "You Belong To Me."
As for the score, there are a dozen tracks by Hal Lindes, so I suppose we really can't complain. Lindes, a former guitarist with Dire Straits, not surprisingly provides a guitar-based score, having been chosen for the film by the director who, on scouting locations in South Australia, became influenced by the subdued guitar music he was hearing on the radio.
The album kicks off with Lindes' title track, a flowing, dramatic piece for guitar and strings; his score continuing with the upbeat "Water Fight." "Joe & Laura" is a warm and simple melody, opening on guitar, but later joined by strings; and "Katy's Garden" is spare and anxious. A number of brief guitar mood pieces follow, the longest of which is the sad "Paddington Farewell but, sadly, none of them really amount to much, before we again have anything of substance with a reprise of the title theme; Lindes' contribution ending with another brief guitar solo, the sad "Don't Abandon Us Now - Revisited."
Go to for samples and to order your copy of the album.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


First up, let me wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Now on with the latest:-

Music by John Dankworth
Harkit Records HRKCD 8027
11 Tracks 32:52 mins

The swinging '60s were rife with spy movies, some straight, some more light-hearted, but most of them containing good, catchy jazz-pop music; whether it be for the likes of Flint, Matt Helm and those Men from U.N.C.L.E. in the States, or for the numerous Italian offerings. Some of them even spanned the oceans, like Sebastian, with its largely British cast and music by American Jerry Goldsmith, and 1967's Fathom, looking to cash in on the popularity of the statuesque beauty Raquel Welch, supported by well-loved British faces like Ronald Fraser, Richard Briers and Clive Revill, as well as fellow American Anthony Franciosa.
The music for the film was provided by John Dankworth, who had provided similar fare for the previous year's Modesty Blaise, another genre entry. Dankworth's score favours the lounge-style approach, largely favoured by the Italians, and his very catchy main theme gets a good many outings and variations throughout the course of the score, which was previously available on LP, but here receives a straight transfer to CD for its premiere in that format. And, whilst this makes for quite a brief listening experience (around 30-35 minutes was the normal running time for albums of the period), the score never outstays its welcome as a result.
Dankworth's main theme gets an initially dreamy performance, complete with wordless vocalists in the opening track, "Fathom's Theme," seguing into a lovely, airy strings variation, as Miss Welch skydives onto the screen. The uptempo mover "Jump to the Villa" follows, reminding one more of the kind of travelling music John Barry was coming up for in the Bond franchise, or maybe Barry Gray in the Gerry Anderson series.
"Bossa Palma Nova" does what it says on the tin, with wordless vocals again leading the way in a source cue that could have come from any number of Italian movies of the time. "Horseback Ride" moves along easily and comes pretty close to a theme from Thunderbirds. "Bullring" is the most dramatic track so far; a mix of tension and rather jazzy sax-lead action, reminding somewhat of Edwin Astley's work. The dreamy opening choral version of the main theme returns for "Fathom's Arrival," but this time with lyrics, before becoming an easy-going piece of jazzy travelling music. The main theme goes from a dark arrangement for "Tango Sinister," to a much lighter, easy-going version for "The Merriwether Affair," though even this has sinister undertones.
The conflict of "Chorale to a Scuba-Diver" finds wordless choir starting out subdued and barely audible before increasing in volume to accompany the action, which continues into "Vacation Chase," before giving way to more easy-going fare; with the final cue, "Happy Landings" bringing any conflict to a climax, with the main theme returning gloriously to close, including a final reprise of the lyrics.
Accompanying the disc is the usual splendid and colourful booklet from Harkit, with detailed notes on the film and a profile of its composer, in English and Japanese.
Order your copy of this delightful album from, where you can first hear samples if you need persuading further.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Music by Jerry Goldsmith
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1114 (US)
28 Tracks 78:31 mins

1987's Innerspace is worth seeking out if it screens on your TV. It's an entertaining mix of thrills and comedy and boasts a great cast, from Meg Ryan at her cutest, to the always solid Dennis Quad, to the hilarious Martin Short, before he became irritating. It also boasts a fine, workmanlike score by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith, which was poorly represented on the LP that came out at the time of the film's release. Now, over 20 years later, La-La Land Records have finally released the score in all its complete glory.
Innerspace was composed at the height of Goldsmith's fascination with electronics where, unlike today, there were no sophisticated computer programmes to help him in his quest to add synthetic colours to the orchestra, those elements being provided by synths, often performed live alongside the musicians, and often by the composer himself. It's a sound that today seems very dated and in Innerspace, when the synths are at their most prominent, it can be a little grating. But, this said, there's no doubting the quality of the composer's writing for the film, even if there are not any particularly memorable themes that emerge from the score.
Not that there aren't strong themes throughout, including a noble and versatile main theme, which underlines Quaid's character's heroism whilst, in another guise, supports Short's comic antics; acts as a bonding motif between the two, and also crops up in action mode throughout.
Goldsmith's love theme for Quaid and Ryan (who of course enjoyed a real-life relationship) is also pretty versatile and goes from melancholy early on to a hugely warm treatment at the film's conclusion.
There are also two villainous themes, the more memorable of the two being that for the Libyan hit-man "The Cowboy" as portrayed by Robert Picardo (who of course went on to great popularity as the holographic doctor in the Star Trek: Voyager TV series). It's a fun mix of pseudo-spaghetti and traditional western, with Jew's harp, tambourine, guitar and synth replacing the whistled lead.
Added to all this, there is of course the ever excellent Goldsmith action and tension writing that is instantly recognisable, and that features in so much of his work of the time.
All in all, whilst not perhaps being his greatest work, it's still an entertaining and serviceable score for a much underrated film, and a must for all Goldsmith fans.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high-quality booklet, with Dan Goldwasser's detailed notes on the film and its score (with contributions from director Joe Dante, who of course worked with Goldsmith on many of his films), together with Jeff Bond's track analysis.
Limited to just 3000 units, and already sold out at La-La Land's website, you'd best get moving if you are to hunt down a copy from one of the soundtrack specialist dealers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Original Songs by Debbie Isitt and Nicky Ager + Various Artists
DECCA 532 3757 (EU)
16 Tracks 40:14 mins

Debbie Isitt's festive feel-good comedy is currently in UK cinemas and the director, along with editor Nicky Ager, are responsible for the original songs, sung by the children and cast of the film, seven of which feature on the official soundtrack album, in stores now; the final selection, "One Night One Moment," also featuring Hayley Westenra, who also makes a cameo appearance in the film, as well as singing "Silent Night."
In addition, the album also features festive offerings from the likes of the Jackson 5, Diana Decker, Ron Sexsmith, Bleu, Jesse Belvin and The Ronettes, and opens with a vintage performance of "Hooray For Hollywood" by the MGM Orchestra.
The accompanying booklet features lyrics for the original songs, together with a note from co-composers Isitt and Ager.


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Music by Mychael Danna & Jeff Danna
Silva Screen Records SILCD1303
22 Tracks 47:44 mins

Terry Gilliam's latest is of course the film that nearly didn't make it, owing to the tragic death of Heath Ledger. However, the director rallied round and came up with the necessary changes to script and cast, enabling the film to be finished.
The Danna brothers, Mychael and Jeff, were on board from the start, having successfully collaborated with the director on Tideland. Of course, Gilliam's films are seldom straightforward and this one is no exception, requiring a music score that is suitably varied, whilst somehow remaining a cohesive whole, to suit the film's situations. The press release capably describes it as "a breathtaking and surprising post-modern score. Tangos, waltzes, Tibetan monastic chant, Mediaeval music and a greasy noir-ish saxophone tune for Tom Wait's characterization of Satan all mix together with a full orchestra and a couple of show-stopping songs."
The album opens quite somberly with solo cello and violin over a bed of strings in "Once Upon a Time, and is followed by "The Imaginarium," which fairly trips along, providing a mix of wonder and menace. "The Tack" opens propulsively and quite darkly, but blossoms later, with the sense of wonder returning. "Tony's Tale of Woe" is suitably sad; whilst "The Monastery" again opens darkly, giving way to the aforementioned noir-ish sax theme. "Book and Story," is largely subdued, but ends powerfully. "Sympathy for the Hanged Man" is suitably poignant, with airy flute and violin solos; with the sax theme dominating "The First to Five Souls." The piano-lead action of "Escape from the Pub," ends somewhat sadly; the subdued mood continuing in "The River." After an overblown opening, "Suicide Attempt" offers a mix of hope and despair.
"Tango Amongst the Lilies" features the kind of high, wide and handsome opening John Barry used to excel at, before developing into traditional-sounding tango music. "Victory in the Lilies" becomes more and more ominous as it proceeds; whilst "Four Through the Mirror" is circusy and episodic. The dark, rhythmic action of "The Ladder World" gives way to the brief song "We Love Violence, sung by male voices, and ending in a chorus of raspberries!
"Top of the Wagon" is delicate and flirtatious, and is followed by children's choir singing the brief "We are the Children of the World." "Tony's World Collapses" features a return to the rhythmic action of before, and is followed by more action in "The Devil's Dance," giving way to a tango variation on the sax theme.
The penultimate track, "Tony's Salvation" goes through a number of mood changes before it reaches its powerful conclusion; with the album's final and lengthiest track, "Parnassus Alone," concluding the score unremarkably, with airy flute and woodwinds mixing with the sombre cello from the opening track.
It's an interesting score, which can often be said of the Dannas' work (particularly Mychael's), which is not immediately a winner, but improves with repeated listening.
Go to for samples and to order your copy, either on CD, or as a digital download.

Monday, December 21, 2009


The Book of Eli
Music by Atticus Ross
Reprise Records
17 Tracks 56:10 mins

Coming in the New Year is the Hughes Brothers' post-apocalyptic film, in which Denzel Washington journeys across America with a sacred book that holds the secret to saving mankind.
The score is provided by three-time Hughes Brothers collaborator Atticus Ross (though this is his first feature for them), perhaps best known as a music producer, who has worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction and Korn.
Much of the music for The Book of Eli is studio produced, but an 80-piece orchestra, recorded at London's Abbey Road, adds to the mix to provide a hybrid score that is at times a challenging listening experience, to say the least; almost as much sound design as music. The score does however have its propulsive moments, featuring percussion ("The Journey"), or something of a beat-driven rock sound ("The Convoy"), and there are occasional poignant and tender interludes for piano, "Human," most notably; whilst "The Passenger" offers momentary hopefulness. I am not privy to the film's ending, but the final cue, "The Purpose," with its solo cello and strings appears almost spiritual.
The album will be released as a digital download through Amazon and iTunes (the latter featuring a remixed track by Dave Sitek) and on CD on January 12th 2010, three days before the film's US release, with a vinyl version to be released the following month.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Music by Samuel Sim
MovieScore Media MMS09028
28 Tracks 51:14 mins

Being a sporty kind of man, I'm not really into Jane Austen, though I did see the film version of Emma a few years back, largely to listen to Rachel Portman's music, which of course won her the Oscar that year. Therefore, I didn't see the recent BBC adaptation of the story, which was scored by another new name to me, Samuel Sim, and performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London.
Sim's music is highly is pretty much what one would expect, bearing favourable comparison with Ms Portman's effort, certainly in terms of its melodiousness and sheer joyousness.
The album gets under way with the lovely, flowing "Main Titles," continuing in "Emma Woodhouse Was Born," with piano and orchestra producing quite a pseudo-classical sound early on, before things take a troubled turn. "Expansion Project" flows purposely, with "Rescued from the Gypsies" suitably dramatic to open, but ending with tender piano. "Knightley's Walk" introduces the character's theme on cello; whilst "Dolls" finds Emma in matchmaking mode. The sad piano of "The World Has Left Us Behind" follows. The waltz-like "Arrival of Little Knightley," leads to "Donwell Dancing Again," with its sad woodwind opening blossoming nicely. More matchmaking intrigue follows in "Superior Men" and "Matchmaker, then troubled strings accompany "Walk of Shame. It's back to the light-hearted intrigue for "Playing Harriet," with more subdued fare following in "Without Suspicion." "Frank is Free" flows nicely, turning more dramatic as it reaches its conclusion; whilst its back to the matchmaking with "Mr. Elton."
"Blind Endeavours" briefly soars after a quiet start, but ends in more intrigue. Opening like a source cue, "The Last Dance" quickly develops into a flowing, optimistic playing of the main theme; but hopes seem dashed in "Lost and Found." "Only People We Like" presents more intrigue; with the catchy hornpipe "The Ship's Cook" following. "Cliff Tops" is all nervous excitement, before ending on soaring strings. "Secrets" is suitably subdued, with the largely propulsive "It's Snowing and Heavily" following. "The Seaside" is just joyous and leads into the blossoming romance of "Love Story," with the initially purposeful "Ardently in Love" again ending on a suitably joyous note.
It's a real pleasure to find such a lovely, melodic score, amongst all the dull, tuneless offerings that so often come my way these days; so, if you like melody, you should surely check this one out.
You can hear samples at, and also find details there as to how to obtain a copy of the album on CD, or as a download.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Just heard the news that Silva Screen Records have given us a welcome early reissue of Tadlow Music's great 2008 recording of Miklos Rozsa's complete score to 1961's El Cid. The original album was the winner of the International Film Music Critics Association Award for "Best Re-recording Of An Existing Score" and was widely acclaimed throughout the film music media.
My own review of the album can be read at
Order your copy of this splendid double-disc album, or download it from

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Merlin - Series Two
Music by Rob Lane and Rohan Stevenson
MovieScore Media MMS-09027
20 Tracks 52:19 mins

The second series of BBC's Merlin concludes this weekend, and another entertaining, if far-fetched journey it has been, as long, of course, as you accept that it plays fast and loose with the Arthurian legends. But then, in these days of vampires who walk around in daylight and Robin Hood's love, Maid Marian, killed, it seems anything goes.
Composer for the first series, Rob Lane, returned, and Rohan Stevenson, who composed additional music on series one, is credited as co-composer in his own right on MovieScore Media's new release of music from series two, with their individual efforts duly noted in the track listings. The label of course released an album to accompany series one, but it sadly only featured music from the early episodes and, though I was hoping, no further album for that series was released. The series two album only clocks in at around 52 minutes, which still appears to leave many episodes not covered, which is a pity but, maybe one day more of the great unreleased music from both series may see the light of day - we can but hope!
Of course the album gets underway with a reprise of the splendid main theme, and immediately segues into the dark and menacing "Sigan's Revenge," with the Philharmonia Chorus joining in with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra (conductor, Allan Wilson). There's some serious evil afoot in "The Attraction of Evil," which features yet more powerful choral work; so, after all this, it's a relief to hear the lovely, though too brief, harp and violin duet of "Gwen & Arthur." A soaring soprano voice introduces the mystical "Avalon," though things quickly take a dark and conspiratorial turn. Comic relief is provided by the jaunty "The Substitute Knight," which leads into more serious business with pounding drums introducing the driving choral action of "The Joust." The fateful choral opening of "Myror the Assassin" leads into more propulsive action, ending in a sinister climax.
A solo violin lament opens "Lancelot Leaves," with strings and horns duly tugging at the heartstrings. "The Machinations of Cedric" mixes comedy with stealth, and leads to more dark intrigue in "The Mark of the Raven. "Sigan's Tomb" features more intrigue and dark menace, but with a little light-heartedness thrown in and electronics, used sparingly up to this point, are more evident. "Settlement Attack" features much percussive action, with electronics again much in evidence.
A new name to me, James Gosling, contributes the heartbreaking choral "Gaius Arraigned," which is followed by more emotional fare, with a touch of Braveheart about it, in "Farewell to Gwen." Light-hearted sneakiness follows in "The Forged Seal," giving way to the action of "Lancelot's Heroism," which is somewhat spoilt by the electronic brass."Morgana's Nightmares" is mostly dark and mysterious stuff, whilst "Hiding Excalibur" features suitably uplifting music for the magical blade.
I'm not quite sure which episode the lengthy "Finale" comes from, but it opens with a reprise of the Braveheart-like theme, before developing into an extended and exciting choral action sequence, which ends very satisfyingly, with a soaring wordless choral of the main theme. With this track alone, Rob Lane proves that he really should be writing for the big screen. The man has long been one of the best British composers for the small screen but, his talent deserves much wider recognition, and his back catalogue is ripe for release on CD. Someone? Anyone?
You can hear samples of Merlin-Series Two at, where you will also receive guidance as to how to get hold of your copy of the album, either on CD, or as a download.


Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Mayhem of the Music Meister!
Music by Michael McCuiston, Lolita Ritmanis and Kristopher Carter
Lyrics by Michael Jelenic and James Tucker
New Line Records NLR 39167
8 Tracks 18:46 mins

I have yet to see this latest version of Batman's adventures, but have heard the animated series is much lighter than previous efforts. One thing remains the same in that the Dynamic Music Partners are still responsible for the scores. However, their efforts are it seems similarly lighter, and I've read that they are populated by big band numbers. It's a pity then that this recent release, available both as a digital download and as a hard copy from, only concentrates on one episode and that is a special musical one, with the composers' music being given lyrics and sung by the on-screen characters. The show's main theme is included, which certainly suggests the big band approach previously mentioned; but, as the album is so very, very brief, it seems a real missed opportunity not to have included some underscore from other episodes as well.One can just hope that some enterprising label (La-La Land Records, perhaps?) can obtain the rights to release a proper score album at some future date.
So, what of the album at hand? Well, the guest villain of the piece, The Music Meister, is played by Neil Patrick Harris, whose voice features on most of the tracks, many of which are a mixture of song and dialogue. Fans of musical theatre will probably enjoy it and, I have to say, it is quite entertaining, with some catchy, fun numbers, and a nice ballad "If Only;" but not really for film score enthusiasts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Dragon Age: Origins
Music by Inon Zur
EA Games Promo
35 Tracks 62:38 mins

Premiere video game music composer Inon Zur's music for BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins is now available for download from EA Games. The composer's publicists kindly sent me a CD copy of the album, which has the same tracks as the downloadable version. The score is performed by the Northwest Sinfonia, enhanced by electronics, percussion and choir, with vocals by Aubrey Ashburn.
The album opens with the "Dragon Age Theme," Ms Ashburn's haunting vocal alternating with powerful percussion-driven music, getting things off to a great start. Ms Ashburn again features throughout the lovely, easy-going "I Am The One (High Fantasy Version)," which is followed by the initially dark and sinister "The Chantries Hubris, but this soon builds into a more flowing, heroic passage, before ending darkly again.
There's a lot of powerful, dark, malevolent and dramatic writing in the tracks that follow, many of which are quite brief but, often with much development during their limited running time. "The Dwarves Nobles" is big and impressive however; "Human Nobility" quite inspirational; "Ruins of Ostagar" and "King Edrin" proud and heroic; whilst "Battle The Darkspawn Hordes," "The Endless Wave of Hurlocks," "Battle For The Urn," "Attack on Denerim," "The Dungeons of Landsmeet," "Dungeons and Dungeons," "Howe," "The Battle of Lothering Village," the latter stages of "Ferrelden At War," "The Deep Roads," "Battle The Blight," and "To Kill An Ogre," offer much propulsive conflict; with cues like "The Dalish Elves Encampment," "Lelianna's Song" (again featuring Ms Ashburn) providing pastoral breathing space here and there.
Things come to a head with the powerful "Challenge An Arch Demon," which gives way to the satisfying, soaring "The Coronation," though even this ends on an ominous note; the album concluding with "I Am The One (Dark Fantasy Version), again featuring Ms Ashburn in a slightly popped-up version of the theme.
This is music of epic quality, again comparable to the best of modern day music for film, and fans of Howard Shore's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, will I am quite sure find much to enjoy here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


That Championship Season
Music by Bill Conti
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1110 (US)
13 Tracks 36:11 mins

It's been a Bill Conti bonanza in recent times, after years of waiting for so many of his fine scores to come to CD. But, whilst it's his biggies for the likes of The Right Stuff and the Karate Kid movies that readily spring to mind, he also scored a good many lower-key movies around that time, one of which, though I haven't seen it for many years, still retains an impression somewhere in the back of my memory as being a classy drama, populated by a fine cast, including Robert Mitchum, Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Martin Sheen and Paul Sorvino.
The film I'm talking about is Jason Miller's 1982 film That Championship Season, about a reunion between members of a successful high school basketball team some 24 years later.
As for the music, although it didn't easily spring to mind, I did recall that the close of the film sported a particularly fine theme, which was worth preserving alone. Well, La-La Land records has now done us a big service in resurrecting that theme, along with the rest of the score, and bonus tracks, in a limited edition of just 1200 units.
In fact, my memory obviously played tricks on me, because the main theme actually first appears, rightly, albeit it briefly (which is probably why I don't remember it), over the "Main Title," that of course opens the disc, all dramatic with drum roll and solo trumpet; strings quickly joining in, before the music heads off in a busy Americana-styled passage. Solo piano dominates the nostalgic "Tom's Home/Lonely Stroll," with the trumpeted main theme returning in variations for "Old School/Coach Bears the Pain," as the score continues down its nostalgic path. The next two cues, "Play The Ball/With My Wife?" and "Look at the Past/She Did it for You/I'm Only Forty Three," flow easily together, with oboe and cello solos dominating, but trumpet, horn and piano also have their moments in this melancholy fare. "Responsibility/Brothers Together" continues in the same vein, again with fine, clear solo performances (a feature of this score), but warms as it reaches its conclusion.
"Here Comes Phillip/An Elegant Man" quickly develops a lighter touch, reminiscent of the opening Americana, though oboe and cello still inject a note of melancholy, and the main theme enters in its fullest development yet. The darkest cue is the penultimate "Coach Keeps the Peace," which is quite disturbing, with its discordant piano, before giving way to the closing title track, in which the main theme slowly emerges and blossoms proudly and gloriously to end the film and score on quite a majestic note, which is how I remember it.
Four bonus tracks conclude the disc; a synth version of the main theme; a couple of variations for trailers; and an alternate take on "Here Comes Phillip," with the emphasis more on piano and violin.
Thank you, La-La Land Records for rescuing another gem of a Bill Conti score. It may not be as instantly likeable and dynamic as some of his larger-scale efforts, but it's still quality and the composer really highlights his soloists - something not often heard in today's "bigger is more" film scores.
Accompanying the disc is the label's usual high-quality booklet, with stills from the film, together with Randall D. Larson's detailed notes on the film and its score, including a cue-by-cue guide.
If you want a copy, you'd best hurry along to, where you can hear some samples before you buy.

Friday, December 11, 2009


From Costa Communications:-



Soundtrack album available on Lakeshore Records

Award-winning composer JOHN SWIHART whose career is on a stellar trajectory since scoring “Napolean Dynamite” five years ago scores “Youth in Revolt.” He has successfully traversed the musical landscape from performer with the Blue Man Group to scoring numerous films and TV series. Swihart’s signature “indie” musical style to Napolean Dynamite is still mimicked today by numerous composers. The film is distributed by The Weinstein Company and will be released January 8, 2010. Soundtrack available January 5 on Lakeshore Records.

Youth in Revolt stars Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno) and is directed by Miguel Arteta. The coming-of-age comedy puts a fresh stamp on a tale of adolescent obsession and rebellion. Based on the acclaimed novel by C.D. Payne, YOUTH IN REVOLT is the story of Nick Twisp (Cera) —an affable teen with a taste for the finer things in life, who falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) while on a family vacation. Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego: Francois.

John Swihart began his musical training at the age of four studying piano; by eight, he added the saxophone, followed by guitar studies at Indiana University --- while still in high school. He then continued his formal musical training of composition, production and engineering at Boston’s prestigious’ Berklee College of Music.

After college, Swihart toured with a variety of bands and performed in musical theater in Boston, New York and Los Angeles; simultaneously, he composed for Boston advertising clients and scored student films for Emerson undergrads. When Blue Man Group opened a Vegas show, Swihart was recruited to be a musician in the Grammy nominated ensemble. A year later, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film composing. His fifth film score as a composer was Napoleon Dynamite and he has since scored over 40 films. John Swihart’s other film & TV credits include “New in Town,” “Employee of the Month,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Greek.”


The House of the Devil/I Can See You
Music by Jeff Grace
MovieScore Media MMS-09026
26 Tracks 64:31 mins

The latest from MovieScore Media favourite Jeff Grace features two recent scores, the first for The Roost's director Ti West's horror The House of the Devil; the second for Graham Reznick's thriller I Can See You. Reznick also contributed two tracks of his own composition to the score.
The former sports an eerie, unsettling theme for detuned piano and strings, first heard in "Opening," and both feature prominently throughout this largely mysterious and largely low key score, though it does have its dissonant, menacing moments, particularly in its later stages, with some powerful writing in the likes of "Mother," "Chalice," "On the Run," and "He's Calling."
The piano theme returns in much lighter, more conventional mode at the start of the penultimate title track.
I Can See You is a more varied score, opening with the beat-driven electronics of "Today in New York City" (the first of Reznick's tracks, the other being the similarly electronic, drifting "Where Are You Now?). As for the bulk of the score, Grace features detuned piano again in "Pitch Meeting and the concluding "Passing Trees;" mixes synths and live strings in the dreamy ""Summer Day;" employs dissonance in abundance; provides jungle-like percussion in "Doug Escapes;" and, by further contrast, features solo strummed guitar to provide a rural feel to "Swimming Hole."
Go to for samples, a trailer for The House of the Devil, and for details as to how to obtain the release, on CD, or as a digital download.


From Top Dollar PR:

Independent Music Publishing Company Partners with Acclaimed Composer of "Assassin's
Creed II," "Assassin's Creed," and "Hitman" Series

License To Thrill Music LLC (,
an independent music publisher providing one-stop music synchronization and licensing
for advertising, films, television, radio, movie trailers, video games and new media,
today announced a music publishing partnership with BAFTA award-winning composer
Jesper Kyd. License To Thrill Music represents original music composed by Jesper
Kyd available for use in advertising, film, TV and other media productions.

Jesper Kyd's music for blockbuster franchises such as ASSASSIN'S CREED and the HITMAN
series has received awards and nominations from the British Academy of Film and
Television Arts (BAFTA), Canadian ELAN Awards, Hollywood Music Awards and MTV Video
Music Awards. His original score for ASSASSIN'S CREED II was recently awarded Best
Original Score at The Hollywood Music In Media Awards and is nominated for Best
Original Score at the Spike TV Video Game Awards and for Best Original Soundtrack
by G4TV.

"We're proud to announce our partnership with illustrious composer Jesper Kyd,"
said Valerie Vickers, A&R/Licensing Manager for License To Thrill Music. "Renowned
for creating stylish and inspirational original soundtracks which help capture the
attention and imagination of millions worldwide, Jesper Kyd's music enhances epic
cinematic productions with emotional depth and immersion."

License License To Thrill Music features a boutique roster of imaginative-thinking
artists and uniquely identifiable music that inspires and transcends a company or
brand's messaging. The team behind License To Thrill Music has worked on platinum
selling records, films, #1 hit singles and critically acclaimed album releases by
some of the biggest names in music, spanning a period of over 25 years in the music
business with innovative artists such as Bjork, The Cure, Kraftwerk and Happy Mondays,
and a decade of interactive entertainment marketing for global markets promoting
soundtracks from the world's top video game companies including Microsoft, Sony
and Ubisoft. For more information please visit

All names of companies and products mentioned herein are the trademarks of their
respective owners.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


From Costa Communications:-

REPRISE RECORDS TO RELEASE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK TO FEATURE FILM BOOK OF ELI ON JANUARY 12th, 2010 Soundtrack to Post-Apocalyptic Drama Features Original Score by Nine Inch Nails Collaborator Atticus Ross

Reprise Records will release the original motion picture soundtrack to the Hughes Brothers-directed feature film Book Of Eli on January 12th, 2010 — three days before the film hits theaters nationwide on January 15th, 2010.

The Book of Eli Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features an original score by composer/musician/producer Atticus Ross, marking his third collaboration with the Hughes Brothers and his first feature film score. Ross’ music is a unique hybrid score of electronic and organic elements; writing with his wife (Claudia Sarne) and brother (Leopold Ross), the basic tracks were recorded at his studio in Los Angeles before departing to London where it was finished in Abbey Road Studios with a full 80 piece orchestra.Ross’ other film credits include co-writing and producing “Go All the Way (Into the Twilight),” the Perry Ferrell single for the hit film Twilight, the score for the Allen Hughes’ vignette for the film New York, I Love You, as well as the music to the Hughes Brothers TV show 'Touching Evil" . Ross has also incorporated his musical style into collaborations and productions of such major artists as NIN (the albums With Teeth, Year Zero, The Slip, and the Grammy-nominated Ghosts), Jane's Addiction, and Korn.

The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, and Gary Oldman in a post-apocalyptic tale in which a lone man, Eli (Washington), fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. The soundtrack will be released in four configurations: standard CD, a digital version available through all digital service providers, and a special exclusive iTunes edition that will feature a remixed track by Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio). A vinyl version will be released in February. Book of Eli is being distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures.

The track-listing for The Book of Eli Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is as follows: Panoramic
The Journey
AmenThe ConvoySolara ViolatedSafeHumanMeant to be SharedThe PassengerDen of ViceGattlingBlind FaithConvoy DestructMovementCarnegie's DemiseThe Purpose

Monday, December 07, 2009


Music by Jerry Goldsmith
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1109 (US)
33 Tracks 69:13 mins

This limited edition release of 3000 units pairs two very different scores from different time periods by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith. Both scores clock in at under 40 minutes, so La-La Land Records has done us all a big favour by pairing them on one disc, rather than releasing them separately.
By the '90s, Goldsmith was tiring of writing music for serious subjects, often in the sci-fi/fantasy genre and so he and his agent, Richard Kraft set about trying to find more interesting movies to try for. The many varied projects that followed produced arguably some of his weakest work and often disappointed his loyal fans. 1994's I.Q., an inoffensive piece of fluff, starring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins and Walter Matthau (as Einstein no less), as so many of his projects of the time, failed to make much impact and, though his score for the film is never likely to be held in such esteem as his more serious works of the '60s, '70s and '80s, it is nevertheless entertaining enough, sporting a recurring solo violin variation on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," a '50s "doo-wop, doo-wop" motif, sung by female vocal group, and some lyrical, romantic string writing. All these elements play nicely off one another. Goldsmith, as was his practice throughout the preceding decade, incorporates electronics within his score, giving the music an ethereal, otherworldly element. Overall, it's a fun ride and well worth having in your Goldsmith collection, if only to demonstrate his versatility.
1966's Seconds, a sci-fi movie starring Rock Hudson is from perhaps the composer's most experimental and interesting period, before he found regular mainstream success in the following decade. His score for the film is a very different beast than the lightweight I.Q. There are no catchy motifs and melodies here. This is music more akin to his work on the much earlier Twilight Zone episodes, Freud and other assignments of the time, like The Illustrated Man and The Mephisto Waltz; challenging, but always compelling. Indeed, fans of his work will notice familiar elements like demonic fiddle playing, inventive string writing, both electric and pipe organs, spare harp playing and even a tender, though lonely, piano love theme - all very reminiscent of the composer's work of the time.
Unfortunately, the only source available for the Seconds score was the film's mono music stems, which means that some tracks contain "dialogue bleed," which fortunately is not too distracting, but unavoidable if the label was to present this much-requested score in its entirety.
Accompanying the disc is the usual splendid booklet, which features Jeff Bond's detailed notes on the films and their scores, accompanied by plenty of stills.
With already only 100 left, if you want one, I should get straight along to and order your copy before it's too late.


From Top Dollar PR:-

Ambient Electronica Score Composed and Produced by
Lance Hayes aka DJ Drunken Master


New York - December 7th, 2009 -Sumthing Else Music Works, through its licensing
relationship with Microsoft Game Studios, proudly presents Forza Motorsport® 3 Original
Soundtrack featuring the original music from the critically acclaimed racing game
developed exclusively for Xbox 360. Created by the veteran team at Turn 10 Studios
of Microsoft Game Studios, Forza Motorsport 3 unites the racing game genre, making
it possible for everyone to experience the thrill of the world's most exotic and
exquisite cars. Forza Motorsport 3 Original Soundtrack will release on Dec. 8 to
retail outlets through Sumthing Else Music Works,
and will be available for digital download on Sumthing Digital and iTunes®.

Forza Motorsport 3 Original Soundtrack includes 90 minutes of ambient electronica
music created by award-winning composer and producer Lance Hayes aka DJ Drunken
Master. The soundtrack features a broad range of music styles and overall chill
demeanor encompassing primarily electronica, ambient and downtempo with forays
into ambient breaks, illbient and acid jazz.

Composer Lance Hayes said, "This was truly a rare and amazing project to work on.
I knew it had to be perfect because this was Forza but we also agreed that it had
to be music that could stand on its own. We were looking for the right balance
of listen-ability and edge."

With breathtaking high-definition graphics and the most advanced vehicle performance
modeling in a video game, Forza Motorsport 3 includes a host of driving assists
and adjustable skill levels to make the game a gripping pick-up-and-play experience
for audiences of all ages and skill levels. For more information on Forza Motorsport
3, please visit

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video
game soundtracks, please visit and

Sunday, December 06, 2009


The Magic of Disney
Various Artists
Walt Disney Records VTDCD 969 (EU)
Disc 1 - 23 Tracks 71:34 mins
Disc 2 - 24 Tracks 71:55 mins

Released in good time for Christmas is this generous double-disc compilation, which is aimed squarely at the younger audience, largely featuring numbers from more recent Disney films, though there is a fair sprinkling of memorable songs from the studio's golden age, just to keep the older listeners, like myself, interested. Having said that, it is a shame that so many classic numbers are excluded in favour of modern fare; though some of it is worth checking out if you are unfamiliar with it, with Alan Menken and co-writers responsible for some pretty enjoyable tunes in their own right, and of course no collection of modern Disney music would be complete without Randy Newman's contributions. Surprisingly, there is also an instrumental from the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
The colourful accompanying booklet details each selection and its performer, along with character sketches from each featured film.
Disc One is enhanced, so if you pop it in your PC you can take a peek at the forthcoming The Princess And The Frog, the soundtrack to which (by Randy Newman) I shall be reviewing in due course.
Recommended (with reservations) as a great Christmas gift for the young 'uns.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Clint Eastwood Presents - The Dream's On Me (A Celebration of Johnny Mercer's Music)
Various Performers
Silva Screen Records SILCD1302 (UK)
18 Tracks

Marking the 100th anniversary of the great American songwriter Johnny Mercer's death, Turner Classic Movies presents the documentary Johnny Mercer "The Dream's On Me," which is presented by Clint Eastwood.
The soundtrack album, released by Silva Screen Records, features performances from the film, together with interpretations of his songs by the many varied talents of such as Queen Latifah, Jamie Cullum, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Bono, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Chet Baker, Dr. John and even Eastwood's only 13-year-old daughter Morgan. On top of all this, there is the premiere of a previously unreleased Bing Crosby recording of "Something's Gotta Give."
Of course, one album is insufficient to cover Mercer's long and distinguished output of more than 1,700 songs and seven Broadway shows. The great lyricist picked up no less than four Oscars for his songs, contributing to dozens of classic movies, and working with many top composers.
If you want to check out American songwriting at its best, pick up a copy of this fine album, which features familiar titles such as "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive," "Trave'lin' Light," "That Old Black Magic," "Blues in the Night," "Laura," "Dream," and "Skylark."
Order your copy, either on CD, or as a download, by going to