ScreenSounds

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

Sunday, May 30, 2010


CD REVIEW - WONDER WOMAN


Wonder Woman
Music by Christopher Drake
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1115 (US)
22 Tracks 53:47 mins

I very much enjoyed last year's DC animation Wonder Woman, and what made the film even more enjoyable was the strength of its accompanying score. You all know by now that I am not a lover of synths & samples, but if a composer has as much talent as Christopher Drake, he can make something special out of these limited resources, as was definitely the case here.
Drake first caught my ear with his music for another DC animation, 2008's Batman: Gotham Knight, and he also scored the first two Hellboy animations and, with these and Wonder Woman as calling cards, it should surely be only a matter of time before he breaks into features.
The Wonder Woman score has been available for download for a little while now but, knowing this CD version was in the works, I have been waiting as patiently as possible for its release and, so it's great to finally have it in my CD player.
The film, boasting an impressive voice cast including Keri Russell, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen, Oliver Platt, Rosario Dawson and David McCallum, was produced by Bruce Timm, whose original vision of the score was something along the lines of that provided by Queen for Flash Gordon. Fortunately, composer Drake convinced him otherwise, with the aid of a demo he produced for the opening battle.
Although he produced several themes for the various characters, it is his theme for Diana that receives most development, evolving eventually into the full-blown Wonder Woman theme by the end. For the theme (and at other times in the score) he utilises a solo female voice, appropriately representing the all-female Amazons, as well as providing a spiritual quality where needed.
The disc gets underway with the near 9 minute "The Battle/Origins," a sequence that gets the score off to an epic start. Opening with said solo female voice, it quickly becomes big and epic with choir, synths and percussion blending in an exciting action cue, which ebbs and flows with the events on screen, and includes rhythmic conflict, a powerful dark march, and weighty choral moments; the solo female returning to lead the choir into the big finale. It's all very impressive.
The brief "Sparring" follows, with its Asian-styled percussive action, and then the suitably villainous"Ares Imprisoned. The two-part "Dog Fight" returns us to the action, with suitably martial-styled accompaniment, as Steve Trevor makes the scene, culminating in his "Crash Landing" and subsequent "Manhunt," with its pounding tribal percussion.
Fanfares and chimes open the action of "Let The Games Begin," with Ares' theme returning in more triumphant mode in "Persphone's Betrayal." It's back to the games with "Bracelets and Arrows," with more fanfarish music giving way to proud nobility, as Diana earns her right to accompany Trevor to the world of men. She is soon made only too aware of the dangers there in the initially threatening "Alley Thugs," though, of course, the threat soon peters out.
"Deimos" presents more powerful and menacing rhythmic action writing, and leads to "At the Gates of Tartarus," with its eerie opening giving way to more of Ares' dark villainy, culminating in a tense and somewhat frantic climax. "Cept Hemo Laudus" continues darkly, with "Hades" just about as dark and threatening as one could wish for. By contrast, "Ospendale and Ares Rally" opens hopefully, but soon descends into the darkness again, martial drums signalling the onset of "DC Battle," the film's other big action set-piece, where the Amazons battle the invading forces of evil, their menacing music dominating early events, before Diana's theme gradually emerges , though not without some poignancy representing the fallen. "Ares' End" again starts with evil dominant, but some desperate conflict leads to final triumph and a soaring rendition of Diana's Theme.
Two brief cues close the score, the ultimately sunny "She Misses Him" and the initially menacing, then triumphant "A New Nemesis," with the "End Titles" offering a splendid recap of the composer's main thematic material to close the album in fine style.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful booklet, lavishly illustrated with stills from the film, and featuring Dan Goldwasser's notes on the film and its music, with contributions from the composer.
Limited to just 1200 units, if you like your scores writ large and heroic, I would urge you to get along to www.lalalandrecords.com/WonderWoman.html. Have a listen to the samples there if you have any doubts, and then snap up your copy before they are all gone.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


SILVA SCREEN RECORDS TO RELEASE REPO MEN


On the 31st of this month, Silva Screen Records are to release internationally (with the exception of North America) the song based soundtrack to Director Miguel Sapochnik’s bleak Sci-Fi Thriller, Repo Men, starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.

The selection of tracks was scrupulously chosen by Sapochnik to help propel the story and
define the characters. Set in a future where non-payment for replacement human organs can
result in a visit from the repossession men, this is a dark and gritty cinematic offering.

The soundtrack includes Rosemary Clooney’s mesmeric version of Sway, the joyful 54-46 Was
My Number by Toots And The Maytals, Moloko’s anthemic Sing It Back and Nina Simone’s
inspirational reading of Feeling Good.

The album also features new music from Dave Stewart (Love Lives) and a reinvention by RZA of the William Bell Stax classic Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday (alongside the super cool original).

Track Listing:

1. Sway - Rosemary Clooney with Perez Prado And His Orchestra 2:37
2. Release Yo' Delf (The Prodigy Remix) - Method Man 4:37
3. 54-46 Was My Number - Toots And The Maytals 3:10
4. Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday - William Bell 2:36
5. Feeling Good - Nina Simone 2:55
6. Sing It Back - Moloko 4:24
7. Nausea - Beck 2:55
8. Burn My Shadow - UNKLE feat. Ian Astbury 4:56
9. Love Lives - Dave Stewart 4:32
10. Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday (RZA Remix) - William Bell 3:31
11. Dream A Little Dream Of Me - The Mamas And The Papas 3:12
12. Repo Mambo - Marco Beltrami 2:29

Repo Men (cat. no. SILCD1324) will be available as a CD or digital download from www.silvascreenmusic.com.


Friday, May 28, 2010


CD REVIEW - MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME


Well, I'm still waiting on that call, but a scan did quarantine one bug and my PC behaved perfectly yesterday, so maybe the panic is over. Anyway, for now, I'm ploughing on.


Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Music by Maurice Jarre
Tadlow Music TADLOW009 (UK)
Disc 1 - 22 Tracks 62:08 mins Disc 2 - 13 Tracks 60:03 mins

A bigger budget doesn't always make for a better film and, after the first two successful outings for Mel Gibson's Mad Max character, the third in the series Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, proved a big disappointment to this writer, plus many Mad Max fans in general.
The publicity virtually ignored Gibson in favour of the casting of Tina Turner as the villain of the piece and the soundtrack album was always going to be largely devoted to her, even though some 25 minutes of Maurice Jarre's underscore was included, in the form of one theme and two lengthy suites. My trouble is, a suite has to be really engaging for me to stick with it, and I didn't find this to be the case with these selections. Therefore, my copy of the album was quickly disposed of.
Of course, the choice of Jarre for this film was always controversial in any case, with Brian May, composer for the first two Mad Max films, shamefully overlooked. Not that Jarre's efforts are without merit, because nobody scored desert-set projects quite like the late French composer.
Now, after all these years, his efforts for the film are finally properly recognised, with this splendid two-disc set from Tadlow Music, the second recent Jarre revival from the label, following its release of Lion of the Desert/The Messenger. At last, we can hear how the composer's score was used in the film, with the complete 80-minute-plus score being presented on disc one and concluding on disc two, with bonus alternate takes, the original album tracks and even bonus overdub and effects tracks. There's also a re-recorded version of "I Ain't Captain Walker," performed by Tadlow's orchestra and choir of choice, The City of Prague Philharmonic and Crouch End Festival Chorus.
Featuring an orchestra of more than 100 players, supplemented by Didgeridoo and the, often overused at the time, but used sparingly and intelligently here, Ondes Martenot, the album opens with the "Original Main Title Music," which, after a brief opening fanfare and a snatch of the "Max's Theme," performed by children's choir, becomes quite intense and menacing. The Didgeridoo makes its first appearance in "Max's Theme - The Desert," which manages a suitably desolate and eerie feel. There's more menace in "Bartertown Theme," with its rhythmic metallic percussion, which appears again in "Accents 2 Suspense;" "Heartbeat/Pigrock;" and "The Discovery," the latter two, with a poppy feel, including a sleazy sax lead. A march-like motif opens "Master Blaster/The Manipulator/Embargo/Entity Humiliated," before suspense sets in.
The brassy fanfare that opens the album returns fully developed at the start of "Thunderdome," before the cue goes briefly circusy, with a kind of death march leading us to more dramatic matters and some desperate conflict, ending with a return to the opening music. "Darkness/Gulag" follows, with a plaintive theme struggling to be heard above more dark and dramatic sounds.
A feeling of doom and desolation opens "Master in Underworld/Desert Hallucinating," before the metallic percussion briefly returns, the music travelling onward, only to be interrupted by some more menacing Didgeridoo-lead sounds. The dark "Magical," with its heavy male choir, follows, though the cue lightens up considerably to travel towards a hopeful conclusion. "Children's Theme" is largely a joyous, percussive affair, and is followed by "Ceremony," which is at first similarly percussive, but ends quite tenderly. "Confusion" follows chaotically, and then "The Telling/ I Ain't Captain Walker" develops from a hesitant start to an ethereal statement of "Max's Theme," before continuing turbulently and, at times, quite triumphantly.
"Tyrant" is a mixed bag, with menace, drama and sympathy in equal measures; whilst "The Leaving" is a largely hopeful affair, but not without drama, and a little poignancy. The penultimate track on disc one, "Underworld Takeover" also offers a mix of drama and triumph, with also a mysterious and beautiful passage for Ondes Martenot; which also features in the final cue, "Arrival," that ends ominously, foreshadowing events yet to unfold on disc two.
"Max and Savannah Escape" opens said disc in menacing then suspenseful fashion, before a brief moment of triumph, which soon gives way to more menacing material, before a triumphant ending. "Boarding the Train" follows in suitably propulsive fashion, with some conflict before another triumphant close. Organ adds to the weighty, doom-laden feel of "Bartertown Destruction," with action all the way in the lengthy, drums-heavy "The Big Chase!"
"Epilogue" briefly continues in the same vein, before a mournful passage leads to another beautiful Ondes Martenot solo, which is joined by full orchestra to provide a big, satisfying conclusion.
I must say that I was not looking forward to covering this one, based on my experience of the original album but, hearing the score presented as it should be heard, was something of a revelation, and I'm glad that I was given the opportunity to revisit it.
The accompanying booklet features Eric Lichtenfeld's notes on the film and its score, plus album producer James Fitzpatrick's account of how the score tracks came to be rescued, from the sadly no longer with us CTS Studios, and finally presented here.
Go to www.tadlowmusic.com, where you can hear samples and then order your copy of this lovingly produced limited edition double album.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


SILVA SCREEN RECORDS RELEASE IT'S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE




On 31st May, Silva Screen Records will release internationally (but excluding India) the song based soundtrack to the new hilarious, Gurinder (Bend It Like Beckham)
Chadha British horror comedy It's A Wonderful Afterlife.

Set in the Asian community and with a distinctive flavour of the classic Ealing comedies, the
film tells the hilarious story of a matchmaking mother who becomes a serial killer to protect
her neglected daughter from suitors.

"Not since John Waters brought us “Serial Mom” has there been such an inventive female
murderer. In It’s A Wonderful Afterlife, Mrs Sethi kills by tandoori kebabing, suffocation by
naan bread and force-feeding her victims vindaloos until they explode… As a headline in the
film notes: Korma blimey”.
- The Times

The soundtrack brings together a rich collection of sounds by popular British Asian and
bhangra artists. It includes music from MOBO award winner Panjabi MC with a different take
on the classic A-Team theme as well as Bally Sagoo’s clever new desi slant on the Bee Gees
anthem Stayin’ Alive. Other highlights include Taz from the group Stereo Nation, It’s Love with
soul diva Mica Paris and Black’s 1980s anthemic smash Wonderful Life.

“The audio track is indeed a winner. Directed by Bally Sagoo and Sukhwinder, the music of the
film is a vibrant mish-mash of bhangra, pop, hip hop and English songs too to appeal to the
Indian diaspora. Watch out for the Sukhwinder and Rahat Fateh Ali number.”
- The Times of India

Track Listing:
1. Panjabi Soldiers A Team Theme 3:57
2. Bhangra Chic 4:19
3. So Real So Right 3:49
4. Larl Larl Beleeya 4:31
5. Do The Nach 4:03
6. Wonderful Life 4:59
7. It's Love (Piano Version) 6:35
8. Disco Bhangra 3:12
9. Crazee 4:01
10. Madhaniyan Nikkiyei 5:08
11. Ghum Suhm Ghum Suhm 5:50
12. Stayin' Alive Desified 4:31
13. It's Love 4:02
14. Ghosts Of Ealing 2:26

It's A Wonderful Afterlife (cat.no. SILCD1327) can be ordered as a CD or digital download from www.silvascreenmusic.com.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NEWS FROM CINEMEDIA


From CineMedia:-


LIONSGATE MAKES A SPLASH INTO SUMMER WITH THE RELEASE OF KILLERS SOUNDTRACK

This summer's 'must have' soundtrack features songs by Macy Gray, Salvador
Santana, Faces, Rox and Nikki & Rich

Downloadable from Lionsgate Music on June 1

(May 26, 2010- Santa Monica, CA) - LIONSGATE (NYSE: LGF), the leading next
generation studio, announces the release of Killers Soundtrack, available
digitally for $9.99 from Lionsgate Music on June 1, 2010, timed to the June
4th theatrical release of the film. The action-packed romantic comedy,
Killers, is directed by Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth, 21)
and stars Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. The soundtrack boasts a lineup
that matches the film's exuberant spirit, including a new song from Grammy
AwardR winner Macy Gray and a whimsical score by Rolfe Kent (Up in The Air,
Sideways).

After selling more than 15 million albums worldwide, Macy Gray returns with
"Beauty In The World," her anticipated first new single in three years. "I
love Ashton and Katherine and I am thrilled that my new song "Beauty In The
World" is in their new movie, Killers. It's a big summer song for a big
summer movie," said Gray.

Other songs on the soundtrack include, Salvador Santana's bouncy and fun
"Under The Sun," as well as the new track from neo-soul media darlings Nikki
& Rich titled "Cat and Mouse." Soul and R&B inflections turn into fun romps
with debut tracks from Britain's Rox ("I Don't Believe") and the Brooklyn
based Menahan Street Band ("Montego Sunset"), while Vanessa
Contenay-Quinones, lead singer of France's Vanessa and The O's, delivers her
first solo single ("Bon Bon Bon"). Electronica duo Bitter:Sweet tease with
the beautiful "A Moment," and classic rock group Faces contribute their hit
"Ooh La La." Rounding out the album is original score from acclaimed
composer Rolfe Kent. "The Killers soundtrack showcases the romantic upbeat
vibe of the film, and we are thrilled to have assembled such a strong
collection of songs from established and emerging artists including Macy
Gray, Salvador Santana and Nikki & Rich," said Tracy McKnight, Head of Film
Music for Lionsgate.

The score takes you on a fun, flirty and mysterious journey from exotic
locales, to the comforts of the suburbs, through the thrilling twists and
turns of Killers. Kent has written music for more than thirty films
including the Golden GlobeR nominated score for Sideways, as well as the
highly regarded scores for About Schmidt, Election, Mean Girls, Nurse Betty,
Legally Blonde, Wedding Crashers, Thank You For Smoking, The Men Who Stare
At Goats, and Up in the Air. In 2007, Kent received an Emmy AwardR
nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music for the Showtime series
"Dexter."


To purchase the Killers Soundtrack, go to:

http://music.lionsgate.com/killers


Killers Soundtrack


Following is a complete track listing:


1. Beauty In The World / Macy Gray

2. Under The Sun / Salvador Santana

3. Cat and Mouse / Nikki & Rich

4. Ooh La La / Faces

5. A Moment / Bitter:Sweet

6. I Don't Believe / Rox

7. Bon Bon Bon / Vanessa Contenay-Quinones

8. Montego Sunset / Menahan Street Band

9. Scuba Sneak and Shopping *

10. I'm Gonna Kill Him *

11. Even The UPS Guy *

12. Arriving In Nice *

13. Falling In Bed *

14. Elevator Attraction *

15. New Home Office *

16. Killers Suite *

*Original Score by Rolfe Kent


About Killers

Trying to recover from a sudden break-up, Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl)
believes she'll never fall in love again. But when she reluctantly joins her
parents on a trip to the French Riviera, Jen happens to meet the man of her
dreams, the dashing, handsome Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Three years
later, her seemingly impossible wish has come true: she and Spencer are
newlyweds living the ideal suburban life - that is, until the morning after
Spencer's 30th birthday when bullets start flying. Literally.

It turns out Spencer never bothered to tell Jen he was once an international
super-spy, and now Jen's perfect world has been turned upside down. Faced
with the fact that her husband is a hit man, Jen is determined to discover
what other secrets Spencer might be keeping - all the while trying to dodge
bullets, keep up neighborly appearances, manage the in-laws.and work out
some major trust issues.

And you thought suburban life was easy.

Starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, directed by Robert Luketic from
a screenplay by Bob DeRosa and T.M. Griffin and story by Bob DeRosa,
Lionsgate's Killers is a hilarious, unpredictable romantic comedy about
love, marriage and serious firepower. Lionsgate presents an Aversano Films
and Katalyst Films and Lionsgate production.

www.killersfilm.com

About Lionsgate

Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF - News) is the leading next generation studio with a
strong and diversified presence in the production and distribution of motion
pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment,
video-on-demand and digitally delivered content. The Company has built a
strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast
network series, distribution and syndication of programming through
Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has
nearly 20 shows on 10 different networks spanning its prime time production,
distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed
hits as "Mad Men," "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with new series such as
"Blue Mountain State" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House of
Payne," its spinoff "Meet The Browns" and "The Wendy Williams Show."

Its feature film business has generated such recent hits as Tyler Perry's
Why Did I Get Married Too?, the action film Kick-Ass, which opened at #1 at
the North American box office and the critically-acclaimed Precious, which
has garnered nearly $50 million at the North American box office and won two
Academy AwardsR. The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more
than 7% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD revenue
conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of
approximately 12,000 motion picture and television titles that is an
important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the
growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains
synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around
the world.









NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR

I'm still waiting for that call. My PC has been behaving itself, so maybe the bug has gone. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm carrying on - until something else happens! So here's some news.

From Top Dollar PR:-


BRITISH ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER
JASON GRAVES SCORES CITY OF HEROES GOING ROGUE(TM)


Thematic Orchestral Score Immerses Heroes and Villains in
Expanded Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Raleigh, NC - May 26th, 2010 - Award-winning composer Jason Graves has created a
thematic orchestral score for City of Heroes Going Rogue(TM), the new expansion
to the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) City of Heroes®
based on the superheroic comic book genre. Classically trained and renowned for
his sophisticated orchestral music, Graves composed memorable superheroic themes
to immerse players in the alternative world known as Praetoria. The score reflects
the game's new alignment system allowing players' characters to shift allegiances
between Heroes and Villains. Developed by Paragon Studios and published by NCsoft,
City of Heroes Going Rogue(TM) will be released exclusively for the PC in July 2010.

"With very little direction, Jason was able to anticipate the needs of our project
and deliver a score which far exceeded our expectations," said Adam Kay, Audio Director
at Paragon Studios. "Jason provided a soundtrack which feels contemporary while
still being firmly rooted in the tradition of action film music. Juxtaposing themes
provide contrast and variation capable of underscoring far more than the sum of
total minutes delivered. Mostly, though, it just kicks ass!"

"Adam and I worked on our first title together a few years ago and we really hit
it off," commented Jason Graves. "When he called with another opportunity to collaborate,
this time on a superheroic title, I couldn't wait to get started! I'm especially
excited about the main theme, "Welcome To Nova Praetoria," which immediately establishes
the Going Rogue concept of choosing your side and even switching sides during the
game. The theme progresses through variations of good and evil before eventually
arriving at an enigmatic and unresolved conclusion. That was my way of musically
illustrating that the final decision is really up to the player."
City of Heroes Going Rogue(TM), the first City of Heroes® expansion since the launch
of City of Villains®, opens the mirror universe of Praetoria, whose bright utopian
faÇade hides dark secrets. As you investigate this brave new world, searching for
the truth behind Emperor Cole and his Praetorian guard, brutal foes and fierce allies
emerge, turning this illusory paradise into an urban battlefield. City of Heroes
Going Rogue adds the Rogue and Vigilante game alignments, enabling you to explore
the shades of gray that lie between Heroes and Villains. For the first time in any
super-powered MMOG, your character's moral choices affect gameplay experience and
determine your character's ultimate destiny. For more information about the game
visit http://goingrogue.na.cityofheroes.com.

About Jason Graves

Jason Graves is a British Academy Award-winning composer who has brought his passion
for music to video game franchises such as DEAD SPACE (EA), STAR TREK (Bethesda),
SILENT HUNTER (Ubisoft) and COMMAND AND CONQUER (EA). His Hollywood expertise allows
him to move effortlessly between film, television and games, and he is renowned
worldwide for his cinematic, immersive and award-winning music.
Jason's diverse musical background as a classically-trained composer, jazz drummer,
keyboardist, guitarist and world percussionist allow him to expertly compose in
many different genres of music. As a result, his game credits alone include more
than eighty titles, ranging from electronic and rock to full symphonic scores.
He performs world percussion and guitar on many of his own tracks and has conducted
and recorded his live orchestral scores at Air Studios London, Capitol Records,
Paramount Pictures, Skywalker Sound, and with the Seattle and Salt Lake City Philharmonic
orchestras.
Jason's music has also been honored with three Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences
Award (AIAS) nominations, winning "Outstanding Achievement in Audio" for DEAD SPACE.
He has received seventeen G.A.N.G. nominations and four wins, including "Audio of
the Year" for DEAD SPACE, "Best Original Theme" nominations for STAR TREK: LEGACY
and BLAZING ANGELS 2 and "Music of the Year" nominations for DEAD SPACE and KING
ARTHUR. Jason Graves is represented by the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency. For more
information visit http://www.jasongraves.com.

City of Heroes, City of Villains, City of Heroes Going Rogue, Paragon Studios, NCsoft,
the Interlocking NC Logo, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks or registered
trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


CD REVIEW - SPEECHLESS


This may be my last review for a few days, as I've been battling a nasty bug on my PC and it seems to have gotten the better of me. Now, I'm just waiting on a call to see if it can be fixed and how long it may take, so please bear with me. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Anyway, on to the review:-

Speechless
Music by Marc Shaiman
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1126 (US)
14 Tracks 46:33 mins

Speechless is a 1994 romcom starring Michael Keaton and Geena Davis, set in the political world.
The film is an early outing for Marc Shaiman but, already with two Addams Family movies and two City Slickers under his belt, he was off to a flying start and, having worked successfully on director Ron Underwood's Heart and Souls, it was only natural they should team up again.
Shaiman's fast-paced main theme opens the score in "Prelude/Nytol" and its busy feel easily brings to mind the political jungle the characters inhabit. A slower, whimsical variant of the theme ends the track. This theme is to appear in variations throughout the score, driving the action forward, often accompanied by castanets, representing the film's New Mexico setting. "In Action" presents a particularly dynamic version, whilst the theme receives more whimsical variations in the likes of "Debater Be Good" and "Kevin Freaks;" still other tracks like "Mass Debater/Post/Cologne Again" find room for both approaches.
By contrast, there's a warm and tender romantic theme, which makes its presence felt in the likes of "Set a Date," "Walking" and "Fountain."
Another theme, representing the "Chuck & Eddie show that the Keaton character used to write, also appears, firstly in Dixieland style in "Chuck & Eddie Playoff" and then in more subdued form in "C & E Ya See Timmy."
The final cue "Kevin Blows It/The Truth Hurts/Big Finish" brings all the main themes together to conclude the score in satisfying style.
Shaiman has over the years often proved unequalled in his ability to write this kind of light and entertaining score, and I'm so pleased that La-La Land Records have chosen to preserve it for posterity.
Accompanying the CD is the usual high quality booklet, with Randall D. Larson's notes on the film, its composer and score, including the ever valuable cue-by-cue guide; all accompanied by a selection of colour stills.
This release is limited to just 1200 units, so you'd best hurry along for your copy to www.lalalandrecords.com/Speechless.html, where you can first listen to some samples if you wish.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


CD REVIEW - CENTURION


Centurion
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
MovieScore Media MMS 10009
19 Tracks 45:20 mins

Ilan Eshkeri has been making considerable inroads into the film scoring world in recent times, with fine works of the likes of Stardust and The Young Victoria, and he also contributed to one of my favourite films this years, Kick Ass. His latest is for Neil Marshall's Centurion, which purports to reveal the fate of the Roman Ninth Legion, which mysteriously disappeared when sent north to wipe out the Picts. The film concentrates on a small platoon, who evade the massacre that ensues, and their struggle to stay ahead of their Pictish pursuers.
Eshkeri provides a large orchestral score, performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, and recorded at the famous Abbey Road but, as a result of the composer's extensive research into Celtic music, he also incorporates the likes of the Carnyx, an unusual Scottish instrument, and the more familiar Bodhran, whilst basing his themes on folk songs from the Scottish Isles.
The opening title track starts mysteriously with distant female voice and ominous rumblings, before developing into a purposeful horns and strings-lead theme. The first of several tracks follows in the barbaric and powerful "Fort Attack." "The Ninth Ride Out" to a persistent drum beat, with threatening undertones, before a variant on the main theme is reintroduced. There's more thunderous action in "Quintus Escapes," but "Arianne" then provides a moment of tranquil beauty. The peace is however soon shattered with "The Ninth March On" continuing powerfully on their way, pausing for a brief mystic interlude, with whispered vocals, before continuing in more subdued fashion. "The General Falls" finds suitably tragic strings rising to an agonising crescendo, before yet more propulsive action opens "On the Run," which then takes a suspenseful turn. "The Village" is a nervy affair, and is followed by "The Funeral," with its mystical female vocal; whilst it's back to the action with the pounding opening to "She Wolf (Etain)," before the tragic strings return to lead us to another big crescendo and beyond.
There's more mysticism in "A Sacred Rite," with "We are the Prey," slowly building on the drums to a strident conclusion. "Waterfall" opens eerily, before the music rushes to another mini-crescendo; taking flight thereafter, ever more frantically. Again, a tranquil moment appears in "Necromancer," with the harp-lead music of "Arianne" returning, before a Bodhran solo opens "Wolves," leading to eerie dissonance thereafter.
As one would expect from its title, there's action all the way in "Battle at the Fort," leading to the penultimate track, the fragile "Quintus Returns." The elegiac strings of "Fate of the Ninth" close the score in mournful style.
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/centurion.html for samples, a trailer for the film, and for details as to how to obtain your copy of the score on CD or as a digital download.

Friday, May 21, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE


The Poseidon Adventure
Music by John Williams
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1133 (US)
28 Tracks 60:39 mins

What? I hear you ask. Like another recent La-La Land release, Batman, hasn't The Poseidon Adventure already been released by Film Score Monthly? Well, yes, it has, but this is the first time the complete score has been presented in stereo. Not only that but, there's 25 extra minutes of material included here in the form of alternate takes and source tracks, the most important inclusion being the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After," sung by Maureen McGovern, which went on to become a gold record. But the original film version was sung by Renee Armand and is rightfully included here also. Of course McGovern went on to collaborate again with the same songwriters (Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn) on another Oscar winner "We May Never Love Like This Again" from "The Towering Inferno," also scored by John Williams, and also on the the composer's love theme "Can You Read My Mind?" from Superman.
As for Williams' score for The Poseidon Adventure, well, it's fair to say that it has never been a favourite of mine, with its grim, questing main theme being the best known component. But the sparse and difficult nature of the score perfectly suits the ordeal the survivors have to undertake to reach safety and the surface, and it is an important score, being the first in a number of disaster movies the composer scored; my favourite of his works in the genre being for The Towering Inferno; and, whilst the score looks back on past work for the likes of Lost in Space, it also foreshadows more important works to come throughout the next decade or so.
Accompanying the disc is La-La Land's usual high quality booklet, with Jeff Bond's detailed notes on the film and its music, included the always invaluable cue-by-cue guide, all liberally illustrated with colour stills from the movie.
Unfortunately this 3000 units limited edition is sold out at the label's website, so you may have to shop around for any remaining copies. In the meantime, you can hear samples of the album at www.lalalandrecords.com/PoseidonAdventure.html.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


SILVA SCREEN TO RELEASE 100 GREATEST FILM THEMES - TAKE TWO


On 31st of this month, Silva Screen Records are to release a huge six-disc collection entitled 100 Greatest Film Themes - Take Two. This is the fifth release in the label's "100" series and encompasses 70 years of film music - from the very early days right up until the present day. For UK cinemagoers, it even finds room for the familiar Pearl & Dean advertising theme Asteroid.

The full track listing is as follows:-

Disc 1
1. Pearl & Dean Theme - Asteroid
2. Citizen Kane - Overture
3. Laura - Laura
4. Touch Of Evil - Touch Of Evil
5. Vertigo - Scene D’Amour
6. La Dolce Vita - La Dolce Vita
7. West Side Story - America
8. Miss Marple - The Miss Marple Theme
9. Lolita - Lolita Ya Ya
10. How The West Was Won - Prelude
11. Dr. No - James Bond Theme
12. From Russia With Love - From Russia With Love
13. A Shot In The Dark - A Shot In The Dark
14. Zulu - Theme/Isandhlwana
15. The Sandpiper - The Shadow Of Your Smile
16. The Sound Of Music - The Sound Of Music

Disc 2
1. Born Free - Born Free
2. A Man And A Woman - A Man And A Woman
3. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - The Ecstasy Of Gold
4. The Odd Couple - The Odd Couple
5. Rosemary’s Baby - Lullaby
6. M.A.S.H. - Suicide Is Painless
7. Shaft - Shaft
8. The Godfather - The Godfather Waltz
9. The Way We Were - The Way We Were
10. Blazing Saddles - Blazing Saddles
11. Murder On The Orient Express - Waltz
12. Chinatown - Chinatown
13. The Conversation - Theme
14. The Towering Inferno - The Towering Inferno
15. A Star Is Born - Evergreen
16. Halloween - Main Theme
17. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - The Imperial March

Disc 3
1. Airplane! - Airplane!
2. On Golden Pond - Suite
3. Conan The Barbarian - Anvil Of Crom
4. Blade Runner - Blade Runner
5. Scarface - Tony’s Theme
6. Gremlin’s - Suite
7. Once Upon A Time In America - Once Upon A Time In America
8. Beverly Hills Cop - Axel F
9. Ghostbusters - Ghostbusters
10. The Terminator - The Terminator
11. The Color Purple - Finale
12. Rambo: First Blood Part 2 - Rambo: First Blood Part 2
13. The Goonies - Theme And Jailbreak
14. Platoon - Adagio For Strings
15. Highlander - Training Montage
16. Top Gun - Top Gun Anthem

Disc 4
1. Robocop - Rock Shop/Home/Van Chase/The Dream
2. Predator - Predator
3. The Last Emperor - The Last Emperor
4. Willow - Willow
5. Dead Poets Society - Dead Poets Society
6. Miller’s Crossing - End Credits
7. The Young Americans - Play Dead
8. Forrest Gump - End Titles
9. The Lion King - This Land
10. Pulp Fiction - Misirlou
11. Legends Of The Fall - Legends Of The Fall
12. Judge Dredd - Suite
13. Romeo + Juliet - O Verona
14. Austin Powers - Soul Bossa Nova
15. Armageddon - Harry & Greg/Launch
16. Shakespeare In Love – Suite
17. Meet Joe Black – Whisper Of A Thrill

Disc 5
1. The Matrix - Anything Is Possible
2. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - Duel Of The Fates
3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/The Eternal Vow
4. Requiem For A Dream - Winter - Lux Aeterna
5. Cast Away - Cast Away
6. Artificial Intelligence: AI - Where Dreams Are Born
7. Amelie - La Valse D’Amelie
8. Enigma - Enigma
9. Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones - Across The Stars
10. Road To Perdition - Road To Perdition
11. Solaris - Don’t Blow It
12. 28 Days Later - In The House In A Heartbeat
13. X2: X-Men United - Suite
14. Kill Bill - Battle Without Honor Or Humanity
15. Finding Neverland - Impossible Opening
16. Crash - A Sense Of Touch
17. The Bourne Supremacy - To The Roof

Disc 6
1. Fantastic Four - Fantastic Four
2. Pride And Prejudice - Dawn/Georgiana
3. Atonement - Elegy For Dunkirk
4. Sunshine - Adagio In E Minor
5. Wall-E - Wall-E
6. The Dark Knight - Aggressive Expansion
7. Iron Man - Driving With The Top Down
8. Cloverfield - Roar!
9. Slumdog Millionaire - Latika’s Theme
10. Twilight - Lullaby
11. Revolutionary Road - End Credits
12. Valkyrie - They’ll Remember You
13. Star Trek - Hella Bar Talk/Enterprising Young Men
14. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen - Prime/I Rise, You Fall
15. Moon - Welcome To Lunar Industries
16. The Twilight Saga – New Moon - The Meadow
17. Avatar - War

Seems like something for everyone there - and would make a nice little present for a youngster you may be keen on introducing to the wonderful world of soundtrack collecting, or even someone older who may have a passing interest in music for the cinema.

Will be available from www.silvascreenmusic.com.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


From Costa Communications:-

COMPOSER

CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ’s

MUSIC IS GOING TO THE DOGS

LENNERTZ SCORES MARMADUKE WITH CATS AND DOGS 2 TO FOLLOW

LENNERTZ SCORING LOONEY TUNES FIRST 3D ANIMATED SHORTS

(Los Angeles, CA) Award-winning composer CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ scores Fox’s MARMADUKE, a family comedy, directed by Tom Dey (FAILURE TO LAUNCH) and starring the voices of Owen Wilson, Fergie and George Lopez. The film is based on the beloved comic strip appearing in 600 newspapers in over 20 countries, MARMADUKE’s leap to big-screen stardom sees the world’s most lovable Great Dane moving to Southern California, where the “Duke” is livin’ large and enjoying new adventures. After completing MARMADUKE, Lennertz went on to score Warner Bros’ sequel CATS AND DOGS: REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE. Lennertz is currently scoring three 3D animated shorts for Warner Bros; the first features the beloved Looney Tunes characters Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner. For all his recent projects, Lennertz incorporated a full-orchestra. For the Looney tunes shorts, his style is reminiscent of the classic cartoons of the 40s and 50s. MARMADUKE opens June 4th. On July 30th, Christopher Lennertz will receive a double-billing when CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE screens with Looney Tunes’ 3D animated short COYOTE FALLS both scored by Lennertz. Both MARMADUKE and CATS AND DOGS 2 will be released on Varese Saraband.

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, which he recorded in Hollywood with an 80 piece orchestra. Additional film, TV and videogame credits include: SOUL PLANE (collaborating with RZA from the 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 a new videogame project and The Concert for Haiti -- An orchestral concert piece combining original Lennertz music with many other leading film composers.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


CD REVIEW - INDEPENDENCE DAY


Independence Day
Music by David Arnold
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1113 (US)
Disc 1 - 22 Tracks 65:31 mins Disc 2 20 Tracks 63:34 mins

It's not often I can feel thoroughly spoilt by what's come my way but, after yesterday's review of the timeless classic score by Dimitri Tiomkin for The Alamo, today I can turn my attention to a modern classic, David Arnold's score for 1996's Independence Day, Emmerich and Devlin's blockbuster alien invasion movie, which may today have it's critics, but which was a huge box office success at the time and remains a great popcorn movie that I'm not ashamed to say is still one of my favourite good time watches.
Enterprising label La-la Land Records were of course responsible for bringing us the much requested score for composer David Arnold's last collaboration with Emmerich and Devlin, Godzilla, a film that sadly just didn't quite work. That score was given a deluxe double CD presentation and now, I'm very pleased to say the same label has given Independence Day the same treatment. Unlike Godzilla, however, there was a score album put out at the time of the movie, which was a very enjoyable listen, but was a hurried effort which, whilst covering many key moments in the score, was missing the film version of the climactic battle and also the finale, and included the original opening track of the score, before Emmerich had Arnold tone it down a little. Now, at long last we have the complete score, as heard in the film, plus, on disc two, a whole range of alternate takes, including the album tracks not included in the finished score, as well as a good number of cues that Arnold was asked to re-score.
Accompanying the music is a splendid 20-page booklet, lavishly illustrated, and featuring Dan Goldwasser's detailed notes on the film and its music, with contributions by composer Arnold, producer Dean Devlin and recording engineer Dennis Sands, and these notes reveal just what a challenging assignment this was for Arnold, who was holed up in a makeshift studio in a hotel room desperately trying to finish the huge amount of music required before the July 4th (when else?) deadline.
Sometimes great work is produced under the most difficult of circumstances, and this was certainly the case here, for whatever the critics may say about the film, they certainly can't deny the effectiveness of its score and the wealth of great themes the composer came up with for it: like Tiomkin with The Alamo, Arnold practically threw the kitchen sink at it.
Today's action fare, whilst undeniably containing a good deal of exciting action music, seldom has any great thematic material to latch on to but, in Independence day, one great theme follows another; the principal themes being the relentless, all-conquering theme for the aliens; its counterpart, a noble and heroic theme associated with the indomitable spirit of the surviving people of Earth; a charming love theme, with an action variant, for Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox's characters; another, bittersweet, romantic theme for U.S. President Bill Pullman and his wife, the ill-fated Mary McDonnell; and finally, a splendidly heroic and exciting victory theme. All the major themes come together quite splendidly in the lengthy "End Credits" suite, which makes for a great concert piece. But, along the way, there's plenty more to enjoy, and although Arnold himself may prefer the quieter moments, I'd especially pick out his outstanding action writing for cues like "Base Attack," and of course those making up the thrilling finale.
I still can't believe what a great week this has been for a veteran soundtrack collector like myself. And if you're new to the game, you can't go far wrong by investing in both The Alamo and Independence Day, both fine examples of film scoring through the ages.
Limited to 5000 units, which are sure to go fast, you can order your copy of Independence Day from www.lalalandrecords.com/IndependenceDay.html, where you can first listen to samples if you wish.

Monday, May 17, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE ALAMO


The Alamo
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Conducted by Nic Raine
Prometheus Records XPCD 168
Disc 1 - 22 Tracks 58:48 mins Disc 2 - 19 Tracks 58:18 mins Disc 3 - 16 Tracks 47:16 mins

When I first publicised this album, I described it as the film music event of the year - in fact, any year - and now this impressive 3-disc set is to hand, I certainly see no reason to change my opinion.
The Alamo was one of the first films ever to make an impression on me, musically, that is; and through my childhood I re-enacted the climactic battle many a time with my model soldiers, all the while accompanying the action with Dimitri Tiomkin's music, which just seemed to lodge in my head, even after a very few screenings - so impressive was his music for the final assault in the film.
As I grew older, I would not tire of watching the movie every time it received a TV airing, and grew to appreciate the score even more. Needless to say, the soundtrack album was one of my first purchases when I began to seriously collect film scores. Being a big John Wayne fan, I was always moved by Davy Crockett's death scene; Tiomkin's overwhelming, doom-laden rendering of the Deguello as he fought to his last never failing to send chills up and down my spine, often leaving me in tears. And, if I survived that, the climax of the film, where Tiomkin and Webster's "Ballad of the Alamo" soared forth, always got me.
Tiomkin wrote many a fine score in his time, from Lost Horizon to High Noon, from Friendly Persuasion to Fall of the Roman Empire, and many more, but I'm so glad that I am not alone in believing The Alamo to be his masterwork. This album, lovingly created by Luc Van de Ven and James Fitzpatrick, two fellow film music enthusiasts I have known and admired for many a year, is evidence of that. Luc, in fact, published a detailed analysis of the score, by Ken Sutak, many years ago in his Soundtrack Collector's Newsletter.
Tiomkin (aided by lyricist Paul Francis Webster) really threw the kitchen sink at The Alamo, coming up with a whole series of memorable themes, two of which I have briefly mentioned above, but there's also the nostalgic The Green Leaves of Summer," that became a popular hit; the jaunty theme for Crockett and his men; the catchy "Here's to the Ladies;" the beautiful lullaby "Tennessee Babe;" and of course the all conquering music accompanying Santa Anna and his men, including the aforementioned Deguello, which is of Tiomkin's own composition, even though the General did favour a Deguello of his own when going into battle. There's an underlying folksy quality to Tiomkin's music, but he in fact actually used very little original material, save for "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You," in the score.
Whilst the soundtrack album that was originally released featured many of the key moments in the score, there was an awful lot that wasn't included. A reissue some years later promised to address that fact, but proved a big disappointment, as the new tracks were actually lifted from the film, dialogue, effects and all. Here, we have Tiomkin's complete music for the film, both heard and unused, together with alternate takes and album versions (soundtrack albums those days were mostly re-recorded and often differed from what was actually heard in the film). In short, just about everything one could possibly want. If, like me, you have lived with the score for a very long time, you will obviously notice differences in these recordings from what you've been used to but, bearing in mind what is bracketed above, I have to commend the orchestra and chorus for a splendid job, adhering to Tiomkin's original score sheets as preserved in The University of Southern California's Cinematic Arts Library. This is not easy music to play and is particularly challenging for the brass section. Fitzpatrick singles out these players and especially trumpeter Jiri Houdek for high praise, and I'd generally go along with that, but really one can find very little fault with any of the performances.
Accompanying the music is a splendid 32-page booklet, unfortunately short of stills from the film, due to licensing problems, but with Frank K. DeWald's detailed notes on the film and its music, including the always invaluable cue-by-cue guide; a foreword by Olivia Tiomkin Douglas; James' technical notes on the recording; and full music credits.
Of course, we'd all prefer to have the original recordings but, in a case like this, where they are just not available any more, a well conceived, lovingly produced and executed new recording is certainly better than nothing, particularly when a score is this momentous; and I have nothing more to say other than that every self-respecting film music enthusiast should have this wonderful release in their collection.
Get along to www.tadlowmusic.com where you can find a full track listing, listen to samples, watch a behind-the-scenes video, and order your copy.
My thanks to James Fitzpatrick for making this review possible.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


CD REVIEW - BATMAN -THE MOVIE


Batman - The Movie
Music by Nelson Riddle
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1130 (US)
32 Tracks 72:13 mins

My thanks to La-La Land Records for being the first to come to my rescue with a nice package of their latest releases, my having found myself in the rare position of having nothing left to review.
I'll start with 1966's Batman - The Movie, a spin-off from the highly successfully, campy TV adventures of the DC Comics character, a series not welcomed by serious Batman comic book fans, but one that was an essential part of this writer's childhood (besides, I was into Marvel Comics, myself!); and why, you ask, has the label decided to release the score when it was issued not that long ago by Film Score Monthly? Well, the simple explanation is that mastering engineer Mike Matessino has gone back to the mono source that he prepared for the Blu-ray release of the film and worked his magic on it to "make it sound as dynamic as possible." It was then remix ed for CD, resulting in the best sounding version of the score yet released. In addition, La-La Land presents a previously unreleased track,"Submarine Battle," for which no score was originally written, but instead music was tracked in from other parts of the score. With no documentation available as to how the cue was pieced together, Matessino had taken it upon himself to recreate it by ear from listening to the film, the sound effects of battle not making his job easy and, as it took so long to achieve, it is only natural that he should have wanted to include it here for our listening pleasure.
For those of you not familiar with the film, series, or its music (hard to believe, when it has been re-run so often over the years), the iconic "Batman Theme" was provided by Neal Hefti, who was unable, as planned to provide the episode scores for the first season, with composer/arranger extraordinaire Nelson Riddle stepping in to provided a typically "with-it" '60s accompaniment, whilst also including extensive variations on Hefti's theme for when the dynamic duo leap into action. Riddle is widely celebrated for his arranging of some of the classic recordings of the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald, but he also wrote works for the concert hall and contributed to many TV shows of the time, like The Untouchables, Route 66 and Naked City. His feature film work largely consisted of accompanying the "Rat Pack" movies, but I remember his music for the John Wayne western El Dorado (also 1966) with some fondness.
Unfortunately, Riddle became so associated with his jazzy Batman music that he got himself kind of typecast for, when branching out to the Man from U.N.C.L.E. series, he ultimately only scored one episode, as the resulting score sounded too Batman-like for the powers-that-be.
For Batman, he came up with suitably dynamic music for the many fight scenes, appropriately hitting the "pow" and "splat" moments, and also composed individual themes for the principal villains; in the case of the movie, the caped crusader's four deadliest foes, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman. These themes and his general approach to the series scores was translated to the movie, helping it seem more of an extended episode of the show than anything intended to stand-alone.
As well as the aforementioned unreleased track, two other bonus tracks are included at the end of the disc; firstly, the cocktail lounge song "Again;" and secondly, Hefti's original theme as heard on the show.
For me, a great slice of nostalgia, and yet another fine example of swinging '60s screen scoring well worth preserving, especially with its more dynamic sound.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high quality booklet, with Brian Satterwhite's notes on the production and its composer, as well as engineer Mike Matessino's comments, from which the above technical info is drawn; all illustrated by colour stills from the film. Limited to just 2000 units, get along to www.lalalandrecords.com/Batman1966.html for samples and to order your copy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

NEWS FROM COSTA COMMUNICATIONS


Here's an update of the previous release rom Costa Communications:-

Composer Austin Wintory Scores

A Little Help

World Premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, May 21 at 7:00pm

Los Angeles, CA – Composer AUSTIN WINTORY’S latest project, the indie-drama A LITTLE HELP starring Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Chris O’Donnell, will make its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, May 21 at 7:00pm PT. A LITTLE HELP is written by, and marks the directorial debut of, THE KING OF QUEENS creator Michael J. Weithorn. The film tells the story of a recently widowed, single mother who finds herself entangled in a series of lies in order to take care of herself and her 12 year old son.

The music to A LITTLE HELP is unique among other films Wintory has scored because of the particular role the music plays within the film (seamlessly filling the gaps between famous classic rock songs and new, original Jakob Dylan songs). “Whether it was happy, sad, tense or light, Austin found exactly the right accompaniment to whatever kind of narrative situation we had,” said producer Joe Gressis. "Dramatically/darkly comedic" were the operative words for the score's direction, arrived at via close collaboration with director Michael Weithorn and producers Gressis and Dena Hysell. While instruments like electric guitar, bass and drums form the core of the score, “it's not a rock score, and the cues actually run the gamut from off-kilter waltzes to purely textural electronic cues,” explains Wintory. For the end of the film, he wrote a song called "I'm Lucky" with Céleigh Chapman, who also performs.

Last year, Wintory scored Paul Solet’s psychological-thriller GRACE, which premiered at Sundance and won the Jury Prize at France’s Gerardmer Film Festival. Solet asked Wintory to come in early on this film to create music for the actors, and help set the tone for the film. He created over 20 minutes of score based on the script, never intended to be used in the film. Wintory received critical acclaim for his score to CAPTAIN ABU RAED, which won the Audience Award at Sundance. The Los Angles Times singled out his score for CAPTAIN ABU RAED as an Oscar® contender, and he was selected “Best New Film Composer” by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Wintory’s received a BAFTA nomination for his score to the video game FLOW.

Austin Wintory taught himself how to compose, orchestrate and conduct in high school, later attending NYU and USC. His first short film won a scoring competition and resulted in Wintory conducting the premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center. At USC, Wintory studied under Grammy® nominee and National Medal of the Arts winner Morten Lauridsen, and also Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated composer Christopher Young (The Shipping News, Spider-Man 3). During this time Wintory also began full-time scoring, writing music for over 150 student and independent shorts.

Wintory is currently completing his score for Bob Celestino's thriller LEAVE and will reunite with director Amin Matalqa for WELCOME TO NOWHERE. Wintory is also working on a new, as-yet-unannounced, PlayStation3 game.

*** An additional screening of the film will be on Saturday, May 22 at 11:00am PT at the Seattle International Film Festival. For more information on the festival please visit: www.siff.net ***




Friday, May 14, 2010

NEWS FROM TOP DOLLAR PR


From Top Dollar PR:-


MIKE REAGAN MUSIC EXPANDS BUSINESS
AND MUSIC MANAGEMENT TEAM

Award-winning Film, Television and Video Game Composer Appoints Assistant Composer,
Manager and VP of New Business Development
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Los Angeles, CA., May 13th, 2010 - Mike Reagan Music (www.mikereaganmusic.com),
the leading music creative company founded by award-winning composer, songwriter
and music producer Mike Reagan, whose scoring credits include the romantic comedy
UNBEATABLE HAROLD (starring Dylan McDermott and Henry Winkler), the animated television series APE ESCAPE (Nicktoons) and WOW WOW WUBBZY! (Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.) and video games such as CONAN (THQ), DARKSIDERS (THQ) and Sony's best-selling franchise GOD OF WAR, today revealed expansion measures with the appointments of Brandon Violette as Vice President of New Business Development and Jenn Shundo as Manager of New
Business Development.

Mike Reagan Music, located in Santa Clarita, near Los Angeles, now boasts 2 identically
mirrored composition, recording and editing studios, fully equipped to record ensembles,
including full percussion and horn sections. For previous projects he has recorded
studio performances with artists such as Asdru Sierra (Ozomatli), Ron Blake (Big
Bad Voo Doo Daddy), Denny Seiwell (Wings), and legendary Hollywood musician and
percussionist Emil Richards. Reagan records live orchestral productions at the
world-famous Skywalker Sound with members of the American Federation of Musicians
and his select team of top Hollywood orchestrators.

An alumnus of Berklee College of Music and lecturer of Music Composition at University
of Southern California's Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program, Mike
Reagan has enjoyed a successful career as a composer, songwriter and music producer
for visual media. His music is featured in film, television and video game projects
including songwriting and production for Oliver Stone's ANY GIVEN SUNDAY and Sony
Pictures / Jim Henson Productions' ELMO IN GROUCHLAND, which garnered a Grammy Award for Best Children's Soundtrack. Reagan's music for the Emmy award-winning WOW WOW WUBBZY! cartoon series received a Telly Award for Best Use of Music in Television.
In video games he is most recognized for his CONAN original score touring with the
Video Games Live symphony concert, the Aurora award-winning orchestral/western hybrid
score for DARKWATCH and the recent bombastic smash hit DARKSIDERS. As composer for
Sony Computer Entertainment's blockbuster GOD OF WAR series Reagan has been honored
by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Original Music Composition
and the Game Audio Network Guild Award for Music of the Year and Best Original Soundtrack.
Reagan is currently composing music for GOD OF WAR: GHOST OF SPARTA, Sony's surprise
sequel in the GOD OF WAR series coming to PSP, as well as several projects to be
announced. For more information please visit www.mikereaganmusic.com.

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




Thursday, May 13, 2010


CD REVIEW - PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Walt Disney Records (no cat no available) (EU)
19 Tracks 66:29 mins

The latest big screen video game adaptation sees a buffed Jake Gylllenhaal take on the role of the Prince of Persia from the 2003 instalment The Sands of Time. He is ably supported by Gemma Arterton, Sir Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina.
Of course the brave thing to do would have been to have game composer Inon Zur write the music for the film too, but Disney have of course taken the safe option, having their Narnia Chronicles composer Harry Gregson-Williams compose the score. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, as I do have a lot of time for the composer and his work.
Naturally, there's an overall ethnic feel to Gregson-Williams' score, and this can be evidenced right from the start in the opening title track, which develops into a fine, propulsive and, at times, sweeping orchestral theme, driven by percussion and enhanced by choir, as well as ethnic instruments.
Of course, there's bound to be plenty of opportunity for exciting action scoring in a film based on a game, where action is obviously key, and Gregson-Williams doesn't disappoint, with the very next track, "Raid on Alamut" being the first of many such offerings, including "Dastan and Tamina Escape," "Ostrich Race," "Running from Sheik Amar," "The Oasis Ambush," "Hassassin Attack," The Passages," and "The Sands of Time." Throughout, whilst largely orchestral and percussive, the composer is not afraid to add electronics to the mix, as he has often done in past outings.
But it's not action all the way, and "Tamina Unveiled" offers some grandiose writing, as well as a touch of mystery and even romance, ending nicely with female choir. "The King and His Sons" presents strength and nobility early on, with a touch of delicate mystery to conclude. "Journey Through the Desert" is a mixed bag, with percussive and ethnic travel music largely dominating, but there's also quite a mournful moment early on. "Trusting Nizam" also goes through quite a bit of development, being at its best in the percussive travel music, but being largely a downbeat affair. This is followed by the menacing "Visions of Death," complete with its use of electric guitars. "So, You're Going to Help Me?" also has its menacing moments, but develops into a nice, flowing reprise of the main theme. "Return to Alamut" is another pretty mournful affair, though its does find some purpose at the end, with a big choral climax. There's a particularly inspiring opening to "No Ordinary Dagger," with things taking a grimmer turn as the track proceeds. The opening theme from before returns, nobly, at the start of "Destiny," before this final score track soars gloriously to an end.
You might like to give the last track on the disc a miss, though Alanis Morissette's "I Remain" is no added on song, but is actually drawn from the score - a rarity these days!
The album is available from retailers from 17th May, with the film released here in the UK on the 21st.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010















THREE NEW RELEASES FROM HILLSIDE CD PRODUCTIONS

Sorry for the lack of posts these past few days. I have been unwell and, in any case, I only have one CD to review at the moment, Harry Gregson-Williams' score for The Prince of Persia movie which, hopefully I shall be able to cover in the next day or two. I don't know whether it's anything to do with the air travel problems caused by the ash cloud, but I'm just not getting anything through at the moment. Anyway, for now, above are the latest titles from Hillside CD Productions. Order from www.hillsidecd.co.uk.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE RUNESTONE


The Runestone
Music by David Newman
Perseverance Records PRD 029 (US)
43 Tracks 72:55 mins

Limited to just 1200 copies, Perseverance Records have released an early David Newman score for Willard Carroll's 1990 man in a monster suit film, The Runestone. Newman has of course gone on to bigger and better things, but he got his start in low budget horror fare such as this, Critters, The Kindred and My Demon Lover.
Despite the low budget, apparently the division of music between orchestral and electronic was an artistic decision; one that, in hindsight, has majorly backfired. For, the electronic tracks, of which there are many in this 43 track CD, just sound very dated. In any case, regular visitors to this site will know what I think of electronic music of this period. Truth is, within the confines of all this album, there is a better album trying to get out and, if you programme your CD player for tracks 2,3,8,12,13,16,20,21,25,28,32,33,34, and 37-43, you'll see what I mean. So, for the purposes of this review, I will concentrate on the orchestral tracks alone (although many of these do have electronic elements), starting with track 2, "Main Title/Discovery," which actually starts out electronically, but then orchestra combines with the synths to take the 7-note main theme mysteriously onward to its conclusion. This theme is virtually an ever present in the score and is very reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith's work on the likes of The Omen and Secret of Nimh, as well as James Horner's music for similar low-budget productions like Humanoids from the Deep. The following "The Runestone Travels" presents an uptempo and powerful reading of the theme, with horns, brass and strings variously taking the lead. "What Do You Want?" opens fatefully, before Goldsmith-like stabbing strings, allied to the main theme, take it to its conclusion. They reappear at the start of "No Turning Back - Part 2/What the Hell was That?," before electronics take over. The following track, "Second Killing," presents more Goldsmithian action, reminiscent of his great Alien score, and this time combines electronics and orchestra, in the style of that great composer, whilst also calling on Newman's main theme.
The Goldsmith influence continues in "Martin Grabs Marla," with its powerful horns-lead opening, but unfortunately the electronics take over again. "Marla Escapes Fenrir" opens tensely, again combining orchestra and synths, before doom-laden horns lead the orchestra furiously onwards towards its savage conclusion, where a brief electronic coda threatens to spoil things. "Heavy Petting" follows, presenting a little calm after the storm, with string writing reminiscent of Goldsmith's Poltergeist scores, but even this ends on a sinister note.
Another exciting action rendering of the main theme, for both orchestra and electronics, features in "To the Mine," and "Entering Society" continues in the same vein. "Fenrir vs. Officer Newman"( an on-screen cameo by the composer), the first of a trilogy of action tracks, builds to a furious conclusion, with electronics opening "Battle: Round One," before the orchestra kicks in, everything coming to a head in the furious "Fenrir is Held Back."
There's a surprisingly tranquil moment of beauty in "That's Enough," the first in a series of 7 tracks that conclude the score, with the following "Fenrir Reigns Terror" opening suspensefully before more powerful action writing takes over. A dissonant opening to "Jacob Gets the Axe/Sigvaldson and Fenrir Reunited," leads to more suspense and then another bout of furious action. "Jacob Brings the Axe" continues at breakneck speed, and there are more fireworks in "Final Battle" and "They Kill Fenrir," with things winding down to a conclusion in "Final Scene." "End Credits" reprises the calm of "That's Enough," before the main theme, in opening mysterious form takes us to an ominous conclusion.
So, ignoring the purely electronic tracks, what we have here is a score that owes a lot to Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner but, if you accept this, and especially if you like their music of this period, you''ll have a good time listening to some genuinely exciting action writing. I'm just pleased that Newman, like Horner, left the Goldsmithisms behind and went on to find his own voice.
Accompanying the disc is a splendid 20-page booklet, featuring Daniel Schweiger's detailed notes on the film and its music, with contributions throughout by director Carroll and composer Newman, all lavishly illustrated with numerous colour stills from the film; and, at the very end of the booklet, there's a fascinating account by Perseverance's own Robin Esterhammer on the trials of actually getting this release out there. With dedicated individuals like Rob, the preservation of our film music heritage is in good hands. Order your copy of the album from www.perseverancerecords.com

Friday, May 07, 2010


CD REVIEW - BAARIA


Baaria
Music by Ennio Morricone
Silva Screen Records SILCD1322
19 Tracks 54:06 mins

Legendary composer Ennio Morricone has collaborated with director Giuseppe Tornatore eight times, most famously on the brilliant Cinema Paradiso in 1989. The director's latest work, Baaria, like that classic, is autobiographical but, unlike his magical, romantic score for same, Morricone's work on Baaria is described in the publicity as "intense."
I don't totally go along with this, as the opening and longest track on the album, "Sinfonia per Baaria," actually starts out broad and romantic, but the mood very quickly changes, with wailing ethnic male vocals and instruments taking control, but then a sudden inspirational orchestral rush returns us to the opening romantic theme, which positively soars for a while, before narration, dialogue and effects interrupt and continue to the end, totally spoiling the track. When will record producers and labels realise that when one buys a soundtrack, one wants the music alone, free of such irritating interruptions. Thank goodness the rousing tarantella-like "Ribellione" follows, quickly taking one's mind off what has gone before. By contrast, "Baaria" is a lovely piece of nostalgia, and "Il Corpo e la Terra" whilst a little subdued, is a nevertheless appealing, acoustic guitar-propelled piece. The brief but strident "Lo Zoppo" follows, and then "Brindisi" presents another charming strings-lead theme.
For those of you familiar with Morricone's early work, the maestro next revisits his quirky comedy writing for "Un Gioco Sereno," with familiar trademarks abounding. After this light-hearted interlude, the composer opens "La Visita" with a reprise of his "Ribellione" theme, before ending on a poignant note. "Un Fiscaletto" further develops the same theme, before turning suddenly dark. "Racconto di una Vita" brings respite in the form of another attractive melody, though with slightly discordant underpinnings in characteristic Morricone fashion.
"La Terra" is a tragic affair, the mood continuing into the increasingly dramatic "Verdiano. A band version of "Baaria" follows, presumably presented as source music in the film, with further band tracks, "Oltre" and the funereal "Prima e Dopo," following.
"I Mostri" is a pretty downbeat, tragic affair, and is followed by the folksy "L'Allegro Virtuosi di Zampogna," a solo for Italian double chantered pipes. To keep with the regional feel, mandolins follow up with "A Passeggio nel Corso," which develops a tango-like feel as it continues, leading us to the album's final track, "Il Vento, Il Mare, I Silenzi," which leaves us on a reflective note.
Yes, the score does have dramatic intensity, but it also has some very attractive moments. It's no Cinema Paradiso, but it's far from the worst Morricone score I've ever heard and, in fact, I caught myself thinking, on more than one occasion that, in these days where so many film scores sound the same, what a breath of fresh air this album is. All I can say is make the most of it, folks, as these great masters of their art are getting fewer and fewer on the ground as the years take them one by one, and any new Morricone score is to be regarded as a treasure.
The album is not released until the 31st of this month, and samples are yet to make the website but, If you're not sure of this one, you had probably best wait around until they appear at www.silvascreenmusic, before ordering yourself a copy of the CD, or downloading it, if that is your preference.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


CD REVIEW - THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES


The Secret in their Eyes
Music by Emilio Kauderer and Federico Jusid
Milan Records M2-36486 (US)
23 Tracks 46:56 mins

The Argentinian entry, The Secret in their Eyes, triumphed in the category of Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Academy Awards and the film's music has also received a good deal of attention, winning the Argentinean Academy Award, the Clarin Award, the Havana Film Festival Award and the CEC Award. The score is co-composed by LA-based Argentine native Emilo Kauderer and Federico Jusid, the former was recently recognized by the Board of Commissioners of Los Angeles County for his contributions to Latin and film music, and is known for his work on the Latin American versions of High School Musical, as well as his scores for the likes of Emilio Estevez's Culture Clash inAmericCCa, Heist and Conversations with God, together with a number of TV films; the latter having worked on more than 25 features and TV series, as well as a number of classical commissions. Jusid is also a prize-winning piano soloist, having toured with orchestras throughout American, Europe and Asia. Both composers worked separately and together on the score, also sharing co-compositional credit with Sebastian Kauderer and Ignacio Longo, of whom no biographical details are to be found; all their combined and individual efforts being duly noted in the album credits, with mini-biographies of the principal composers also included.
The Secret in their Eyes is a mixture of thrills, drama and romance, as it concentrates on the personal lives of a state prosecution investigator and a judge, involved in a 25-year manhunt.
Milan Records, so often champions of quality international film scores, has released the soundtrack album, which commences with "Her Eyes," an all-too-brief poignant piano-lead slice of romance. The heart-tugging strings of "The Doubt" follows, and then the initially rather mournful piano of "Suspicious Photo," which gives way to building suspense. The propulsive orchestral/choral opening of "Passion" gives way to more mournful strings, and then the emotional "Sandoval's Choice," with choir again adding their weight to proceedings. A poignant piano solo opens the increasingly tragic "Crime Scene," with choir again joining; the main theme returning for "The Train leaves;" and also receiving a nice cello, violin and piano treatment in "Main Theme" later on.
The score continues on its rather downbeat, doom-laden path throughout the remaining tracks, and, whilst there no doubting the quality of writing and performance, I have to say that it's quite a depressing listening experience overall. But, if you're in the mood for a good emotional wallow, you won't go far wrong in listening to this.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


CD REVIEW - IN MY SLEEP


In My Sleep
Music by Conrad Pope
MoveiScore Media MMS10007
30 Tracks 63:43 mins

The last time we heard from Conrad Pope, the composer, who is best known for his fine work as an orchestrator for the likes of John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, John Powell, Mark Isham and Alan Silvestri, was his fine score for 2001's Pavilion of Women. So, it's nice to welcome him back with this MovieScore Media release of his music for the indie thriller, In My Sleep.
Pope's "Main Title" music opens tentatively on piano and strings, before rushing to a thunderous crescendo, followed by fluttering woodwinds and flirtatious piano. The furious, propulsive "Finding Gwen" follows, and then, by complete contrast, "Night Music," a haunting piano solo, reprised in the later "Distant Dream."
The score is likened to that of Jerry Goldsmith's Basic Instinct and there are certainly stylistic echoes, as in the opening of "The Nightmare begins," before the track takes a more Herrmannesque turn in the suspenseful string writing. George Fenton's Final Analysis might also be seen as an influence; but of course, at the end of the day, both scores owe much to the great Bernard Herrmann's Hitchcockian writing and there's much of his kind of suspenseful string writing throughout, as well as propulsive, Psycho-like moments. However, Pope also employs more modern rhythmic, nervy electronic underpinning for some of the tenser episodes.The haunting, fragile piano solos do provide some relief from all this and the composer also reprises the fluttering woodwinds to good effect.
Although most tracks have something to offer, subsequent highlights, for me, include "Visions of Father, which, surprisingly, but effectively mixes those fluttering woodwinds with strident strings; the purposeful "Triangle Park;" the delicate beauty of "Going Home," with its piano and woodwind solos, and more fluttering woodwinds; the passionate "Confession;" the powerful horns-lead opening of "Home to the Truth;" the flowing, elegant strings of "Remembering Father;" the savage Herrmannesque horns that open "Showdown;" the frantic strings and horns of "Underwater;" the ethereal sampled voices of "Desperate Resolution;" and "A New Beginning," with its ascending spiritual strings.
"Reconciliation (Finale)" concludes the score in happy fashion, with the elegant strings playing us out and leading to the album's final track, the rocking theme song by Damesviolet, which is best ignored, especially as, following the peaceful strings preceding it, the opening violent guitar chords fairly knock you out of your chair.
In conclusion,whilst maybe not the most original score you'll hear, it's nevertheless a good deal classier than most thriller scores these days, and, despite all the great work he does as an orchestrator, I hope I don't have to wait another 9 years to review a new Conrad Pope score.
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/inmysleep.html for samples, a trailer for the film, and ordering recommendations for both Cd and digital download version of this album.