Soundtracks

CD Review: VICTOR YOUNG AT PARAMOUNT soundtrack

VICTOR YOUNG AT PARAMOUNT soundtrack | ©2014 Kritzerland Records

Kritzerland continues to mine for golden age soundtracks in the Paramount peak, doing impressive sonic excavations on many gems well past five decades old (practically pre-history in soundtrack terms nowadays), no more so than in their compilations celebrating fairly obscure work by composers during their tenure with the studio. Now Kritzerland follows up their “Franz Waxman at Paramount” album with this triptych featuring Victor Young, the prolific, and manly-sounding composer of over two hundred soundtracks (THE QUIET MAN and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS among them) whose nevertheless best remembered tune today is the eternal song “When I Fall …Read On »

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CD Review: MUPPETS MOST WANTED / THE MUPPETS soundtrack

MUPPETS MOST WANTED / THE MUPPETS soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Animation has been a particularly well-suited realm for Christophe Beck to practice his melodically energetic way of giving an orchestra the frisky, bright vibes of pop music, a Pharrell-ish feeling of optimism as well as playfully ominous danger that’s recently helped to propel The Mouse House’s short PAPERMAN to an Oscar win before assisting in FROZEN‘s feature-length CGI-toon gold – a movie that’s made Beckthe box office champ of cartoon scoring as well. And if Beck can give animation the sensation of infectous happiness, than why not felt? Such is the antically pleasant spin he’s given to two Muppet movies, …Read On »

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Interview: A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST composer Joel McNeely tames the Old West

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST soundtrack | ©2014 Backlot Music

When Wisconsin-born composer Joel McNeely went from a land of good old fashioned American purity to the far more ornery streets of Los Angeles, his innate melodic talent arrived just at a late 80s time when newfangled synths and rock music were taking their place as underscore – putting any number of old studio composers out to pasture as they tried to adapt to the changing sound of Hollywood – or saw their legendary careers bite the bullet. Yet McNeely was a greenhorn with the symphonic chops to more than match his elders, with a particular talent for a golden, …Read On »

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CD Review: CREEPSHOW soundtrack (3,000 edition)

CREEPSHOW soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

From the time when the denizens of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD shambled through its farmhouse field to the tune of creature feature stock music, George Romero’s horror films have had a pulp throwback feel to them that recalled the graphic, moral comeuppance of such E.C. comics as “Tales From the Crypt” and “Vault of Horror.” So it was only natural that the filmmaker would unleash his own cinematic, blood-colored anthology with 1982s CREEPSHOW, authored by no less than Stephen King. It’s a film that for many remains the director’s most unhinged and pleasurable effort, especially with its seamless combination …Read On »

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CD Review: RIO 2 soundtrack

RIO 2 soundtrack | ©2014 Sony Classics

From having elephants hear whos to training dragons and teaching penguins tap dance, John Powell rules the animated animal kingdom when it comes to scores that fly on wings of energetic exuberance. Now he once again takes flight to Brazil with a return to the world of RIO, whose new trip up the Amazon gives him even more opportunities to bring on exotic South American percussion and winds, courtesy of such indigenous guest artists as UAKTI, Milton Nascimento and Carlinhos Brown. They’re peppy, pop-py birds of a feather in giving Powell a wonderfully manic, yet affectionately energetic sound depicting a …Read On »

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CD Review: LAST PASSENGER soundtrack

LAST PASSENGER soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

Liam Bates dynamically wants us to know that he’s moving up from conductor to solely taking over the driver’s seat for this Brit train-to-hell thriller, which has a few passengers doing their damnedest to stop a madman from taking their once-normal ride to a flaming last stop. And right along with Bates on the pedal are the gleeful ghosts of Michael Kamen and Jerry Goldsmith, with the smashing, brassy action touch and John Williams-esque swirling strings pressed right to the floor (along with that composer’s electric piano way with emotion). While it’s soon apparent that Bates doesn’t quite have their …Read On »

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CD Review: DRAFT DAY soundtrack

DRAFT DAY soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

As the second “sports” movie after MONEYBALL to deal with the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that makes for a league roster, DRAFT DAY takes on the far more physical world of football with a decidedly less musically cerebral approach. But that doesn’t mean that John Debney is all rhythmic brawn and no brain as he helps make heated phone conversations, chalkboard stats and Machiavellian negotiations into electrifying listening. Re-teaming with Ivan Reitman after helping the director move up a more youth-oriented yard line with the relationship dramedy NO STRINGS ATTACHED, Debney deftly plays between alt, pop rhythm and orchestral emotion …Read On »

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CD Review: INFAMOUS SECOND SON soundtrack

INFAMOUS SECOND SON soundtrack | ©2014 Sumthing Else

Sucker Punch’s grunge -powered game makes an electrifying leap to next-gen with SECOND SON the new INFAMOUS game that throws its slacker superheroes into Seattle environs to be pursued by nefarious government forces. It’s X-MEN meets Kurt Cobain if you will, which makes composers the decision of composers Marc Canham (FAR CRY 2), Nathan Johnson (LOOPER) and INFAMOUS 2‘s Brain to go for a Pearl Jam-charged action score right on the beanie-wearing, spray-painting money. Where other video game soundtracks might achieve their adrenalin through pure, and sometimes dull electro-beats, this trio employs thrashing guitars, echoed hollering and sweat-flying drum solos …Read On »

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CD Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST soundtrack

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST soundtrack | ©2014 Quartet Records

A tale as old as time, and the movies, gets a fantastical, live action French reboot from Christophe Gans, a director who knows something about fearsome animals after making BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF. Beyond its stylized snowscape, a standout spell for this relatively faithful version is its gorgeous score by Pierre Adenot, whose lavishly melodic and utterly enchanting score conjures the light and darkness of fairy tale imagination in any musical language, sans the singing teapots. Having scored numerous films in his native land (with his contribution to PARIS JE T’AIME likely being most familiar to American audiences), BEAUTY AND …Read On »

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CD Review: THE RAID 2 soundtrack

THE RAID 2 soundtrack | ©2014 Spacelab 9

While its exhausting running time and sadistic body count certainly isn’t expanded on to THE RAID 2‘s benefit, one returning factor that this sequel makes bigger, better and more bad-ass is the in the punishingly exciting score by Joseph Trapanese and two composers given their shot at redemption.Teamed with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda for the first apartment-by-apartment Armageddon of  THE RAID Trapanese is now accompanied by Aria Prayogi and Fajar Yuskemai – the Indonesian dudes who actually scored REDEMPTION before Trapanese and Shinoda kicked them to the curb. But there’s anything but hard feelings here beyond meting out even more …Read On »

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