Soundtracks

CD Review: AFRIKA’AIOLI soundtrack

AFRIKA’AIOLI soundtrack | ©2014 Music Box Records

Outside of John Powell’s RIO scores, you’re not likely to hear a more delightful jungle of tropical instruments than the ethnic winds and percussion spread out through these three scores on Music Box’s assemblage of the music of Michel Korb – perhaps France’s most interesting proponent of ethnomusicology outside of Maurice Jarre. But where that composer used African and Asian rhythms to dramatic effect, Korb’s work is comedic in nature, if not outrightly joyous. With AFRIKA’AIOLI dealing with two layabouts who become fish out of water on the dark continent, Korb’s whistling, drum beats, antique-sounding piano and squeeze box percussion conveys …Read On »

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CD Review: ATLANTIS: THE LAST DAYS OF KAPTARA soundtrack

ATLANTIS: THE LAST DAYS OF KAPTARA soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

If its YouTube trailer is anything to judge by, the animation for this update on the Minotaur fable is more cow than bull. But when listening to its pretty stupendous score by Peter Bateman, you’d think that Dreamworks animation was taking a stab at 300. For if the CGI toon budget in fact went to Bateman’s score, then it’s money well spent for the unabashed, heroic splendor that resonates like an infinitely bigger production. No doubt the magic of working as an orchestrator on such lavish genre scores as PRIEST, AFTER EARTH and the upcoming MALEFICENT rubbed off in a …Read On »

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CD Reviews: THE BLUE MAX: THE LIMITED EDITION and THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER soundtracks

THE BLUE MAX: THE LIMITED EDITION soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

Jerry Goldsmith came roaring out of the gate in the mid-60s to impress Hollywood with his seemingly boundless talent to play any number of genres. And two of his best scores from this furiously creative period couldn’t be more apart, or more in demand from Goldsmith collectors than 1966s THE BLUE MAX and 1963s THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER, one a soaringly romantic exercise in the nobility of battle, and the other a playfully insane game of all-star masquerading murder suspects that at last get the releases they’ve long-deserved on special editions from La La Land and Varese Sarabande Records. …Read On »

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CD Review: SECRET SHARER soundtrack

SECRET SHARER soundtrack | ©2014 2M1 Records

A Polish sea captain finds himself way underwater in desire, and danger when he takes on an adrift woman in the South China Sea for this modernization of Joseph Conrad’s short 1910 story. But perhaps the classiest passenger on board this otherwise rusting ship is English composer Guy Farley (MODIGLIANI), who gives beautiful, moody elegance to this unlikely, and potentially lethal romance between burned-out hero and his potentially lethal catch. A musician definitely worthy of discovery on this end of the pond, Farley has impressed in both thrillers (THE FLOCK) and romance (CASHBACK). Now SECRET SHARER showcases both styles with …Read On »

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CD Review: POMPEII soundtrack

POMPEII soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

Paul W.S. Anderson is popcorn personified when it comes to such muscular entertainments as EVENT HORIZON, SOLDIER, RESIDENT EVIL and DEATH RACE getting powerful scores by the likes of Michael Kamen, Joel McNeely and Paul Haslinger that have ranged from heroic strings to terrifying electronica and twisted metal. But while his latest work might have turned to ash at the box office, POMPEII stands for me as Anderson’s most ambitious, and purely enjoyable old-school film, a blazing mash up of GLADIATOR and WHEN TIME RAN OUT that sought to achieve an epic dramatic quality amidst its historical disaster film arena. …Read On »

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CD Review: ELMER BERNSTEIN: THE AVA COLLECTION soundtrack

ELMER BERNSTEIN: THE AVA COLLECTION soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Though taken for granted by today’s collectors, being able to get the actual, original tracks for a film score has only been a relatively recent development. What most fans received for decades were performances done after the fact by the likes of Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams, who took the most melodically accessible tracks from a given film, then lushly arranged them for albums that barely topped the half hour mark. Before Elmer Bernstein specifically marketed these types of re-performances specifically for the soundtrack appreciator market with his “Film Music Collection” label (whose Film Score Monthly box set …Read On »

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CD Review: COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY soundtrack

COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY soundtrack | ©2014 Cosmos Studios Music

Few composers have conjectured about weird science with Alan Silvestri’s sense of cosmic wonder, whether it’s been seeking alien life inhabiting our inner space in THE ABYSS, time travelling BACK TO THE FUTURE or talking with an intergalactic craft voiced by Pee-Wee Herman for FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR. So it’s only natural that Silvestri now gets to board a spaceship of the imagination first piloted on TV 24 years ago by Carl Sagan, whose film adaptation of CONTACT ranks as one of the composer’s most awe-inspiring scores. It’s that music’s touching quality of intergalactic hope that now infuses COSMOS’ pretty …Read On »

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CD Review: DISTANT THUNDER soundtrack

DISTANT THUNDER soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Old-school Maurice Jarre admirers might have blanched when the composer mostly left behind the orchestra that he’d made his Hollywood name on with the likes of DR. ZHIVAGO to engage in electronic pursuits during the 80s and 90s. Yet his synth explorations yielded some of the composer’s most interesting, and innovative work with the likes of DREAMSCAPE, JULIA AND JULIA and THE MOSQUITO COAST, not to mention Oscar nominations for  WITNESS and GHOST. Now Intrada goes deep into the Vietnam-haunted Canadian woods to discover a near-unknown, computer-fashioned Jarre score with 1988s DISTANT THUNDER, an equally unsung film that brought together …Read On »

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CD Review: JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT soundtrack

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

It’s ironic that January will see La La Land’s full re-release of DEAD AGAIN, an operatically orchestral, knowingly old-school Hollywood score (complete with thundering chorus) for a film that put composer Patrick Doyle and actor-filmmaker Kenneth Branagh on the Hollywood map. For like this movie whose MacGuffin was a reincarnation role-reversal between composer and lover, those fans familiar with Doyle back in his symphonic glory days of CARLITO’S WAY, THE LITTLE PRINCESS and INDOCHINE  would never recognize the electronically slicing, percussively smashing composer he’s become today, especially with JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT. Make no mistake that those thematic, orchestral chops …Read On »

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CD Review: MUPPETS MOST WANTED soundtrack

MUPPETS MOST WANTED soundtrack | ©2014 Walt Disney Records

The best kid’s stuff has always has a wisenheimer appeal to adults, bringing on cuteness that the tykes can enjoy, while working on a completely different satirical level that their parents get a chuckle out of. Such is the lovable balance of sweetness and sarcasm that’s made the Muppets endure through innumerable sequels, a hip factor that goes off the scale when you’ve got Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie re-invigorating a bunch of puppets. MUPPETS MOST WANTED is a singular, happy celebration of self-effacing sarcasm, with songs that are perhaps even more toe-tappingly hilarious and catchy than McKenzie’s first …Read On »

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