Soundtracks

THE ORDER: 1886 composer Jason Graves joins the steampunk video game – Interview

THE ORDER soundtrack | ©2015 Sony Classical Music

Since his 2005 video game scoring debuts with RISE OF THE KASAI and GAUNTLET: SEVEN SORROWS, Jason Graves has played faithful service to a genre that’s continually evolved in terms of its striking visuals and bold storytelling as the genre has done its damnedest to shirk the mantle of being kid’s stuff, no more so than in the quality of its music. Action has been a particular forte for Graves, who’s proved that one could indeed hear a terrifying orchestra shriek in the void with the DEAD SPACE franchise. He’s given the stuff of soaring fantasy to DUNGEON SEIGE III […]Read On »

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CD Review: INHERENT VICE soundtrack

INHERENT VICE soundtrack | ©2014 Nonesuch Records

For much of his filmmaking career, Paul Thomas Anderson had used composer Jon Brion to convey his provocative cinematic approach, from the insane percussive assault of PUNCH DRUNK LOVE to the frog-raining, imposing orchestral thunderstorms of MAGNOLIA. In relatively recent years, Thomas has moved onto Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood to accompany his swings between transfixing brilliance and unbearable pretention, often within the same films. If anything, Greenwood’s music has tended to be even more innovatively insane than Brion’s, ranging between abstract modernism and hypnotic melody to capture the addled minds of kingpins, whether it was an oil baron’s very bad attitude […]Read On »

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DESERT DANCER composer Benjamin Wallfisch finds movement in forbidden territory – Interview

DESERT DANCER soundtrack | ©2015 Varese Sarabande Records

More than ever, the regions of the Middle East and Asia are the tragic grounds for thousands of people trying to make better lives for themselves in the face of religious repression and grinding poverty. This is the musical link when it comes to Benjamin Wallfisch expressing the souls of Iran and India in his immensely moving, reality-based scores to DESERT DANCER and BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN. The first speaks for the struggle of Afshin Ghaffarian, a young man whose spirit refuses to stay still for the murderous, moral police that stand for his country’s Islamist government – a […]Read On »

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CD Review: ON THE WATERFRONT soundtrack

ON THE WATERFRONT soundtrack | ©2015 Intrada Records

There are composers like Philip Glass (CANDYMAN) who start out in the concert hall, and go onto blaze impressive new careers in Hollywood. Then there are those like Andre Previn (ELMER GANTRY), who prolifically begin in tinsel town, only to leave it completely behind. And then there are such maestros as John Corigliano (ALTERED STATES), who briefly tread in Hollywood while making sure not to quit their day jobs, leaving behind a precious few soundtracks that show the dazzling movie career that could have been. On that note, perhaps no conductor could have been a Hollywood contender like Leonard Bernstein, […]Read On »

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CD Review: SHAFT soundtrack

SHAFT soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

Honkeys had their gun slinging, women-bedding superhero named James Bond for years until a 1971 sex machine named John Shaft showed that a black private dick could be just as bad-ass, especially when it came to an urban action-funk groove that got Isaac Hayes an Oscar winning song and nominated score. So perhaps it was a little ironic that a “white bloke from Luton” who’d been busy scoring 007 would land the music gig for John Singleton’s 2000 reboot, giving Sam Jackson a tailor-made vehicle to cement him as a big screen mofo. But even given Arnold’s urban pedigree that […]Read On »

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Interview: Composer Geoff Zanneli helps pulls off a shagedlically artistocract art heist with MORTDECAI

MORTDECAI | ©2015 Lionsgate

  There’s no doubt that the O.G. masters of movie score Shagadelia knew they were being funny back in the ultra-60s day when Burt Bacharach had various James Bonds bouncing to the Tijuana Brass, or Charles Fox and Bob Crewe were disrobing Barbarella from her space suit to the strains of a female chorus and a funk guitar. Now with the groovy one-two punch of George S. Clinton and David Holmes making already-hip retro rhythms cool again for Austin Powers’ wacky spy jazz and the rocking organ-guitar grooves of twelve con artists pulling a big Vegas rip-off, everything old is […]Read On »

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CD Review: ELMER BERNSTEIN: THE WILD SIDE soundtrack

ELMER BERNSTEIN: THE WILD SIDE soundtrack | ©2015 Varese Sarabande Records

No composer embodied the pure movie swing of jazz during the art form’s mainlining into much of film scoring during the 50s and 60s like Elmer Bernstein. From the hot sax heroin rush that flooded into Frankie Machine’s veins in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM to the lustful brass catfight of WALK ON THE WILD SIDE or the salacious gossip beat that stank of  THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, Bernstein tapped into the energetic transgressiveness of music that promised a rawness that the Hayes Code-enforced movies could only hint at. So it’s only natural that Varese head Robert Townson […]Read On »

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CD Review: 1864 and ALLIES soundtracks

ALLIES soundtrack | ©2015 Movie Score Media

Movie Score Media’s quality releases continue to be not only a major source for discovering new composers whose attendant projects barely hit U.S. shores, but also a great way to hear relatively obscure foreign soundtracks done by sometimes eminent American musicians – in both notable cases here performed in the key of war. Early on in Marco Beltrami’s career, the composer wrote one of his most interesting psycho-killer scores for a deranged female cellist, albeit in the guise of a period costume drama for Norwegian director Ole Bornedal’s 2002 thriller I AM DINA. Now Beltrami reteams with him for a […]Read On »

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A MOST VIOLENT YEAR: Composer Alex Ebert’s music doesn’t want to kill – Interview

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR soundtrack | ©2014 Community Music

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (which just arrived on DVD and Blu-ray) might just be one of the most ironically misleading titles yet for a provocatively named film. For nothing in J.C. Chandor’s movie is what it appears to be, from the cargo heists endangering the heating fuel empire dreams of Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac in quietly burning Michael Corleone mode) to the insanely pacifist way in which he chooses to meet the thuggery that gets very close to home. But for all of the gritty photography, family business machinations and razor-sharp salty language that Chandor brings together to create a […]Read On »

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CD Review: ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD: THE MOVIE soundtrack

ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD: THE MOVIE soundtrack | ©2014 Sparks & Shadows

Film scores are going through an 8-bit revolution with the likes of Nigel Gordich’s SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and Henry Jackman’s WRECK-IT RALPH. But arguably non of these retro scores have the insane fanboy enthusiasm that Bear McCreary beings to a two-hour feature version of a game geek blog done good. Done with the same, blasting out of your parents’ basement energy of his epic metal-orchestral score for the RPG’er’s versus real monster score to KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, McCreary plays this unlikely hero’s odyssey of uncovering the equally deadly E.T. game from an Arizona landfill with the same level […]Read On »

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