CD Review: HEMLOCK GROVE soundtrack

HEMLOCK GROVE soundtrack | ©2013 Varese Sarabande Records

While he’s more than shown his blunt orchestral adeptness with the shrieking torture-horror scores for his two unsettling stays in the European HOSTEL,Nathan Barr is a composer who’s most unsettling creative talents lie at home in rustic America. The vampire bayou of TRUE BLOOD has made him the horror-scoring equivalent of Flannery O’Connor, creating music whose dulcimers and stings enticingly reek of Southern gothic black magic. Even when Barr packs up and travels to the imaginary Pennsylvania town of HEMLOCK GROVE, it’s still hard to take the country-sounding horror out of the boy.HOSTEL creator Eli Roth has given this Netflix …Read On »


CD Review: ADORE soundtrack

ADORE soundtrack | ©2013 Varese Sarabande Records

You can say there’s something more than uncomfortable about two beautiful best friend cougars getting it on with each other’s sons, even if the pseudo-incest angle is somewhat muted by the fact that these strapping Aussie surfer lads are barely legal at the start of their affairs. Yet ADORE’s mixture of inappropriateness and eroticism is actually beautifully transfixing to look at, let alone listen to with the soothing score by Christopher Gordon and additional composer Antony Partos to lend lyrical heat to what could be far more musically sensational and explicit given the subject matter. Gordon (MASTER AND COMMANDER, MAO’S …Read On »


CD Review: PRISONERS soundtrack

PRISONERS soundtrack | ©2013 WaterTower Music

It’s particularly cool when Hollywood takes a chance on foreign talent, whether it lies across the cold Canadian border with Quebec director Denis Villeneuve, or in Iceland itself in the hiring of composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. This artistic gamble that yields depressively mesmerizing results as two sets of parents cross the moral, and legal boundaries to find their kidnapped children. The results of PRISONERS are sure to entail plenty of church confessional time for them, hence the “holy minimalism” approach taken by Jóhannsson. His PRISONERS is certainly one of the more interesting scores to appear since Johnny Greenwood’s brilliantly bizarre THERE …Read On »


CD Review: REVENGE soundtrack

REVENGE soundtrack | ©2013 Intrada Records

Murder, greed and betrayal have always been part and parcel of ABC’s primetime television schedule, especially when dealing with wealthy characters – whether they are a jet-setting dynasty or a bunch of desperate housewives. But among those well-heeled heels, REVENGE has stepped forward as the mother of the network’s female-skewing payback shows, or rather a daughter out to make her dad’s tormentors pay. Now about to claim more villains in season 3, a big part of REVENGE‘s nasty touch of class continues to be come from the singularly credited composer Izler, who’s made sure to get an orchestra to help …Read On »


CD Review: PAIN & GAIN soundtrack

PAIN & GAIN soundtrack | ©2013 Varese Sarabande Records

Michael Bay’s career has been based on brain-frying excess, mainlining images of sweaty biceps, barely-fitting bikinis and joyful violence upon the popcorn eating masses. In the process, he’s encouraged his composers to pump the volume to 11 with rampaging walls of muscular rock-fueled orchestras. But where Bay has often been righteously lambasted for being lame-brained in his stylistic choices, the multiplex king now reveals his over-the-top fetishes as the ultimate act of artistic subversion as he plays the amped energy of murderous adrenalin junkies in PAIN & GAIN and in the process encourages his musical confidant Steve Jablonsky to deliver …Read On »


CD Review: WILLARD soundtrack

WILLARD soundtrack | ©2013 La La Land Records

Squeaking, clawing, skittering and doing the polka? These are but some of the musical approximations of being both rat and human screwball that Shirley Walker conjures in her beyond brilliant score for one of the last decade’s most unexpected cult pleasures. As an orchestrator for such macabre Danny Elfman efforts as BATMAN RETURNS and NIGHTBREED, Shirley Walker got to demonstrate a talent for black humor and eccentric orchestrations, seizing upon her abilities for the BATMAN animated series and the hilariously gore-licious FINAL DESTINATION series. It was that gross-out franchise’s creators Glen Morgan and James Wong who had the brilliant idea …Read On »


CD Review: AFRICA soundtrack

AFRICA soundtrack | ©2013 Silva Screen Records

Along with their DR. WHO soundtracks, Silva Screen has seemingly cornered the world market on the music of BBC nature documentaries. Where some of these entries dumbed down animal behavior into the stuff of Carl Stalling antics amidst more noble-minded orchestral grandeur, AFRICA‘s vast, stylistic continent shows why this is the land mass where two-legged intelligence began. Taking on thee task of chronicling every life form and landscape is Sarah Class, a composer whose documentary-filled resume understandably landed her the job with the likes of MYSTERY OF THE WOLF and THE MEERKATS There’s an exceptional level of writing, and elemental …Read On »


CD Review: AT ANY PRICE soundtrack

AT ANY PRICE soundtrack | ©2013 Milan Records

Another spellbinding rocker who found himself in the heartland, Dickon Hinchliffe saw his band Tindersticks turn their alt sound to such uniquely percussive works as NENETTE AND BONI and TROUBLE EVERY DAY, all before going solo with such distinctive works that embodied everything from cold-blooded murder in the first “Red Riding” mystery to sweetly accessible romance in LAST CHANCE HARVEY and the sympathetic soul of an abused ape in PROJECT NIMH. Yet this Englishman seems to be best at home in the acoustic badlands of WINTER’S BONE, RAMPART and THE TEXAS KILLING FIELDS. Though Hinchliffe’s approach is often spare, it …Read On »



BERBARIAN SOUND STUDIO soundtrack | ©2013 Warp Records

Seldom has a movie gotten everything technically right, yet ended up so completely wrong as the Giallo homage BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, which sets up an Italian mixing facility as the perfect sound stage for murder, yet forgets to have anything happpen during its beautifully done, deadly dull progression of an engineer’s mental unravelling. But all of that being said, Broadcast’s score manages to be BERBERIAN‘s single most successful salute to this suspenseful Neopolitain style, the perfect accompaniment to create a way better movie in one’s own mind. While Broadcast’s pitch-perfect work could easily play over any classic Dario Argento film like DEEP …Read On »


CD Review: DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES soundtrack

DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES soundtrack | ©2013 Intrada Records

While their cinematic relationship became popular through the slapstick destruction of the PINK PANTHER series, the collaboration between composer Henry Mancini and filmmaker Blake Edwards could yield far more serious stuff, complete with a memorable theme song and champagne jazziness. While 1961s BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S put a shot of bittersweetness into its party girl antics, 1962s DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES was anything but a happy look at the lush life. Though not exactly hitting the rat-in-the-wall DT’s of THE LOST WEEKEND, Edward’s look at two alkis’ self-destructive relationship was fairly groundbreaking in a developing era of hard-hitting “message” pictures. …Read On »

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