Soundtracks

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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CD Review: BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO soundtrack

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 »

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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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CD Review: THE ICEMAN soundtrack

THE ICEMAN soundtrack | ©2013 Relativity Music

Being married to the mob is anything but romantic, especially when you’re a hitman in Ariel Vroman’s chillingly effective crime drama THE ICEMAN, made all the more disturbing by the fact that it’s based on the exploits of prolific contract killer Richard Kuklinski. Vroman’s kept it in the creative family by hiring fellow Israeli composer, and true murder follower Haim Mazar, who skillfully evades the jazzily orchestral Cosa Nostra clichés that would have made this period-spanning film nostalgically hollow. Dealing with a Polish outsider to the organization, not to mention a guy who has a hard time holding onto his …Read On »

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CD Review: KILLER FORCE / THE CORRUPT ONES – 500 limited edition soundtrack

KILLER FORCE / THE CORRUPT ONES soundtrack | ©2013 Music Box Records

Sure they might release such elegantly prestigious Euro scores as Georges Delerue’s THE CONFORMIST and Philippe Rombi’s WAR OF THE BUTTONS. But Music Box Records is perhaps even more fun when handle kitschily entertaining works by such composers us Yanks have never heard of like Michael Magne’s EMMANUEL 4 and Serge Franklin’s LE GRANDE PARDON. Now of particular, disco-ish delight is George Garvarentz’s score to 1976s KILLER FORCE (aka THE DIAMOND MERCENARIES), one of those all-star Anglo thrillers that provided fun South African vacations to such Americans as Telly Savalas, Peter Fonda and O.J. Simpson, here ripping off some precious …Read On »

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CD Review: LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN soundtrack

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN soundtrack | ©2013 Kritzerland Records

Kritzerland has become the most passionate soundtrack label when it comes to releasing soundtracks from Hollywood’s golden age – the kind of symphonically lush studio system scoring arguably best personified by Alfred Newman. While their magnificent re-mastering of Newman’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY will play to more sentimental tastes, fans who appreciate Newman’s less-utilized, if just as formidable talent for film noir will get their Technicolor kicks out of 1947s LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, in which Gene Tierney, the object of a detective’s obsession in LAURA (whose iconic David Raksin score was just an instant Kritzerland sell-out) gets to …Read On »

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CD Review: THE SALAMANDER soundtrack

THE SALAMANDER soundtrack | ©2013 Prometheus Records

An entertaining, obscure 1981 political thriller that stands as one of the nuttier pictures that Jerry Goldsmith scored is now just as remarkable for becoming one of the best, and boisterously re-performed soundtracks that the legendary composer has gotten. That’s thanks to the always-excellent triple-threat of album producer James Fitzpatrick, conductor Nic Raine and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, who follow up their recent take on Goldsmith’s HOUR OF THE GUN with an album that will completely blow fans away. This musical masterwork accompanied Franco Nero as a hapless Italian police whose investigation into a series of …Read On »

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