Soundtracks

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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CD Review: SPARTACUS WAR OF THE DAMNED soundtrack

SPARTACUS WAR OF THE DAMNED soundtrack | ©2013 Varese Sarabande Records

After scoring Starz’s SPARTACUS series and its spin-offs, Joseph LoDuca reaches the saga’s climax with a masterful, musical blow for freedom that does the saga, and the spirit of its late star Andy Whitfield worthy with WAR OF THE DAMNED. While the composer’s had plenty of experience in the sword-and-sandle arena from his days spent with Hercules and Xena (not to mention a Dark Ages Ash), the amped up violence and sex of this Starz spin has required even more musical muscle, and daring from the composer. Lo Duca’s final battle is impressively epic, pouring on gigantic orchestral themes that …Read On »

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CD Review: FIRE AND ICE soundtrack

FIRE AND ICE soundtrack | ©2013 Buysoundtrax Records

Buysoundtrax has been in the habit of refurbishing many beloved genre scores from the 80s, most recently among them Tangerine Dream’s NEAR DARK, Richard Stone’s SUNDOWN and David Whitaker’s THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER. But amidst the decade’s particularly beloved sword and sorcery genre, perhaps no score is as savagely majestic, or unsung as William Kraft’s rippingly symphonic work for 1983s FIRE AND ICE. Ralph Bakshi took his passion for live action-to-animation rotoscoping that he’d begun on WIZARDS to its most wonderfully sexist extremes for this collaboration with Frank Frazetta, a he-man artist who’d turned his visions of barely-clad barbarians …Read On »

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CD Review: ONLY GOD FORGIVES soundtrack

ONLY GOD FORGIVES soundtrack | ©2013 Milan Records

Most times, a composer’s job is to support the emotions of an actor’s performance, not become the performance. But where any other musician might be condemned for overstepping the boundaries of good taste, Cliff Martinez deserves a medal for brilliantly providing just about the only humanity for Nicolas Winding Refn’s lavish exercise in artsy sadism with ONLY GOD FORGIVES. Far more in the realm of the filmmaker’s FEAR X  than his infinitely more accessible DRIVE, Refn’s bitch slap of unending, beyond-explicit revenge is actually more of a fight club for staring. Given endless stretches of unblinking silence in between its …Read On »

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CD Review: THE LAST OF US soundtrack

THE LAST OF US soundtrack | ©2013 Sony Music

When it comes to video game scoring, it’s often the bigger, the better. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the composer is mostly trying to make an impression amidst shattering spaceships, cannon-blasting world wars, dragon-slaying sword battles and zombie holocausts. Though THE LAST OF US deals with the latter, it’s on a far more human scale that’s ennobled a strikingly stripped-down score from Gustavo Santaolalla that just might be the least amount of “music” ever done for the genre. But then, having Naughty Dog hire the Oscar winning composer of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and BABEL to do to a …Read On »

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CD Review: THE WARRIORS soundtrack

THE WARRIORS soundtrack | ©2013 La La Land Records

Walter Hill’s 1979 gang fantasia was far more an exercise in style than exploitation, even high-minded enough to base its noble punks’ journey back to their home turf on Xenophon’s Spartan adventure “Anabasis.” Not that THE WARRIORS‘ ancient source material mattered to legions of fans still enthralled by the movie’s eye-catching vision of such thematically costumed bad-asses like The Baseball Furies. If anything, Hill’s odyssey from Central Park to Coney Island played more like some futuristic urban action movie, its surreal atmosphere propelled by the rocking synth rhythms of Barry DeVorzon in a score that defined the era’s invasion of …Read On »

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CD Review: THE GAMBLER and BEYOND THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE soundtracks

THE GAMBLER soundtrack | ©2013 Quartet Records

Jerry Fielding was a composer who set a new high bar for tough guy expressionism in film music, taking an uncompromising, and often primally dissonant approach for such seething orchestral blood rites as THE WILD BUNCH, THE OUTFIT and LAWMAN. Now the new releases of THE GAMBLER and BEYOND THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE offer a rich contrast in Fielding intensity, subduing his voice for a modern classicist, and then pouring on the danger for the Master of Disaster. If Gustav Mahler had become a film composer, it’s arguable that his often brooding, string-heavy style might have sounded something like Jerry Fielding’s …Read On »

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