Music

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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CD Review: BATES MOTEL and PENNY DREADFUL soundtracks

PENNY DREADFUL soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

Two cable hits have been busy re-inventing everyone’s favorite Mama’s boy and band of Edwardian monster hunters. But leave it to Chris Bacon and Abel Korzeniowski to make these often horrific exploits go down with orchestral elegance. For Bacon, it’s realizing that melodic empathy is the room key to loving Norman Bates as much as his mom, tenderness that suffuses his often beautiful, lush score to BATES MOTEL. Yet the spirit of Bernard Herrmann certainly inhabits this abode, not in stormily gothic (or stabbing) violins, but in BATES‘ long, drifting string lines and sympathetic piano. While there’s effectively uptempo percussion, …Read On »

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CD Review: THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and THUNDERBIRD 6 soundtrack

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and THUNDERBIRD 6 soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s marionette-centric genre shows like JOE 90 and SUPERCAR might have seemed like charmingly ingenious kids’ stuff in other people’s wire-holding hands. Yet it was the couples’ joyful, uncondescending commitment to their literally wooden characters, and ingeniously designed models that made them truly come to flesh and blood life, especially by filling them with the robustly symphonic scores of Barry Gray. Their imaginations truly took off to become the toast of England, and the TV-watching world with their series THE THUNDERBIRDS, which had the Tracy family and their International Rescue roster of rocketships coming to the near-future’s …Read On »

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