Music

CD Review: ST. VINCENT soundtrack

ST. VINCENT soundtrack | ©2014 Sony Classical Records

MARLEY AND ME composer Theodore Shapiro has always had a thing for the comedic underdog in such scores as DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY and ONCE CHANCE, all while creating clearly distinct musical characters for these seeming losers, whether it be wacky percussion, dream-like melody or operatic triumph. But he’s likely never gotten a true, cantankerous schlub like Bill Murray’s boozing Vietnam vet who seems to be anything but ST. VINCENT. Yet like all of his previous life-losers, Shapiro finds a heart of gold underneath them with his catchy, rhythmic approach. The trick here …Read On »

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CD Review: 21 and 22 JUMP STREET soundtracks

22 and 21 JUMP STREET soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

Far from signaling film scoring Devo-lution, ex-cult rocker Mark Mothersbaugh has consistently proven himself as one of Hollywood’s most wackily animated composers, loading his work with hip retro samples, wacky rhythms and knowingly bombastic strings. It’s a child-like glee that’s often having fun with his assignments while satirizing them at the same time, an ironic, adrenalin sense of fun that most recently hit it awesomely big for filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with THE LEGO MOVIE, a road of unabashed energy that began in CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. But Mothersbaugh’s most hilariously satiric work for the duo …Read On »

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AUTOMATA composer Zacarias M. de la Riva finds the musical ghost in the machines – Interview

AUTOMATA soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media Records

More than ever in science fiction, humans are being proven to inferior, doomed species in the face of the infinitely more compassionate creations they now want to destroy. It’s a message that science fiction cinema has increasingly hammered in, whether the lab-born synthetics were virtually indistinguishable from us (BLADE RUNNER, A.I., THE MACHINE) or had an artificial appearance that led us to think it was impossible for them to have a soul (“I, Robot”). But now, even the most pathetically abused, humanoid-shaped machines are given the grace of God in AUTOMATA, no more so than in the gorgeous spirituality of …Read On »

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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING composer Johann Johannsson gets scientific – Interview

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING soundtrack | ©2014 +180 Records

One could say it’s the cold, volcanic icescape of the earth’s most forbidding land mass that have often infused Johann Johannsson’s music with a beautifully foreboding presence. Like his innovative countrywoman Bjork, Johannsson received art-music acclaim by merging modern classical and alternative music to haunted and mesmerizing effect, creating a series of conceptual albums like “Englaborn” and “Dis” at the same time he began scoring a myriad of shorts, features and documentaries – usually involving brooding, disaffected characters he could apply a psychologically-minded musical style to (even giving ennui to prairie dogs in the process). With his songs playing a …Read On »

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Composer Kathryn Bostic has some notes for DEAR WHITE PEOPLE – Interview

Dear White People | ©2014 Roadside Attractions

For a country where some people can congratulate themselves for electing a black President, it often seems that America is more behind the times then ever, both in lethally law-enforced terms, and artistic ones where “black” entertainment more often than not engages in minstrel show drama and humor. For an “enlightened” Hollywood that engages in “some of my best friends” lip service, it’s particularly disappointing when the precious few black film composers are kept by The Man in a musical ghetto where only brown color applies. It’s the kind of can’t-we-all-just-get along attitude that would make any self-respecting minority get …Read On »

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WHIPLASH composers Justin Hurwitz and Tim Simonec keep a mean jazz beat – Interview

WHIPLASH soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

In a cinema where wannabe musicians have their aspirations lifted through the very mild tribulations of crotchety, yet ultimately humane instructors, filmmaker Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH  is FIGHT CLUB as opposed to FAME – the equivalent of a cymbal in the face, or a shower of blood splashed across a drum kit. While young percussion prodigy Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) gets out of the way of the first abuse-bomb, he’ll have plenty of blood, sweat and tears to give in his sadistic servant-master relationship to his instructor Terence Fletcher, a jazz drill sergeant who makes the scream-swear martinet in FULL METAL …Read On »

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Composer Harry Gregson-Williams guns for THE EQUALIZER – Interview

THE EQUALIZER soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

Harry Gregson-Williams has often been a man on a mission of dark righteousness. Sure he’s done far gentler scoring for the likes of ANTZ, SHREK, THE TIGGER MOVIE, ARTHUR CHRISTMAS and the first two NARNIA movies, where he even essayed the voice of Patterwig the Squirrel. But if you cross the side of justice, just hear Williams’ family-friendly orchestral voice set its watch to 60 seconds, and become a distinctive sound of simmering electronics, imposing strings, slicing rock guitars and beds of raging percussion – melodic, often hallucinatory music that builds for characters’ with haunted pasts to explode into body count …Read On »

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Composer Imran Ahmad travels with THE DEAD from Africa to India – Interview

THE DEAD2 soundtrack | ©2014 Howlin' Wolf Records

When zombie apocalypses are all the rage in every conceivable medium, it seems difficult to come up with a new spin on the undead, let alone a new sound. Yet that’s precisely what Howard and Jonathan Ford did back in 2010 when they switched the usual American-English terrain to the African outback. It was a haunted land to begin with where walking bodies seemed like the natural outcome for the continent where life began. Adding immeasurable atmosphere to their  DEAD was the score by Indian-born composer Imran Ahmad, an unearthly mélange of ethnic percussion, voices and the more recognizable “horror …Read On »

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THE CONGRESS composer Max Richter waltzes once again – Interview

THE CONGRESS soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

In the world of modern classical-cum-film composers, few musicians are doing more to stretch sonic boundaries than the German-born, London-located musician named Max Richter. Making his way from stage to ballet and concert hall ensembles, Richter’s early work impressed as it often combining beautifully solemn string melodies with an alt. electronic attitude. Concept albums like “Memoryhouse” and “The Blue Notebooks” sung with Richter’s unique admiration for such composers as Philip Glass and John Adams, not to recently mention his wittily hip deconstruction of Vivaldi for “The Four Seasons.” It was this mesmerizing sound that mixed aching melodies with a hip …Read On »

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CD Review: TEST soundtrack

TEST soundtrack | ©2014 Movie Score Media

A gay dancer in early 1985 San Francisco deals with relationships and the beginning of the AIDS pandemic in this well-reviewed drama that not only throws back to an era that marked the end of sexual innocence, but also a musical time that marked the highpoint of a specific movie scoring synth sound best embodied by the likes of Tangerine Dream. And for many fans of that progressive German group, the decade also marked a high point with the propulsive sheen of scores that embodied the stylish LA gloss of HEARTBREAKERS and MIRACLE MILE. Welsh composer Ceiri Torjussen (BIG-ASS SPIDER) …Read On »

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