Music

CD Review: SOLAR CRISIS soundtrack

SOLAR CRISIS soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

I may have been the only person to see this intended sci-fi epic on the big screen back in 1990, let alone enjoy the loony virtues of Alan Smithee’s (i.e. Richard Sarafian’s) voyage to bomb the sun, a mission pre-figuring SUNSHINE‘s by almost two decades. Powered with impressive effects by 2010′s Richard Edlund, this 50 million dollar Japanese-American co-production was filled with stars like Tim Matheson, Jack Palance, Peter Boyle and Charlton Heston (because you can never end the Earth without him). But perhaps the most impressive passenger aboard SOLAR CRISIS was Maurice Jarre, who’s catch-all style score was especially …Read On »

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CD Review: SHE-DEVIL soundtrack

SHE-DEVIL soundtrack | ©2014 Music Box Records

Before Howard Shore became the thunderous orchestral king of serial killers, fantasy epics and heavy duty drama, the Canadian composer (and former SNL music director) did indeed have a funny bone to his body early in his Hollywood career, as can be evidenced by AFTER HOURS, BIG and even MOVING.  Sure these scores might have been sandwiched between the Cronenbergian likes of THE BROOD and THE FLY, but humor has always provided Shore with some of his most purely enjoyable scores, especially when taking on the harlot-housefrau battle between Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr in 1989s SHE-DEVIL. DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN director …Read On »

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CD Review: LAIR soundtrack

LAIR soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

2007’s LAIR stands as a videogame that simultaneously allowed the booming industry to take off and crash to the ground. The big downdraft came from a “Sxixaxis” PS3 control system that was supposed to allow you fly giant lizards with the ease of a dragon rider from Pern. However, it ended up being so frustratingly faulty that thousands of users let fly their controllers towards their television screens (mine included). While players would have to wait for an analog update to truly enjoy the game’s graphic virtues, the one area that immediately met LAIR‘s grand ambitions, and then some, was …Read On »

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CD Review: THE RAILWAY MAN soundtrack

THE RAILWAY MAN soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

David Hirschfelder has long shown his talent for playing the sweep of historical drama from the darkly regal ELIZABETH to the epic saga of his homeland in AUSTRALIA. But he’s just as capable of hauntingly intimate, character-oriented scores, whether it’s solving the murder mystery behind THE WEIGHT OF WATER to helping a mentally drained pianist unlock the greatness within himself for SHINE. Hirschfelder’s abilities join like never before in tracking the path from atrocity to forgiveness with THE RAILWAY MAN, a devastatingly powerful, true-life film about a WW2 POW coming to terms with the atrocities visited on him and his …Read On »

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CD Review: ROSWELL and COMMUNION soundtracks

ROSWELL and COMMUNION soundtracks | ©2014 Buysoundtrax

After respectably re-performing John Carpenter and Ennio Morricone’s THE THING,  Buysoundtrax now breaks the ice on two lesser-known “true life” alien scores, one involving the human probing done on some accidental visitors to ROSWELL, then playing a writer’s metaphysical close encounter for COMMUNION. Yet despite the role-reversals, both scores are tried together by a lyrical approach steeped in mystery, and a sense for peaceful understanding, even if that might not be the government’s aim for the first 1994 Showtime movie, which continued composer Elliot Goldenthal’s streak of memorable genre scores following PET SEMETARY, ALIEN 3 and DEMOLITION MAN. While taking …Read On »

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CD Review: THE RUNNER STUMBLES soundtrack

THE RUNNER STUMBLES soundtrack | ©2014 Buysoundtrax

Funnily enough, the eleven film collaboration between Stanley Kramer and Ernest Gold will likely be most popularly remembered for their one-shot laugh fest IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD as opposed to the far more serious music that was otherwise conjured by the likes of THE DEFIANT ONES, ON THE BEACH and INHERIT THE WIND. But even among these sweepingly somber scores, the one film, and soundtrack that’s completely flown under the radar is Kramer’s 1979 swan song THE RUNNER STUMBLES, in which had the audacity to dramatically cast the ever-loveable Dick Van Dyke as a priest accused of …Read On »

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CD Review: VICTOR YOUNG AT PARAMOUNT soundtrack

VICTOR YOUNG AT PARAMOUNT soundtrack | ©2014 Kritzerland Records

Kritzerland continues to mine for golden age soundtracks in the Paramount peak, doing impressive sonic excavations on many gems well past five decades old (practically pre-history in soundtrack terms nowadays), no more so than in their compilations celebrating fairly obscure work by composers during their tenure with the studio. Now Kritzerland follows up their “Franz Waxman at Paramount” album with this triptych featuring Victor Young, the prolific, and manly-sounding composer of over two hundred soundtracks (THE QUIET MAN and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS among them) whose nevertheless best remembered tune today is the eternal song “When I Fall …Read On »

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CD Review: MUPPETS MOST WANTED / THE MUPPETS soundtrack

MUPPETS MOST WANTED / THE MUPPETS soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

Animation has been a particularly well-suited realm for Christophe Beck to practice his melodically energetic way of giving an orchestra the frisky, bright vibes of pop music, a Pharrell-ish feeling of optimism as well as playfully ominous danger that’s recently helped to propel The Mouse House’s short PAPERMAN to an Oscar win before assisting in FROZEN‘s feature-length CGI-toon gold – a movie that’s made Beckthe box office champ of cartoon scoring as well. And if Beck can give animation the sensation of infectous happiness, than why not felt? Such is the antically pleasant spin he’s given to two Muppet movies, …Read On »

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Interview: A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST composer Joel McNeely tames the Old West

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST soundtrack | ©2014 Backlot Music

When Wisconsin-born composer Joel McNeely went from a land of good old fashioned American purity to the far more ornery streets of Los Angeles, his innate melodic talent arrived just at a late 80s time when newfangled synths and rock music were taking their place as underscore – putting any number of old studio composers out to pasture as they tried to adapt to the changing sound of Hollywood – or saw their legendary careers bite the bullet. Yet McNeely was a greenhorn with the symphonic chops to more than match his elders, with a particular talent for a golden, …Read On »

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CD Review: CREEPSHOW soundtrack (3,000 edition)

CREEPSHOW soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

From the time when the denizens of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD shambled through its farmhouse field to the tune of creature feature stock music, George Romero’s horror films have had a pulp throwback feel to them that recalled the graphic, moral comeuppance of such E.C. comics as “Tales From the Crypt” and “Vault of Horror.” So it was only natural that the filmmaker would unleash his own cinematic, blood-colored anthology with 1982s CREEPSHOW, authored by no less than Stephen King. It’s a film that for many remains the director’s most unhinged and pleasurable effort, especially with its seamless combination …Read On »

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