THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.composer Daniel Pemberton goes R.E.T.R.O. – Interview

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E soundtrack | ©2015 Watertower Records

With its mod rhythms, shagadelic exotica, bold brass, bongo-driven percussion and sheer, string joy in death-defying adventure against world-conquering wannabes (while of course not musically messing up the hero’s Carnaby Street tailoring), the era-specific sound of spy jazz has been making a making a comeback at the cinema, played for delirious height of kitsch by Geoff Zanelli and Mark Ronson in MORTDECAI, THE KINGSMAN‘s head-blasting drive by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson, or used for pure chase adrenalin by Joe Kraemer in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION. But while those two movies are latter-day exercises in battling villainous Eurotrash, THE MAN …Read On »


ANT-MAN: Composer CHRISTOPHE BECK gets big with new Marvel movie


Few Marvel superheroes might have an inferiority complex like Ant-Man. He’s a guy decked out in blue and red, wearing what appears to be some diver’s helmet, gifted with the ability to shrink down to insect size while still delivering a man-sized punch. Not exactly as cool as a mythic hammer, a repulsor ray equipped iron suit or an ability to turn into a big green rage engine. Plus, there’s that name, one subject to any number of self-effacing quips by Paul Rudd, an oft-comedic actor. You know THE DARK KNIGHT which is great indeed when it comes to giving …Read On »


BURYING THE EX: Composer Joseph LoDuca buries the EX – Interview

BURYING THE EX soundtrack | ©2015 Lakeshore Records

Few composers who continually get pulled back into a genre that gave them birth have as much fun both screaming, and laughing about continually being clawed by their fateful, creative relationship than Joseph LoDuca. Born in Michigan around the same time as another native with whom he’d be joined at the hip, LoDuca was well into fulfilling his rock and roll aspirations with the big town likes of Jeff Beck and Bob Seger before getting the call to enter a possessed cabin in the backwoods. The result of his impressively frenetic, orchestral score done a dime was the beginning of …Read On »


CD Review: STILL ALICE soundtrack

STILL ALICE soundtrack | ©2015 Nettwerk Records

A professor losing her smarts to early onset Alzheimer’s has not only inspired a Golden Globe-winning performance from actress Julianne Moore, but also a similarly delicate, and painfully beautiful score from Ilan Eshkeri – whose score here captures the musical memory of his female-centered chamber work for last year’s THE INVISIBLE WOMAN. Where that character was dealing with lovelorn anguish, the subtly dissonant violins and delicate piano that inflect Alice’s struggle are about holding onto cherished life itself. Where a less-indie approach would’ve likely meant bringing on far bigger heartstrings, the intimacy of Eshkeri’s work is perhaps even more emotional …Read On »



NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB soundtrack | ©2015 Varese Sarabande Records

When looking for Hollywood scores filled with unabashedly glittering themes and melody, you might as well feel like visiting a museum. However, Alan Silvestri thankfully remains anything but a fossil in this practice. As a composer who’s been applying this relatively ancient orchestral approach since the long-lost days of BACK TO THE FUTURE, Silvestri has remained vibrant in conveying a child-like sense of magic and adventure when its come to fantastical wish fulfillment, no more so than in his continuing trips to this Fox family franchise, of which SECRET OF THE TOMB threatens to be the last admission. If so, …Read On »


CD Review: A FAR OFF PLACE soundtrack

A FAR OFF PLACE soundtrack | ©2015 Intrada Records

Way before she trekked the Pacific trail, Reese Witherspoon braved 2,000 miles of the Kalahari desert in this surprisingly perilous 1993 adventure film from the family-friendly likes of Disney, who were certainly showing surprising bite at the time with the such movies as WHITE FANG. Having released that double score (along with a bunch of worthy soundtracks from other unlikely Disney pictures), Intrada dips again into the well they first dug for PLACE at the time of its release, now coming up with 75 minutes to fully show off James Horner’s relatively unsung, strikingly epic score. Even though he ventured …Read On »


CD Review: FALLING IN LOVE soundtrack

FALLING IN LOVE soundtrack | ©2015 Kritzerland Records

Movie jazz has always seemed to find a home in Manhattan, and few composers awash in the spirit of an unsleeping city of a thousand stories have embodied those rhythms with the distinctive, thematic flair of Dave Grusin. Given a trademark NYC sound most often comprised of mellow electric percussion, reflective piano and wistful strings, Grusin has heard the city as both a place of danger (THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR), gilded society (BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES) and eccentric criminal intent (THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE). But more often than not, it’s the vibes of beautiful, soft romance in scores …Read On »


CD Review: ETHEL soundtrack

ETHEL soundtrack | ©2015 Perseverance Records

Having started off with some fairly wacky narrative films like STREETS OF RAGE and way more artistic indie efforts like AMY’S ORGASM, Miriam Cutler has essentially become one of the queens of documentary scoring to the rhythmic tunes of LOST IN LA MANCHA, ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT and the Emmy-nominated THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART. Yet with so many works, Cutler remains truthfully under-represented on CD, a fact that Perseverance’s release of her score for the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary ETHEL does a charming, and ultimately moving bit to remedy. Reteaming with GHOSTS OF ABU GHARIB director Rory Kennedy for a very …Read On »


CD Review: THE BETSY soundtrack

THE BETSY soundtrack | ©2014 Prometheus Records

John Barry could give even the trashiest movies a sense of rose-smelling class, especially when the pot was boiling over with a stew of upper class behavior involving the usual assortment of sex, murder and business chicanery – as centering around a clean-burning car engine called THE BETSY of all names. Such was the title that author Harold Robbins bestowed to this fun, Mr. Skin-worthy cinematic adaptation of his critically ta-ta’d brand of wealthily randy literature. Sure Barry might have been given a bit of cheese to work with in1978 between this, STARCRASH and GAME OF DEATH. But the big …Read On »



KANGAROO: THE AUSTRALIAN STORY soundtrack | ©2015 Counterpoint Records

Definitely the silliest title to grace a beyond-manly score, 1952’s KANGAROO was the first Hollywood film to be shot down under, even if its plot of two swindlers after an old coot’s money was a western that could have just as well taken place in Texas (of course minus a few shots of said creatures). Creating a massive orchestral soundtrack that was certainly as big as that state, not to mention a continent, was Sol Kaplan. Best known for his memorably shrill, epically dangerous music for the great STAR TREK episode “The Doomsday Machine,” Kaplan was an especially adventures composer …Read On »

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