CD Review: THE CASE AGAINST 8 and THE WEDDING DATE: THE RECEPTION EDITION soundtracks

THE WEDDING DATE: THE RECEPTION EDITION soundtrack | ©2014 Buysoundtrax

Now best known for putting propulsive arrows in the Green ARROW‘s quiver, Blake Neely seeks musical justice in a far more subdued, but equally powerful manner when it comes to overturning America’s legal prejudice against gay marriage. Marking another dramatically effective documentary score after chronicling The Challenger’s MISSION OF HOPE, Neely once again conveys a poignant, human face on landmark events. His CASE AGAINST 8 takes on an ethereal, subtly Americana tone as heard for rhythmic beds of guitars, piano, strings and poignantly sampled atmospheres. This score isn’t about winning the fight against voter and government-mandated prejudice with fist-waving, but …Read On »

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CD Review: IN YOUR EYES soundtrack

IN YOUR EYES soundtrack | ©2014 Lakeshore Records

A guitarist and arranger for such composers as Brian Tyler and Harry Gregson-Williams, Tony Morales has been impressing with his suspenseful, action-heavy scores for THE BAG MAN and ENEMIES CLOSER, while also netting an Emmy nomination for co-scoring the hellbilly hootenany of the HATFIELDS & McCOYS along with John Debney. Perhaps that’s why Morales’ romantic score for IN YOUR EYES  sounds like it could be taking place during a Van Damme face-off, as well as a mesmerizing mind-eye bridge where boy meets girl via psychic connection. Morales’ programming chops, not to mention melodic talent, add much musical atmosphere to this …Read On »

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CD Review: GOLDEN NEEDLES and THE FOURTH PROTOCOL soundtracks

THE FOURTH PROTOCOL soundtrack | ©2014 Buysoundtrax

From spies to a certain magnum-blasting cop, Lalo Schifrin can be certified as one of Hollywood’s most versatile men of musical action – though it’s likely to be his lightning fists of Chopsocky jazz-Fu which will go down as his most popular score (along with Bruce Lee’s most popular film) for 1973s ENTER THE DRAGON. But perhaps an even cooler contender would be the soundtrack for director Robert Clouse’s 1974 follow up GOLDEN NEEDLES, which had seven treasure hunters of various moral shadings pursuing an idol whose “seven forbidden acupuncture points” all kick ass with Schifrin’s distinctive take on exotic …Read On »

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CD Reviews: THE HILLS HAVE EYES and KNIGHT RIDER soundtracks

KNIGHT RIDER soundtrack | ©2014 Perseverance Records

Don Peake is one of the musicians who’ve jumped on board of Perseverance’s new “composer distribution series,” which allows artists to use the label as a proxy for titles they’ve always wanted to release. Among the titles to spring from the former Everly Brothers guitarist are FRANKIE AND JOHNNY ARE MARRIED and two volumes of KNIGHT RIDER. But horror cultists will most certainly get their primitive fill for Peake’s run through the cannibal-infested desert of Wes Craven during the director’s way grittier days, a grindhouse talent that had memorable brute force in 1977s THE HILLS HAVE EYES. This since way …Read On »

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CD Review: D.A.R.Y.L: LIMITED EDITION soundtrack

D.A.R.Y.L: LIMITED EDITION. soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

At first, it might have seemed an odd choice to have the Oscar-winning composer of THE WAY WE WERE score a movie about a kid cyborg. But when you consider what a beautifully melodic sentimentalist that Marvin Hamlisch was, hiring him for this sweetly unique 1985 kid’s adventure made perfect sense. Young star Barret Oliver seemed to be doing next to every memorable genre movie from the period (FRANKENWEENIE, COCOON and THE NEVERENDING STORY among them), and brought much warmth to this robotic spin on E.T. as a super-smart twelve year-old who finds shelter from government baddies with a nice …Read On »

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CD Review: BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and TARZAN soundtracks

BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

David Newman’s rocking, rambunctious voice for electronics and the orchestra provided the beat for two cult teen movies from the late 80s – one involving a bitchy clique of “Heathers,” and the other pairing the far more lovable, dunderheaded duo of Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire. While the first picture got a snarky, country-flavored synth beat, the clever, time travelling conceit for BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE afforded Newman the opportunity to energetically combine a full-blast, history-spanning symphony with a rock-pop beat for the Wyld Stallyns’ first quest. It was indeed a truly ingenious stylistic combo as …Read On »

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CD Review: THE RIVER MURDERS soundtrack

THE RIVER MURDERS soundtrack | ©2014 Caldera Records

After their impressive initial releases of Guy Farley’s SECRET SHARER and Johan Soderqvist’s KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND, Caldera Records continues to show excellent taste in finding subtle, yet powerful scores from composers of creative note – especially when it comes to their work for movies that might have flown under the radar. Now Pinar Toprak’s THE RIVER MURDERS sounds off with such tragic, heavenly resonance that you could easily have imagined this as the score for MYSTIC RIVER. But it’s a testament to her music’s melodic production value that you wouldn’t expect this score as belonging to a 2011 straight-to-DVD …Read On »

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CD Review: OVERLORD soundtrack

OVERLORD soundtrack | ©2014 Kritzerland Records

While reveling in such mainstream classics and well-known composers as Alfred Newman’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and Dmitri Tiomkin’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Kritzerland has also shown a penchant for such artier composers as Toru Takemitsu (RISING SUN) and Dana Kaproff  (WHEN A STRANGER CALLS). But of all the unknown gems they’ve put out so far, perhaps none is better timed, or shines amore beautifully than Paul Glass’ OVERLORD, an alternately modernistic and classical score composed for Stuart Cooper’s truly revolutionary war movie about the D-Day invasion, an amazing film which has also now received a blu ray debut …Read On »

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CD Review: JOE soundtrack

JOE soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

It might be said that David Wingo’s winning, southern-fried soundtrack for MUD was akin to an artily existential take on Charles Bernstein’s South-ploitation score for WHITE LIGHTNING. But now Wingo ventures once again into the land of valiant, and villainous rednecks with nary a rustic instrumentation in earshot for JOE. Joined by director David Gordon Green’s frequent composer Jeff McIlwain (SNOW ANGELS, THE SITTER), this duo instead hear the dark brew of ambient trouble growing to a boil inside of Nicholas Cage’s ex-con turned reluctant hero. It’s a palpable, unsetting atmosphere of dread that could just as easily serve as …Read On »

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CD Review: MILLION DOLLAR ARM soundtrack

MILLION DOLLAR ARM soundtrack | ©2014 Walt Disney Records

When A.R. Rahman first gained Oscar-winning attention in the western world for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, it was as if some musical pitch hitter had arrived from nowhere, able to capture the exotic rhythms of his heritage via a pop beat as fresh as any album-spinning club kid (despite the fact that this relatively youthful composer-producer had been updating ancient Indian beats for quite some time). It’s a situation that couldn’t have made Rahman a better composer to play the sweet culture clash of a bunch of cricket players from the continent being potentially thrust into major league baseball for this Disney …Read On »

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