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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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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The Year in Review: The Best Scores of 2014 – The Runner Ups and Composers To Watch

THE BEST SCORES OF 2014 – The Runner Up’s and Composers To Watch BIG BAD WOLVES  (Frank Ilfman / Movie Score Media) Stop me if you’ve heard the same cinematic tune about a perceived miscreant tied into a chair for all manner of mental, and physical torture to be performed upon him. Thankfully, the Israeli breakout film BIG BAD WOLVES whistles the genre song with smashing black-humored suspense, as captured with a thunderous score by Frank Ilfman, who twists a thrillingly mean symphonic knife as he relentlessly veers between frantic action and sly, Herrmann-esque strings as a set-up for ironic, …Read On »

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CD Review: BLOW OUT soundtrack

BLOW OUT soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

After CARRIE and DRESSED TO KILL, DePalma and Donaggio were at the top of their ersatz Hitchcock-Herrmann game when they took a nihilistic detour into the paranoia-conspiracy territory that fueled such similarly bleak classics as THE PARALLAX VIEW and THE CONVERSATION. But while there was nothing remotely “meta” about those movies’ dark approach, the thrill of any collaboration between this director and composer was in seeing, and hearing just how close their homages could get to the originals and survive, while still being dazzlingly stylish in their own right. On that count, BLOW OUT is a terrific example of being …Read On »

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CD Review: THE FRENCH REVOLUTION soundtrack

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION soundtrack | ©2014 Music Box Records

One can only imagine the honor for a French composer to score an epic based on the events that defined his country’s future, and for a small time the ideals of Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité. And it’s in that spirit one can understand the pure, gorgeous passion that Georges Delerue gave to THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. This massive, six-hour, two-part cinematic endeavor was done for the event’s 200th anniversary, starring the English-speaking likes of Jane Seymour, Peter Ustinov and Sam Neill, and ultimately turned into a TV miniseries that’s still unavailable on video in this country. Delerue had certainly done sweeping, …Read On »

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CD Review: GORKY PARK soundtrack

GORKY PARK soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

James Horner’s career was taking off in 1983, due to a dynamic signature sound that often meshed impactful percussion with richly thematic melodies that paid homage to such modern classical Russian masters as Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. So it was fitting that Horner’s music would journey to their Motherland with GORKY PARK, its unique story (by NIGHTWINGS‘ killer bat author Martin Cruz Smith) pitting a Soviet cop against a murderous American capitalist pig, with furry sables as the MacGuffin behind a skinned face triple slaying. One need not dig far to turn up Horner’s usual, impactful suspects with a score that …Read On »

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CD Review: LES PASSAGERS soundtrack (500 edition)

LES PASSAGERS soundtrack | ©2014 Music Box Records

What Americans among us would have known that the first adaptation of popular thriller novelist Dean R. Koontz (written as SHATTERED under the pseudonym of K.R. Dwyer) was done for a French movie? But then, who’d have realized that its composer Claude Bolling wasn’t the first musician in the driver’s seat for a movie that ultimately appeared on our shores as THE INTRUDERS in 1977. But thanks to this intriguing Music Box Records release, both musical takes are out there to savor for as the road got paved for far better known Koontz movies as HIDEAWAY and WATCHERS. But there’s …Read On »

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