THE BEST SCORES OF 2016 – Part One

ARRIVAL soundtrack | ©2016 Deutsche Grammophon

THE BEST SCORES OF 2016 ARRIVAL  (Johann Johannsson / Deutsche Grammophon) An Icelander whose intensely psychological, yet still melodically accessible modernist scores like PRISONERS and SICARIO speak in alien languages of subsonic strings and nerve-chilling brass at last gets his actual close encounter as he translates the Rorschach Test language of obelisk / monolith dwelling inter-dimensional deities here. Johannsson brilliantly captures both a sense of wonder and fear with beholding the mind-boggling, verbally-scrambled unknown as whale cry motifs join with alternately moaning and chattering voices, backed by a strong orchestral sound that serves as a powerful universal musical translator in a way that’s […]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: The Best Scores of 2013 – The Runners-Up

Brian Tyler / NOW YOU SEE ME soundtrack | ©2013 Glassnote

BEYOND TWO SOULS (Lorne Balfe / Sony Entertainment) Though it’s far more of an interactive movie than it is a video game, the negligible level of first-person shooter ability here doesn’t prevent BEYOND TWO SOULS from being a complete immersive experience, especially with the eerie, and rapturous quality of Lorne Balfe’s score, leveled up with the ace technical and musical production oversight of Hans Zimmer. For a heroine seemingly cursed by her lifelong bond to an invisible entity, Balfe conjures a truly beautiful theme, topped with a female voice that resonates with a wounded emotion that binds this powerfully symphonic […]Read On »

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