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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OUTLANDER: Ronald D. Moore talks the second part of Season 1 – exclusive interview

OUTLANDER on Starz | © 2015 Starz

In the second half of the first season of Starz’s OUTLANDER, Saturdays at 9 PM, accidental time traveler Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a WWII-era English Army nurse who has wound up in mid-1700s Scotland, has decided to stay with Highlander husband Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). However, there are all sorts of perils ahead, some coming from known enemies like sadistic British garrison commander Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), the spitting image of his twentieth-century descendant Frank (also Menzies), who is Claire’s husband, and others coming from unexpected quarters. OUTLANDER, to no one’s surprise, has already been renewed for a second season. Executive […]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: DA VINCI’s DEMONS soundtrack

DA VINCI'S DEMONS soundtrack | ©2013 Sparks & Shadows

It’s no easy task having to score the smartest creator who’s ever walked on our planet. But given an endlessly prolific bounty of inventive TV soundtracks for the genre likes of BATTLESTAR  GALACTICA, THE WALKING DEAD and DEFIANCE,  the energy of Bear McCreary is a match well met for Leonardo Da Vinci. And we’re certainly not talking about an old guy with a beard here, but a robustly sexual scientific adventurer making a Wild West West impression on Renaissance-era Italy, courtesy of David Goyer’s imaginative historical reboot. Obviously, playing it straight with 14th century instruments isn’t going to do the […]Read On »

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CD Review: The Ten Best Scores of 2013

Anthony Gonzalez, Joseph Trapanese / OBLIVION soundtrack | ©2013 +180 Records

THE BOOK THIEF (John Williams / Sony Classical) The kind of unabashedly thematic, and mostly melodic music that’s made John Williams into the most popular film composer of all time is often the sound of innocence itself, an unabated musical youthfulness that he’s also played to ironic effect when dealing with children confronting the unimaginable. Here it’s a genocide that’s heard, but rarely witnessed within a young German girl’s sheltered life during World War 2. Such is the devastating, gentle power that speaks volumes for THE BOOK THIEF‘s score as it encapsulates the innocence, first loves and ultimate shock of […]Read On »

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CD Review: CHILLERAMA PRESENTS ZOM-B MOVIE soundtrack

ZOM-B MOVIE soundtrack | ©2011 Buysoundtrax

Though he’s done a crazed job on the hellbilly scores of the REST STOP films and WRONG TURN 2, Bear McCreary’s zanier supernatural tastes have been held in check to the point of brain dead-ness by the muted tone of the inexplicably popular WALKING DEAD series (a show whose initial promise has admittedly kept me in slave-like thrall). Thankfully, the composer’s creative horror-scoring shackles were finally ripped off of this year for ZOM-B MOVIE music that makes for the wrap-around segments, and climactic gore-a-thon of the drive-in horror spoof  CHILLERAMA (check it out on Netflix instant). It’s a musical mash […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE CAPE soundtrack

THE CAPE soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

Between a starlost spacecraft, homegrown mad science, killer robots and the shambling undead, Bear McCreary is rapidly becoming the king of genre television scoring- particularly the non-super superhero. After his adventurous symphonic scores for Fox’s adaptation of DC’s identity-shifting HUMAN TARGET, McCreary employed the orchestra to even more innovative effect for NBC’s THE CAPE. While not based on any comic book per se, what gave this billowing avenger distinction beyond a Batman-esque shtick was his Toreador-worthy use of the titular clothing article, as handed to him by a not-so-bad circus of crime. While THE CAPE’s promising premise ultimately slipped under […]Read On »

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CD Review: SOCOM 4 soundtrack (2,000 limited edition)

SOCOM 4 soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

The percussion-filled musical worlds of TV’s revamped BATTLESTAR GALACTICA might have flown into the sun, but the thrumming echoes that made Bear McCreary’s scores so distinctive can be heard very loud and clear in his videogame soundtrack to SOCOM 4. For his second entry into console music after the impressive orchestral rocketeering of DARK VOID, McCreary takes on the more down-to-earth (if still more than a bit superhuman) adventures a U.S. Navy Seal team, this time blasting away for the flag in Korean territory. Having brilliantly brought incongruous bagpipes and Asian gamelans to outer space, McCreary’s shown he knows how […]Read On »

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CD Review: HUMAN TARGET: Season 1 (2,000 edition)

HUMAN TARGET TV Soundtrack | © 2010 La La Land Records

Bear McCreary continues to prove himself as the hardest-working composer on television, whose sound gets bigger and better with each show, none more spectacularly than with the ripping symphonic style he’s given to Fox’s spin on DC comics’ HUMAN TARGET. Though he’s composed the pokey country experiments of EUREKA, the sci-fi mythos of GALACTICA and CAPRICA and the chilling apocalypses of THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and THE WALKING DEAD, there always seemed to be a superhero waiting to break free from Bear McCreary. And while TARGET’s danger-seeking impersonator might not have any powers beyond being extra crafty, McCreary’s adventurous scoring […]Read On »

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