CD Review: BACK TO GAYA soundtrack

BACK TO GAYA soundtrack | ©2012 Movie Score Media

As with the final works of such ailing composers as Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Kamen didn’t let sickness diminish the talents that first landed him on the Hollywood map, namely a flair for orchestral writing. And like the equally missed Goldsmith, Kamen’s memorable swan song would be for an animated film. BACK TO GAYA (otherwise known by its equally confounding titles of  THE SNURKS  or BOO, ZINO & THE SNURKS) is no LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION or the Kamen-scored IRON GIANT for that matter. And that’s one big reason why this otherwise terrific soundtrack has languished in obscurity until Movie […]Read On »

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CD Review: WINSTON CHURCHILL: WALKING WITH DESTINY soundtrack

WINSTON CHURCHILL: WALKING WITH DESTINY soundtrack | ©2012 Intrada Records

When so many documentaries are hampered by the budget to truly give them a rousing sense of history, Lee Holdridge has often been lucky to bring the battle-filled past alive with the army of a full orchestra, giving his music the stuff of legend for such Intrada-released soundtracks as THE EXPLORERS and IN SEARCH OF PEACE, Holdridge’s rousingly dramatic, and deeply emotional approach is no better suited than for one of WW2’s most tenacious figures in WINSTON CHURCHILL: WALKING WITH DESTINY. Never before had Britain seemed on the verge of annihilation than during the Nazi blitzkrieg, if not for the […]Read On »

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CD Review: NORWEGIAN WOOD soundtrack

NORWEGIAN WOOD soundtrack | ©2012 Nonesuch Records

While it’s the famed Beatles tune that spurs a Japanese man down a 1960’s-set relationship memory lane, what you’ll get here is a far more demanding type of musically pleasing love, courtesy of THERE WILL BE BLOOD‘s Jonny Greenwood. And while his latest score might not spill over with quite as much milkshake-worthy insanity, there’s again no denying that Greenwood is right at the top of the Avant-garde scoring movement between dissonance and melody. However, the trick of the Radiohead member-turned-composer is turning what could be as unlistenable as a lot of today’s “modern” classical music is into something truly […]Read On »

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CD Review: SAFE HOUSE soundtrack

SAFE HOUSE soundtrack | ©2012 Varese Sarabande Records

SAFE HOUSE is risk-free in more ways than one as it follows most of the same story beats of a CIA dude movie on the run, a genre that was made so popular by the BOURNE IDENTITY franchise. Yet that doesn’t mean this espionage suspenser is lacking for propulsive danger, especially given a tensely effective score by Ramin Djawadi. Though set in South Africa, the German / Iranian composer avoids an ethnic sound and gets straight to the heart of the rhtymic action, with a driving, rock-accented talent he’s already impressively displayed in two MEDAL OF HONOR videogames. Here Djawadi […]Read On »

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CD Review: HAUNTED OR HUMORED soundtrack

HAUNTED OR HUMORED soundtrack | ©2012 Christopher Young

Few composers have been as diligent about getting their work out there as Christopher Young, whether his music accompanied blockbusters, unreleased indies, concert pieces, shorts, or scores that weren’t used at all. Based on dozens of albums and promos, Young has been one very busy man over the decades. Yet even his most obscure releases have shown the same dedication to quality and creativity, no matter the project’s music budget or studio politics. Now Young’s relentless musical drive has inspired his own record label to put these scores onto, beginning with the compilation HAUNTED OR HUMORED. As a composer whose […]Read On »

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CD Review: TOWER HEIST soundtrack

TOWER HEIST soundtrack | ©2011 Varese Sarabande R

Brett Ratner might not have the best tastes in p.c.-friendly sound bytes, but he certainly can make fun movies like three RUSH HOUR pictures, let alone have the geek love to get a legit movie jazz master like Lalo Schifrin to score those Chan / Tucker buddy cop pairings. For whatever reason, Schifrin’s not among the crew of TOWER HEIST picture that stands at the height of Ratner’s multiplex-pleasing skills. But if you can’t get the old pro, then a relatively Young Turk like Christophe Beck will do nicely. Beyond being the king of Hollywood’s party down, rock-funk sound with […]Read On »

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CD Review: SHAOLIN soundtrack

SHAOLIN soundtrack | ©2011 Movie Score Media

Composer Nicholas Errera (SLEEPLESS NIGHT) might hail from modern Paris as opposed to feudal China, but you’d think he was musically trained by Master Po himself, given the gentle sweep of SHAOLIN. Where many Hong Kong period action films rely on fancy percussive footwork, Errara delivers both the requisite drum hits and an unexpectedly gentle Zen spirit that’s got more than fancy rhythmic footwork on its mind. Credit that to a story centered on personal transformation instead of gaining mad fighting skills, as SHAOLIN’s warlord undergoes a spiritual conversion in the company of the famed martial arts monks, As he […]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: SCROOGED (3,000 edition)

SCROOGED soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

Danny Elfman has never made any bones that the holiday has always been a dead man’s party for him, particularly with his cheerfully demonic, and demented holiday score that updated Ebenezer into a miserly, public-hating and altogether sleazy TV executive. Just as circus music is ingrained into Danny Elfman’s musical DNA, the holiday trimmings of sleigh bells, caroling and snowflake-like melodies have kept showing up in the Hanukkah-celebrating composer’s work, even when his scores weren’t about Christmas. But among the soundtracks that have directly dealt with the holiday like EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, BATMAN RETURNS, THE NIGHMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and FAMILY MAN, […]Read On »

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CD Review: ARKHAM CITY soundtrack

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY soundtrack | ©2011 Water Tower Music

It’s a very dark musical night when the bats are ruling the belfry, or in this case the unleashed, insane inmates of comics’ most infamous asylum- one that’s also become video gaming’s most acclaimed lock-up. Arkham’s gotten expanded to its own bizarro Gotham in BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY for the latest edition of the smash franchise, with Batman / Bruce Wayne trapped behind enemy lines. However, the most sonically important dual identity belongs to Nick Arundel, a man who’s served as the audio director and composer for both BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM and ARKHAM CITY. Given a powerful orchestral expanse in which […]Read On »

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