CONTRATIEMPO BY FERNANDO VELAZQUEZ -Soundtrack Review

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CONTRATIEMPO [The Invisable Guest] by Fernando Velazquez

From one of the busiest composers around and one of the most diverse. I am now a confirmed fan of this Spanish scorist and accomplished cello payer. This soundtrack colours a dark, intense thriller involving murder and manipulation and and you have no doubt of this as you listen to track upon track of full throttle darkness.

The first track Goodman starts with a low note cello intent on driving you mad as it just keeps going onward in the background as the orchestra dances around it, it’s quite a pull. I try not to compare too often but this is a good comparison – El Inivitado Invisible has those long violin notes which rise and then just hang there just like the classic scores of Bernard Herrmann. In La Pesadillla there is  what I can only describe as a continuous string vibration in the background akin to the sound of swarming bees, it’s very effective and really niggles at your senses. It appears on a more buzzy level in Tu No Quieres Perderlo Todo Verdad is a winding track with wonderful chord changes, there is so much going on in this cue, subtle and compelling. The last track has such gravitas starting with a sombre funereal drone, violins slowly come in and build until the strings can not reach any higher. There is no escaping this track it is really taking you somewhere … and then it doesn’t. It stops and you are left with a drum beat and then it’s back to how it sounded in the first track, jaunty and as if all was ok after all!

There is no motif as such but there is a pattern which journeys you along and there are many long, unswerving notes which just hang there giving a chilling sense of terror. This is a score which definitely gets under your skin!

The score is performed by the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra who do such a brilliant job under the baton of the Velazquez. The album also includes the original song “Nadie va a venir a buscarte,” composed by Velázquez and performed by Zahara.

TRACK LISTING

1. Goodman 2:27
2. El invitado invisible 2:12
3. La pesadilla 5:37
4. Giro a la izquierda 1:28
5. Tú no quieres perderlo todo ¿verdad? 3:19
6. El testigo 2:44
7. El hundimiento 0:51
8. Reencuentro 1:07
9. Un buen hombre 2:03
10. Atrapada 3:19
11. El último error 2:44
12. No me amenaces 5:08
13. Yo sé lo que vi 6:51
14. Chantaje 1:22
15. Tres preguntas 4:16
16. Pensamiento lateral 7:15
17. La sombra de la sombra 11:22
18. El invitado invisible II 7:45
19. Nadie va a venir a buscarte (Zahara)

QUARTET RECORDS

HIDDEN FIGURES BY HANS ZIMMER, PHARRELL WILLIAMS & BENJAMIN WALLFISCH – SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

HIDDENFIGURESOST

“This started off with all of us piling into a room and playing together. I had this idea: How do these women think differently about mathematics? They dance about math. The rhythm shouldn’t be straight, it should swing a little. It really was the three of us. People don’t understand that we really do work well as musicians in bands.
Hans Zimmer

Initially this was a problem for me, I don’t really like it when two composers work on a soundtrack let alone three. Call me a purist but I have heard a few collaborations on scores and they always come across as uneven. So I put some work in and read about how they they put it all together. Williams is one the films producers who was working on some songs with a 60’s vibe, Zimmer said that he would have “the right playbook”. And of course Wallfisch had previously contributed music to Zimmer’s ‘Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice’ score. It still didn’t sell the idea to me but I settled sown to listen to the score.

Hidden Figures is the story [not well known before the movie] of African American women working at NASA in the early 60″s.  It opens with Katherine, a plaintive piano that is overtaken by a female voice which accompanies it well. Mission Control gives us the first rush of a ‘spacey’ sound – a short pulse with a driving under bass. This returns in the start of Space Task Group, the piano returns and the low tones telling of the continued failures of the group. Plucked strings and a short base line gives a comedic nuance to Slice of Pie.

Redacted is a joy of a cue with those plucky strings re-apearring and then at 1:01 a bass and a muted trumpet make a delicious sound [I love this cue!] Redstone is another strong cue where  ‘babbling’ voices gives a sense of a puzzled mind working at 100 miles an hour, it’s a clever twist. The babble is reprised in the tense cue Launch. Rocket Peril is not short of a small symphony which soars.

All the rich elements which make this soundtrack follow through in cue after cue, giving the soundtrack a richness of texture. It’s a soundtrack I will return to. To say it has a feel-good factor does not cheapen the overall score, it strives and lifts. I heard the signatures of all three composers albeit that Williams touch only came to my mind a couple of times. Has it changed my mind about collaborations? Well, I will admit that as much as I really enjoyed this score I think I remain cautious.

TRACK LIST

1. Katherine 2:37
2. Mission Control 1:17
3. I’d Already Be One 1:08
4. Space Task Group 2:56
5. Slice Of Pie 1:05
6. Redacted 1:26
7. With All The Angels 1:35
8. Redstone 1:36
9. Call Your Wives 3:23
10. Launch 2:21
11. That’s Just The Way Things Are 2:25
12. Sign 1:11
13. Kitchen Kiss 0:55
14. Mary And The Judge 1:30
15. I Like Her Numbers 2:07
16. Ladies’ March 1:25
17. Mary And Levi 2:12
18. Euler’s Method 1:23
19. Proposal 1:40
20. Pearls 2:41
21. Katherine Calculates 1:32
22. Lift Off 3:11
23. Warning Light 0:59
24. Rocket Peril 3:10
25. Hidden Figures 3:50
26. Epilogue 0:38
Total Album Time: 50:13

Columbia Label

Note that there is also Hidden Figures The Album featuring songs used in the film together with songs composed by Pharrell Williams, also on the Columbia label.

PREVENGE by Toydrum Soundtrack Review

From Lakeshore press release:
“A pitch black, wryly British comedy, PREVENGE follows Ruth, played by Alice Lowe,a pregnant woman on a killing spree that’s as funny as it is vicious. It’s her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth’s actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father. The child speaks to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims.  PREVENGE marks the directorial debut from Lowe, who is a true triple threat, writing, directing, and acting in the film during her own real-life pregnancy.
PREVENGE is Alice’s directorial feature debut. She wrote, starred in, and directed it whilst 7-8 months pregnant with her first child, who also appears in the film. Alice was one of the BIFA nominees for ‘best debut director’.”

I became an Alice Lowe fan with the film Sightseers [2012] , and as I have just a teeny weeny, ever so so slight ‘connection’ to her as she went to school with a cousin of mine [I said it was slight :-)], it’s only fair that I should review the films soundtrack. Here’s a little bit of info on Toy drum from the press release:

“Toydrum are a duo who sneak into the consciousness. Not for them the full frontal assault but, instead, a drip-feed of classy work that many may know without knowing. Their hugely acclaimed work with the late singer-songwriter Gavin Clark lit up Shane Meadows’ ‘This Is England ‘90’, their rework of John Lennon’s ‘How Do You Sleep’ led Noel Gallagher to have them remix his High Flying Birds hit ‘In The Heat of the Moment’ (which, in turn, soundtracked last year’s epic ad for the latest ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game), and their soundtracks for films such as the recent Tye Sheridan-starring thriller ‘Detour’ and Alice Lowe’s 2016 Venice Film Festival opener, ‘Prevenge’, have broadened their appeal further.”

Intriguing! As is the soundtrack. It starts appropriately with Intro which is as disconnected as you can get with a pulse running through it which perhaps is the baby’s heart. Biological Clockwork (The Train) is where we are introduced to the voice of the unborn baby saying “It’s OK, I’m here”. The rhythm of the synths obviously suggests the motion of the train with a splendid flurry of 80’s style synth. Fury Pt 1 & 2[Rework] is dominated by  deep bass with a flat, synth chime which resonates that ‘something is not quite right” … putting it mildly. Have to say that this a track which will be loaded on to my non-film playlist!

We get to the darkness in Visions Of (Nice Guy Josh)/Killing For Two, the first half is a cold eerie sound palette with a siren sound which is still there but comes in after a childlike toy sound. Climbing The Walls (Pt 1] also has a pulse but this time it sounds like a chilling, muted voice tying to say something. Crazy Bitch/Hormonal Bliss had me laughing at the very start due to the baby voice saying “Do it, do it now” but then it goes into a rich, deep synth riff which I wanted to hear more of but as with quite a few of the tracks ,they have  2 or 3 cues in 1 track. I guess it’s because they would be too short on their own.

Mostly mood tracks with bursts of great synth, all enhanced with the baby voice starting off some tracks. It creates exactly what is required – fear, madness, disconnectedness. I longed for more of the deep synths but’s that just my love of them, this is a solid thriller/horror score which paints only one colour – BLACK!

prevenge-soundtrack-album-by-toydrum

TRACK LISTING
1. Intro (1:47)
2. Biological Clockwork (The Train) (1:53)
3. This Is What I Really Look Like (Rework) (3:46)
4. Logical Clock (2:08)
5. Fury Pt 1 & 2 (Rework) (3:46)
6. Visions of (Nice Guy Josh) / Killing for Two (2:27)
7. Always with You (Full Song) (3:12)
8. Be Ruthless Ruth (DJ Dan) / Let’s Get You (To Bed) / Ruth Theme (Bath) / Biological Clockwork (The Window) (5:08)
9. Climbing Up the Walls (Pt 1) (1:15)
10. Crazy Bitch / Hormonal Bliss (3:51)
11. Ruth’s Theme (Cemetery – Yoga) / Visions Of (Pt 2) (4:06)
12. Biological Clockwork (The Walk) (4:41)
13. Climbing Up the Walls (Pt 2) / Baby Knows Best (The Tunnel) (2:34)
14. Always with You (Pt 2) / Ruth’s Theme (The Cliffs) (3:31)
15. Children of Love (End Titles) – Paul Synnott (2:10)

INVADA RECORDS UK

A CURE FOR WELLNESS by BENJAMIN WALLFISCH Soundtrack Review

 

a-cure-for-wellness[Soundtrack Cover]

This is by far one of the most interesting of Wallfisch’s scores. Given the eerie subject matter – a company’s CEO is in an idyllic but mysterious ‘wellness centre’ in the Swiss Alps. An employee, sent to retrieve him, who soon realises that the spa treatments are not what they appear to be – the scope is quite wide. And with cues entitled .. Terrible Darkness, Nobody Ever Leaves and Clearly He’s Lost His Mind, Wallfisch has definitively delivered.

It opens with a young female voice humming a short refrain which we hear throughout the score and which has an old world feel about. Rites is a strong cue, dark and ethereal with chorus and very deep mail voices [such as in Buddhist chants], these seem to rise from another world. Feuerwalzer is a waltz intertwined with a full orchestral dramatic cue. Clearly He’s Lost His Mind starts with music that would have suited the end piece in The Shining. The end cue, Volmer’s Lab has a childlike feel, almost a message after the mayhem trying to assure us that everything is well. Volmer Institut has an unexpected beauty about it whilst Lipstick is almost indescribable and sounds like continued distorted volume!
This is an odd score for a very odd film but it’s totally compelling. The mix of orchestral works with some of the darkness sounds I have ever heard on a soundtrack, give this score a overwhelming sense of fear and madness.

TRACK LIST
1. Hannah And Volmer (4:35)
2. Nobody Ever Leaves (1:49)
3. Bicycle (2:00)
4. The Rite (3:42)
5. Feuerwalzer (3:44)
6. Magnificent, Isn’t It? (2:11)
7. Actually I’m Feeling Much Better (1:59)
8. Clearly He’s Lost His Mind (2:49)
9. Our Thoughts Exactly (1:03)
10. Volmer Institut (3:02)
11. Terrible Darkness (3:18)
12. Lipstick (4:21)
13. Waiting (0:55)
14. Zutritt Verboten (3:38)
15. There’s Nothing Wrong With You People (1:25)
16. Lockhart’s Letter (2:12)
17. Volmer’s Lab (3:32)
18. I Wanna Be Sedated – Mirel Wagner (3:38)

Milan Music

Filmic Radio Show Playlist February 2017

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Listen on Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/radionowherecloud

Also available on iTunes

The Trail/the Witcher3:Wild Hunt/Marcin Przybytowicz

The Middle of the World/Moonlight/ Nicholas Britell/

City of Stars/La La Land/Justin Hurwitz 

Training/The Magnificent Seven/Elmer Bernstein

Love Theme/Elmer Bernstein/Airplane

Memories & Train/Dustin O’Halloran & Volker Bertelmann/Lion

The Beach Reunion/Max Steiner/A Summer Place

The Starship Avalon [Main Theme]/Thomas Newman/Passengers

Overture – Lore/Takeshi Furukawa/The Last Guardian

Main Titles & Little Psycho/Anne Dudly/Elle

Easy Lovers/Pier Picciono/Camille 2000The Elephant Man Theme/John Morris/The Elephant Man

Instanbul Opening/Vangelis/Midnight Express

Bankentest/Four Against the Bench/Enis Rotthoff

Autopsy/Mica Levi/Jackie

Sully [Suite]/Christian Jacob & The Tierney Sutton Band & Clint Eastwood/Sully

Title Song/Johnny Mercer & Elmer Bernstein & Jack Jones/Love With The Proper Stranger

Swede’s Story & Riots/Alexandre Desplat/American Pastoral

Main Theme/Chris Tilton/Divide

No Seat Belts Required/Lorne Balfe/The Lego Batman Movie

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International Film Music Critics Association Soundtrack Awards 2016

As a member of the IFMCA I am delighted to share with you the 2016 Soundtrack Awards as voted for by all it’s members.

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INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2016 IFMCA AWARDS; “ARRIVAL” TAKES SCORE OF THE YEAR, JUSTIN HURWITZ AND “LA LA LAND” WINS THREE OTHERS

FEBRUARY 23, 2017 — The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2016, in the 2016 IFMCA Awards.

The award for Score of the Year goes to Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson for his work on the critically acclaimed science fiction drama “Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that “Jóhannsson’s approach to solving the film’s musical problems [is] absolutely fascinating, and the way he was able to musically convey some of the film’s more challenging cerebral ideas involving language and communication is astonishingly accomplished,” while IFMCA member Daniel Schweiger said that Jóhannsson “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 both harmonically understandable, and profoundly strange.” This is the first IFMCA Award win of Jóhannsson’s career, him having previously been nominated for Best Original Score for a Drama Film for “The Theory of Everything” in 2014.

Composer Michael Giacchino is named Composer of the Year for the second year in a row, having written four outstanding works spanning multiple genres in the past year. His work in 2016 included the action-packed Marvel comic book fantasy film “Doctor Strange,” the socially aware Disney animated film “Zootopia,” the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise “Star Trek Beyond,” and the score for the first of the Star Wars spinoff films, “Rogue One”. IFMCA member James Southall called “Rogue One” “a very impressive achievement indeed,” while IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen described “Doctor Strange” as “a mystical, optimistic, and smart superhero score with an alluring primary identity and generally excellent combination of electronic and ethnic accents with standard orchestral and choral elements.” This marks the fourth time Giacchino has been named Composer of the Year, following his previous wins in 2004, 2009, and 2015.

Composer Justin Hurwitz won three awards – Breakthrough Composer of the Year, Best Original Score for a Comedy Film, and Film Music Composition of the Year – all for his work on the massively popular and critically acclaimed musical comedy-drama “La La Land” directed by Damian Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. “La La Land” is only the second full theatrical score of Hurwitz’s career, and for it he wrote a jazz-inspired orchestral score, and half a dozen original songs (with songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), the melodies of which flow through the majority of the underscore. IFMCA member Mihnea Manduteanu called “La La Land” “delightful and playful” and claimed that it captures “what it means to fall in love, to play, to dream,” while IFMCA member Jon Broxton heralded the score as “a masterpiece”.

The various other genre awards are won by Abel Korzeniowski for his music for the darkly stylish revenge drama “Nocturnal Animals”; Christopher Young for his wildly exciting action score for the Chinese historical adventure “Xi You Ji Zhi: Sun Wukong San Da Baigu Jing [The Monkey King 2]”; James Newton Howard for his score for lush and whimsical fantasy score for the Harry Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”; Laurent Perez del Mar for his evocative, emotional music for the French animated film “La Tortue Rouge [The Red Turtle]”; and Panu Aaltio for his wonderful music for the Finnish nature documentary “Järven Tarina [Tale of a Lake]”.

In the non-film categories, composer Ramin Djawadi wins the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for his magnificent work on the sixth series of the critically acclaimed HBO fantasy drama “Game of Thrones,” while composer Austin Wintory wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for the second year in a row, this time for his work on the meditative, dream-like undersea adventure game “Abzû”.

Oakland, California-based Intrada Records is named Film Music Record Label of the Year in recognition of their ongoing excellence in restoring and releasing the most beloved film scores of the past. They were also honored with the award for Best New Archival Release – Re-Release or Re-Recording of an Existing Score for their lavish expanded release of Elmer Bernstein’s classic 1956 score “The Ten Commandments,” which IFMCA member Craig Lysy described as “one of the finest [scores] ever written and a glorious example of Golden Age film scores”. Finally, Burbank, California-based La La Land Records and producer Mike Matessino wins the award for Best New Archival Release – Compilation for their superb re-mastered release of “The John Williams Jurassic Park Collection”, a compilation of the timeless 1990s dinosaur adventure scores “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World”.

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COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS

FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR
• Arrival, music by Jóhann Jóhannsson

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
• Michael Giacchino

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
• Justin Hurwitz

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
• “Epilogue” from La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM
• Nocturnal Animals, music by Abel Korzeniowski

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM
• La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM
• Xi You Ji Zhi: Sun Wukong San Da Baigu Jing [The Monkey King 2], music by Christopher Young

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, music by James Newton Howard

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE
• La Tortue Rouge [The Red Turtle], music by Laurent Perez del Mar

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY
• Järven Tarina [Tale of a Lake], music by Panu Aaltio

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES
• Game of Thrones, music by Ramin Djawadi

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
• Abzû, music by Austin Wintory

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OR RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE
• The Ten Commandments, music by Elmer Bernstein; album produced by Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson; liner notes by Frank K. De Wald; album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (Intrada)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION
• The John Williams Jurassic Park Collection, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino; liner notes by Mike Matessino; album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR
• Intrada Records, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson

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The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing and broadcasting about original film, television and game music.

Since its inception the IFMCA has grown to comprise over 65 members from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to John Williams’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, Hans Zimmer’s “Interstellar” in 2014, Abel Korzeniowski’s “Romeo & Juliet” in 2013, Mychael Danna’s “Life of Pi” in 2012, John Williams’s “War Horse” in 2011, John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” in 2010, Michael Giacchino’s “Up” in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s “Atonement” in 2007, James Newton Howard’s “Lady in the Water” in 2006, John Williams’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005 and Michael Giacchino’s “The Incredibles” in 2004.

For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association go to www.filmmusiccritics.org, visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter @ifmca, or contact us at press@filmmusiccritics.org.

FENCES by Marcelo Zarvos soundtrack review

fences-movie-soundtrack

FENCES by Marcelo Zarvos

Zarvos can be a little on the sugary side which is not a bad thing but in a film where family emotions are high and the patriarchal role, [Troy played by Denzel Washington] dominates everyone around him due to his own shortcomings – you need a score delivering tension and big emotions.

The first track Gabriel’s Trumpet is piano led, plaintive and slow – which is what Zarvos does well. Piano notes laced together have a tenderness and a questioning heightened by the unobtrusive strings hovering in the background. It does get your attention.
We meet the son who causes the most inner turmoil in Troy in Corey’s Theme where the strings suggest a tentativeness on the son’s part to not invoke his fathers fury.

Alone at the Bar, has so much sorrow at the beginning. The cue is stripped down to four piano notes at the beginning, then a piano and lone flute and not much more but it conveys so much. It’s in You Got The Devil In You where the momentum starts. Low, cello strings with high, stretching violins and a beating drum make a heady mix of tension.
Troy’s Story has a lingering string line which drips away constantly subtly promoting confusion and anger. Whereas Rose’s Theme is more lyrical. The longest cue is saved for last: God’s Closet which is pretty much in the same tone as the rest of the score though half way there is a piano piece which flows more quickly signifying something is changing – it’s quietly life affirming.

Zarvos does deliver on both the tension and the pathos. This will not be a score which will be played for pleasure, not all soundtracks have to have this element and when reviewing a score this is not an item that is accounted for. Listening to this soundtrack against the story of the film, it’s the slow, steady pace of the music which gives attention to every single note.

There are 4 tracks/songs from the period on this soundtrack as well.
Tracklisting

1. Gabriel’s Trumpet
2. Cory’s Theme
3. Alone at the Bar
4. You Don’t Know What Love Is – Dinah Washington
5. You Got The Devil In You
6. Peace Be Still – Reverend James Cleveland
7. A Womanless Man
8. Fences
9. Troy’s Story
10. I Will Wear a Crown – Reverend James Cleveland
11. Rose’s Theme
12. They Could Do Nothing for Her
13. Confession
14. City Hall
15. A Dog Named Blue
16. Day by Day – Little Jimmy Scott
17. God’s Closet

Sony label