THE MERCY composed by Johann Johannsson

 

It seems fitting that I should review The Mercy today, not just because it is released this weekend in the UK but because on Friday we heard the shattering news that Johann died just 2 days ago, February 9th. Shattering not only because he was 48 years old but that the Icelandic composer, in what was a short timespan, had become revered for his deeply moving compositions. He very quickly hit my list of ‘favourites’. With the news resounding in our heads I will leave it to knowledgeable folk to discuss his unique talent as today, I just want to listen.

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“On the question of whether music in a film should be noticeable, Johannsson said in 2015, “It depends on the approach and it depends on the film. There are some films where a more kind of invisible sound works better. And then there are some films where you need a more aggressive approach.” He added, “It is amazing how music can actually improve a performance.”  The Hollywood Reporter

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It may seem strange that Johansson has scored a film such as this. On the one hand a crowd pleaser starring a firm favourite in Colin Firth and on the other a true story of a man who faced solitude and lost his way. Solitude being a state which was strongly featured in many ways in the Icelandic composers work. His music could make time stand still, could focus the mind and make you reach inside to your own deepest thoughts and fears.

The Mercy is the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst who took part in the Golden Globe Race in 1968 striving to become the first person to single handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping. This was an epic and dangerous quest which forced Crowhurst to confront to his own madness and create an enduring mystery that will never be solved.

Flares is the beautifully short and magical opening, perhaps reflecting the childlike wonder of the sea which lured Crowhurst to take the quest. It’s referenced agin with  more scope in The Good Ship Teignmouth Electron, the vessel in which the inexperienced Crowhurst will invest his life. Whilst A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder shares hope and excitement.
Good Morning, Midnight starts with a 4 note string refrain over an electronic sound which bought to my mind the vast reach of space. A solo piano picks up the 4 notes and creates a loneliness. A Sea Without Shores is a short soundscape of fear.

The cue Innocence is the first of 3 cues taken from Johannsson’s score to the 2012 documentary Free Your Mind in which one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, professor Richard Davidson was encouraged by the Dalai Lama to apply the disciplined methods he used to to study depression and anxiety. This posed the question asked by Davidson if you could change the working of the brain through mental practices. This I feel, was an inspired thing to do as the films basis is a man confronting his own solitude of mind and the anxieties this would bring.

The Doldrums with piano and strings could have been a torrent of fear but it quietly depicts the unfolding of an unhinged mind. The same could be said of the 2nd track from Free The Mind – Meditation. The plucked strings and piano are trying to keep everything level whilst the woodwind darts in an out, out of control.

The score is somewhat educational as I had to look up the name of the next track – The Horse Latitudes and I quote ‘The horse latitudes are subtropical regions known for calm winds and little precipitation. “And it’s a pretty apt track name.  It’s a soundscape of linear lines with building layers – out of little, Johannsson can convey a lot especially with a violin interjecting a futility.
The Mercy is beautifully uplifting as is The Radiant City played by the British string quartet The Direc Quartet. The addition of a voice on a radio obviously broadcasting  a longitude and latitude reading which receives no response, makes it very poignant.

Rather than a soundscape this score could be seen as a mind scape, it is a musical map of the mind. Expectedly bleak and despairing whilst also uplifting. A childlike innocence can also be heard and the magic of the possibilities this lone, inexperienced sailor could have conquered. This is not a score that you may often revisit but you must experience it’s beauty, breadth and the sheer individuality that is Johann Johansson.

TRACK LIST

1. Flares
2. Boating For Beginners
3. The Good Ship Teignmouth Electron
4. A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder
5. Terra Firma
6. Into The Wide And Deep Unknown
7. Good Morning, Midnight
8. A Sea Without Shores
9. Karen býr til engil
10. Innocence
11. The Doldrums
12. Meditation
13. The Horse Latitudes
14. Radio
15. The Furious Sea Of Fogs And Squalls
16. Three Thousand Five Hundred And Ninety One Benches
17. The Captain’s Log
18. The Mercy
19. She Loves To Ride The Port Ferry When It Rains
20. The Radiant City
21. A Pile Of Dust
22. At 19°41’10.40 North 79°52’37.83 West, Lies The Shadow

Label Deutsche Grammaphon

 

 

HANGMAN BY FREDERICK WIEDMANN

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“Whilst listed as a Crime thriller this could be a fully fledged and accomplished horror soundtrack”

The Snake like violins and noir feel of the title track drew me in pretty quickly but then Wiedmann rarely disappoints. This continues through track 2 with The First Victim, an added ghostly swirl telling you that all is not well which given the film’s title you don’t expect that it ever will. This is a gruesome story of a serial killer who’s playing the children’s Hangman game with real people! Only Blood Left Behind is constructed over a chilling, sonic like vibration. Suicide Attack at only 1 minute long is voice led by soloist Ayana Haviv and leaves you wanting it to be longer.

Whilst listed as a Crime thriller this could be a fully fledged and accomplished horror soundtrack as you would expect from the composer of The Hills Run Red and Hellraiser: Revelation to name but two.

It’s the ‘quiet’ tracks enhanced with selected noises which scare the most such as the aptly named Slaughter House with strings sounding like a hord of flies. Together with the depiction of several murders, this score has continuous drive, time is running out and most noticeable in the cue The Replica. The character cue Archer, played by Al Pacino, is haunting. The much decorated cop is forced out of retirement for this case. it’s a heavy track full of remorse symbolised by a fleeting cello and the return of Haviv’s superb vocals.

Reviews of the film are not glowing and I rather fear that Wiedmann’s score will be overlooked which would be a shame. 

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Frederik Wiedmann

PLAYLIST

  1.  The Hangman
  2. The First Victim
  3. Only Blood Left Behind
  4. Joey
  5. Suicide Attempt
  6. Underneath The Cross
  7. An Old Case
  8. 11PM Murder
  9. Slaughter House
  10. The Letter B
  11. The Replica
  12. No Rest
  13. Inches Away
  14. Seven More People
  15. My Own Reasons
  16. The Girl In The Alley
  17. Th Apartment
  18. One Scar Is Enough
  19. Failed You
  20. Archer
  21. The Letter

LABEL: Varese Sarabande

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE by John Paesano

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“All three films have been scored by John Paesano and whilst there is no significant theme to the scores, Paesano has consistently created a thrilling mood of doom, hope and of course action.”

I fell into watching the first [2014] Maze Runner film [meaning there wasn’t anything much else to watch] and was pleasantly pleased. Based on the book by James Dashner, it’s set in a dystopian world where every 30 days a boy, who’s memories have been wiped, would be deposited in The Glade which is surrounded by a huge Maze. The oddness of it all is intriguing and the end result do not disappoint.
The second movie [Maze Runner: Scorch Trials 2015] had an entirely different setting as a small pose of boys were able to get through the maze. This sequel also kept my interest. So I am looking forward to the third and final Maze Runner saga.

All three films have been scored by John Paesano and whilst there is no significant theme to the scores, Paesano has consistently created a thrilling mood of doom, hope and of course action. Death Cure gets going with the creepy, and disturbing Overrun Checkpoint. With what sounds like struck, warped metal and a Jerry Goldsmith feel to it’s percussion –  it conveys real fear without using a full orchestra.

The Last City could be a softer opening to Alien, with a 5 note piece which is neither scary or threatening but just hanging there waiting for something to happen. It’s ghost like until the strings come in when it fleshes out such a short [2mins 37secs] but effective cue. Teresa’s Plea with piano is also another strong, emotive cue.

Love the distorted electric guitar [well that’s what it sounds like to me] jangling in the background of Closing In, like frayed nerves. Long Way From The Glade is worth a listen for the terrific synth glissando alone. Whilst there are the obligatory action cues these also take a breath to highlight the dramatic element with pauses of sadness and confusion.

If you didn’t take time this could just be tagged as another action/drama soundtrack which gets a second rate listen where you would miss the deeper tones of survival and hope, the rousing choral I’m Sorry, and the poignancy of Goodbye.

TRACK LISTING

    1. Rescue

    2. We Started This Together

    3. Overrun Checkpoint

    4. The Last City

    5. Teresa’s Plea

    6. Closing In

    7. An Old Friend

    8. Lawrence

    9. The Virus

    10. Long Way From The Glade

    11. Whatever The Cost

    12. Visions of Thomas

    13. Chat With Teresa

    14. Let’s Go

    15. Good Luck Greenie

    16. The Lion’s Den

    17. What Bus?

    18. Lawrence’s Final Act

    19. Please Tommy, Please

    20. Crank Lab

    21. I’m Sorry

    22.    Goodbye

      LABEL: SONY

 

The IFMCA 2017 AWARD NOMINATIONS

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INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED; MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS FOR ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, MICHAEL GIACCHINO, DANIEL PEMBERTON, JOHN WILLIAMS

FEBRUARY 8, 2018. The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2017, for the 14th annual IFMCA Awards. In a wide open field, the most nominated composers are Alexandre Desplat and Daniel Pemberton, who both received four nominations, Michael Giacchino, who received five nominations, and John Williams, who received six nominations for new work, plus an additional three for archival re-releases of some of his classic scores.

56-year old Frenchman Alexandre Desplat is nominated for his work on two scores – director Guillermo Del Toro’s critically acclaimed monster movie romance “The Shape of Water,” and director Luc Besson’s epic space fantasy “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” – and is one of the five nominees for Composer of the Year. IFMCA member James Southall said that “The Shape of Water” was “yet another from the top drawer of Desplat,” and went on to describe him as “one of the most consistently impressive film composers of the last couple of decades,” who has “managed to be so successful without having to water down his highly-distinctive musical voice at all”. Desplat previously received IFMCA Score of the Year honors in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. His other major scores in 2017 include director George Clooney’s satirical racial drama ‘”Suburbicon,” and the French-language comedy-drama “D”Après Une Histoire Vraie,” directed by Roman Polanski.

Daniel Pemberton, the 40-year-old English composer, impressed IFMCA members particularly with his scores for two films: Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” about the true-life kidnapping of the grandson of billionaire J. Paul Getty in 1973, and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” an anarchic re-imagining of the early life of the mythical king growing up in Roman Britain, by director Guy Ritchie. Pemberton, who is also one of the five nominees for Composer of the Year, impressed IFMCA member Alan Rogers specifically, who heralded “King Arthur” as the “overall score of the year” and said that “the score is more rewarding with every listen”. Pemberton’s other significant works in 2017 include the political dramas “Molly’s Game” and “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House,” and an episode of the sci-fi anthology series “Black Mirror” entitled “USS Callister”.

50-year-old New Jersey-born Michael Giacchino is lauded for two scores: Pixar’s lavish animated Mexican-themed fantasy “Coco,” and the third film in the blockbuster Planet of the Apes trilogy, “War for the Planet of the Apes”. IFMCA member Mihnea Manduteanu said that “Coco” had “effervescence and passion” and was “inspirational, emotional and fun at the same time,” while IFMCA member James Southall said that “War for the Planet of the Apes” was “not just the best film music [Giacchino has] ever written” but that “the manner of the score, the construction of the dramatic narrative, [and] the very deliberate emotional prods … make it stand out as a special achievement”. Giacchino previously received Score of the Year honors in 2004 for “The Incredibles,” and in 2009 for “Up”. He is also one of the five nominees for Composer of the Year this year, having also written the scores for the intimate drama “The Book of Henry,” and the super hero sequel “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2017.

Despite now being 86 years of age, John Williams continues to be a force in the world of film music. Both of Williams’s 2017 scores are nominated for Score of the Year: director Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” a political drama about the Pentagon Papers scandal that rocked Washington in the early 1970s, and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” director Rian Johnson’s blockbuster second installment in the new space fantasy series which has smashed box office records around the world. IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen described “The Post” as “an exercise in Williams minimalism wholly appropriate for the context of the historical drama” with a finale full of “Williams’s typical French horn majesty, denoting the significance of the occasion”. Meanwhile, IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that “the two major new themes [in The Last Jedi] combine perfectly with the older material,” with Williams providing “more than enough variation on those themes for them to still feel fresh and exciting”. He went on to say that “the new action material, especially in the fathiers sequence, and during the final Crait battle, is wonderfully entertaining and musically creative” and that the entire score is “a nostalgia bomb of the highest order”. Williams – the fourth of the five nominees for Composer of the Year – previously received Score of the Year honors for “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, “War Horse” in 2011, and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015.

The fifth nominee for Score of the Year is Jonny Greeenwood’s music for the controversial and avant-garde romantic period drama “Phantom Thread,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. In describing the score, IFMCA member Jon Broxton wrote that it was a “quite masterful score from Greenwood, one which gets deeply under the skin of the damaged, potentially dangerous, but nevertheless mutually fulfilling relationship at the center of the story. The abstract, impressionistic, modernistic textures perfectly capture the torment that both characters at times feel, as well as their willful and often unpleasant personalities. Then, when he opens up his orchestra and performs the Phantom Thread theme with glorious melodrama, or when he writes elegant romantic music for what should be the dreadful finale, the whole thing simply soars”.

The fifth composer vying for the title of Composer of the Year is Benjamin Wallfisch, whose astonishing work in 2017 included writing the music for the horror sequel “Annabelle: Creation,” the sweeping historical drama “Bitter Harvest,” the atmospheric thriller “A Cure for Wellness,” the new adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” and the optimistic and celebratory documentary “Mully,” as well as working with Hans Zimmer on “Blade Runner 2049” and “Dunkirk”. IFMCA member Kaya Savas called “It” “the backbone that makes us emotionally connect to our protagonists”. IFMCA member Ley Bricknell described “A Cure for Wellness” as “totally compelling” with “an overwhelming sense of fear and madness”. IFMCA member Peter Simons said that “Bitter Harvest” was a “rich orchestral score with lush themes … a wonderful pastoral tone to it, and a gorgeous main theme”.

Each year the IFMCA goes out of its way to recognize emerging talent in the film music world, and this year is no exception. The nominees in the Breakthrough Composer of the Year category are a diverse and exciting group. American composer Michael Abels wrote the Swahili-inflected score for the racially charged cult horror hit “Get Out”. German composer Anne-Kathrin Dern wrote two vastly different but no less impressive scores – one for the sweeping Chinese drama “The Jade Pendant,” and one for the German children’s film “Hexe Lilli Rettet Weihnachten”. Cypriot composer George Kallis had three enormously impressive scores in 2017, including the children’s fantasy “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion,” the historical drama “The Black Prince,” and the Russian fantasy epic “Posledni Bogatyr/The Last Warrior”. Spanish composer Alejandro Vivas joined the ever-growing list of outstanding Iberian musicians with his score for the WWII drama “El Jugador de Ajedrez/The Chess Player,” while Brit Christopher Willis channeled Prokofiev and Shostakovich in his score for the satirical comedy “The Death of Stalin”.

As it has in previous years, the IFMCA takes pride in honoring composers from across the film music world; in addition to the ones already mentioned, this year’s international nominees include French composer Cyrille Aufort (“Knock,” Comedy), French composer Olivier Derivière (“Get Even,” Game), French composer Pascal Gaigne (“Plan de Fuga,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Spanish composer David García Díaz (“Rime,” Game), Argentine composer Federico Jusid (“Tiempos de Guerra,” Television), and Japanese composers Yôko Kanno (“Onna Jôshu Naotora,” Television) and Yasunori Mitsuda (“Valkyria: Azure Revolution,” Game).

Also worth noting in 2017 is the larger number of women composers and film music professionals amongst the nominees; in addition to breakthrough composer nominee Anne-Kathrin Dern and television nominee Yôko Kanno, other female nominees include Rachel Portman (“Their Finest,” Comedy) and Debbie Wiseman (“Live at the Barbican,” Compilation), as well as writer Julie Kirgo, Sony Classical album producer Laura Zsank, and graphic designer Kay Marshall.

Several other composers are receiving their first ever IFMCA Award nominations this year, including Andrew Cottee (“The Orville,” Television), David Fleming (“Blue Planet II,” Documentary), Philip Glass (“Jane,” Documentary), and Steve Mazzaro (“The Boss Baby,” Composition).

The International Film Music Critics Association will announce the winners of the 14th IFMCA Awards on February 22, 2018.

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THE 2017 IFMCA AWARD NOMINEES

SCORE OF THE YEAR

  • PHANTOM THREAD, music by Jonny Greenwood
  • THE POST, music by John Williams
  • THE SHAPE OF WATER, music by Alexandre Desplat
  • STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, music by John Williams
  • WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, music by Michael Giacchino

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT
  • MICHAEL GIACCHINO
  • DANIEL PEMBERTON
  • BENJAMIN WALLFISCH
  • JOHN WILLIAMS

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • MICHAEL ABELS
  • ANNE-KATHRIN DERN
  • GEORGE KALLIS
  • ALEJANDRO VIVAS
  • CHRISTOPHER WILLIS

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

  • ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, music by Daniel Pemberton
  • DARKEST HOUR, music by Dario Marianelli
  • MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, music by Patrick Doyle
  • PHANTOM THREAD, music by Jonny Greenwood
  • THE POST, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

  • THE DEATH OF STALIN, music by Christopher Willis
  • DOWNSIZING, music by Rolfe Kent
  • KNOCK, music by Cyrille Aufort
  • PADDINGTON 2, music by Dario Marianelli
  • THEIR FINEST, music by Rachel Portman

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

  • A CURE FOR WELLNESS, music by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, music by Henry Jackman
  • KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, music by Daniel Pemberton
  • PLAN DE FUGA, music by Pascal Gaigne
  • THE RENDEZVOUS, music by Austin Wintory

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

  • GET OUT, music by Michael Abels
  • THE SHAPE OF WATER, music by Alexandre Desplat
  • STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, music by John Williams
  • VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, music by Alexandre Desplat
  • WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, music by Michael Giacchino

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FILM

  • CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE, music by Theodore Shapiro
  • COCO, music by Michael Giacchino
  • THE EMOJI MOVIE, music by Patrick Doyle
  • FERDINAND, music by John Powell
  • LOVING VINCENT, music by Clint Mansell

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

  • BLUE PLANET II, music by Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea, and David Fleming
  • BOSTON, music by Jeff Beal
  • EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY, music by Alex Heffes
  • JANE, music by Philip Glass
  • MULLY, music by Benjamin Wallfisch

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR TELEVISION

  • ALIAS GRACE, music by Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna
  • GAME OF THRONES, music by Ramin Djawadi
  • ONNA JÔSHU NAOTORA, music by Yôko Kanno
  • THE ORVILLE, music by Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, and Andrew Cottee
  • TIEMPOS DE GUERRA, music by Federico Jusid

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • DEFORMERS, music by Austin Wintory
  • DIVIDE, music by Chris Tilton
  • GET EVEN, music by Olivier Deriviére
  • RIME, music by David García Díaz
  • VALKYRIA: AZURE REVOLUTION, music by Yasunori Mitsuda

BEST NEW RELEASE, RE-RELEASE OR RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • BEN-HUR, music by Miklós Rózsa; The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus conducted by Nic Raine; album produced by James Fitzpatrick; liner notes by Frank K. De Wald; album art direction by James Fitzpatrick, Gareth Bevan, and Nic Finch (Tadlow)
  • CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino; liner notes by Mike Matessino; album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
  • DAMNATION ALLEY, music by Jerry Goldsmith; album produced by Nick Redman and Mike Matessino; liner notes by Julie Kirgo; album art direction by Kay Marshall (Intrada)
  • DUEL IN THE SUN, music by Dimitri Tiomkin; The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus conducted by Nic Raine; album produced by James Fitzpatrick; liner notes by Frank K. De Wald; album art direction by Jim Titus (Tadlow/Prometheus)
  • E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino and Bruce Botnick; liner notes by Mike Matessino; album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)

BEST FILM MUSIC COMPILATION ALBUM

  • CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS: THE FRANZ WAXMAN COLLECTION, music by Franz Waxman; album produced by Douglass Fake; liner notes by Frank K. De Wald; album art direction by Kay Marshall and Joe Sikoryak (Intrada)
  • DEBBIE WISEMAN: LIVE AT THE BARBICAN, music by Debbie Wiseman; The Orchestra of the Guildhall School conducted by Debbie Wiseman; album produced by Debbie Wiseman, Reynold Da Silva, David Stoner, and Pete Compton; liner notes by Debbie Wiseman; album art direction by Stuart Ford (Silva Screen)
  • JOHN WILLIAMS AND STEVEN SPIELBERG: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, music by John Williams; album produced by Laura Zsaka and Jamie Richardson; liner notes by Jon Burlingame; album art direction by Amelia Tubb (Sony Classical)
  • THRILLER, music by Jerry Goldsmith; The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nic Raine; album produced by James Fitzpatrick and Leigh Phillips; liner notes by Jon Burlingame; album art direction by Matthew Wright and Nic Finch (Tadlow)
  • THE WILD WILD WEST, music by Various Composers; album produced by Jon Burlingame; liner notes by Jon Burlingame; album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

  • CALDERA RECORDS, Stephan Eicke
  • INTRADA RECORDS, Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson
  • LA-LA LAND RECORDS, MV Gerhard and Matt Verboys
  • QUARTET RECORDS, José M. Benitez
  • TADLOW MUSIC, James Fitzpatrick

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

  • “End Credits” from WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, music by Michael Giacchino
  • “Finale” from STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, music by John Williams
  • “Growing Up in Londinium” from KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, music by Daniel Pemberton
  • “Justice” from MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, music by Patrick Doyle
  • “Love” from THE BOSS BABY, music by Hans Zimmer, Steve Mazzaro, and Conrad Pope

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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, China, Denmark, 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 Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “Arrival” in 2016, 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.

FILMIC SOUNDTRACK AWARDS 2017

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2017 took it’s time to warm up that’s for sure but it did get there and of course there was the later/new year scores pushed through in time for the awards season. The category which seemed to ‘swell’ in size was TV which is hardly surprising given the cross platform ways you can watch the many channels on offer. My choices were clear cut this year with the only soul searching being between my number 1 and 2 Best Scores of the year, this did produce a lot of dithering and re-listening. Both scores painted ‘grand’ worlds and both composers reached high levels of opulence to fill the canvases. In the end the decision [partly because it was sooooo close I just had to make a decision] went to Daniel Pemberton’s score because he also wove in a twisted element to fine tune the madness of the films story. Well done Mr. Pemberton

The votes below were compiled for the International Film Music Critics Association who will be releasing the the list of nominations February 8th.

FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

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  1. All The Money In The World [Daniel Pemberton]
  2. Phantom Thread [Jonny Greenwood]
  3. Ali’s Wedding [Nigel Westlake]
  4. Murder On the Orient Express [Patrick Doyle]
  5. Rebel In The Rye [Bear McCreary]

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR DRAMA

  • All the Money In the World – Daniel Pemberton
  • Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood
  • Murder On the Orient Express
  • Rebel In the Rye – Bear McCreary
  • The Ballad of Lefty Brown – H Scott Salinas

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR COMEDY

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  1. Ali’s Wedding – Nigel Westlake
  2. The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Atli Ovarsson
  3. The Comedian – The Comedian – Terence Blanchard
  4. The Meyerowitz Stories – Randy Newman
  5. Wilson – Jon Brion

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

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  1. Contratiemopo – Fernando Velazquez  
  2. Good Time – Daniel Lopatin
  3. King Arthur and the Legend of the Sword – Daniel Pemberton
  4. Kings Bay – Bjonar Christoffersen & Herman Christoffosen
  5. Plan de Fuga – Pascal Gaigne

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

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  1. Anabelle Creation – Benjamin Wallfisch
  2. The Last Warrior – George Kallis
  3. Get Out – Michael Abels
  4. Prevenge – Toydrum
  5. Alien Covenent – Jed Kurzel

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATION SCORE

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  1. Captain Underpants – Theordore Shapiro
  2. Coco – Michael Gioachinno
  3. The Lego Batman Movie – Lorne Balfe
  4. Tade Jones 2: El Secreto De Rey Midas – Zavarias M. De La Riva
  5. Richard the Stork – Eric Neveux

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

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  1. Blue Planet 2 – Hans Zimmer/Jacob Shea/David Fleming
  2. The Putin Interviews – Jeff Beale
  3. Intenet To Destroy – Serj Tankian
  4. Waiting For Waldemar [though can’t see it listed here]
  5. Mark Felt: the Man Who Bought Doen The Whitehouse – Daniel Pemberton

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TV SERIES
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  1. Harlots – Rael Jones
  2. Feud:Bette and Joan – Mac Quayle
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale – Adam Jones
  4. Taboo – Max Ritcher
  5. Emerald City – Trevor Morris

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
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  1. Horizen Zero Dawn – Joris de Man/Niel Van der Lees
  2. Deformers – Austin Wintory
  3. Get Even – Olivier Deriviere
  4. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – Grant Kirkhope
  5. The Invisable Hours – Chris Valasco

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – [RE-RELEASE OR RE-RECORDING]
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  1. Ben Hur – Miklos Rozsa
  2. Duel In the Sun – Dimitri Tiomkin
  3. Puppet On A Chain – Piero Piccioni
  4. On Golden Pond – Dave Grusin
  5. Twister – Mark Mancina

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION
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  1. Horror Hammer Classics 1958- 1974 – Silva Screen
  2. Live at the Barbican Debbie Wiseman – Silva Screen
  3. Captain Courageous:The Franz Waxman Collection – Intrada

Late 2017 Soundtrack Releases – January 2017

It’s been a while since I have posted anything so it’s about time I got may act together.

Here is the link for January’s episode of Filmic which features late scores released in 2017. They may have been released late or I didn’t get a chance to listen as soon as they were released. It’s makes for a quite an ecletic mix. Don’t look at the track listings if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Oh, and belated Happy New Year!

Filmic Late 2018 Scores Playlist [Track Composer Film Label

Into The Jungle Henry Jackman Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle Sony
From The Air Mario Darianelli Darkest Hour Deutsche Grammophon
Lefty’s Theme H Scott Salinas The Ballad of Lefty Brown Lakeshore Records
Gunfight At The Goldmill H Scott Salinas The Ballad of Lefty Brown Lakeshore Records
The Waltz of the Newspapers Daniel Pemberton All The Money In The World Sony
All The Money in the World [1973] Daniel Pemberton All The Money In The World Sony
Orient Express Suite Patrick Doyle Murder on the Orient Express Sony
Mikrofilm Herman Christoffersen Kings Bay
Björnar Johnsen
Beauty and the Dogs Armine Buhafa La Belle et la Meute 22D Music
The Meyerowirtz Stories Randy Newman Harolds Theme Lakeshore Records
The Meyerowirtz Stories Randy Newman Kill the Car Lakeshore Records
The Meyerowirtz Stories Randy Newman Talk To The Doctor Lakeshore Records
There Is Your Island Victor Reyes Cold Skin Quartet Records
Budapest Noir Theme Atti Pacsay Budapest Noir Plaza Mayor Company Ltd
Welcome To Surburbicon Alexandre Desplat Welcome To Surburbicon ABKO Music & records
Tears In the Rain Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch Blade Runner 2049 Sony
Shards of an Empire Austin Wintory Absolver 65b Records
Holly Palmers Kiss Cris Valesco The Invisible Hours Tequila Works
The Oak Room 1971 John Williams The Post Sony
Setting The Type John Williams The Post Sony
As Fire Burns Through Wood Nigel Westlake Ali’s Wedding Matchbox Pictures
A Lie Begins In the Soul Nigel Westlake Ali’s Wedding Matchbox Pictures

Blade Runner 2049

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As I start to write this I am not sure if it’s a soundtrack review or just my reaction to the movie but as I have been thinking about it since I saw it 2 days ago, I feel compelled to just type.

The original movie is special to a lot of people. I saw it when it opened, I was motionless and in awe all the way through. Afterward I remember repeating ‘how come no-one knows about this movie?’ Then there was no internet and it hadn’t received a lot of reviews. We all know that it had a slow start but has come to be regarded a classic and changed future science fiction films for ever. Applause to Mr Ridley Scott! So from then on the movie was embedded in my psyche, a constant referall when others talked about other sci-fi films.

It’s an audacious thing to do, venture into that unique world 35 years later but then the theme of ‘skin jobs’ opens a whirlpool of morality issues more relevant than ever as we have now cloned a sheep, have robots building cars plus there is huge investment being put into synthetics of the bodily type. Why would we not want to look into the world of the future? Especially as it’s set 30 years from the first film and 2049 is only 32 years away.

We know what we are doing to the planet but feel little is being done. The digital age when newborn was exciting. We could email each other which was exciting and life changing. But we gave little thought to it’s immense power. And so when K or Joe [the name given to him so as to humanise his relationship with his hologram girlfriend] is seen climbing a hill of metal waste, we nervously smile to ourselves out of recognition. It’s the same when K travels to the eternal redness [almost orange] of Las Vegas.  Is this what we are facing we ask? All this gives us an attachment to the film we didn’t necessarily have when the first film came out.

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There are so many nods to the first film and if you haven’t seen the original you will miss them all – to misquote Roy Batty “we have seen things…”. They are beautifully placed. In fact if you haven’t seen the original and haven’t bothered to do some homework you may not get to grips with this amazing sequel at all and this is a good thing as both films are tightly seamed together and with an insert saying “30 Year On” could be watched as one.

It’s got a much slower pace that Blade Runner, almost meditative. But to me it wasn’t a good idea to have a running time of 2 hours 43 minutes even though it looks as good as it does which might make it easier for others to deal with the length. In fact I do remember when seeing the original which runs for 1 hour 57 minutes, I wanted to see more of this strange new world. I, like many, rewatched the first film just before going to to see the sequel and realised how the films chapters fitted together like lego, you never loose concentration. With a tightening up of several scenes in this new version it would have flowed much better.

One character didn’t fit quite right for me in 2049. That of Nianda Wallace played by Jared Leto who follows on from Eldon Tyrell. Tyrell built a corporation on genetically engineering replicants. As he was murdered it’s obvious that another character had to replace him. Wallace has taken the replicants far beyond Tyrell’s Nexus 6 range. First off [and probably a daft thought but I’ll go ahead anyway] – why was he blind? It seemed to close to Tyrell’s obvious sight problems which he overcame with impossibly thick spectacles.  Secondly -we know one has to be mad to genetically engineer on such a huge scale but surely Wallace has really lost the plot…reaching the scale of becoming god as he didn’t speak but prophesied in every line he delivered. In the scene where he meets Deckard none of what Wallace said made any sense.

And what of the beleaguered soundtrack? I was exhilertaed to hear that Johan Johansson was originally going to score it. A perfect choice in my mind and he is one the most atmospheric composers. But then he was pulled off the project. The reasons why abound on the web so I won’t repeat them here but I will say that the producers intervened way too late which is just absurd on such a crucial movie. And it shows, the replacement score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch is sufficient but not mind blowing.

Nor surisingly it sounds rushed. It’s a sound pallet which creates an atmosphere rather than addresses any specific moments in the film. It’s a good and fitting atmosphere but it doesn’t take any part in building any character cues even though there a couple in there they do not give any insight. The opening track ‘2049’ begins with the same electrifying and mechanical doom as the original soundtrack but none of the score has the rich melodic feel of Vangelis who built a world of varying textures. A beautiful other worldliness.

And there’s the rub – even though the first score was not nominated for an Oscar [oh how that still hurts] it ranks as one of the of the best ever. And it is one of the best ever, it is outstanding. So who was ever going to match that and should it have been similar to the original anyway? Well, I guess not but in my humble opinion why not?

Saying all this I do like the new score but it’s just not special. There was a glimmer of the original soundtrack but you had to wait a while to hear it. In what I hope and surely is a tribute to Vangelis, it’s entitled ‘Tears In The Rain”.  But let’s not dismiss Zimmer & Wallfisch. Let’s not dismiss it just because it hasn’t the playability of the first score. And let’s remember in 2049 the world is more bleak planet than the first film and this new score definitely tells of a stark, terrifying and lost future.

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