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

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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

The Great Wall, Hjertestart, Divide Kundschafter Des Friedens – Pocket Reviews

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THE GREAT WALL by Ramin Djawadi

Why am I not liking this score I ask myself, after all it’s by Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi But after a second  listen it’s not growing on me  but then ironically it’s not a disappointment. I imagined it to be a passable action score complete with ethnic instruments and that it exactly what it is. Well orchestrated with a certain tension  but the motif is weak even with a full chorus backing.

The opening track Nameless Order, gets the interest going but soon fades as most of the tracks being action cues just meld into one. The most emotional pull is in We Are Not The Same which takes a break from all the fighting, in fact it’s quite beautiful with it’s strong allegiance to ethnic instruments. The last track Ixn Ren has some of the impact I was expecting and  which I would liked to have heard throughout the score. With a full orchestra and the essential drums it had all of the ingredients but will very little flavour.

Label: Milan

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 DIVIDE by Chris Tilton

Chris Tilton has Assassin’s Creed Unity Vol 1 and 5 series of the TV show Fringe under his belt and this soundtrack to the PS4 sic-fi,action adventure game is a really notable addition to his catalogue. A lot of action games score can sound quite flat – just music to keep the momentum going but Divide transcends all that.

After a belter of a Trailer Mix song [title: Divided] featuring Tori Metzler the mood of intrigue and tension never drops from then on. It briskly moves onto the pulsating Steal The Future. There is a winding motif which works it’s way the score very elegantly and when pitched against some synth tracks it’s truly thrilling. Runaway Maglev is a good example of this. There is real tension in this core as well pathos which dominates through Marion’s Case.

I love all of this soundtrack and could easily have it running through my playlist on rewind [as in fact I have!] and if I may say as a way of compliment that The Last Stop has elements of Daft Punks Solar Sailor from Tron Legacy. And what delights there are … there is Deluxe version!

Exploding Tuba Music

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HJERTESTARTS [Handle With Care] by Jonas Struck

This movie deals with the main character, who loses his wife, struggling to relate to his adopted son Daniel.  In a last act of desperation he takes Daniel to Columbia to look for the boy’s biological mother

Struck is a Danish composer and I quote from his blog “Struck’s sound is a mix of electronic soundscapes and organic instruments with strong signature themes that sums up the DNA of the movie.” And this is exactly what this soundtrack does, it creates a landscape – Daniel’s Theme is a superb study of disconnection and loss, a short cue which pulls you straight in.

In fact before I went to his website I wrote in my notes ‘full of short cues which are really mood palletes which make a whole”.  I was intrigued by this score and should imagine it fits the film like a glove.

Available on Spotify

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KUNDSCHAFTER DES FRIEDENS by Uwe Bossenz & Anton Feist

I watched the trailer to this German film, loosely translated: Spies of the Peace – and I got completely hooked. Two former (shall we say ageing) Stasi agent plus one other somehow get to embark on a dangerous mission to save a kidnapped president!

They seem somewhat inept to say the least. All I can say about the score is that it’s utterly mad and very listenable. Mad because there is a stack of dialogue from the film included, not just at the start of a cue put interrupting part way through a cue! The music is pastiche 70’s spy music complete with twangy guitars and vibrant brass complete with 007 twinges.

It’s fun, great fun and worth a listen if only for the opening song Old Agent Man sung in English.

Filmontrager-Also on Spotify

FILMIC SOUNDTRACK AWARDS 2016

It feels that there were more soundtracks than ever last year!! Yippee, I am inclined to write but when it comes down to voting for the IFMCA  it became a never ending quest to reduce the list down to the very best. I was so close to the wire as well with meeting the deadline but I made it. Here is the cream of the cream in my humble opinion.

Film Score of the Year
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High Rise – Clint Mansell
The Light Between The Oceans – Alexandre Desplat
Dark Waves [Bellerofonte] – Alexander Cimini
Julieta – Alberto Iglasias
Nocturnal Animals – Abel Korzeniowski
I listened to High Rise very early on in the year on in 2016 and it’s the soundtrack I have returned to the most. Both this and Dark waves are reviewed in this blog.

Film Composer of the Year
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Fernando Velazquez
Alexander Cimini
Rachel Portman
John Debney
Mark Korven
The sheer versatility of Velazquez’s 2016 scores has been mind blowing. Take Guernica, A Monster Calls and Ozzy for starters!

Breakthrough Composer of the Year
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Nicholas Britell
Simon Franglen
Justin Hurwitz
E Dylan
Daniel Belardinelli
Britell is on the up with scores such as Free State of Jones and Moonlight, watch this space!

Best Original Score for a Drama Film
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High Rise – Clint Mansell
The Light Between The Oceans – Alexandre Desplat
Julieta – Alberto Iglasias
Nocturnal Animals – Abel Korzeinowski
Hacksaw Ridge – Rupert Gregson-Williams
Yep that’s right, four of my Top Scores of the Year are in the Best Drama category as well as Best of the Year. Gregson-William’s triumphant score well deserves to be in this category.

Best Original Score for a Comedy Film
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The Nice Guys – John Ottman and David Buckley
Dad’s Army – Charlie Mole
Tordenskold & Kold – Henrik Skram
Eddie The Eagle – Matthew Margeson
Swiss Army Man
Anyone who can near perfect score a soundtrack to match the scores of the 70’s is OK in my book.

Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
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The Jungle Book – John Debney
The Magnificent Seven – James Horner & Simon Franglen
The Legend of Tarzan – Rupert Gregson-Williams
Made In France – Robin Coudert
Criminal – Brian Tyler & Keith Power Tussled with the first 2 but Debney’s score is just so luscious in parts!

Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film
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Dark Waves [Bellerofonte] – Alexander Cimini
Witch – Marl Korven
Arrival – Johann Johannsson
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – James Newton Howard
Gods of Egypt – Marco Beltrami
Cimini’s score is simply beautiful.

Best Original Score for an Animated Score
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Kubo and the Two Strings – Dario Marianelli
Tortue Rouge – Laurent Perez del Mar
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom – George Streicher
Ice Age Collision Course – John Debney
Bilal: A New Breed of Hero – Atli Ovarsson
Superb, Kubo is now officially one of my all time favourite animation film scores.

Best Score for a Documentary
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1916 The Irish Rebelleion – Patrick Cassidy
The Seventh Fire – Nicholas Britell
Before The Flood – music by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Gustavo
Santaoalla & Mogwai
Ester Blenda – Frid & Frid

Best Original Score for a Television Score
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War & Peace
The Night Manager – Victor Reyes
Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
House of Cards [Series 4] – Jeff beal
The Crown – Rupert Gregson – Williams

2016 Scores Catch Up-Pocket Reviews

With 2016 well and truly gone and the voting process started as a member of the IFMCA, I am catching up on some last minute soundtracks. Starting with:-

JACKIE – Score by Mica Levi
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The filma has just been released here in the UK and Film Critic Matthew Bond in todays Mail On Sunday writes ‘…and fabulously unsettling music from British composer Mica Levi – it’s one of the must-sees of this award season’.  Levi’s score for Under The Skin was was superb as is this  her second score. It’s one of the most segmented soundtracks I have heard,  it beautifully captures the isolation Jackie Kennedy must have gone through.
There is a motif of foreboding, drooping strings heard in the opening track Intro. A stand out track is Autopsy whereby the struggle of grieving combined with duty is symbolised by the background snare drum. It’s a complex, slow score where the silence in between notes has a startling effect.
This powerfully, understated score will change my list of top scores of the year.
At just 29 years of age, I for one hope she continues to compose for film.
MILAN MUSIC

GERNICA – Score by Fernando Verlasquez
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Not having yet seen the film but knowing that it tells of the conflict of an American journalist reporting on the Spanish Civil War and the enforced republic censorship rules, the  opening track is suitably called Propaganda and matches the old cinema newsreel music of unity and false victory brilliantly.
I’ve Seen War is it’s opposite with heavy truth-telling strings as does the darker Back From The War/The Picture. Reception At City Hall is exquisite and Gernika Under The Bombs at 24:57 is a masterclass in composition. Another strong Velasquez score.
QUARTET RECORDS

LIVE BY NIGHT – Score by Harry Gregson-Williams
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Directed, co-written and starring Ben Affleck this gangster movie set in the 1920’s could have been a chance to re-identify this genre through it’s score but here Gregson-Williams applies overused thriller shades which do not set any particular tones and I found myself waiting, with each cue, to be surprised but it was not to be. An opportunity missed.
WATER TOWER MUSIC