Category Archives: Soundtracks

Music, Basketball, and One Amazing Coach: Talking with Composer Grant Fonda about The House That Rob Built (2020)

Just recently I spoke with composer Grant Fonda about his work on The House That Rob Built, a documentary film that looks at the life and career of Rob Selvig, the iconic coach of the University of Montana’s Lady Griz basketball team. Underfunded and sidelined by men’s athletics, the Lady Griz bloomed under the fresh Title IX regulations that brought equal funding, scholarships and facilities to women’s collegiate sports. Selvig’s hard-driving style took the team from humble roots, playing before empty stands, and built them into the preeminent women’s basketball program west of the Rockies.

Los Angeles based composer Grant Fonda has collaborated with numerous creatives on a wide array of notable projects, including the acclaimed The Dating Project (dir. Jonathan Cipiti, 2018), the award-winning Down The Fence (Netflix, dir. MJ Isakson, 2017), and the multi-award winning Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton. Grant has been a collaborator in music departments for award-winning composers Thomas Newman and Heitor Pereira on Spectre, Finding Dory, Bridge of Spies, and Minions. He also has worked with with the late James Horner on Titanic Live! and John Debney on a live show for Disneyland’s California Adventure.

Please enjoy my conversation with Grant Fonda about The House That Rob Built.

How did you get started as a composer?

I’ve been around music for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was a classically trained pianist and always encouraged me to make music, even before I started taking lessons. He and my parents fostered creativity by letting me pursue my passions, and I always gravitated back to music, always dabbling in creating my own tunes. One teacher after another said “Hey, Grant, you’re really good at this. You should think about composing for a career.” In a way, I guess you can say that I finally fell out of pursuing a career as a music educator and fell into composing. 

What was your starting point in composing for The House That Rob Built?

As is often the case in this business, it started with a relationship. I had been the composer for Jonathan Cipiti’s The Dating Project and Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton, both produced by Family Theater Productions under the guidance of producer Megan Harrington. Jon and Megan really wanted to get the “team” back together again for The House That Rob Built, so I got the first call! Naturally, I was delighted. 

This might come out wrong, but when you were writing this music, did you think of this primarily as music about basketball first and the man second, or about the man first and the basketball second? Or was it an equal focus between the two?

Without question, Rob as a person, the team as a unit, and the individuals of the team always came to the narrative forefront over the game of basketball itself. I was always thinking about the intensity of basketball, but directors Jon Cipiti and Megan Harrington were quick to remind me that the story was firstly about the heart of the players rather than the game. That heart, legacy, and connection had to translate to viewers without getting lost. 

For the instruments, what did you decide to include in the orchestral mix? I hear a lot of strings, but I know there’s more than that.

You’re right, a string quartet forms the foundation of the score. The only other truly-orchestral instrument in the palette was a felted piano, but the soundscape also features the Nyckelharpa (a Swedish keyed fiddle) and the voice of the amazing Hannah Rose Lewis. I suppose that you could also say that there’s an “orchestra” of synths –– I wanted the synthetic part of the sonic universe to feel simultaneously organic and forward-thinking while embracing a bit of a retro vibe at times.

What prompted your decision to go out and mix in the actual sounds of basketballs into the music? That strikes me as the kind of decision that will either work really well or not at all (I thought it worked great).

Thanks! That’s awesome. One of the things that kept coming up in our spotting session was the need to capture the intensity of women’s collegiate basketball, but there wasn’t going to be a lot of sound design to help us because reenactments were usually working in tandem with voice-overs, and the sound quality of archival footage was noisy. I had the idea that it’d be interesting to try and blur the lines between sound design and score by incorporating sounds of the court, but I knew it’d be a tough sell unless it was executed perfectly. It had to feel organic without being campy. Jon and Megan loved the pitch in one cue, so as I wrote, those source sounds started to become the backbone of the percussive side of the score. 

Are there other atypical sounds mixed into the score that we should be keeping an ear open for? 

The Nyckelharpa is a fun treat for the ears in this score! We had so much fun recording this at the session, and there’s part of me that wishes I had used it more often. The way that Malachai Bandy (our Nyckelharpa player) emotes in his performances is stunning and really exaggerates the sense of longing and feeling of nostalgic folk music. 

How long did you have to work on this score? Was it a close collaboration with the directors?

I worked very closely with Jon and Megan while writing, partially because I only had 21 days to write the entire score, and then about a week to record and mix it. I think I spent as much time on the phone as I did writing! Like a great coach, Jon and Megan checked in daily to see how they could help inspire me, give thoughtful feedback, and push me to elevate the story in every cue. Sometimes, solitude is a composer’s saving grace while they’re in creative-mode, but in this case, working against the clock with the team amplified the film’s narrative in a sublime way.

Was the scoring/recording process impacted by the pandemic in any way?

It wasn’t, thankfully (we recorded in fall 2019), but we almost did have to reschedule the recording session because my wife started having pre-labor for our daughter the day before the session! I’ll never forget calling Jon Cipiti and saying, “I know this is not the call that you want to get the day of a recording session, but I think that we might be having a baby instead of recording strings tomorrow.” Thankfully, our gorgeous daughter arrived about two weeks later, and the session went as planned.

Do you have a favorite part of the soundtrack/score?

I love the cue Title IX because of the unusual textures and Hannah’s masterful vocal performances, but my favorite cue in the film has to be Strong, which is featured within the last scenes of the film. This was some of the first footage that I saw, but some of the last notes that I penned. To write it well, I knew that I’d have to draw from other parts of the score and also be emotionally up for the task because the different parts of the narrative come together to pack a wallop. The resulting almost nine-minute-long cue are some of the highest highs and lowest lows that I’ve ever composed, and I still feel a lump in my throat when I watch/hear it, a year and a half later. 

Anything in particular you hope audiences take away with them when they watch the documentary and hear this music?

I hope that people are reminded that inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places and through unexpected circumstances. I hope that they’ll remember that unity can be found and thrive in diversity. And, I hope that viewing and listening audiences will be inspired to invest in the next generation to build things that are greater than their wildest imaginations. 

I’d like to give a big thank you to Grant Fonda for taking the time to talk with me about The House That Rob Built.

See also:

Composer Interviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Soundtrack News: Pacific Rim: The Black Soundtrack Releasing March 5th

Milan Records and Sony Music Masterworks today announced that the official soundtrack for Pacific Rim: The Black by composer Brandon Campbell will release on Friday, March 5.  Available for preorder now, the album features score music written by Campbell for Netflix’s newest anime series from Legendary Television and based on Legendary and Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster film franchise Pacific Rim. Continuing the tale of epic battles between monsters and robots in an exciting new style, Pacific Rim: The Black will be released worldwide on Thursday, March 4 exclusively on Netflix.  

Of the soundtrack for Pacific Rim: The Black, composer Brandon Campbell had the following to say:

“Our showrunner, Greg Johnson, wanted a score that encompassed bits of DNA from the original Pacific Rim film while still being unique enough to support the struggles and triumphs of Taylor and Hailey.  We created a hybrid orchestral score with the heavy themes and melodic material that will hopefully resonate with Pacific Rim fans, while including more intimate and emotional musical moments that accompany our characters as they make their way across The Black.  I hope my music brings you back into the world of the awesome power of the Kaiju and Jaeger, but also into the hearts of Taylor and Hailey.”

The album marks the first release under a new, multi-year agreement between Milan Records/Sony Music Masterworks and Legendary Television to collaborate on future soundtrack releases.  Under the new agreement, Milan Records will have the exclusive right to distribute all soundtrack albums released by Legendary Television for its television shows and series, supporting the studio with the global distribution, marketing and promotion of these soundtrack titles.

ABOUT PACIFIC RIM: THE BLACK
There was a time when Kaiju rose from the Pacific Rim only to encounter gigantic robots, Jaegers, built to fight them back. That time has passed. Now, Australia has been overrun by Kaiju, forcing the evacuation of an entire continent. Left behind, teenage siblings Taylor and Hayley embark on a desperate search for their missing parents, teaching themselves to pilot a battered, long-abandoned Jaeger to help in their quest and give them even the slightest hope of surviving.

PACIFIC RIM: THE BLACK (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL ANIME SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. The Black
  2. They Always Come Back
  3. Jaeger Breaker
  4. The Drift
  5. b0y
  6. Shane
  7. Boneyard
  8. I’ve Had Worse Benders
  9. Mind Heist
  10. Dismei
  11. Ghost Pilot
  12. Shadow Basin
  13. Bogan Boogie
  14. Memories
  15. Never Coming Back
  16. The Most Powerful Man in The Black
  17. Hunter Vertigo
  18. Just Calm Down
  19. Kajiu Messiah
  20. Copperhead
  21. Atlas Destroyer

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 

Building a Fantasy World Through Music: Talking with Composer Ben MacDougall about Godfall (2020)

Recently I had the chance to talk with composer Ben MacDougall about his work on the video game Godfall, which was released for the PS5 in November 2020. Ben MacDougall is a prolific composer for film, TV and video games, who most recently wrote the original fantasy score for Sony PlayStation 5 launch title, Godfall. His rich and diverse portfolio enjoys airtime on prime-time networks and has been featured on high-profile global TV events such as the Olympics and Academy Awards as well as countless franchises, campaigns and AAA studio projects.

Please enjoy our conversation about the music of Godfall!

How did you get started as a composer for video games?

That depends on how far back you want to go! My first major game project was called Duelyst, which was also a project I worked on with Counterplay Games, but before that I had been writing for linear format projects (advertising, tv, film, trailers etc) for a while.

There isn’t a huge difference, musically speaking, between game music and any other music for media. At the end of the day, it’s your job as the composer to tell a story and help create an even deeper emotional experience for the viewer or player. So I guess you could say it was when I started writing music that told a story.

How did you get connected with Godfall and what did you think of the game’s premise?

It’s hard not to fall in love with a premise as bold and exciting as a brand new, beautiful fantasy land – complete with its own deep lore and history! I already knew the developers from our previous project – which was such a blast to work on that Godfall just flowed onwards from that. Especially from a musical perspective, the opportunity to thematically define a new world is pretty enticing. And did I mention all the colors and light? It’s stunning.

If you’ve played the game or even seen some of the promotional art, then you’ll know what I’m talking about: Aperion looks amazing, and the game was clearly made by really talented artists and programmers who love playing games. Godfall also feels great to play, and a lot of attention has gone into making you as a player feel like you’re actually in the world, rather than just playing a game there.

What was your starting point in putting the music for Godfall together? In other words, how do you decide how an epic game like this sounds? That has to be a daunting task (I’ve seen the launch trailer and the game looks incredible), how do you even decide where to begin?

Well, there’s definitely a poetic answer, and a realistic answer for this one. I am always a fan of coming up with solid themes right at the start, and capturing my initial response to the prompt as authentically as possible. However, when it comes down to it, you write what you’re asked to, when you’re asked to! Luckily, in the case of Godfall, the two went hand-in-hand and the first thing I wrote was the ‘Aperion Theme’, which you can find on the soundtrack as Track 03, called ‘Land of the Valorians’.

From that initial point, for a massive project like Godfall it’s really a question of establishing musical parameters and boundaries. There are different elemental realms in this game, and each of those needed its own sound, so the sensible starting point in planning it out was to define each realm’s sonic identity. I basically created word clouds of adjectives and instruments that I thought would work, based on all the source material I’d seen up to that point. That’s not to say you make a bunch of decisions on day one, and then stick rigidly to them. For me, it’s this framework that allows you to explore outwards ‘with intention’ – as you’re doing it consciously and in the context of a larger plan.

By way of example, the Air Realm ended up being sonically focused around the sounds of a tonal hand-drum, rather than the perhaps more obvious choice of using airy flutes and other wind instruments. There is no way I would have ever thought “Air Realm = Drum” on day one, but within the larger mesh of these loose constraints, the discovery and subsequent decision made sense.

How much time did you have to score Godfall? How did you go about recording with the pandemic going on?

The project has been on the cards for a while – I wrote the first notes for it perhaps two or three years ago at this point. However, late 2019 onwards was ‘go time’.

The pandemic made recording harder for sure – but recording is fairly easy to do ‘socially distant’! For instance, in the sessions I did with soprano, Laurence Servaes, she was in a separate isolated room – along with a rather fancy silent HEPA filter! You can communicate with someone in a recording room really easily, so in that sense not much else changed – aside from the fact that coffee breaks were WAY less fun than usual.

As the score was coming together, did you have any rough game footage to use for inspiration or for the recording process? Or was it more going off storyboards and/or animatics? Or something else entirely? Maybe I’m still conflating the video game process with recording for films, but I keep imagining that at some point a video game composer also has footage to look at in the same way that a film composer does.

A little bit of everything really. Sometimes it was concept art, sometimes play-throughs of different areas of the map. Sometimes its was an entire boss encounter and other times it was just a ton of adjectives or emotional language to describe what was needed!

I’d be tackling different areas of the game that were in different stages of development, so I’d always ask for whatever I could get my hands on and write to that – just by having it on in the background. As game music is a non-linear format, it wasn’t frame-synced or anything (unless it was a cinematic or something that required it), but it was always nice to overlay as much as possible, visually speaking. It makes it really easy to see what does or doesn’t work that way.

Are there over-arching themes in the music? It sounds like the music is connected in more than several places, and I was curious if this was the case.

Yes! There are various themes and motifs that pop up throughout. These include the aforementioned ‘Aperion Theme’, the main ‘Godfall Theme’ and other similarly weighty material – like the different themes for each realm. There are also shorter motifs and sub-themes that pop up a lot – either in their complete forms or in fragments here and there – all in the service of grounding the score to the world and helping to tie everything together.

“The better a score is, the less you hear it” is something that you get told a lot in college. The idea, basically, is that the music exists in the project to assist in telling the story, not to take center stage. The weaving of themes is a useful way to subconsciously guide the audience to a certain conclusion, or give them a sense of where they are, or who someone is, without actually saying it.

There are other little, more subtle touches that I wanted to include too. I clearly don’t want to go revealing everything that’s tucked away in the score, but if you listen to the main ‘Godfall Theme’, (which is effectively Orin’s Theme), you’ll hear that it is very closely related to the theme for his brother, Macros. One is heroic, and one is much darker…. but they share the same DNA. I thought that was a cool thing to do, without being too obvious about it.

Do you have a favorite piece in the soundtrack? Is there one in particular that you hope gamers notice while they’re playing?

Honestly, there is one little (and rather quiet) easter egg tucked away in there that I’m hoping someone finds one day. But that tidbit aside, there is such variety in the score as a whole that there are going to be different moments that resonate differently with different people – especially as everyone has a subtly different experience with the music due to the interactive nature of gaming.

I’ve had messages about bits of brooding Water Realm music, right through to the music in the end-credits, which is a unique take on the main theme. For me though, I’ve always been thrilled with how the track called ‘Song of Aperion’ (Track 28) turned out. The combination of cello and voice – and the purity of the sound still gives me goosebumps.

I want to say thank you again to Ben MacDougall for taking the time to speak with me about his work on Godfall.

Let me know what you think about Godfall and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Godfall (2020)

Composer Interviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Soundtrack Review: Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage (2021)

Yesterday (February 26th) Netflix released the official soundtrack album for Kid Cosmic titled: Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage-Music by Andy Bean from the Netflix Original Series. Andy Bean is an Emmy-nominated songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist specializing in music for animation. Through his work with The Two Gentlemen Band, Andy landed his first composing gig scoring Disney’s Emmy-nominated animated series, Wander Over Yonder. His frantic banjo-driven sci-fi scores and heartfelt songwriting for the show earned him two Annie award nominations. For his latest project, Netflix’s Kid Cosmic, Andy created much of the soundtrack under the guise of a fictional 70s psychedelic garage punk band, Dr. Fang & The Gang. The propulsive rock and roll score combines with the show’s distinctive art style to create exhilarating musical-action sequences unique in children’s television. 

The soundtrack album includes 20 songs by fictional bands conceptualized by show creator Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff GirlsFoster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) and Andy Bean (Muppet BabiesWander Over Yonder), playing with the idea that the show was scored as if they pulled existing music from the Kid Cosmic world.

Speaking about how the series’ unconventional score was dreamed up, Bean said:

“Craig [McCracken] described his vision for Dr. Fang and The Gang (the fictional band that provides much of the score) to me more than five years ago, and I started writing songs in character as the group immediately – even before I knew any other details about the show. We wanted the music in Kid Cosmic to sound like it was being pulled from an old record in The Kid’s collection. This is that record!”

I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a soundtrack quite like this one. The music for Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage really does sound like a collection of records that comes straight from the insane world of Kid Cosmic. I’ll be honest, I usually prefer soundtracks that are purely instrumental (it’s nothing personal, just the way I am), but for this collection I’m willing to make an exception because it just sounds so good! Each song puts me right back into the story of Kid Cosmic and his friends. It wasn’t until listening to the songs apart from the animation that I realized just how much these songs by this faux-band dominate the story in the best way possible.

It’s really no wonder I enjoyed watching Kid Cosmic so much. Aside from being a great story, the music in this soundtrack is just so upbeat and happy that after a few tracks you can’t help but smile and bop your head to the beat.

My favorite track out of all of these is ‘The Kid’ (aka The Kid Cosmic Theme). Not only is this the perfect theme for the show, with its off the wall energy, but it’s also the perfect theme for the Kid himself. This music is just like the Kid, it’s non-stop go go go and it just pumps you up, just like the Kid pumps himself up with his boundless enthusiasm for all things superhero. I also really like ‘Rosa Y Rolla’, because it reminds me of Rosa, my second favorite character in the show. The way ‘Rosa Y Rolla’ is put together I can just imagine Rosa in her giant form stopping around the desert and wreaking havoc as only a giant 4 year old can.

If I have one gripe about this soundtrack, it’s that it doesn’t appear to include all of the instrumental music used in the show. Specifically, I would have loved to hear the dark sci-fi music (from the episode where the spaceship is discovered) in its own separate track, and maybe those will be released some day in the future. For now, Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage is a great collection of the music of Kid Cosmic and the perfect way to experience Andy Bean’s wonderful songs.

Hopefully season 2 of Kid Cosmic is on the way and will give us even more of Dr. Fang and the Gang.

Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage Track List

  1. The Kid (Kid Cosmic Theme) (2:01)
  2. Vacation Boogie (2:55)
  3. Airborne Shuffle (2:11)
  4. The Gravity Ball (2:38)
  5. Galactic Interference (2:44)
  6. Somebody Call the Doctor (1:59)
  7. Talkin Tuna (2:50)
  8. Groundspeed Hustle (2:33)
  9. Desert Jungle (2:24)
  10. Here Comes the Gang (1:50)
  11. I’ll Do the Best That I Can Do (1:56)
  12. Fetch Me My Bicycle (1:46)
  13. The Kid (Live) (2:09)
  14. Tuna on the Road (2:05)
  15. Rosa Y Rolla (2:03)
  16. The Papa G Stomp (2:54)
  17. Papa G’s Jam (1:44)
  18. Greasy Spoon Space Gal (2:02)
  19. Superkid Surf Party (2:01)
  20. Party Back at My House (2:13)

Kid Cosmic follows the adventures of an imaginative and enthusiastic boy who lives with his free-spirited Grandpa in a sparsely populated desert town. The Kid’s dreams of being a hero seem to come true when he discovers 5 Cosmic Stones of Power in a wrecked spaceship. He forms a team of local heroes to stop an onslaught of alien attacks to steal back the stones. Though the Kid and his team are the good guys, they’re really bad at it,and the Kid learns that his fantasy of being a hero is very different from the reality of what it actually means to become one.

Let me know what you think about Kid Cosmic and Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Kid Cosmic: Season One (2021)

A New Music for Superheroes: Talking with Composer Andy Bean about Kid Cosmic (2021)

TV Soundtracks

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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Soundtrack News: Final Fantasy VII Remake Original Soundtrack Available Now

The original soundtrack for the acclaimed Final Fantasy VII Remake has finally arrived! This long-awaited soundtrack album was released today by Square Enix and Sony Masterworks. The soundtrack features over 150 tracks and more than 8 hours of original music from composers Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki and others. It also features the game’s end credits theme song “Hollow” by Yosh.

You can see the complete track list below.

The original soundtrack for the Final Fantasy VII Remake is available now on all music streaming services.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. FFVII REMAKE: The Prelude – Reunion
  2. FFVII REMAKE: Midgar, City of Mako
  3. FFVII REMAKE: Bombing Mission
  4. FFVII REMAKE: Let the Battles Begin! – Ex-SOLDIER
  5. FFVII REMAKE: Mako Reactor 1
  6. FFVII REMAKE: Mako Reactor 1 – Battle Edit
  7. FFVII REMAKE: Scorpion Sentinel
  8. FFVII REMAKE: Getaway
  9. FFVII REMAKE: Shinra’s Theme
  10. FFVII REMAKE: Those Chosen by the Planet
  11. FFVII REMAKE: The Promised Land – Cycle of Souls
  12. FFVII REMAKE: Chance Meeting in Sector 8
  13. FFVII REMAKE: Let the Battles Begin! – Break Through
  14. FFVII REMAKE: A Close Call
  15. FFVII REMAKE: Shinra Creed
  16. FFVII REMAKE: Shining Beacon of Civilization
  17. FFVII REMAKE: Tifa’s Theme – Seventh Heaven
  18. FFVII REMAKE: Noises in the Night
  19. FFVII REMAKE: Mako Poisoning
  20. FFVII REMAKE: Main Theme of FFVII – Sector 7 Undercity
  21. FFVII REMAKE: Avalanche’s Theme
  22. FFVII REMAKE: Scrap Boulevard Cleanup Crew
  23. FFVII REMAKE: Johnny’s Theme
  24. FFVII REMAKE: Let the Battles Begin! – A Merc’s Job
  25. FFVII REMAKE: On Our Way
  26. FFVII REMAKE: The Star of Seventh Heaven
  27. FFVII REMAKE: Lurking in the Darkness – Suspicious Man
  28. FFVII REMAKE: Just Another Job
  29. FFVII REMAKE: Lay Down Some Rubber – Let’s Ride
  30. FFVII REMAKE: Midnight Spiral
  31. FFVII REMAKE: Speed Demon
  32. FFVII REMAKE: The Red Zone
  33. FFVII REMAKE: RUN RUN RUN
  34. FFVII REMAKE: Jessie’s Theme
  35. FFVII REMAKE: Moonlight Thievery
  36. FFVII REMAKE: A Tower, a Promise
  37. FFVII REMAKE: S7-6 Annex Diversion
  38. FFVII REMAKE: Ignition Flame
  39. FFVII REMAKE: Under Cover of Smoke
  40. FFVII REMAKE: Main Theme of FFVII – Nightfall in the Undercity
  41. FFVII REMAKE: Whispers’ Theme
  42. FFVII REMAKE: A New Operation
  43. FFVII REMAKE: Target: Mako Reactor 5
  44. FFVII REMAKE: Hurry!
  45. FFVII REMAKE: Dogged Pursuit
  46. FFVII REMAKE: Born Survivors – Section C
  47. FFVII REMAKE: Born Survivors – Section E
  48. FFVII REMAKE: Crab Warden
  49. FFVII REMAKE: Undercity Suns
  50. FFVII REMAKE: Tightrope
  51. FFVII REMAKE: Maze of Scrap Metal
  52. FFVII REMAKE: Critical Shot
  53. FFVII REMAKE: Game Over
  54. FFVII REMAKE: The Rendezvous Point
  55. FFVII REMAKE: A Trap Is Sprung
  56. FFVII REMAKE: The Airbuster
  57. FFVII REMAKE: Who Am I?
  58. FFVII REMAKE: The Turks’ Theme
  59. FFVII REMAKE: The Turks: Reno
  60. FFVII REMAKE: Flowers Blooming in the Church
  61. FFVII REMAKE: Under the Rotting Pizza
  62. FFVII REMAKE: Anxiety
  63. FFVII REMAKE: Aerith’s Theme – Home Again
  64. FFVII REMAKE: Hollow Skies
  65. FFVII REMAKE: Let the Battles Begin! – The Hideout
  66. FFVII REMAKE: Whack-a-Box
  67. FFVII REMAKE: Midnight Rendezvous
  68. FFVII REMAKE: Collapsed Expressway
  69. FFVII REMAKE: High Five
  70. FFVII REMAKE: The Oppressed – Beck’s Badasses
  71. FFVII REMAKE: Due Recompense
  72. FFVII REMAKE: Wall Market – The Town That Never Sleeps
  73. FFVII REMAKE: Wall Market – Chocobo Sam
  74. FFVII REMAKE: Wall Market – Madam M
  75. FFVII REMAKE: The Most Muscular
  76. FFVII REMAKE: An Unforgettable Night
  77. FFVII REMAKE: The Sweetest Honey
  78. FFVII REMAKE: Luxury Massage
  79. FFVII REMAKE: Tonight’s Corneo Cup
  80. FFVII REMAKE: Corneo Colosseum
  81. FFVII REMAKE: Colosseum Death Match
  82. FFVII REMAKE: Just Desserts
  83. FFVII REMAKE: Electric Executioners
  84. FFVII REMAKE: Hell House
  85. FFVII REMAKE: Victory Fanfare
  86. FFVII REMAKE: A Certain Gaudiness
  87. FFVII REMAKE: Let the Battles Begin! -REMAKE-
  88. FFVII REMAKE: Stand Up
  89. FFVII REMAKE: Funk with Me
  90. FFVII REMAKE: Sync or Swim
  91. FFVII REMAKE: Vibe Valentino
  92. FFVII REMAKE: Stand Up – Reprise
  93. FFVII REMAKE: Don of the Slums
  94. FFVII REMAKE: The Audition
  95. FFVII REMAKE: Smash ‘Em, Rip ‘Em
  96. FFVII REMAKE: Abzu
  97. FFVII REMAKE: Rough Waters
  98. FFVII REMAKE: Darkness Ahead
  99. FFVII REMAKE: Any Last Words?
  100. FFVII REMAKE: Ascension
  101. FFVII REMAKE: Train Graveyard
  102. FFVII REMAKE: Haunted
  103. FFVII REMAKE: Come On, This Way
  104. FFVII REMAKE: Ghoul
  105. FFVII REMAKE: Alone
  106. FFVII REMAKE: Black Wind
  107. FFVII REMAKE: Waiting to Be Found
  108. FFVII REMAKE: Eligor
  109. FFVII REMAKE: Fight for Survival
  110. FFVII REMAKE: Come Back to Us
  111. FFVII REMAKE: Cheap Play
  112. FFVII REMAKE: Those in Need
  113. FFVII REMAKE: Slums on Fire
  114. FFVII REMAKE: Get to Safety!
  115. FFVII REMAKE: Aerith and Marlene – A Familiar Flower
  116. FFVII REMAKE: Limited Options
  117. FFVII REMAKE: The Look on Her Face
  118. FFVII REMAKE: Rematch atop the Pillar
  119. FFVII REMAKE: Return to the Planet
  120. FFVII REMAKE: A Broken World
  121. FFVII REMAKE: Daughter’s Farewell
  122. FFVII REMAKE: Infinity’s End
  123. FFVII REMAKE: Wild de Chocobo
  124. FFVII REMAKE: Leslie’s Theme
  125. FFVII REMAKE: The Day Midgar Stood Still
  126. FFVII REMAKE: Fires of Resistance
  127. FFVII REMAKE: A Solemn Sunset
  128. FFVII REMAKE: The Valkyrie
  129. FFVII REMAKE: The Shinra Building
  130. FFVII REMAKE: Operation: Save Aerith
  131. FFVII REMAKE: All Quiet at the Gates
  132. FFVII REMAKE: Hand over Hand
  133. FFVII REMAKE: Scarlet’s Theme
  134. FFVII REMAKE: Stewards of the Planet
  135. FFVII REMAKE: Corporate Archives
  136. FFVII REMAKE: Cultivating Madness
  137. FFVII REMAKE: Another Day at Shinra HQ
  138. FFVII REMAKE: The Turks’ Theme – Office
  139. FFVII REMAKE: Home Away from Home
  140. FFVII REMAKE: Infiltrating Shinra HQ
  141. FFVII REMAKE: The Drum
  142. FFVII REMAKE: Catastrophe
  143. FFVII REMAKE: Final Experiment
  144. FFVII REMAKE: Trail of Blood
  145. FFVII REMAKE: J-E-N-O-V-A – Quickening
  146. FFVII REMAKE: Rufus Shinra
  147. FFVII REMAKE: The Arsenal
  148. FFVII REMAKE: Midgar Expressway
  149. FFVII REMAKE: Arbiter of Fate – Advent
  150. FFVII REMAKE: Arbiter of Fate – Rebirth
  151. FFVII REMAKE: Arbiter of Fate – Singularity
  152. FFVII REMAKE: I’m Waiting, Cloud
  153. FFVII REMAKE: One-Winged Angel – Rebirth
  154. FFVII REMAKE: Seven Seconds till the End
  155. FFVII REMAKE: Hollow
  156. FFVII REMAKE: Credits

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Soundtrack News: The Promised Neverland Season 1 & 2 Soundtracks Available Now

Milan Records today releases The Promised Neverland (Season 1 & 2 Original Soundtrack) with music by Takahiro Obata.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Obata for the fan-favorite anime series, which just debuted its second season earlier this year.  With a total of 61 tracks, it collects all of Obata’s original music from both seasons, including the hugely popular “Isabella’s Lullaby” introduced in season 1 as well as “The Evil-Blooded Girl (Main Theme),” which premiered earlier this week via Funimation.

Of the soundtrack, composer Takahiro Obata says:

“I’m glad that the fans of The Promised Neverland are paying attention to the music as well. We would like to thank everyone for making the release of Season 1 & 2 Original Soundtrack possible! I hope you enjoy it!”

Freedom is beautiful, but brutal. Fifteen children escape Grace Field House, a false paradise, hoping for a chance at freedom. Instead, they encounter plants and animals they have never before seen, and are chased by demons. The outside world is so beautiful, and yet is almost too cruel to face. Even so, the children refuse to give up. They are guided in their search for better lives only by a message from Minerva and a pen Norman left behind in order to fulfill their promise to return to the House to save those of their family who are still trapped within.

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (COMPLETE EDITION)

TRACKLISTING –

DISC 1 –

  1. Introduction
  2. As a Soft Morning Sunrise
  3. Tag
  4. Studying for Exams
  5. Cold-hearted Isabella
  6. Training For Escape
  7. Tight Tension
  8. Isabella’s Lullaby
  9. Demon’s Manifestation
  10. Emma’s Sorrow
  11. Dancing Krone
  12. 63194 (Emma’s Theme)
  13. The Promised Neverland Main Theme 1
  14. GF House
  15. 81194 (Ray’s Theme)
  16. Tension
  17. Corpse Found
  18. Krone’s Scheme
  19. Existence of an Insider
  20. Emma’s Agony
  21. Isabella’s Lullaby (No Vocal Version)
  22. Krone on the GF String
  23. The Promised Neverland (Pf solo Version)
  24. Prison Break
  25. Strategy for escape
  26. Emma’s Determination
  27. Grandma and Demons
  28. Isabella’s Lullaby (Mandolin Version)
  29. Analysis for escape
  30. 22194 (Norman’s Theme)
  31. Their Own Thoughts
  32. Reasoning for escape
  33. Ray’s Retaliation

DISC 2 –

  1. The Deep Forest
  2. Guidance of Minerva’s Pen
  3. The Adventures of Ugo
  4. Threat of the Demon
  5. Ray Against Demons
  6. Mujika and Sonju (Instrumental Version)
  7. Mujika and Sonju (Vocal Version)
  8. The Promise Between Humans and Demons
  9. Training
  10. An Unlikely Friendship
  11. Nat King Cool
  12. Nat King Ballade
  13. Happy Family Circle
  14. Invasion
  15. Crisis
  16. Isabella’s Return
  17. The Temple Ruins
  18. The Evil-Blooded Girl (Main Theme)
  19. Isabella’s Lullaby (Arabic Version)
  20. Isabella’s Lullaby (Orchestra Version)
  21. Norman’s Lament
  22. The Promised Neverland Main Theme 2
  23. The Promised Neverland (Epf solo Version)
  24. Touch off (Short Version)
  25. Zettai Zetsumei (TV edit)
  26. Lamp (TV edit)
  27. Identity (short version)
  28. Mahou (Anime Size)

The soundtrack for seasons 1 & 2 of The Promised Neverland is available now!

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Soundtrack Review: Minari (2020)

Milan Records released on February 12 the Minari (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by award-winning composer Emile Mosseri (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Kajillionaire). Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Mosseri for director Lee Isaac Chung’s family drama.

Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Emile Mosseri is an award-winning composer, pianist, singer and producer who has quickly made a name for himself in the world of film music with his song-based approach to crafting emotionally-stirring compositions. Mosseri made his feature film score debut with Sundance standout The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019), garnering extensive critical acclaim from LA Times, Pitchfork, Entertainment Weekly and more.  A breakout moment for the young composer, the sweepingly romantic score cemented Mosseri as a sought-after collaborator, next joining director Miranda July for her comedic crime drama Kajillionaire (2020).

Of the soundtrack, composer Emile Mosseri had the following to say:

“Working with Lee Isaac Chung on Minari was the purest collaboration. Isaac made a gorgeous film about his childhood, and it was an exciting challenge to try and musically personify something as visceral and emotionally-loaded as childhood memory. He invited me into his filmmaking process at the script stage which was a first for me and a dream. I’m grateful that my music found a home in his profoundly honest, vulnerable and deeply poetic film.”

“In July of 2019, five days before production began on Minari, Emile sent me musical sketches for the score,” adds Minari director Lee Isaac Chung. “He wrote, ‘I like the idea of the score having a warm beating heart but also some dissonance and struggle, dipping between those two worlds seamlessly.’ As I listened to the pieces, I was in awe of how he had captured this poetic intent perfectly. From the start, his music contained all the things I hoped for in the film: warmth, heart, dissonance, and struggle. I listened to the songs so often during production that the world of the film contains the songs, and the world of the songs contains the film. As you listen to his brilliant score, you will, in his words, be dipping between those two worlds seamlessly.”

I’ve heard a lot about Minari from my fellow critics on Twitter, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from the soundtrack as, to my shame, I haven’t seen The Last Black Man in San Francisco or Kajillionaire. As a result, I haven’t heard any of Mosseri’s music before, so this was my first time hearing anything he composed.

To my delight, the music for Minari is deeply touching and rich. The story is set in the Ozarks, deep in the heart of America and it shows in this beautiful music. Unlike other soundtracks I’ve heard this year, Mosseri’s music for Minari seems largely content to just “be” and serve as a backdrop for what’s happening in the story. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this either. More than once I’ve heard a soundtrack that has too much going on and distracts me from the story (or worse, is better than the story itself). It’s a great change of pace to have music that’s so tranquil and slower-paced. It reminded me more than once of a deep river: it appears smooth and quiet, but it’s hiding a lot going on underneath (not a bad metaphor for the film itself given my understanding of the plot).

My particular favorites from this soundtrack are Big Country and Garden of Eden. Both, particularly Garden of Eden, gave me the strong impression of the wilderness and untamed nature. The music flows all around you, giving no hints as to where it takes place in the film. That’s another thing I like, unlike some soundtracks where you can pretty much follow the film through the music (The Invisible Man was one example of this), Minari gives no such hints. Instead we’re treated to an almost concert-like string of music that I took great pleasure in listening to.

MINARI (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. Intro
  2. Jacob and The Stone
  3. Big Country
  4. Garden of Eden
  5. Rain Song (feat. Han Ye-ri)
  6. Grandma Picked A Good Spot
  7. Halmeoni
  8. Jacobs Prayer
  9. Wind Song (feat. Han Ye-ri)
  10. Bird Slingers
  11. Oklahoma City
  12. Minari Suite
  13. You’ll Be Happy
  14. Paul’s Antiphony
  15. Find It Every Time
  16. Outro

The Minari soundtrack is available now from Milan Records, and I highly recommend purchasing it and checking it out.

Let me know what you think about Minari (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: Blood of Zeus: Season 1 (2020)

Milan Records has released the original soundtrack for season 1 of Blood of Zeus, with music composed by Paul Edward-Francis. The album features score music written by Edward-Francis for Netflix’s hugely-popular original anime series set in the world of Greek gods and goddesses.

Paul Edward-Francis is a British composer from Manchester who today lives and works in L.A, California.  Paul started working as a composer back in 2006 when he co-compose the music for an all-star adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s classic novel Hog-father. The two part TV series was a huge hit and Paul went on to score the follow-up, this time being The Color of Magic, which once again featured an all-star cast of greats such as Jeremy Irons, Tim Curry, and Christopher Lee and Brian Cox among others. Paul has worked on numerous productions for film and television with some of Hollywood’s biggest studios including Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon. He has also worked with some of the world’s leading orchestras which include the likes of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The City of Prague Philharmonic.

Of the soundtrack for Blood of Zeus, composer Paul Edward-Francis had the following to say:

“Working on Blood of Zeus was an experience I shall always treasure. The moment we sat down to watch the first episode we knew the score would play an important role. Just as we had seen on screen, we wanted to pay homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age within the score, but without losing sight of the world we were creating. The music ultimately had to ensure that Blood of Zeus had its very own unique themes and distinctive sound. As much as the music had to be big grandiose (“A Call to Arms”) or dark and threatening (“Heron Vs the Demon”), it also had to be heartfelt and provoke an emotional response (“Zeus and Hera’s Theme”). I could not be prouder to have worked on Blood of Zeus. It was simply an honor and I hope the music we created brings you as much joy to listen to as I had making it.”

The music for Blood of Zeus certainly does play an important role throughout the season, though I still struggle to describe in words how awesome it is. It feels ancient and modern all at the same time, with pompous fanfares giving way to music that comes straight out of a modern horror film. Edward-Francis. I really like this recurring fanfare motif that puts me in mind of Mt. Olympus every time I hear it. It’s everything that music about gods, goddesses and Ancient Greece should be. I wish I could get more specific, but that is the phrase that describes it best for me: the music just feels right.

One thing is for sure, Blood of Zeus would not be nearly as good as it is without this fantastic music. My favorite track has to be “The Titans.” It starts out like a piece by Ligeti and quickly grows into something bigger (no pun intended). The Titans being the insanely powerful primal forces that they are, Edward-Francis needed to create music to match them and he succeeded. Listening to this track, you get the feeling that you’re staring down something immense and ancient, with more power than you ever dreamed possible. All of that is what I feel while listening to “The Titans.”

I also really like how Edward-Francis was able to inject some humor into the music as well. For example, “Training a Demigod” includes some funny moments where you can almost see Heron’s epic fails in the early stages of his training (you know, when that robot flings him across the arena). I love when composers can replicate those little moments in their music and it’s just one of the details that make up why I love the music of Blood of Zeus so much.

BLOOD OF ZEUS (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ANIME SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. One of Those Tales
  2. Heron Vs the Demon
  3. The Titans
  4. A Peasants Way of Life
  5. A Call to Arms
  6. A King’s Despair
  7. Heron’s Journey
  8. Past Is Prologue
  9. Hera’s Vengeance
  10. Convert or Die
  11. The Son of Zeus
  12. Electra’s Death
  13. Seraphim’s Theme
  14. Herme’s Run
  15. Seraphim’s Story
  16. Escape or Die
  17. Mount Pelion
  18. Alexia and Chiron
  19. Seraphim’s Quest
  20. Escape
  21. The Power of Zeus
  22. Flight to Olympus
  23. Training a Demigod
  24. Seraphim’s Rage
  25. Seraphim’s Revenge
  26. Journey to the Deep
  27. Apollo Vs Ares
  28. Talos
  29. Preparing for Battle
  30. War for Olympus
  31. Zeus and Hera’s Theme
  32. Gods and Heroes
  33. A Proud Father
  34. Blood of Zeus End Credits

You can enjoy the soundtrack for Blood of Zeus now!

Let me know what you think about Blood of Zeus (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

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Soundtrack News: ‘Saint Maud’ Soundtrack Available Now

Milan Records released the soundtrack for Saint Maud today, with music composed by Adam Janota Bzowski. The album will also be released in vinyl format this spring. From A24, Saint Maud arrives in select theaters and drive-ins January 29 and will be available to stream exclusively on EPIX beginning February 12.

Adam Janota Bzowski is a London based composer, sound designer and visual artist. As a child he was known for his fondness of intermittent static between radio stations, an interest that led him to study Sound Art at the University of Brighton. Whilst living in a disused biscuit factory on the English coast, Adam became heavily influenced by ambient music – performing under the moniker Adam Halogen, he utilized an old 4-track tape recorder and various guitar pedals to create compositions for theatre, short films and animations. Saint Maud marks his first feature-length score, which has already won him Best Original Music at the 2020 Gérardmer Fantasticarts Film Festival.

The debut film from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a chilling and boldly original vision of faith, madness, and salvation in a fallen world. Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul — but sinister forces, and her own sinful past, threaten to put an end to her holy calling.

Of the soundtrack for Saint Maud, composer Adam Janota Bzowski had the following to say:

“Before coming on board, I initially received only a treatment for Saint Maud containing a short synopsis alongside various macabre pictures of twisted figures and haunting spectres. From this alone I created around 30 minutes of demos inspired by the images and plot outline, much of which ended up in the final film. Rose wanted the audience to feel inside the head of the main character, Maud. As a result we gave the score a very claustrophobic almost creature-like quality to it, often leaning closer to sound design than traditional music. After sending her cues, Rose would frequently feedback ‘go weirder, go stranger’ – words which I had waited my entire career to hear from a collaborator.”

SAINT MAUD (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. Opening Title
  2. Maud’s Theme
  3. Khöl / Nosebleed
  4. Pallative Care
  5. God On the Couch
  6. I Think It Went Well
  7. Succubus
  8. Revelation
  9. My Saviour (By the Coast)
  10. Holy Water
  11. Bedside Manor
  12. Scissors
  13. Saint Maud

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Soundtrack Review: All Evolutionz EP (2020)

All Evolutionz aka 全進化 aka Zen Shinka is the latest project by Enso, perhaps best known as the founder of XXX Hong Kong, an underground gallery and nightclub in operation from 2011-2018. This is the fourth music release of 2020 under the new XXX Records imprint, capping off a prolific year for both Enso and the new label.

All tracks on All Evolutionz EP are produced by Enso, and feature an orchestral / film score style that is a natural extension of his Palimpsest EP released earlier this year. All Evolutionz EP comprises a six-chapter story of melancholy, loss and wonder, expertly voiced by studio piano and strings instrumentation. Japanese language vocals are supplied by Yo Zi, while the alternate English vocal versions are produced using Vocaloid, a Japanese synthesized voice software.

Despite his reputation as a bass music club DJ, Enso cites some surprising musical influences:

“I love artists such as James Blake, but I actually listen to a lot of film scores. I am most inspired by the composers Clint Mansell and Max Richter, and have actually made a ritual of listening to Górecki’s third symphony each year on my birthday, since I was a teenager.”

As for the name “All Evolutionz,” Enso explains, “it is inspired by Pokémon and relates to the idea of constant growth, transformation and development.”

I was curious to see what All Evolutionz EP was all about as it’s not every day I get a vinyl record in the mail to check out. Imagine my delight, then, when I opened the record up and found a vinyl record that was bright yellow! This makes the entire record eye-catching and really pretty (it was an added bonus also because I’ve never owned a record that wasn’t black before).

The music itself was very relaxing, it reminded me of several anime soundtracks where there are long stretches filled with vocalizations while the characters contemplate life and existence. Honestly I would happily listen to this music over and over again for relaxation purposes. That being said, I did find the English language portions of the music a little….odd? I think odd is the best word for it, it wasn’t bad but it did sound unusual to my ears.

I also really love that this album had a vinyl release at all. It’s so cool that vinyl has made a comeback. They’re really cool to collect, and it makes for a fun experience to watch the vinyl spin while you listen to it.

All Evolutionz EP turned out to be an enjoyable experience and I’m glad I got the chance to check it out.

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