Category Archives: television

Soundtrack Review: Betty (2020)

The soundtrack for the HBO Original Series Betty is now available from Milan Records. Starring Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, and Rachelle Vinberg, Betty follows a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male-oriented world of skateboarding, set against the backdrop of New York City.  

The soundtrack for Betty was composed by Aska Matsumiya, who is a LA based Japanese composer and producer who has excelled across Film, Television, Advertising and music production. Aska provided the score for the Amazon feature film, “I’m Your Woman” for director Julia Hart. In addition, she partnered with A24 and acclaimed director Kogonada on his film “After Yang”, collaborating with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto starring Colin Farrell.  

Of the soundtrack, composer Aska Matsumiya says:

“Writing the music for Betty allowed me to be in touch with a side of myself that remains youthful and raw and spontaneous. It was really so much fun and I tried to let that momentum carry the music.”

Wow, Matsumiya wasn’t kidding when she talked about getting in touch with her youthful, raw, and spontaneous side. The soundtrack for Betty is ALL of these things wrapped up together and it is pure joy to listen to. The melody is bouncing, alive, and just seems to dart from place to place. I don’t know why this surprised me, considering Betty is set in the world of skateboarding, this type of music is the perfect way to express that world where gravity is defied on a regular basis. I think my favorite track is “Betty”, the title track is bright, bouncy, and beautiful, like most of the soundtrack in fact.

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Betty
  2. Vibez
  3. Space Ride
  4. Why Not Bambi
  5. Anxiety Attack
  6. Chinatown Quest
  7. Strawberry Field
  8. The Sound
  9. Feeling Blues Cloud
  10. No Jordan
  11. No Chill
  12. Hypnotism – Bebel Matsumiya
  13. AMNSA – Rosehardt
  14. Strangers – Ruby Haunt
  15. One of the Girls – Otha
  16. Apocalypse – Cigarettes After Sex
  17. Djougou Toro – Volta Jazz

In all seriousness, the music for Betty is delightful, and I highly recommend checking the soundtrack out if you get the chance.

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

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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Soundtrack Review: Outlander (season 5)

The soundtrack for season 5 of Outlander, with music composed by Bear McCreary is available now. In Season 5 of Outlander, Jamie Fraser must fight to protect those he loves, as well as the home he has established alongside his wife, Claire Fraser, their family, and the settlers of Fraser’s Ridge.  This new mantle of responsibility sees him pitted against his godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, a leader of North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion.  Claire Fraser is determined to keep her family safe by any means necessary, whatever the consequences… while Brianna Fraser and Roger MacKenzie struggle to find their respective places in this brave new world. 

Of the soundtrack, composer Bear McCreary says:

“From the bagpipes of Scotland, the baroque harpsichords of Paris, the blistering Afro-Cuban percussion of Jamaica, to the twangy banjos of the Appalachian Mountains, my score for Outlander has continuously evolved to keep up with Claire and Jamie as they traverse both time and space. For the series’ fifth season, I was presented with a new kind of challenge. For the first time, the geography and century would remain consistent with the previous season.  As a result, there was no longer a need to introduce new instruments and styles. Inspired by the drama, it was time to dig deeper into the music that had already been established.”

Listening to the soundtrack for season 5, the first thing that struck me was how cinematic it all sounds. It really felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of a movie, not a television series. And that reminded me of just how much music for television series have changed in the last few decades. It used to be that there was a noticeable difference between film music and television music, but not any longer. Now, especially with big productions like Outlander (and formerly Game of Thrones, just to name an example), the music sounds just like something you’d hear in a movie.

And certainly Bear McCreary does his all to give the music for Outlander season 5 a filmic feel. Actually there are certain portions that put me in mind of James Horner’s score for Titanic. You also definitely get the feel of 18th-century North America with this music. I have no better word to explain what I mean other than it just feels rustic, almost like something you would hear in that era. It’s really evident that Bear McCreary put a lot of work into this score to create the best music possible.

OUTLANDER: SEASON 5 (ORIGINAL TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Outlander – The Skye Boat Song (Choral Version)
2. The New Fraser’s Ridge
3. As Long as We Both Shall Live
4. L-O-V-E
5. Blood of My Blood
6. Murtagh’s Oath
7. The Fiery Cross
8. The Battle of Alamance
9. Murtagh
10. Young Ian Returns
11. Clementine
12. A Red, Red Rose
13. The Fang Syringe
14. Justice for Bonnet
15. Journeycake
16. Lighting the Cross
17. Saving Claire
18. Outlander – The Skye Boat Song (Solo Vocal Version)

I genuinely enjoyed listening to Bear McCreary’s music for Outlander season 5 and I hope you enjoy listening to it as well. Let me know what you think about the season 5 soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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

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Soundtrack Review: White Lines (2020)

I got the opportunity to check out the recently released soundtrack for the Netflix Original Series White Lines, with music composed by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL). The series follows Zoe Walker (Laura Haddock), a young woman who travels to Ibiza after the body of her brother turns up…20 years after he vanished. The 10-episode premiered on Netflix on May 15, 2020.

Tom’s film scoring credits have grossed over $2 billion at the box office and include Mad Max: Fury RoadDeadpoolBlack MassAlita Battle AngelDivergentBrimstoneThe Dark TowerTomb RaiderTerminator: Dark Fate and most recently the record setting Sonic the Hedgehog. He has worked with directors including Peter Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, George Miller, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and Tim Miller among many others.

Tom is able to draw on his extensive knowledge of classical forms and structures while keeping one finger planted firmly on the pulse of popular music. When this eclectic background is paired with his skill as a multi-instrumentalist (he plays keyboards, guitar, drums, violin, and bass and describes himself as a ‘full contact composer’) and a mastery of studio technology, a portrait emerges of an artist for whom anything is possible.

Of the soundtrack, Tom Holkenborg says:

“It was a delight to dive back into my electronic roots and revisit some amazing Ibiza memories when creating the score for White Lines. Though much of the music I made is not club focused, as they licensed a lot of original tracks from the late ‘90s and early 2000s, I think my work was able to capture some of the magic that makes club culture and the island so special. It was a really fun personal project to work on and I hope people love the series.”

There is, for sure, a sense of the club life to be found in Holkenborg’s music for White Lines. The electronic synthesizer at times creates a vague sense of dancing music. Not surprisingly, “In the Club” was one such track that reminded me of dancing and being in the club environment. Other times, to be honest, the synthesizer felt like a throwback to the 80s, at least that’s what it reminded me of. I was fascinated by how Holkenborg wove the music together, one moment it sounds like something from 30-40 years ago, in the next instant it’s a regular piece of music that twists and turns as it moves along.

Actually it surprised me just how slow and thoughtful the music for White Lines could be. Given the setting is in Ibiza, a place known for its party atmosphere, a lot of the music sounded like the complete opposite of that kind of environment. Perhaps that’s because the series is looking past the glitzy club-atmosphere to the reality that can exist in a place like Ibiza. That would certainly explain the semi-serious nature of most of the soundtrack. One of my favorite pieces in this vein is “Missing You”, it combines the piano with the synthesizer and the melody just aches with raw emotion at times.

Listening to the music for White Lines reminded me, yet again, that one should never pre-judge a soundtrack by the premise of the show or movie that it’s attached to. White Lines might not be everyone’s cup of tea for a story, but there’s no denying that some beautiful music has been created for this show. Hopefully my brief thoughts will persuade you to check the soundtrack out sometime in the future.

WHITE LINES (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Zoe’s Arrival
2. Times Gone By
3. Darker Night
4. Missing You
5. On The Road
6. Ibiza Bar
7. I’m Happy for You
8. Live Life
9. Manchester Life
10. In The Club
11. Boxer
12. It Was Ours
13. Infinity
14. The Past
15. Repercussions
16. Romance
17. Retrace The Path
18. My Goddess
19. New Day
20. Discoveries
21. Accident
22. Closure
23. Diving for Prizes
24. Family Troubles
25. Memories
26. Zoe

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

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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 🙂

My Thoughts on: Batwoman (season 1)

Now that the season finale of Batwoman has aired, it’s high time I sat down and discussed my thoughts on the show’s first season. This will just be my general thoughts on the series as a whole, if you’d like to check out my episode-by-episode thoughts, check them out on www.thedigitalfix.com.

Funny as it sounds, I don’t know that I’d ever read ANY Batwoman comics before this show was announced. For that matter, I’d pretty much reached a stage in life where I had decided I wasn’t really going to get into any of the DC superheroes. And then I saw the first teasers for the show, with Ruby Rose cast in the title role, and I fell head over heels in love with all of it. For those not familiar, Batwoman is the superhero identity taken up by Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s maternal cousin (his mother and Kate’s mother were sisters). This version of Batwoman was introduced in 2006 and is notable for being one of the highest-profile gay superheroes of all time (Kate AND Batwoman are openly lesbian).

Batwoman-031520

Batwoman’s first season had quite the job, introducing us to Gotham and a superhero that had previously only been seen in the Elseworlds crossover in 2018. And near as I can tell, in broad strokes the show is remarkably faithful to the story presented in the Batwoman comics, though it starts off with quite the interesting twist. As the show opens, Batman (and Bruce Wayne), have been missing for 3 years. No explanation has yet been given, but it does provide the perfect opening for Kate to assume the mantle of Batwoman and become Gotham’s newest protector.

And my god does that city need protecting. The show did a magnificent job in its first season of building up a rogues gallery almost completely separate from the one generally associated with Batman. Oh, there are references to classic Batman villains here and there, but they’re only named, never seen. Chief among these villains early in the season is Alice, a deranged, psychotic criminal with a backstory so horrifying I had to skip one of the episodes that provided some of her backstory because it disturbed me that much. If you don’t know who Alice is, I won’t spoil it for you, but after watching this entire season, I can safely say she is the most tragic villain AND the most dangerous villain Batwoman may ever face.

bwn113a_0041b

But speaking of villains, my jaw dropped when the show introduced Tommy Elliot in episode 3 (Elliot being the alter ego of the infamous Batman villain Hush). Sure enough, as most of you probably know by now, Hush makes his Arrowverse debut during this season and it is everything you could have ever wanted from the character. It’s not the plot of Batman: Hush by any stretch of the imagination, but for an introduction to the character it’s more than enough.

Another thing I liked about this season is how it subverts one of the basic elements of Batwoman’s comic story. In the comics, Batwoman’s father is not only fully supportive of his daughter’s choice to be a superhero, he also sets her up with the equipment she needs to do the job properly. That is so not the case in season 1, even after Batwoman saves Jacob Kane’s life, he still sees her as part of the problems plaguing Gotham. This tension boils over by the end of the season and leads to one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen in a superhero TV show. If Kate’s father ever finds out that his daughter is Batwoman, it’s not going to happen for quite a while. Oh, and make no mistake, he WILL find out, but it’s going to take some major events for Jacob Kane to be accepting of his daughter’s decisions.

batwoman-take-your-choice-kate-luke-1207321-1280x0

Finally, I must address the one major gripe I have with this show and that is the almost unbearable flashbacks that detail how Alice became who she is, the first such affecting me so badly I almost bailed on the episode. On the one hand, I understand that as an important character, Alice’s backstory needed to be told. But for the love of all things holy in storytelling, did all of the graphic, twisted parts of it needed to be shown like that? I get it, terrible things happened to Alice, but sometimes you really need to leave these details to the imagination of the audience. Fortunately, it’s been some time since we had any flashbacks at all, so hopefully Batwoman won’t pull an ‘Arrow’ and have unending flashbacks like Arrow did with Oliver and that damned island.

All in all, Batwoman had a great first season, and with the finale ending the way it did, there is more than enough interest to see what happens next in season 2. If you haven’t been able to check the show out, I believe the entire season is now streaming on the CW’s website. Or, if you prefer to wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray, season 1 will be available on August 18, 2020 (3 months from today).

Let me know what you thought about Batwoman’s first season in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Reviews

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Soundtrack News: ‘White Lines’ Soundtrack from Tom Holkenborg Available May 15th

Milan Records has announced that the official soundtrack for White Lines, the Netflix original series, will be released on May 15, 2020. The album features music written by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL). White Lines follows a young woman navigating the island of Ibiza in the wake of her brother’s mysterious death.

Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, is a Grammy® nominated multi-platinum producer, musician, composer and educator whose versatility puts him on the cutting edge of contemporary music, as well at the vanguard of exciting new film composers. Tom’s film scoring credits have grossed over $2 billion at the box office and include Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Black Mass, Alita Battle Angel, Divergent, Brimstone, The Dark Tower, Tomb Raider, Terminator: Dark Fate and most recently the record setting Sonic the Hedgehog. He has worked with directors including Peter Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, George Miller, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and Tim Miller among many others.

Of the soundtrack, Tom Holkenborg says:

“It was a delight to dive back into my electronic roots and revisit some amazing Ibiza memories when creating the score for White Lines. Though much of the music I made is not club focused, as they licensed a lot of original tracks from the late ‘90s and early 2000s, I think my work was able to capture some of the magic that makes club culture and the island so special. It was a really fun personal project to work on and I hope people love the series.”

The synopsis for White Lines is below:

When the body of a legendary Manchester DJ is discovered twenty years after his mysterious disappearance from Ibiza, his sister returns to the beautiful Spanish island to find out what happened. Her investigation will lead her through a thrilling world of dance music, super yachts, lies and cover-ups, forcing her to confront the darker sides of her own character in a place where people live life on the edge.

WHITE LINES (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Zoe’s Arrival
  2. Times Gone By
  3. Darker Night
  4. Missing You
  5. On The Road
  6. Ibiza Bar
  7. I’m Happy for You
  8. Live Life
  9. Manchester Life
  10. In The Club
  11. Boxer
  12. It Was Ours
  13. Infinity
  14. The Past
  15. Repercussions
  16. Romance
  17. Retrace The Path
  18. My Goddess
  19. New Day
  20. Discoveries
  21. Accident
  22. Closure
  23. Diving for Prizes
  24. Family Troubles
  25. Memories
  26. Zoe

The soundtrack for White Lines will be available the same day the series premieres, on May 15, 2020.

See also:

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 Review: Le Bureau des Legendes (Season 5)

The soundtrack for season 5 of Le Bureau des Legendes (also billed simply as ‘The Bureau’) is now available from Crossover Media. The Bureau (original title: Le Bureau des Légendes) is a French political thriller television series created by Éric Rochant and produced by TOP – The Oligarchs Productions and Canal+, which revolves around the lives of agents of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security), France’s principal external security service.

The music for this series was composed by Robin Coudert (whose stage name is Rob), a French pop/rock musician, singer-songwriter, producer and film score composer. His work on Populaire was nominated for a César Award for Best Original Music.

Originally aired in France from 27 April 2015, The Bureau was launched in the United States and Canada on iTunes on 1 June 2016 as part of a new international “Episodic Cinema” label, quickly reaching the Top Five. In the United Kingdom, the series was released exclusively by Amazon Prime on 17 June 2016. The NYTimes ranked The Bureau third on their The 30 Best International TV Shows of the Decade list.

The soundtrack for season 5 of The Bureau is nothing like what I expected. There’s a lot of synthesizer in the mix, along with a touch of techno in places. It all feels…well, different, not what you’d expect to hear in a series that covers this type of material. However, that’s not a bad thing. A big part of the reason why I listen to so many soundtracks is because it opens my ears to new sounds and different ways to score film and television. Listening to the soundtrack for The Bureau Season 5 reminds me that it’s important to check out international television whenever possible, because it helps to broaden your musical horizons.

Track Listing:
1. Inform 570
2. Ultima 591
3. Light 30
4. Frost
5. Trone 10
6. Light 540
7. Ultima 597
8. Inform 5221
9. Guts 13
10. Light 44
11. Guts Wave 22
12. Strate 530
13. Fronde 10
14. Guts Wave 21
15. Research 518
16. Research 54.2
17. Light 542

18. Finale

 

Be sure to check out the soundtrack for season 5 of The Bureau, available now!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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Soundtrack News: “Betty” HBO Original Series Soundtrack to be Released on May 15th

Milan Records, together with HBO, has announced that the original soundtrack for Betty, composed by Aska Matsumiya, will be released on May 15, 2020. Available for preorder now, the album features score music written by Matsumiya as well as additional tracks featured in HBO’s newest original series following a group of female skateboarders in New York City. Aska Matsumiya is a LA based Japanese composer and producer who has excelled across Film, Television, Advertising and music production. Aska provided the score for the Amazon feature film, “I’m Your Woman” for director Julia Hart. In addition, she partnered with A24 and acclaimed director Kogonada on his film “After Yang”, collaborating with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto starring Colin Farrell.

Making its debut today alongside album preorder is the lead offering from the soundtrack – listen to “Why Not Bambihere.  Based on Crystal Moselle’s original film Skate Kitchen and starring much of the film’s original cast, Betty premiered on HBO May 1 and airs every Friday at 11:00 PM ET/PT.

Of the soundtrack, composer ASKA MATSUMIYA says:

“Writing the music for Betty allowed me to be in touch with a side of myself that remains youthful and raw and spontaneous.  It was really so much fun and I tried to let that momentum carry the music.” 

Starring Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, and Rachelle Vinberg, Betty follows a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male-oriented world of skateboarding, set against the backdrop of New York City.

BETTY (HBO ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Betty
2. Vibez
3. Space Ride
4. Why Not Bambi
5. Anxiety Attack
6. Chinatown Quest
7. Strawberry Field
8. The Sound
9. Feeling Blues Cloud
10. No Jordan
11. No Chill
12. Hypnotism – Bebel Matsumiya
13. AMNSA – Rosehardt
14. Strangers – Ruby Haunt
15. One of the Girls – Otha
16. Apocalypse – Cigarettes After Sex
17. Djougou Toro – Volta Jazz

The soundtrack for Betty will be available starting May 15, 2020 and can be pre-ordered now.

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 🙂