Tag Archives: Amazon Original

Soundtrack Review: The Tomorrow War (2021)

Milan Records has released THE TOMORROW WAR (AMAZON ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by GRAMMY Award®-winning and Emmy®- and BAFTA-nominated producer and composer Lorne Balfe.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Balfe for the futuristic action film directed by Chris McKay and marks the second collaboration between the composer and director, who previously worked together on McKay’s directorial debut The Lego Batman Movie

In The Tomorrow War, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. Among those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet.

Of the soundtrack, composer Lorne Balfe says:

“On the surface this is an action movie, but what stood out for me when writing the score was the family dynamics between the main characters. Being able to write themes and music around these relationships and people, both as their future and present-day selves was a unique experience. It was a delight to be able to work with Chris [McKay] again having previously worked with him on the Lego Batman movies, his creativity and versatility as a director is exceptional.”

After listening to Lorne Balfe’s work on Black Widow yesterday, I felt in the mood for more of his work and I decided to check out his score for The Tomorrow War. And after listening to his music for this recently released film, I’m so glad I did.

Balfe’s score for The Tomorrow War is beautiful! Predictably, there is a lot of synthesized music, which I would expect for a science-fiction film that revolves around time traveling 30 years into the future to fight aliens that are destroying planet Earth. But what really gets my attention is how Balfe contrasts the synthesized music with the orchestra, giving you a full range of music that is never once boring.

Another detail I liked? Balfe mixes in a range of sound effects: whooshes, vocalizations and what almost sounds like moaning in “Multiply.” This, combined with the music, creates a very unsettling effect and I really liked it. Given that this film deals with jumping 30 years into the future, the music makes you feel like you’re now in a time and place where you don’t belong, where you don’t fit, and that’s what you’d expect to feel if you’re suddenly pushed forward into the future.

Finally, I have to mention “The Tomorrow War” my favorite piece in the entire score. This gorgeous piece features an uplifting theme that recurs throughout the score, giving the music a big blockbuster feeling that I confess I did not expect given this film was released as an Amazon Original. I say “The Tomorrow War” is uplifting but there’s also hints of danger mixed in the latter half, reminding you that there’s a lot at stake in this unique conflict.

Whether you see the actual film or not, you need to take the time to listen to the music of The Tomorrow War, it is definitely worth it.

Track List

  1. Multiply (2:54)
  2. Spikes Attack (1:57)
  3. Who’s With Us? (4:04)
  4. Reunited (3:07)
  5. Back to the Past (4:03)
  6. The Tomorrow War (5:33)
  7. The Whitespikes (4:01)
  8. The Draft (4:41)
  9. Goodbye (4:15)
  10. So It Begins (8:21)
  11. Fight (2:47)
  12. Message From the Future (2:28)
  13. The Nest (2:08)
  14. Test Tubes (3:19)
  15. The Cube (2:51)
  16. Pushing (6:24)
  17. Miami Dolphins Still Suck (1:52)
  18. Colonel Forester (5:09)
  19. Dan Forester (3:16)
  20. Homecoming (2:17)

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: Panic (2021)

Milan Records has released Panic (Music From the Amazon Original Series) by composers Isabella Summers and Brian H. Kim.  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by the duo for the latest Amazon Original series based on the best-selling young adult novel by Lauren Olivier.  

Best known as “the Machine” of Florence and the Machine and an Emmy®-nominated composer in her own right, Isabella Summers brings her extensive writing, producing and recording experience to the project, joining forces with classical pianist turned composer Brian H. Kim to create the show’s soundscape.  The resulting 15-track collection is an intensely visceral and emotionally evocative soundtrack that encapsulates the show’s narrative of desperate teenagers competing for a chance to escape their small town roots.  Also included within the soundtrack is a new original song performed by breakout pop singer-songwriter Tate McRae entitled “Darkest Hour.” Panic premieres all 10 episodes exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, May 28 in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. 

Panic is a new Amazon Prime Video one-hour drama series, written and created by Lauren Oliver (based on her bestselling novel).  It takes place in a small Texas town, where every summer the graduating seniors compete in a series of challenges, winner takes all, which they believe is their one and only chance to escape their circumstances and make their lives better.  But this year, the rules have changed — the pot of money is larger than ever and the game has become even more dangerous.  The players will come face to face with their deepest, darkest fears and be forced to decide how much they are willing to risk in order to win. 

Of the score for Panic, co-composers Isabella Summers and Brian H. Kim had the following to say:

“The score for Panic needed to be visceral and modern.  The story is told through the perspective of 21st century teenagers, but the stakes are life and death, with challenges that border on tribal.  We used aggressive synths — tons of Virus, distortion and effects — combined with huge war drums and attacking strings.  Many synth arpeggiations bordered on abstract, but everything was always grounded in the emotion of the characters.  We were able to branch those sounds into more subtle cues about family strife, tension between friends, and romance, as the show explored more personal themes.  We are thrilled with how the music turned out.  We think it is like nothing else out there.  It is a gut punch.”

Wow, the music for Panic is really good. I was already intrigued by the premise of the series: an almost dystopian setting where high school seniors compete in a twisted competition for enough money to go to college; but hearing the music raises my interest to another level. This is the kind of music I can sink my teeth into: it is indeed quite visceral (as the composers said) and almost manic in places due to the intense synths that can be found throughout the score.

Appropriately, those aggressive synths give Panic the feeling of a horror story in many places, which, given the premise of the series is more than appropriate. I mean the concept is somewhat horrific isn’t it? The idea that teenagers feel compelled to compete in a twisted competition just for the opportunity to go to college and leave town, like there’s no other options, if that isn’t a horror story I don’t know what is. And with these synths, you can almost feel the raw emotions that they represent. This isn’t a clean or pretty score like you might find in Game of Thrones, this is very rough around the edges and gritty and I love every single moment.

To repeat what I’ve said before, the soundtrack for Panic is really good, one of the best I’ve heard this year for a series. I highly recommend checking this soundtrack out if you get the opportunity to do so.

Track List

1. Headed to the Farm (0:57)
2. Don’t Know What to Believe (1:39)
3. Cortez Will Joust (3:33)
4. The Spurlock House (5:18)
5. Falling (1:59)
6. We’re Both Trash (1:25)
7. Darkest Hour – Tate McRae (2:41)
8. Invitation Was From Cortez (2:29)
9. Marquee Clue (0:37)
10. It’s Starting (1:13)
11. Graybill Legend Murders (2:14)
12. Joust, Part 1 (5:18)
13. Joust, Part 2 (3:33)
14. Tiger Lilly (3:10)
15. Heather Jumps (4:12)

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

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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Soundtrack Review: Tales From the Loop (2020)

Fox Music/Hollywood Records has released the digital soundtrack from the Amazon Original series, Tales from the Loop. From executive producer Matt Reeves and based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe – making things possible that were previously relegated only to science fiction. In this fantastical mysterious town, poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences, while drawing on the intrigue of genre storytelling.

 

The album features original themes by Philip Glass and score by Paul Leonard-Morgan. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Paul Leonard-Morgan’s unique cinematic style of fusing orchestra with electronica has put him in high demand as a film composer, a producer and arranger for bands, and has led him to win a BAFTA award, and receive Emmy & Ivor Novello nominations. In 2016, Leonard-Morgan began working with Academy-Award winning director Errol Morris on a string of projects including the documentary feature The B-Side, the award-winning Netflix series Wormwood, and the newly-completed motion picture on Steve Bannon, American Dharma. Other credits include The Quiet One–the story of Rolling Stones founding member Bill Wyman, the feature Last Breath, the hit series reboot Dynasty for The CW, and Designated Survivor on Netflix.

Leonard-Morgan said (on working on Tales from the Loop):

“Collaborating with Philip Glass on Tales from the Loop was an incredible experience. Philip and I had a discussion with Nathaniel Halpern (showrunner) and Mark Romanek (executive producer) about their vision for the show, the incorporation of unusual instruments, and their shared desire of wanting the soundtrack to be an integral part of the show: ‘Music which could be listened to by itself, melodies which could be hummed, a soundtrack which will stand the test of time apart from the series.’ Philip went and scored a bunch of initial ideas, as did I, and we discussed where they all might work together. Both of us playing off each other’s sounds and melodies to create a truly unique score. Over and again, we kept coming back to the original idea: to make beautiful music, which would work hand in hand with Nathaniel’s brilliant visions and beautiful cinematography. The 8 episodes are so unique—they’re like nothing we’ve ever seen, and hopefully the score stays true to this. Melodies come back throughout the show, each guiding us through the world of the loop. During recording sessions every 3 weeks, the natural sounds of the solo violin and the solo cello gave a beautiful, haunting sound to the loop, becoming an integral part of the sound.”

Glass added:

“I’ve always tried to collaborate with people from many disparate perspectives; everyone from indigenous musicians to electronic musicians have expanded my musical sensibilities. Working with Paul was no exception and the intersection of our two styles has produced a score both unexpected and familiar that accompanies the series beautifully.”

The soundtrack for Tales From the Loop is like nothing I’ve ever heard for television before, and I don’t say that lightly. Television music, in my experience, is either quite minimal or very grandiose (think Game of Thrones for the latter). But Tales from the Loop strikes a middle ground that I don’t think I’ve ever heard until now. Everything, every single track, is perfectly symphonic, like something you’d hear in a concert hall. And I can’t emphasize enough how much of a good thing this is. This is music that can be enjoyed completely separate from the show as well as while you watch each episode. It takes phenomenal skill to make music that can thrive outside of the show and with Philip  Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan in charge of the score it’s little wonder it worked out that way.

In hindsight, it actually makes a lot of sense that the soundtrack for Tales From the Loop would feel symphonic in nature. After all, Glass is well known for his concert works, and it’s only natural that that would bleed over into his work for film and television.

If you’re able to, check out the soundtrack for Tales From the Loop. It’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, and it’s like listening to a long, quiet symphonic work in a concert hall (and that’s a good thing).

Let me know your thoughts on Tales From the Loop (and it’s soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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