Hollywood Records has released the MOON KNIGHT Original Series Soundtrack – Music by Hesham Nazih from the latest hit Marvel Studios superhero series on Disney+.
Hesham Nazih is an Egyptian composer best known for his distinguished style that interweaves authentic melodies with contemporary music. Nazih has built a 20+ year artistic career and has under his belt more than 40 award-winning soundtracks of blockbuster films that dominated the Egyptian box-office.
The soundtrack features 33 tracks by the Egyptian composer, who infused a signature Egyptian flavor with a more modern and contemporary sound rather than relying on outdated music tropes from the region. Hesham was also touched by the character of Marc Spector, who has to save the world while struggling with his own mental health issues, and used his score to express the human emotions that words cannot.
When Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life, he discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.
1. Moon Knight 2. The Village 3. Village Scales 4. Phone and Elevator Blues 5. Chaos Within 6. Full Moon Fight 7. Storage Locker 8. What Suit? 9. Moonlight Fight 10. Fake Passport 11. She Is Here 12. The Sky 13. The Boat 14. Takes the Body 15. Constellation 16. No Suit 17. The Kiss 18. Eye of Horus 19. Welcome Travelers 20. Weight of Hearts 21. The Cave 22. All Your Fault 23. Open the Door 24. Give Her a Call 25. The Inevitable 26. Humble Disciple 27. Befriending Myself 28. Rise and Shine 29. We Need More 30. New Skillsets 31. I’ll Never Stop 32. Meet My Friend 33. Summon the Suit
Will you be checking out the original soundtrack for Moon Knight?
I understand that this is several months late, but to be fair, the last few months of 2021 were a particularly insane time for me, so much so that I’m just now starting to get back on track (that’s why I posted next to nothing the last few months of the year). Part of getting back on track includes posting about some of the things I saw last year that I really liked before I dive into what’s coming in 2022. And one of the things I enjoyed way more than I thought I would was Muppets Haunted Mansion, a special that aired on Disney+ this past October.
Unbelievably, this was the first Halloween special the Muppets have ever done, which is mind boggling to me. How is it the Muppets haven’t covered Halloween before? I suppose better late than never. I set the bar for this special extremely low because I’ve not been the biggest fan of what Disney has done with the Muppets (remember their Disney+ series? Yea, me neither), but to my delight Muppets Haunted Mansion was pretty entertaining.
The setup for the special is relatively simple: instead of celebrating Halloween with the other Muppets, Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn are going to a special “VIP party” at a famous mansion, which turns out to be none other than the Haunted Mansion. The challenge is for the pair to spend the entire night in the mansion. If they survive they’ll be allowed to leave, but it not…they’ll become permanent residents of the Mansion.
The overriding theme of the special, once the stakes are laid out, is confronting one’s fears and the fact that Gonzo claims to have none, despite being confronted by a number of scary horrors throughout the Mansion. This leads to a legitimately terrifying scene where Gonzo finally confronts his fears in the mysterious Room 999. In a million years I never would’ve thought a Muppets special could create nightmare fuel, but oh my good lord, the moment Gonzo realizes what his particular fear is….that was the stuff of nightmares. I had no idea a Muppets show could be that intense and I never want to see the Muppets go that intense ever again because it was TERRIFYING, even if it did make a good point about spending time with your friends while you can.
The Mansion itself was a lot of fun once Gonzo and Pepe got inside. I loved all of the musical numbers, particularly the “Tie the Knot Tango.” I’d actually forgotten about Constance Hatchaway, the bride who kills all of her husbands, so once I realized who this was, she immediately became my favorite ghost in the mansion, just because Pepe was so oblivious to the danger he was in. I also didn’t mind the big number that ghost-Kermit did to introduce Gonzo to the Mansion. I know a lot of people criticized Matt Vogel’s performance as Kermit the Frog, but honestly I had no trouble accepting his voice as belonging to the character.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Muppets do more Halloween specials if they’re all going to be this good. Bravo to Muppets Haunted Mansion for brightening up my Halloween.
Let me know what you thought of Muppets Haunted Mansion in the comments below and have a great day!
Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Volume 1 (Episodes 1-8) is now available from Walt Disney Records. Star Wars: The Bad Batch debuted on May 4, with new episodes releasing each Friday, streaming exclusively on Disney+. Award-winning composer Kevin Kiner composed and produced all 37 tracks on Volume 1. Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Volume 2 (Episodes 9-16) is set for release on August 20.
Honored with multiple Emmy and Annie nominations, as well as 12 BMI awards, Kevin Kiner is one of the most versatile and sought-after composers in Hollywood. In creating intimate soloistic guitar music over the grim realities of the Juarez Cartel, to grand orchestral music for a galaxy far, far away, Kevin’s wide musical range has allowed him to take on such diverse projects as Netflix’s hit series “Narcos: Mexico,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Showtime’s “City on a Hill,” AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” CBS’s “CSI: Miami,” and Netflix’s “Making a Murderer.”
Kiner said of The Bad Batch:
“I hope you enjoy our latest installment of Bad Batch cues from season one. Bad Batch continues to add to some of my favorite themes I’ve written for the Star Wars universe, most likely because many of these are co-written with my sons Sean and Dean (Omega’s Theme especially)! Some fun stealth music is in here with a bit of an homage to ‘The Dirty Dozen,’ or ‘The Guns of Navarone.’ I played the solo guitar viol instrument on ‘Zygerrian Camp.’ Also, check out Cad Bane is back!!! May the Force be with you.”
The series follows the elite and experimental troopers of Clone Force 99 (first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch, as they prefer to be called — a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army — each possess a singular exceptional skill, which makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew.
1. Logo (Star Wars: The Bad Batch) (0:19) 2. Omega’s Theme (2:58) 3. Civil War About to Begin (3:21) 4. Onderon (3:06) 5. Battle Simulation (4:46) 6. Experimental Tactics (2:34) 7. Omega Warns Hunter (2:34) 8. Caleb at the Cliff (3:01) 9. End of the War (3:17) 10. Tension with Crosshair (3:54) 11. Disobeying Orders (4:52) 12. First Time in Space (2:07) 13. Nexu Attack (1:57) 14. Raising Kids (3:31) 15. Smuggled Themselves (4:47) 16. Ordo Moon Dragon (4:24) 17. First Elite Squad (3:56) 18. Financial Incentives (3:23) 19. Danger at the Market (3:13) 20. Pantora Chase (3:13) 21. Fennec Shand (2:40) 22. Zygerrian Camp (3:22) 23. Muchi Unchained (2:58) 24. Monster Challenge (2:26) 25. Decommissioned Factory (4:25) 26. Police Droids (3:36) 27. A Diversion (3:31) 28. Stranger at the Bar (1:27) 29. To Bracca (2:32) 30. Stay Above the Water Line (3:02) 31. Chip Disorders (3:34) 32. Bomb Disposal Training (2:46) 33. Incoming Vessels (2:26) 34. Fight in the Artillery Room (2:44) 35. Breakaway Plan (3:50) 36. The Bounty Hunter Is Back (2:29) 37. Cid’s Jukebox Mix Vol. 1 (4:48)
You can check out the first installment of the Star Wars: The Bad Batch soundtrack now!
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to speak with composer Jeremy Turner about his work on the Netflix series Immigration Nation and his work on the main theme for Marvel’s 616 on Disney+. For both of these scores, Turner is in contention for an Emmy, one for Documentary Score and one for Main Title Theme.
The docuseries Immigration Nation follows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on raids, at detention centers, and attempting to integrate with local law enforcement. The cruelty viewers see firsthand is gut-wrenching and the score depicts the tension and fear seen on screen. Turner scored the project almost like a horror film to match the devastating and unfortunate reality that many have been oblivious to. The revelations in the doc are uncomfortable and the audience feels the heaviness of the high stakes circumstances so many in this country have been subjected to.
Marvel’s 616, in complete contrast, is an anthology documentary television series that illustrates different pockets of the Marvel Universe. Some episodes revolve around Marvel cosplay, Marvel action figures, and even a Marvel Comics-themed musical.
Jeremy Turner began his musical studies on the piano at the age of 5 and started playing the cello when he was 8 years old. After growing up in Michigan, he attended The Juilliard School as a pupil of Harvey Shapiro and studied chamber music with Felix Galimir. As a composer, his music has been heard around the world, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. Noted works include The Inland Seas, composed for violinist James Ehnes and mandolinist Chris Thile and commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Music Society; Suite of Unreason, a commission from the Music Academy of the West for their 70th Anniversary season; and a choral work for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Wave Hill in New York.
Please enjoy my conversation with Jeremy Turner about his work on ImmigrationNation and Marvel’s 616.
How did you get started as a composer?
I started writing music when I was a toddler, making up songs on an old upright piano in the basement of our family home. But then got sidetracked for about 20+ years, as I became a cellist in an orchestra in New York and had a performance career that kept my calendar pretty full. Eventually, I got back to doing what I was probably meant to do in the first place, and I’ve been composing ever since.
How did you get involved with Immigration Nation?
Through Shaul Schwarz, who directed the first film I ever scored—Narco Cultura back in 2013.
Given how important the story being told in this docuseries is, how did you decide where to start in putting the music together?
I knew it was going to be a fairly daunting task and would have a lot of emotional ups and downs. So, I just started at the beginning by writing a couple of sketches for the main titles, and that led to some established themes from which we could work with.
I find it very interesting that you chose to score the series similar to a horror film, was that your concept for the musical style for Immigration Nation from the beginning or did you come to that conclusion after trying several different styles?
It’s not all horror of course, but we discussed early in the process what fear might sound like. And much as I tried to leave the cello behind (since it is the instrument that I’m most comfortable with), directors Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau really wanted the full range of what the cello could bring. At its best it can be heart wrenching, melancholy, and probably is the closest musical instrument to the human voice. But when you start pushing beyond the limits of conventional approaches and experiment with extended techniques, you can draw out some incredibly unsettling tones.
How much time did you have to score Immigration Nation?
I’d say about 3-4 months. It was during the early days of the pandemic, so there were a lot of adjustments made on the fly, in terms of how we would work together and how we would finish.
Are there any musical moments in Immigration Nation that you hope viewers notice?
It’s a strange project to have any sense of pride about because it’s all so real and all so tragic. Honestly, I just hope people muster up the courage to watch it because I think it is something every American needs to see, regardless of what one thinks they might already know.
Was there any part of Immigration Nation that you had difficulty scoring? Or any part where you decided music just wouldn’t work?
To be truthful, I had difficulty scoring the entire series. Not technically, but just emotionally. The final minutes of episode 5, I don’t think I’ve ever made it through without shedding a tear. But yes, there was a delicate balance to not score a scene that didn’t need to be scored. There is a lot of raw emotion on screen, so we made a conscious effort to not have the music force anything that wasn’t already clearly being felt.
On a different note, how did you go about scoring the title music for Marvel’s 616?
Marvel? Big heroic theme? Less than a minute of music? This is a dream scenario for any composer!
Were you inspired at all by the Avenger’s theme that recurs throughout the MCU? I may be wrong but I swear I hear a musical resemblance between the two.
I flipped through some Marvel music from scores past to see where I’d be coming from for sure. Always helpful when taking over a shift in the kitchen to know what the previous menu was. But no, the themes aren’t related other than the fact that they are played by a big orchestra.
How much time did it take to compose the title music for Marvel’s 616?
Not terribly long, only in that the actual titles hadn’t been created yet. So, I just wrote a single sketch based on our initial conversations and that ended up being the final music. Yes, I realize that will probably never happen again!
I want to say thank you to Jeremy Turner for taking the time to speak with me about his work on Immigration Nation and Marvel’s 616.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview and have a great day!
Just recently I had the privilege of speaking with composer Raphaelle Thibaut about her work on the Disney+ original series Secrets of the Whales. After she was born, Raphaelle suffered from a series of severe ear issues that led to single- sided deafness. At age 4, following doctor’s recommendation, she started an intense piano practice. She then continued studying music for 15 years at the conservatory of Lille, France, where she graduated in 2002. In 2015, she decided to leave her marketing job at Google to pursue her lifelong passion for music and film scoring. She quickly started writing for independent films and music houses. She then began to work for trailer houses and got featured in major Hollywood productions like Incredibles 2 and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Secrets of the Whales, from National Geographic, plunges viewers deep within the epicenter of whale culture to experience the extraordinary communication skills and intricate social structures of five different whale species: orcas, humpbacks, belugas, narwhals and sperm whales. Filmed over three years in 24 locations, throughout this epic journey, we learn that whales are far more complex and more like us than ever imagined.
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Raphaelle Thibaut!
How did you get started as a composer? I had a classical music education, starting age 4. I spent long years at the conservatory in France playing the piano and learning everything about reading and performing music. I was obsessed with movies and film music already as a kid which really wasn’t a thing at home so I’m not sure where it came from. I remember using an old recorder to capture sound bites in theaters and playing around with them in my bedroom. I don’t think I was even aware of the concept of film score until I bought my first CDs. I dropped out of music school when I was 18 because I didn’t enjoy the performance part of my training. I think this was an early sign that composing was more my thing. Another early sign was that as a kid, I was very attracted to the composers from the late Romantic era (especially the Russian composers). A lot of the cinematic music genre took inspiration from the dramatism, large orchestra, use of leitmotif, and emotiveness of the romantic era. After music school, I ended up working in Tech but continued to play and compose in my bedroom. In 2015, I finally decided to quit my job to become a full-time composer.
How did you get involved with Secrets of the Whales? I was approached by two agents very early on in my career as a composer. They believed in me from the very beginning and still are my agents today. A while ago they met Brian Armstrong at Red Rock productions in the UK, who apparently remembered my work the following year when they were looking for a composer for Secrets of the Whales. Initially they were looking to hire multiple composers but I ended up scoring to the 4 episodes so I was thrilled about that.
Was there much collaboration between the director/producers while working on the music? I was involved right after they were done filming and I started writing in March last year. I continued throughout the pandemic and felt incredibly lucky to do so. I worked closely with the production team at Red Rock Films and indeed more specifically with directors Brian Armstrong and Andy Mitchell. My experience working with them was fantastic. Very empowering. I was able to come up with my own ideas and this allowed me to let go and get my creative juices flowing.
How was your music for this series inspired by Le Grand Bleu? As a composer and a French person, it was hard not to think of this movie and Eric Serra’s amazing score. As a kid, I was fascinated by those synthetic whale sounds that he recreated for the film. I wanted to have some signature sounds in the score that would evoke the whales, but not imitate them. Both the production team and I wanted to avoid overstepping the existing sounds of animals and nature so I had to be careful about that. I thought of them like additional instruments more than in terms of sound design. Like subtle familiar voices in tune with the music.
What was your inspiration to put the underwater sound world of Secrets of the Whales together? That is to say, how were you inspired by the underwater world of whales when making this music? I had many issues with my ears when I was a kid; multiple infections that even led to one-sided deafness for a while in my childhood. One thing that remains from this time is that I can’t go underwater, so this just increased the already existing fascination that I have for those animals and places. They are very mysterious, almost mystical to me and I think that at some points in the score my music illustrates that. As a consequence, it almost feels like the deeper we go into the water the more I would use non-traditional elements like synths and processed sounds.
How did you go about making music that sounds like whale songs? They’re so beautiful, was it difficult making music that emulated them? They are! I was worried that my music would never be able to top this beauty. I think that my strategy was to try to evoke their sounds, not to imitate them. They are already making music when they communicate, so I really didn’t want to overstep that.
What instruments did you focus on when putting the music together? Any non-traditional choices? The score is hybrid. It sounds mostly orchestral but I actually used a lot of electronic elements to enrich it and ‘make up’ for the fact that there would be no live player at all. Everything has been done on Logic Pro X, using my piano Komplete Kontrol S88, tons of orchestral and electronic plugins, and my voice. It was great to be able to play around with electronic sounds along with orchestral arrangements. This led us to a “versatile” hybrid score and I think we were all happy with the result!
How much time did you have to work on Secrets of the Whales? Did the pandemic affect the process at all I was involved right after they were done filming and I started writing in March last year. I continued throughout the pandemic and felt incredibly lucky to do so. This was definitely my “Covid project”. The pandemic did affect the process in a way because I didn’t get to meet the team in person yet. But it didn’t affect the creative process because there wasn’t a plan to work with live players apart from me. I actually continued working on the score after the release actually, because we are working on a live concert experience coming in 2022! Secrets of the Whales will feature highlights from the Disney+ original series on a giant screen paired with the triumphant performance of a full symphony orchestra. So I had to write additional music for this.
Do you have a favorite track? I love The Mourning Mother in the official soundtracks. It was always a special cue for me because it was written for this moment where an orca mother carries her dead calf for days. The fact that she mourns like human beings would and can’t let go broke my heart and marked me greatly.
What’s one thing that you hope viewers notice in the music when they watch this series? That’s a good question. Probably how the music, despite that it’s very rich and epic, never really overwhelms and leaves lots of room for the narration and natural sounds.
I want to give a huge thank you to Raphaelle Thibaut for taking the time to speak with me about her work on Secrets of the Whales!
On April 9th, Marvel Music/Hollywood Records released The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Volume 1 (Episodes 1-3) with music composed by Henry Jackman on digital. Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. The pair, who came together in the final moments of “Avengers: Endgame,” team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience. Directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman serving as head writer, the six-episode series also stars Daniel Brühl as Zemo, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, and Wyatt Russell as John Walker.
Though broken up into separate episodes, Jackman’s score for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is quintessential MCU film music (and I’ll call it that despite the streaming format). It has that perfect blend of suspense and action that I’ve come to love in these movies. This music, as with most scores in the MCU, is good at getting you to hold your breath and lean in to hold more, only to knock you back with a sudden burst of sound. The synthetic elements in the music are something of a surprise, but given that this series is set in (pretty much) the present day (time skip notwithstanding), it makes sense that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would need as modern-sounding a soundtrack as possible. This show is meant to be something of a thriller after all, and the music definitely creates that idea.
If this is how good the music is for just the first three episodes, I can’t wait to hear Volume 2, which is due to be released on April 30th.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Volume 1 Track List
Louisiana Hero (2:14)
Tough Act to Follow (1:16)
Airborne Operation (5:56)
Smithsonian Tribute (0:53)
What Do You Want? (1:22)
Pluck Up the Nerve (1:53)
New Agitators (1:13)
The Wrong Guy (1:38)
America’s Sweetheart (1:05)
No Parachute (1:29)
Safe House (2:41)
Someone You Should Meet (1:09)
Overlooked For Promotion (1:20)
Warranted Attention (1:03)
Fraying Edges (2:04)
Take One For the Team (2:21)
Unnecessary Use of Force (1:48)
Prison Break (4:41)
A Marriage of Convenience (0:32)
A Pure Heart (1:48)
Low Town (1:24)
Attack, Soldier! (1:47)
Breaking Character (2:29)
Bad Science (3:30)
Masked Man (1:20)
Dissent and Disillusionment (1:08)
Star Spangled Man – The Captain America Drum Corps (1:44)
Be sure to check out The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Volume 1 as soon as you can!
When Soul was bumped from its November 20th release date to Christmas Day on Disney+, I instantly knew what my top goal for my mini-Christmas vacation would be: sit and watch Soul with my family.
Not only was I successful with this goal, I also ended up watching a pretty enjoyable movie, though not one without a few flaws (I’ll get to that later). In fact, it was so much fun I didn’t realize until after the credits had rolled that (minor spoiler alert) there isn’t really a villain in this film. Which, if you think about it, doesn’t happen all that often. But really Soul doesn’t need a bad guy because it is dealing with a whole lot already.
Soul is, without a doubt, the deepest animated film I’ve ever seen. Think Inside Out and ratchet it up by a factor of 100 and you’ll be pretty close to the mark. In fact, Soul is so deep, that I wholeheartedly agree with every critic who has said that Soul is not and should not be considered a movie for children. This film deals pretty openly with matters of life and death, hinted reincarnation, chakras, the astral plane, the afterlife in general, and in short what it means to be alive on this Earth. It was a bold, BOLD move to deal with all of these concepts in a single film so openly and I applaud everyone involved with the film for putting that part of the story together. You might not agree with all of the beliefs presented or referenced in Soul (for example, I don’t believe in reincarnation), but you can easily appreciate the tone the film is going for: that there is way more to life and living than you might think.
Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner is an absolute delight. As a musician myself, I could totally feel the pull Joe is feeling between following his dreams of being a full time musician, and taking the pragmatic route by being a band teacher. Joe is the perfect kind of everyman to take us through the story, and the scenes where Joe loses himself in “the zone” while playing the piano….those moments spoke to me the most.
Tina Fey as 22….it took a while but she grew on me as the story went on. By the time the film reaches the emotional climax (and it IS emotional), I was fully invested in what happened to 22.
Also, I have to say I LOVE all of the music scenes in this film. It’s great to see jazz given such a prominent spotlight in a Disney Pixar film, and I really hope this encourages everyone watching, young and old, to give jazz another listen if they’ve dismissed the genre in the past.
Now, while I loved a LOT about Soul, it is not a film without flaws. Most noticeably…the middle of the film. I tried and tried to get around it, but I can’t excuse the middle act of the film. I had a feeling from the previews that something of a “screwball” nature would be occurring, but I was not prepared for what actually happened. Here’s the thing: this gag they go with (minor spoileralert: when Joe’s soul is trapped in a cat’s body) is kind of funny, but it doesn’t quite fit what comes before and after. It’s almost like the writers struggled with how to transition from the beginning to the climax of the film and this was the best they could come up with. In other words, this part feels like it came from a slightly different film.
The good news is, while the middle of the film lags here and there, it more than recovers at the climax to leave me feeling very satisfied with the overall experience. I know there’s a lot of discussion about Joe spending a significant chunk of the film looking….other than himself, but really jazz and African-American culture is given such a spotlight…..pardon me if this sounds too forward, but I feel like it sort of balances out in the end.
I highly recommend Soul to anyone who hasn’t gotten the chance to see it yet. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year (and in the craziness that has been 2020 that’s saying a lot).
Let me know what you think about Soul in the comments below and have a great day!