Tag Archives: film soundtrack

Soundtrack Review: Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

Milan Records today releases GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) by composer Frank Ilfman (Big Bad WolvesThe OperativeRory’s Way ). Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Ilfman for Navot Papushado’s Gunpowder Milkshake. The film is a female-driven, high-concept thriller with a rich mythology and multi-generational narrative that give it a fresh, 21st century perspective on the traditional assassin film. Directed and co-written by Navot Papushado (Big Bad Wolves), Gunpowder Milkshake debuts on Netflix in the US, Canada and Nordics today, with theatrical releases rolling out everywhere else worldwide from July 15.

In Gunpowder Milkshake, Sam (Karen Gillan) was only 12 years old when her mother Scarlet (Lena Headey), an elite assassin, was forced to abandon her. Sam was raised by The Firm, the ruthless crime syndicate her mother worked for. Now, 15 years later, Sam has followed in her mother’s footsteps and grown into a fierce hit-woman. She uses her “talents” to clean up The Firm’s most dangerous messes. She’s as efficient as she is loyal. But when a high-risk job goes wrong, Sam must choose between serving The Firm and protecting the life of an innocent 8-year-old girl – Emily (Chloe Coleman). With a target on her back, Sam has only one chance to survive: Reunite with her mother and her lethal associates, The Librarians (Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Carla Gugino). These three generations of women must now learn to trust each other, stand up to The Firm and their army of henchmen, and raise hell against those who could take everything from them. 

Of the soundtrack, Gunpowder Milkshake director Navot Papushado says:

“Because this movie mixes so many different genres and so many ideas, the music was always going to be the glue. When I started talking to composer Frankie (Haim Frank Ilfman), I said I had the Western vibe of Ennio Morricone, the Italian chic of Stelvio Cipriani, and the violent suspense of Bernard Herrmann in mind. The end result is Western mixed with Italian retro chic and the suspense of Bernard Hermann with an electronic vibe that came from Frankie. The soundtrack is retro but modern, it could be played on vinyl or Spotify.”

Due to a busy schedule, I’ve not yet had the chance to watch Gunpowder Milkshake on Netflix (though I plan on fixing that in the next few days) but when I saw the soundtrack had arrived in my inbox, I couldn’t wait to check it out and get a hint of what I was in for.

Oh my goodness this music is so good!

The director really does sum it up perfectly by describing this music as Western mixed with Italian retro chic with the suspense of Bernard Hermann thrown in for good measure. The music for Gunpowder Milkshake is a delightful mish-mash of all of those things and more, it’s the kind of soundtrack you can sink your teeth into and find something different every time. In fact, I would go so far as to call this a “neo-classical” film score, in that it appears to be a modern take on a classical film score. Or, put another way, imagine if someone took a classic film score from the 1930s or 40s and redid it for the modern era, that’s what this music reminds me of.

This may be one of the best movie soundtracks I’ve heard in 2021, as I can hear influences all over the place. Even without the director mentioning it, I can hear the influence of Ennio Morricone the most, especially in “Goonfight at Gutterball Corral.” There’s also, as I said before, definitely a decent sampling of Bernard Hermann in this score too. But there’s also a lot in this music, and it may be coincidental, that reminds me of Daniel Pemberton’s score for The Man From UNCLE. I can’t put my finger on a specific cue, but more than once I found myself thinking of that film while listening to this soundtrack. That’s not a bad thing by the way, Pemberton’s scores are among my favorite, and if Frank Ilfman’s score for Gunpowder Milkshake reminds me of that style of film music, so much the better.

I can also say that the soundtrack for Gunpowder Milkshake is very easy to listen to, as many of the tracks are relatively short and therefore you can go through them at a relatively quick pace. I like how “bite-sized” some of these themes are. You get a feel for the music rather quickly and it didn’t take me a lot of time to take the measure of this film’s score.

Listening to the music for Gunpowder Milkshake has me more eager than ever to watch the movie itself, and I can only hope that the film is just as good as the music that was written for it.

GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. Opening Titles
  2. Home Sweet Home?
  3. Scarlet’s Theme
  4. Gunpowder Milkshake
  5. Big Bad Mommy
  6. New Books and Clean Guns
  7. Dressed To Kill
  8. Le Bonbon
  9. A Careless Whisper
  10. The Firm
  11. The Rollin Roars
  12. Goonfight at Gutterball Corral
  13. The Monsters
  14. Rock Monster
  15. Yankee and the Goons
  16. Redemption Is For The Careless
  17. 13:8 In 60 Seconds
  18. La Balada de los Charros
  19. Are You a Serial Killer?
  20. 944 Bullets
  21. The Sam and Emily Story
  22. Escape Route
  23. Fudge you!
  24. Bare Knuckles and Gold Bars
  25. The Library Fight
  26. The Big Gundown
  27. To The Death
  28. Madeleine’s Adagio
  29. McAlester’s Theme
  30. The Standoff
  31. Red Dot Marks The Spot
  32. Sam’s Theme
  33. Ensemble pour toujours

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack News: Quinceañero Original Motion Short Film Soundtrack Out Now

PHX Music has digitally released the Original Motion Short Film Soundtrack to Justin Floyd’s vision come to life, in the musical Quinceañero. The music is composed by Max Aruj and Steffen Thum, with lyrics by Antonio Sol, and songs performed by cast of the film. The album comprised of eight richly melodic Latin songs, including the film’s focus track “Ve El Momento” (“See the Moment”). The film recently premiered at Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), as part of its Latinx Inclusion Series, in partnership with Netflix.

Max Aruj is a composer born and raised in Los Angeles. His latest feature release is Crawl, produced by Sam Raimi, and directed by Alexandre Aja. Aruj joined the Assassin’s Creed universe for the recently released Wrath of the Druids. Other upcoming releases this year include Eytan Rockaway’s Lansky, starring Harvey Keitel, and Jonathan Hensleigh’s The Ice Road, starring Liam Neeson. Aruj co-produced Gryffin’s Deluxe orchestral album (2020). He composed additional music on Mission: Impossible – Fallout for Lorne Balfe, and on The Crown, for Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams. This past year he wrote additional music on HBO’s His Dark Materials.

Steffen Thum is a composer for film, TV, games, commercials and mixed media, based in Berlin. He wrote the scores for feature films Crawl (Paramount) and iBoy (Netflix), as well as TV series This Is Football (Amazon) and Story of God (National Geographic), among others. Steffen’s music can be heard in over 60 international productions, including Mission Impossible: Fallout, Bad Boys for Life, Ad Astra, The Lego Batman Movie, The Crown, and His Dark Materials.

In the 20-minute whimsical musical, Gabriel is on the verge of his 15th birthday and dreams of having his own quinceañera, a tradition reserved for girls. When his father – steeped in tradition – sets himself against the quinceañero, the timid boy will have to rally his family to make his dream come true.

Composer Max Aruj had the following to say:

“Having director Justin Floyd entrust us to bring his vision to life in a new style was both exciting and horrifying. But having an amazing team in Steffen and Antonio, made the process a blast. Additionally, writing a song like ‘Ve El Momento’ was a first – I never thought I’d get to do that, but here we are!”

Steffen Thum added:

“Writing a musical is a particular kind of challenge, going beyond just scoring to picture, as we’ve done before, so it was a bit of a daunting task. It was Justin’s vision and strong ambition that pulled us in, while Antonio’s expertise was crucial in getting the lyrics right. It all grew from there, and our actors and dancers brought the songs to life beautifully.”

Track List: 

  1. Ve El Momento
  2. The Magic of Youth
  3. La Quinceañera
  4. Can I Be
  5. Brother My Brother
  6. Symphony in Q
  7. I’m Proud of You
  8. El Quinceañero

You can find the soundtrack album for Quinceañero on iTunes here.

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

See also:

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Soundtrack News: ‘Occupation Rainfall’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Now Available on iTunes

Kaleido Sound is excited to announce the release of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the Lionsgate action sci-fi film, Occupation Rainfall, composed by Frederik Wiedmann (The Dragon Prince, Acts of Vengeance).

Wiedmann has been inspired by film composition since he first heard John Barry’s score to Dances With Wolves at the age of 12. Wiedmann is the composer behind the hit Disney Junior show Miles from Tomorrowland, as well as the critically acclaimed Netflix animated fantasy series The Dragon Prince, which is from the writers of the popular series: Avatar: The Last Airbender. Wiedmann has been a main stay in the DC cinematic universe, starting with his work on Green Lantern: The Animated Series, for which he earned two consecutive Annie Awards nominations. His success on the series led to further popular Warner Bros’ DC projects such as, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Son of BatmanDeath of SupermanJustice League: Gods and MonstersBatman: Gotham by Gaslight among others.

Directed by Luke Sparke, Occupation Rainfall takes place two years into an intergalactic invasion of earth. Survivors in Sydney, Australia, fight back in a desperate ground war. As casualties mount by the day, the resistance and their unexpected allies, uncover a plot that could see the war come to a decisive end. With the Alien invaders hell-bent on making earth their new home, the race is on to save mankind.

Regarding the soundtrack for Occupation Rainfall, composer Frederik Wiedmann had the following to say:

“This project was a huge musical canvas with a lot of room for creativity left for the composer, which made my heart race with excitement. From the first moment I saw a few snippets of it, I knew that this was going to be one epic ride. 

Luke Sparke, the director, and I spotted about 117 minutes for this 2-hour Sci-fi film, for which we both agreed that we’d need a big orchestra. It wasn’t an easy task to organize an orchestra of this scale due to COVID-19, but we managed to record in London at AIR studios, as well as in Macedonia at the FAMES scoring stage to create the sound we both wanted. 

The movie is certainly action-packed, with stunning visual effects and performances by the actors. But underneath the blood-pumping, adrenalin-spewing blockbuster facade of the film, lies a bigger, more philosophical question of “how far would you go for the greater good?”. I did my musical best to accompany the depth of this theme, using an array of thematic material, to underline the difficult choices that our characters inevitably face, as well as their emotional journey throughout the film.”

TRACK LISTING

  1. The Worst Is Yet To Come (2:10)
  2. Taking Fire (2:13)
  3. You’re Our Last Chance (2:42)
  4. Freed (2:09)
  5. Sydney (3:19)
  6. Gearing Up (2:46)
  7. Hail Of Fire (4:07)
  8. Ambushed (3:04)
  9. Sydney Destroyed (1:21)
  10. In The Outback (2:31)
  11. Hit Them With The Crossfire (2:16)
  12. Alien Pursuit (3:25)
  13. Red Sky (3:01)
  14. Apex Predator (4:18)
  15. The Village (1:53)
  16. Restricted Area (4:32)
  17. The Mob (3:15)
  18. The Command Ships (2:37)
  19. They Are Here (3:02)
  20. An Evolutionary Accident (4:19)
  21. Project Rainfall (2:09)
  22. Overrun (2:47)
  23. Avoiding Disaster (2:50)
  24. Guns And Blades (2:05)
  25. Kal’i Attack (1:35)
  26. The Standoff (1:38)
  27. Wing Commander Heyes (2:56)
  28. Behind Closed Doors (2:11)
  29. The Ascend (2:24)
  30. For Humanity (2:27)
  31. Reunited (3:10)

Check out the soundtrack for Occupation Rainfall, available on iTunes, and have a great day!

See also:

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Soundrack News: ‘The Water Man’ Original Soundtrack Available Now

Last month, Lakeshore Records released the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the RLJE Films family adventure film The Water Man—acclaimed actor David Oyelowo’s directorial debut. The album is comprised of an ethereal original score from Belgian composer Peter Baert, also making a debut with his first composition for a major Hollywood feature. The soundtrack also features two original songs written and performed by Jessica Oyelowo, including the end credits song “My Son.” The Water Man soundtrack is available digitally alongside the film’s U.S. theatrical release.

 The music of The Water Man is a mix of classical orchestra, piano, percussion, and electronics. Peter felt the score should follow the journey of the main character Gunner, going on quest into the woods to save his ill mother. He processed the Water Man’s screams and sighs through long delays, modular tools, and tape echoes to create “The Water Man Synth.” When David proposed a motherly energy to be present in the music, Peter worked with a vocalist, who has a similar timbre of the mother (Rosario Dawson), and created “The Mother Synth.” 

David Oyelowo says, “Music and sound in film has always been important to me, which is why I consider myself lucky to have met composer Peter Baert when I did. We first crossed paths when he was the sound engineer on another project I was working on in Belgium, and he had previously shared a music demo of his compositions that I just couldn’t shake. While in post-production on The Water Man, I was working with another composer and had initially cut Peter’s music in as an experiment, and it all just worked perfectly. Within a week, he flew over, sat next to me in the edit, and that’s how he became my composer. He’d never done an English-speaking film before, and he totally nailed the tone. We recorded and mixed at Galaxy, and did all the sound design and mixing at Sony and re-recording at Deluxe Hollywood.” 

Peter Baert on his collaboration experience: “David Oyelowo is such a wonderful human being and a gifted storyteller. He took a giant leap in choosing me as a composer and I felt his trust and guidance throughout the time we worked together. Being present for a short time in the editing room with David and editor Blu Murray was such a wonderful experience—I felt part of something bigger.” 

Of his musical inspirations, Baert says: “The heartfelt story of The Water Man took me back to two periods in my life. The first reminded me of being in my early teens, always playing in the neighborhood with my friends and going on adventures in a nearby forest. The second transported me back to a day in 2008 when my mom and I found out the diagnosis of her pancreatic cancer. She would be gone in 6 months. At some moment during the composing process the music found me, and it glued to the screen. This beautiful story reflects what I experienced in real life—that it is sometimes better to let go and cherish the time we have, than to hold on at all costs.”

TRACK LIST

  1. Gunner’s Theme
  2. Mary’s Lullaby
  3. Mother’s Medicine
  4. Finding Jo
  5. Question
  6. The Water Man Story
  7. Runaway
  8. Come into My Office
  9. Enter the Forest
  10. First Night
  11. Night Watch
  12. Candy
  13. The Howling Wild Horses
  14. Snow in July
  15. Second Night
  16. A Lot of Beetles
  17. Morning
  18. Amos’s Search
  19. Crossing the River
  20. A Bunch of Crap
  21. Coming Closer – “The Water Man Rhyme” (feat. Amiah Miller)
  22. The Hut
  23. Hope is a Powerful Force
  24. Getting Out
  25. Prayer
  26. My Son – Jessica Oyelowo
  27. What Love Does – Jessica Oyelowo

See also:

Heartfelt Music for a Heartfelt Story: Talking with Composer Peter Baert About ‘The Water Man’ (2021)

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Soundtrack Review: Chaos Walking (2021)

Back in April, Milan Records released Chaos Walking (Original Score) with music by Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts. Available everywhere now, the album features score music from Lionsgate’s new film starring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland from the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. The score continues a long tradition of collaborations between the two-time Academy Award®-nominated composers Beltrami and Roberts, who also garnered an Emmy® Award together for their work on Free Solo.

Of the soundtrack, Beltrami and Roberts had the following to say:

“The score for Chaos Walking provided a unique opportunity for us to create a musical language for a fictitious world that was simultaneously both familiar and alien, and in so doing, explore crossing genres that are rarely combined. There are otherworldly sci-fi elements, as well as classic gritty western themes. We had a lot of fun implementing new instruments that would define this cross pollination. It was an adventure to live in this new musical world.”

The music for Chaos Walking is indeed a blend of the familiar and the alien and it is so much fun to listen to. Marco Beltrami has yet to let me down in any film score he has worked on, and that remains true here. It’s somewhat mind-bending to hear sci-fi music blended with classic western music, because off the top of my head that strikes me as a musical combination that should NOT work. But you know what? It works! Somehow, it all comes together and creates a sound world that is strange and new but oh so enticing for the ears.

While I appreciate that the composers have blended together music from the sci-fi and western genres, I’m still more drawn to the sci-fi elements in the score (it is my favorite genre for a reason), particularly ‘Chaos in Space’, I really like how that one track is practically vibrating with tension. Any time strings can be made to make me feel tense or uncomfortable, it’s a good day because that’s one of my favorite ways to hear those instruments being used in a score.

I’m glad I finally sat down to listen to the music for Chaos Walking. I can’t speak for the film itself, but the music is definitely worth it!

Track List

1. Main Title (2:03)
2. Love That Knife (1:41)
3. Friendship Theme (1:58)
4. Lost in the Woods (1:25)
5. Chaos in Space (1:09)
6. Thief / Gotta Tell (2:35)
7. First Encounter (1:14)
8. Motor Horse Chase (2:11)
9. Posse on the Move / Exploring the Ship (4:41)
10. Spackle Tackle (2:05)
11. Farbranch (2:02)
12. Letter From Mom (3:01)
13. Town Attack (6:52)
14. Lonely (2:09)
15. Riverbank Chase / Rapids (3:32)
16. You’re a Good Man, Todd Hewitt (1:35)
17. Preacher Attack / Antenna Climb (3:14)
18. Showdown (3:42)
19. Women Unite (2:11)
20. I Am Todd Hewitt (2:20)

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

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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: Decca Records Releasing Original Soundtrack for ‘Dream Horse’ by Benjamin Woodgates

Decca Records is excited to announce the release of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the Bleecker Street and Topic Studios comedy-drama ‘Dream Horse,’ composed by Benjamin Woodgates. The digital soundtrack is available on all major streaming platforms, coinciding with the U.S. theatrical release on May 21, 2021, two weeks before the U.K. release on June 4, 2021.

Benjamin Woodgates is one of the UK’s most sought-after young composers. An alumnus of Oxford University and the Royal College of Music, his strong sense of musicality, broad stylistic reach and sensitivity towards picture is evident in his scores for film, installation, video games and high-profile advertising campaigns. He has also worked extensively as an orchestrator and musical director for film and television, recent credits including Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Victoria and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Orchestrator); Madeleine Sims-Fewer’s Violation (Conductor); and Terence Davies’ Benediction (Musical Director & Arranger).

Directed by Euros Lyn (Doctor Who), the film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town Welsh bartender, Jan Vokes (Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hope he can compete with the racing elites. The group’s investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks with grit and determination and goes on to race in the Welsh Grand National, showing the heart of a true champion.

There are two sound worlds in Benjamin’s Dream Horse score. One is that of Cefn Fforest, the village in Wales that is home to the film’s ensemble of characters. At the start of the film, these characters are trapped in a cycle of monotony and struggle to relate to one another. To represent them musically, Benjamin pieced together a rag-tag ensemble of instruments, including an old upright piano, a harmonium, a fiddle, and an accordion. The musical result is wheezy, clunky and jagged edged to begin with; however, as the characters bond together to form a syndicate, so does the sound of the ensemble, bringing out the warmth and character that underlies each of these instruments.

The second sound world is built around the horseraces in the film. In stark contrast to the homespun feel of the village ensemble, Benjamin employed a string orchestra to reflect the prestige of the racecourse and to emphasize the sense of alienation and exclusion felt by the characters as they find themselves up against the racing elites. In the run-up to each race, the orchestra plays with sophisticated reserve; however, as the action zooms in to the race itself, the shackles are off, and listeners will hear a different side of the ensemble altogether – one that aims to capture the mud-spattered, unforgiving nature of the turf.

Regarding the music for Dream Horse, Benjamin Woodgates had the following to say:

“Euros Lyn [director] and I worked closely together to create the musical blueprint for this score, meeting regularly in the cutting room in Cardiff and picking up the phone to bounce ideas back and forth. Euros is an accomplished musician himself but made a point of communicating through dramatic and emotional ideas rather than using musical terminology, so that we could build a musical language from the ground up. He had prepared a broad palette of musical references for the tone of the film as a whole – everything from Nick Cave to The Velvet Underground – but was careful to keep these as broad as possible in the hope that we could forge our own sound for Dream Horse.

Euros was keen to give each race scene its own distinct identity, so each race cue has its own musical flavour and structure, governed by what’s at stake. Dream Alliance himself is voiced as a solo violin – capricious, un-tamed, brilliant – which vies against the mass of the string orchestra, refusing to yield to its pull. This counterpoint between solo violin and ensemble underpins all the race sequences, through highs and lows, a battling duet, an unrelenting passacaglia, and a barnstorming rondo-finale.

One of the film’s key themes is that of giving voice to the unheard; both literally, in the case of Dream Alliance, and more symbolically for Jan and her community. In the early scenes the score lies near-dormant, its step-wise motion punctured only by Jan’s sheer force of will and a faint rumbling of hope. However, as Jan sets out to realize her dream and rekindle a sense of belief in her community, the rumblings intensify and the music’s melodic contours begin to soar.”

TRACK LISTING

  1. The Syndicate
  2. Just Starting On It Now
  3. Cefn Fforest
  4. The Hwyl
  5. Be Brave And Brilliant
  6. It’s Not Much, But It’s Home
  7. In For A Penny
  8. Chepstow
  9. Life Cycle
  10. I’m Jan
  11. Sixteen To One
  12. This Won’t Get Out Of Hand
  13. Procession
  14. Aintree – Prelude
  15. Aintree – Ground
  16. By A Thread
  17. Hanging In The Balance
  18. Dad
  19. The Gallops
  20. Tacking Up
  21. Let Him Run
  22. Proper Valley Boy
  23. Delilah

You can check out the soundtrack for Dream Horse on digital now!

See also:

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Soundtrack Review: The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

Sony Music Masterworks has released The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by prolific composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of DEVO Mark Mothersbaugh. Now available everywhere, the album includes score music written by Mothersbaugh for the animated film, which follows an eccentric family in the middle of the robot apocalypse.  The soundtrack is the latest in a longstanding creative partnership between Mothersbaugh and film producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, having previously worked together on titles like The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and more.

Of the soundtrack, composer Mark Mothersbaugh had the following to say:

“Just thinking about working on this film during a once-in-a-century, world-wide pandemic makes you want to draw correlations between the story of the film and what was happening in this world (the so-called real world). Doing so really gave everything more meaning and added gravitas to an already amazing project to begin with. I will always remember this film for the added attention the pandemic allowed the directors and producers to bring to it, as we were able to work on an extended schedule. It gave us the rare chance to play with the parts, to get them just the way we wanted them and to make a dang-near perfect film!”

“’On My Way’ is a song about new beginnings. I really wanted to capture Katie’s sense of urgency to grow up and expand her horizons while still being grateful of where she has come from and the people that have gotten her where she is. It’s that push and pull of being on a path towards something new and exciting while remembering and celebrating what you’re leaving behind. I think that is something we can all relate to. ‘On My Way’ is one of my favorite songs I have ever worked on and I am so happy it has found a home in the wild world of the Mitchells,” adds singer-songwriter Alex Lahey of her inclusion on the soundtrack.

This soundtrack is a lot of fun to listen to. Mothersbaugh has created a delightful blend of several musical genres that make for a great experience. As near as I can make out, the music for The Mitchells vs The Machines is a blend of action music, sci-fi music, and family music. It’s really mind-blowing when the music switches over from the quiet-ish family music opening to the sci-fi music that enters when the robot apocalypse begins. That’s not the easiest transition to make given the wide disparity between those two styles, but Mothersbaugh makes it feel easy and the music pulls you along for the ride without hardly missing a beat.

The sci-fi music portion of the soundtrack is easily the best part (though it’s all good if I’m honest). It’s wild, it’s zany, you can almost picture what’s going on, it’s exactly what an animated robot apocalypse should sound like. What really surprised me though, is how quiet the soundtrack can be when the music isn’t focused on the robots. I won’t say if this is good or bad, but sometimes it feels like all of the energy is devoted to the music for the robot apocalypse, and the rest is just…quiet, soft, not as important (though I may be overthinking it).

All that being said, I can’t get over how much I love the way Mothersbaugh can switch between musical styles. There’s traditional instruments in there, there’s electronic music, there’s music that blends BOTH. This is a complex musical score, one that grows on you the more you listen to it. I certainly recommend listening to the soundtrack apart from the film if you get the opportunity.

Track List

  1. Columbia Opening / Apocalypse (1:15)
  2. Katie’s Life / Good Cop Dog Cop (3:17)
  3. Laptop Breaks / Home Movies (3:43)
  4. Rise of the Robots (1:30)
  5. Robots Falling from the Sky (1:25)
  6. Eat Laser Robots (1:15)
  7. Robots Capture Humans (1:36)
  8. On the Roof H (1:53)
  9. Two Dumb Robots (0:55)
  10. We Could Get Our Lives Back (0:13)
  11. Katie’s Speech (1:28)
  12. Drive Drive ! (2:07)
  13. Robots March on PAL (0:45)
  14. Foolish Human Air (0:53)
  15. Abandoned Mall ! (1:35)
  16. Mall Robots Attack (1:56)
  17. Furbies Attack_Router Knocked Out (3:29)
  18. Rick’s Pep Talk (2:21)
  19. The Stealthbots (1:21)
  20. Katie and Linda (1:56)
  21. Entering Robot City (3:05)
  22. The Pod Falls (0:51)
  23. They Capture Linda and Rick (0:57)
  24. Hiding in the Woods (2:36)
  25. Katie’s Video (1:52)
  26. Katie to the Rescue (2:03)
  27. Screwdriver Escape (1:47)
  28. Yub Tub (2:00)
  29. Linda Kicks Ass (1:35)
  30. Katie Explains (1:45)
  31. Katie and Rick Work Together (2:17)
  32. I’m a Mitchell! (0:44)
  33. Humanity Is Saved (1:17)
  34. Katie’s Dead (0:56)
  35. Arriving at College (2:32)
  36. On My Way – Alex Lahey (3:05)

Let me know what you think about The Mitchells vs The Machines and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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: Wrath of Man (2021)

Sony Music Masterworks has released the Wrath of Man (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by composer Chris Benstead. Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Benstead for director Guy Ritchie’s latest action thriller starring Jason Statham. The score is the latest collaboration between Benstead and Ritchie, the duo having previously worked together on The Gentleman and Aladdin

Chris Benstead is a British film composer, arranger and Academy Award®-winning re-recording mixer. Chris received Oscar® and BAFTA awards for his work as re-recording mixer on Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Chris’ unique skillset allowed him to mix and sculpt the music in an extremely immersive way, pushing the limits of surround sound and exploiting the new ‘Dolby Atmos’ standard.

Of the soundtrack for Wrath of Man, composer Chris Benstead had the following to say:

“The score for Wrath of Man is centered around the cold and mysterious character ‘H’. Super close-mic’d cellos and double basses were used (and abused) to created awkward and jarring stabs as well as angry and unnervingly dark textures. A stoic main ‘hook’ is constantly repeated in different guises to help amplify the sense of impending unease and, ultimately, revenge. Sometimes only percussion was needed to create the brutal and exigent action cues. It was an amazing experience to collaborate with the utterly brilliant Guy Ritchie once again.”

I’m probably guilty of saying this too often, but I really enjoyed listening to the soundtrack for Wrath of Man. This is the kind of soundtrack I live for hearing, because it’s the type of music you feel in the very depths of your soul (yes it really is that good). Benstead uses the cello and double bass in a way that is pure genius. Normally, I think of those two instruments as producing warm and gentle music. Not here, not this soundtrack. Benstead turns the cello and double bass into weapons, making sharp, jagged sounds that cut through everything else and demand your attention. This is not the type of soundtrack that just fades into the background, you’re going to notice this music.

I also absolutely love how Benstead utilizes percussion throughout the soundtrack. It sounds like gunshots in a lot of places (and I’m certain that was done on purpose) and gives the music a distinctly prickly feeling. It’s a nice contrast to the harsh sounds of the cello and double bass and serves as a reminder that this is not ‘comfortable’ music in any sense of the word. Once this music gets started, you are on edge and I love that so much about this soundtrack.

There isn’t too much more to say about this music without sounding repetitive. Chris Benstead has created a soundtrack that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: the music for (what is hopefully) a badass action film. This is one of the most purely enjoyable soundtracks I’ve heard this year so far, and I think all of you will like it.

Track List

1. Coffee Frother (3:29)
2. Wrath of Man (2:14)
3. Dangerous Job (2:17)
4. Tooling Up (3:09)
5. Bullet Taken Hostage (3:04)
6. F**king Lunatic (1:57)
7. Coroners Report (1:22)
8. China Town (0:55)
9. Dark F**king Spirit (3:58)
10. Know The Route (1:45)
11. Dougie (3:20)
12. Idolised You (3:40)
13. Built for Combat (2:03)
14. Porn Factory (3:34)
15. Precious Ornaments (3:24)
16. Staples Center (2:38)
17. Go to Work (1:44)
18. Number 1 Loses It (3:58)
19. 120 Million (2:04)
20. The Inside Man (4:42)
21. Wanna be Hero (5:36)
22. Come Out Little Piggy (4:16)
23. Bullet Executions (3:31)
24. The Victor (4:48)
25. Liver Lungs Spleen Heart (4:13)

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

See also:

My Thoughts on: Wrath of Man (2021)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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

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Soundtrack Review: Stowaway (2021)

With Netflix recently releasing the soundtrack for their new film Stowaway, I had the opportunity to sit down and listen to the film’s official soundtrack. The music was composed by Volker Bertelmann (The Old Guard, Lion) and recently made available digitally.

The film’s synopsis is as follows:

In Stowaway, on a mission headed to Mars, an unintended stowaway accidentally causes severe damage to the spaceship’s life support systems. Facing dwindling resources and a potentially fatal outcome, the crew is forced to make an impossible decision.

Says Bertelmann of the Stowaway soundtrack:

“Working on Stowaway and collaborating with director Joe Penna was a special experience in many respects: Joe, who is a musician himself, gave me a lot of freedom to explore different sounds and we had a joint understanding of the purposes the music should serve. This facilitated the compositional process, which was extremely helpful given the considerable amount of music the film needed. The music for Stowaway is one of my favorite scores so far.”

Given what’s at stake in Stowaway, I was surprised at how low-key and passive a lot of the music is. There’s an underlying sense of tension of course, most notably in ‘How Much Oxygen’ but for the most part Bertelmann’s soundtrack is almost perfectly serene. The biggest exception to this comes in ‘Solar Flare’ which covers what is undoubtedly one of the climax points of the film. But even then, there’s still a polished smoothness lingering in the music that takes some of the edge off what might otherwise be a raw piece of action music.

All of this smoothness and serenity in the music confused me until I considered where the film is set. Stowaway is set entirely in space, aboard a ship bound for Mars, and it could be that Bertelmann had it in his mind to back up the interstellar background of the film with music that fit the location. After all, there’s something about space that can generate a lot of musical grace and beauty, and this film is surely no exception. It could also be that the composer wanted to remind viewers that in the grand scheme of things this conflict is barely a blip in the cosmos (or I could be overthinking it entirely). Most likely of all the options is the possibility that Bertelmann wanted the score to backup the story, but not overwhelm it with sheer depth of volume, as some film scores have been known to do.

I really enjoyed listening to the soundtrack for Stowaway. It really subverted my expectations for what I thought this movie would sound like but in the end it was really enjoyable. In some places it actually reminded me a little bit of 2001: A Space Odyssey with some of the more quiet tracks. If you get the chance to listen to the Stowaway soundtrack separate from the movie, I highly recommend doing so.

Track List

  1. Earth Rise
  2. Regaining Consciousness
  3. Favorite Spot on the Ship
  4. How Much Oxygen
  5. Setting Up the Algae
  6. It’s Literally My Job
  7. Can I Take His Place?
  8. I Was in the Fire
  9. Can You Talk?
  10. What Did You Do?
  11. The Algae Are Dead
  12. Climbing the Tethers
  13. On the Kingfisher
  14. More Than Enough Oxygen
  15. Solar Flare
  16. I Will Go
  17. Climbing the Tethers Alone
  18. Into the Solar Storm

Let me know what you think of Stowaway’s soundtrack (and the film) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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 

The Music of Psychopathy: Talking with Composer Benji Merrison About ‘SAS: Red Notice’ (2021)

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to speak with film composer Benji Merrison about his work on the film SAS: Red Notice. The film is based on Andy McNab’s novel of the same name and follows a Special Forces operator who comes face-to-face with an army of mercenaries who are intending to blow up the Channel Tunnel.

Benji Merrison is an award-winning composer who went on to obtain a BA (Hons) in Music and an MSc in Music Technology from York University. He also studied Jazz Piano with Howard Riley at Goldsmiths University. His selected credits include SAS: Red Notice, BBC Green Planet, General Magic, Dynasties 2, and Victoria.

I hope you enjoy our conversation about SAS: Red Notice.

How did you get started as a film composer?

Thank you for having me along Becky.

As a child, I grew up with a lot of music around. My Dad had a great vinyl collection and played folk guitar a lot. My mum played piano and so there was an upright in the house. I started getting really into the piano when I was probably five or six. I got a bit obsessed just trying things out to see what sounded good. I spent ages just working out little tunes and things, and then took piano lessons with a local teacher. When I was about eight I got hold of a Roland Juno 6, which blew my mind – I couldn’t believe all the sounds it could make and used to make up imaginary stories in my head as I cluelessly messed around with the knobs and sliders. Funny now, looking back, as it is such a simple synth. I still have it.

Fast forward a few years, and I went on to study classical music, and then a Master’s degree in Music Technology. After working for a few years in motion graphics & audiovisual arts, I started suggesting to clients that I could do the music as well as the motion graphics. So, I started out with small jobs really, which got bigger and bigger over the years.

It’s been a wild ride so far, a very organic process. To be honest, at the start I didn’t even know you could get paid to be a composer, I just muscled to the industry because I thought ‘I can do that, let’s see what happens.’

How did you get brought in to work on SAS: Red Notice?

SAS: Red Notice has been a wonderful project to be a part of, and landing the job was quite a chance thing really. I met the music supervisor at an event in LA and we got chatting about the project and the fact they needed a British composer. Of course, I put on my most over-the-top British accent at this point!
She put me in touch with the producer, Laurence Malkin. Larry rang me up and said, ‘can you be in Amsterdam tomorrow for a screening?’ Slightly flustered, the ‘yes man’ in me kicked in and I was indeed there the next day (this was pre-Covid of course). I think my enthusiasm must have impressed him because after some composition tests to picture, I got the job!

Where did you start with putting the themes together? How did you decide what this film should sound like?


I’m quite an improvisatory composer, so I often approach themes and writing in general by simply jamming and seeing what feels right.
At the start of the scoring process, I had a couple of these improv style sessions with Larry Malkin (producer) and Peter Clarke (music editor). I had a cool Cubase template prepared with loads of interesting instruments all stacked in a session, so I could go from an intimate piano sound to a full orchestra with mad synths and pulses mixed in. I had programmed some midi controllers to do all sorts of things to each instrument, including pitch bending the different layers (some going up, some going down in pitch).
In one of these sessions, we were trying to work out what kind of themes would work for the lead character Tom Buckingham, and also what musical device we could use to represent the unfolding of his psychopathic nature.
I started off jamming a simple ‘English Country Garden’ style riff, whatever fell under my fingers easily, which became the ‘Tom Buckingham’ theme. I then gradually wigged out more and more with the midi controllers until this massive, intense, swarming orchestral sound hammered out!
Larry and Pete were like ‘What was that?!! That sounds like psychopathy right there!’ This developed into cues such as ‘Emergency Response,’ ‘Two Psychopaths,’ and the end of ‘Finding the Player.’ As a matter of fact, quite a bit of the score came from this one improvisation. I find that funny and inspiring.

Did you create themes for specific characters?


Yes, for some. In particular, there are very clear themes, as mentioned for Tom Buckingham and also for The Black Swans. There are also other thematic elements such as the ‘Church of Psycopathy’ theme we first hear in the scenes in reel one with Will Lewis.
However, it was very clear from the beginning that these themes should gradually subvert, morph and degrade over the course of the movie. It seemed like the most ideal way to represent psychopathy. In addition, I took ideas of those themes, and, for example, shortened them into an ostinato figure, or played them in retrograde or inverted, that kind of thing.
Deconstruction was a big part of the process. This happened both on a thematic level, but also on a sonic and instrumental level. Over the course of the movie, I would take something like a timpani or snare (which very obviously says ‘militaristic’) and I would run them through various effects chains or spectral processing, to become something very new but derived from the same source.
I like this kind of idea, but only when it means something to underline the narrative. In this case, it was a logical and proportionate approach. I also think it worked.

What is your overall process for choosing which instruments to include (or exclude) in the overall mix?

I don’t have a consistent process, it will vary for each score. I always do a lot of exploring, trying all sorts of things out to see what feels right to picture and for the character or storyline. I often like to pair one familiar or obvious piece of instrumentation with another which is more surprising or arresting.

This way the viewers feel a sense of familiarity in one sense, and another which has a degree of tension, surprise, or questioning. This can be a very useful musical device, once clearly defined. You can use the relative push and pull of this pairing to play with the viewer’s emotions, and invoke more nuanced compound emotional states.

Were there any musical ideas you tried only to find they weren’t working out?

Oh yes, many.

In fact, for me, it is a huge part of creating a successful score. I think as you gain more experience, you develop the professional maturity to ditch an idea (however good it is or however long it has taken to write) if it isn’t right for the film. I used to feel anguish at this, but now I find it quite fun to destroy a carefully crafted idea. The thing is, sometimes you learn more from the things that ‘aren’t right’ as you do from the things that ‘are right’. It all feeds into the score as part of the process.

I like to float above the feelings around the creation of music, to hear the music objectively, just as the audience will. Things are either right or not right in that sense. The only important thing is the emotional response of the audience to the film, my own feelings are irrelevant.

To aid this I don’t like to spend long in any stint working on cues, or writing themes. I’ve found over the years that the longer I spend on things, there is a point where I lose perspective and start ‘taking away.’ I like to regularly hear my work as if it wasn’t me who wrote it. That way I am more objective and logical about how others will respond to it.

How long did you have to score the film?

The scoring took place around four months over the late summer/autumn of 2019. It was a pretty intense, but hugely satisfying experience. The recording sessions took place in the Hall at AIR studios in winter 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

It’s amazing to think of the intensity of that period, especially given that the release was put back so far due to the events of 2020. I’m grateful it worked out this way, as it meant we got all the recording sessions and mix completed in time before the restrictions came in.

What was the collaboration process like? How much collaboration was there with producer and writer Laurence Malkin on the score?

There was a lot of collaboration. Larry is a very hands-on producer and likes to be involved with all aspects of the film. I really enjoyed that about the process. We got into a great pattern, where he would come over to the studio every weekend and we’d spend the whole day going through two or three reels, chatting through each shot and working out how we could impact and add value to the storyline through the score. I’d then spend the week revising things, and repeat the process. This all created a score that was very tight and precise to the picture.

Whilst that sounds like it could be a bit regimented, it was quite a liberating and structured way to approach the score, which I really enjoyed. I had plenty of time to experiment and free-flow my ideas, but I had that focus point and second opinion so that I didn’t get too bogged down with a particular idea or section.

In this sense, I’d say it was one of the most collaborative scores that I have completed to date.

Do you have a favorite track? Or any detail that you hope audiences notice?

Ha! There are quite a few actually.
A firm favourite of mine (and others who have seen the film so far) is ‘3m23 Emergency Response.’ It’s a real action romp type of cue, but also combines a perfect blend of the distorted, fragmented Tom Buckingham theme along with the ‘Psychopathic String’ signature lines. It is basically ‘orchestral heavy metal’ masquerading as a soundtrack cue, which really appeals to me!

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about SAS: Red Notice!

Cheers Becky, thanks for having me!

I wanted to say thank you one more time to Benji Merrison for taking the time to speak with me about his work on SAS: Red Notice! I hope you all enjoyed this interview!

Have a great day!

See also:

Composer Interviews

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