Latest Soundtracks and Albums on Release:

Django Unchained (various artists) - soundtrack CD cover Quentin Tarantino films are often defined by their soundtracks and "Django Unchained" is no exception. Tarantino has again chosen music from existing films including a number of spaghetti westerns. The album has music from films scored by Luis Bacalov (including the original "Django"), by Ennio Morricone and a track by Jerry Goldsmith. There is an explicit warning on the lyrics from the modern rap tracks, but it is the oldies which make this album memorable and highly recommended. You can find it at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music - boxset 4-CD cover Lalo Schifrin put the "cool" into film music. From "Bullitt" with Steve McQueen to the Dirty Harry films with Clint Eastwood, his music fused jazz, latin and popular styles with touches of classical, and he will forever be remembered for his television work on Mission Impossible. "My Life in Music" is a new 4-CD box set which easily demonstrates the breadth of Schifrin's appeal, including many tracks from his film scores and a number of stand alone jazz tracks. To find out more the boxset is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Nick Urata: Ruby Sparks - soundtrack album CD cover Ruby Sparks is an unusual yet engaging film, scored to great effect by composer Nick Urata whose band DeVotchKa contributed to "Little Miss Sunshine". The album includes some popular source music and voiceover material, but Urata's music holds the score together and rewards the listener. The music is driven by minimalist string arpeggios and a classical orchestral sound, but the composer uses some unexpected yet interesting sounds including drums and wordless voices. The soundtrack album is at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Kim Halliday: Birdsong in Mist - album CD cover The composer Kim Halliday has a unique and distinctive sound, which is ideally suited to accompany media and visuals, and has been used on several film shorts and documentaries. "Birdsong in Mist" is an imaginative album from the British composer, with a collection of textural soundscapes and atmospheric music, ranging from sometimes dark solo piano minimalist tracks, to more complex and upbeat synth cues driven by percussion and featuring a range of electronic effects. The album is available at Amazon.com.

Jazz on Film ...Film Noir - Box Set cover (5 CDs) This remastered boxset has 5 CDs and features the most celebrated jazz film noir scores of the 1950s. There are 7 complete scores in the collection including Duke Ellington's Anatomy of a Murder, Henry Mancini's A Touch of Evil, Alex North's A Streetcar Named Desire, Leith Stevens' Private Hell 36, John Lewis' Odds Against Tomorrow, and Elmer Bernstein's The Man with the Golden Arm and Sweet Smell of Success. The pack comes with a 52 page booklet and is available at Amazon.co.uk and (as an MP3 download) at Amazon.com.

Hans Zimmer - Rango soundtrack CD cover Hans Zimmer is definitely going through a "plucky" phase - first Sherlock Holmes and now Rango seem to be driven by plucked instruments, but this certainly gives these scores plenty of energy. The Rango soundtrack uses a banjo for its central theme, and it is full of Mexican and Western influences, with some references to the great Western scores of Ennio Morricone and Elmer Bernstein. The album is fantastic fun and you can preview via these links at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com though note that 2 different sets of cover art are used.

Late Night Tales - At The Movies soundtrack CD cover "At The Movies" from the Late Night Tales series is a compilation of some of the best soundtrack music ever. But its not a typical compilation - the tracks are remixed to blend seemlessly from one to the next. Some transitions seem crazy at first but the transitions are so well done that it really works e.g. Satie's Gnossienne No.3 to Mad World from Donnie Darko to March of the Siamese Children from the King and I to Barber's Adagio for Strings from Platoon! Just don't play it on "shuffle"! Check it out at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Daft Punk - Tron Legacy soundtrack CD cover The French Synth Duo Daft Punk is an inspired choice to supply the music for Disney's long-awaited Tron sequel "Tron Legacy". The Duo are known for their electronic music and the album has many good examples of this style. What is most surprising is their use of orchestral music and how well this integrates into the overall score. It fits very well indeed with the film's story-arc and visuals, and is a great stand-alone album - highly recommended. Check it out at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Disney Pixar Greatest soundtrack CD cover "Disney Pixar: Greatest" is a stupendous collection of the best music from the excellent Pixar animated features. The first 9 tracks are the hit songs from "Toy Story", "Monsters Inc", "Cars", "Ratatouille" , "Wall.E" and "A Bug's Life" while tracks 10-25 are the score tracks from some of the best composers in the business. The final bonus track is the Gipsy Kings' version of "You've Got a Friend in Me" from "Toy Story 3". The infectious good humour of this album is great for all the family - get it at these links: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Airwolf Main Themes EP soundtrack cover Following on from their previous release of music from Airwolf this online release looks at the Main Title Themes from the TV series, arranged by Jan Michal Szulew. The four tracks can be previewed here on 7Digital with more information at the Airwolf Themes main website. The team are now busy working on their next release. This will be called "Airwolf Extended Themes" and available on CD only, so look out for it in 2011.

Trondheim Solistene - In Folk Style album cover Trondheim Solistene is a Norwegian String Group whose playing features on this new album "In Folk Style". The album starts with Grieg's familiar Holberg Suite and Two Norwegian Melodies, while the 2nd half of the album contains contemporary folk music by Emilia Amper and Gjermund Larsen. The folk music is unique and enegetic, and fits very well alongside Grieg's folk-inspired music. Listen to this wonderful joyful music and you will be hooked. The mp3 album is at Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com and the Blu-ray at Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com.

Abel Korzeniowski - A Single Man soundtrack CD cover The soundtrack for "A Single Man" got a Golden Globe nomination this year, and it is very well deserved since this is one of those minimal yet beguiling which really works. On paper these is a mixture of creative talent, with Abel Korzeniowski composing most of the tracks. There is additional music by Shigeru Umebayashi, who also adapts older tracks from Bernard Herrmann films. Yet despite this seeming patchwork of material, it all fits together very nicely indeed and is highly recommended. It is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Leonard Benstein: West Side Story by Nigel Simeone book cover A new book written by Nigel Simeone looks in depth at how West Side Story came together, specifically the Broadway Show with a chapter looking at the original cast recording. The book examines the creative contributions from Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, and others, and how these different people with their different skills and temperaments, came to create one of the most enduring and iconic Broadway shows ever. The books is available at: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Clint Eastwood presents: Johnny Mercer - The Dream's on Me To tie-in with a film being broadcast by BBC4 on Easter Sunday, a CD has been released about Johnny Mercer. He was one of America's most prolific lyricists, and famous for songs such as "Moon River" co-written with Henry Mancini. The documentary was produced by Clint Eastwood (no stranger to song-writing himself having written for some of his most recent films) and shown on US TV last year. The tie-in CD is called "Clint Eastwood Presents: Johnny Mercer - The Dream's On Me" and is available from Amazon.co.uk.

Danny Elfman - Alice in Wonderland soundtrack CD cover Alice in Wonderland easily ranks alongside Edward Scissorhands, Batman and The Nightmare before Christmas. The rhythm and chord progressions suggest Elfman's earlier score for "Black Beauty", but the lyrical main theme and the boys choir singing "Alice" are perfection. With "Sherlock Holmes" and now "Alice in Wonderland" maybe the tide is turning and holywood now sees the appeal of melodic film music - we can only hope. Alice is a must for any film score collector or Danny Elfman fan. It is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

The SG Sound - Escapade Velocity soundtrack CD cover The SG Sound have previously released titles such as "Planet Twist" and "The Pleasure Center". The latest album is called Escapade Velocity and springs from the same twisted mind. It uses space themes and pulp sci-fi references with the hip, go-go, swinging sounds of the 60s - think groovy Austin Powers! The new album showcases cover versions of some Star Wars tracks and is again loads of fun. Although CDs are available the best way to hear "Escapade Velocity" and other SG Sound tracks is to download from Amazon.com.

John Parish - She, A Chinese soundtrack CD cover John Parish is best known for his work with the singer P J Harvey, and he has worked with other artists such as Goldfrapp. Starting with the Belgian award-winning movie "Rosie" he has successfully established a career in film soundtracks. "She, A Chinese" has won awards on the festival circuit and the soundtrack is now being released, where Parish's music sits alongside Chinese punk-rock tracks. The CD is at Amazon.co.uk (from 22nd Feb).

Matt Munro: The Singer's Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro by Michele Munro - book cover It's mostly soundtrack CDs which we preview here, but this book caught our attention since Matt Munro sang two of John Barry's most iconic Film Songs. He sang the first ever James Bond song "From Russia With Love" and also "Born Free". The book jacket has a very favourable quotation by Frank Sinatra, and the story tells how Matt Munro rose to fame from his day job as a London bus driver. This biography has been written by Matt's daughter Michele Munro based on material from more than 200 interviews and some newly published photographs. The book will be available at Amazon.co.uk (from 29th Jan) and Amazon.com (from 11th May).

Hans Zimmer - Sherlock Holmes soundtrack CD cover The soundtrack for "Sherlock Holmes" has fun written all over it. The main theme is infectious and there's a gypsy vibe to some of the music, which seems to emphasise the bohemian aspects of Holmes' character - an eccentric who gets bored sitting at home, but comes alive when there's an adventure with a puzzle that takes him across London. The violin also features on the soundtrack as a nod perhaps to Holmes' musical streak, and one of the themes sounds very like Morricone's "For a Few Dollars More". The CD is at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

James Horner - Avatar soundtrack CD cover "Avatar" is a stunning film to watch especially in 3D, and the music serves it well. There is an ethnic flavour for the humanoid inhabitants who are at one with nature on the planet of Pandora. There are the militaristic humans, and some breath-taking flying sequences. But it's not all big spectacle - there are many magical moments involving the wildlife and the spiritual aspects of the locals. Horner's music spans all of these facets effortlessly. The soundtrack can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Dario Marianelli - The Soloist soundtrack CD cover "The Soloist" is about a cellist played by Jamie Foxx who is homeless and suffering from psychiatric problems. A journalist befriends and attempts to rehabilitate him and this explains why the soundtrack strongly features the music of Beethoven, particularly his 3rd Symphony (The Eroica). While some tracks are played straight, many are adapted in various ways. Dario Marianelli is no stranger to adapting classical music and, with the help of soloist Esa-Pekka Salonen, expertly portrays the musician's mental anguish as he deals with his own personal demons. The album is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

James Newton Howard - Defiance soundtrack CD cover This soundtrack by James Newton Howard invites comparison with John William's Schindler's List. The film itself has some similarity in its topic because it portrays the plight of Jews during World War II. However the composer has also opted to use a solo violin to play the key thematic material. The solo violinist on this occasion is Joshua Bell who is no stranger to playing on film soundtracks, and the music mostly speaks of struggle and strength in the face of impossible conditions. There is also a darker more agressive element in the central part of the soundtrack. The album is available from these links at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Danny Elfman - Milk soundtrack CD cover "Milk" won an oscar for Sean Penn in the lead role, and tells the story of Harvey Milk the gay polititian who campaigned for Gay Rights. The CD kicks off with 5 miscellaneous tracks by various artists, and an interesting Bach Prelude (No.7 from Book 2) for unaccompaniment voices sung by The Swingle Singers, before settling down to the original soundtrack album proper. Here we find Danny Elfman in fine form - his expected quirkiness is present but kept firmly under control. The result is something that has an element of eccentricity but is nevertheless warm and engaging. The album is available from these links at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Jeff Rona - Songs of the Sea: The Regatta Suite soundtrack CD cover This album is based on the music which Jeff Rona was commissioned to compose music for the 2008 Olympics. It was premiered in the Olympic Village in the Qingdao and then in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The music is warm and suitably heroic with elements of struggling against the odds, and clearly influenced in places by pieces composed by John Williams for previous Olympics Games. When listening to it, it easy easy to imagine yachts gliding across the ocean. This music is available for online download at this link from Amazon.com and also from iTunes - see the news section of Jeff Rona's website.

Thomas Newman - Wall.E soundtrack CD cover "Wall-E" is another delightful film from Pixar in collaboration with Disney, and the film has very little dialogue apart from assorted robot noises and sound effects, but there are a few songs and an equally delightful soundtrack from Thomas Newman. In a very real way the music brings out the character of Wall-E, his quirkiness, his curiosity, his inventiveness, his love and his determination. The soundtrack also boasts a song co-written with Peter Gabriel. The soundtrack CD is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Harry Gregson-Williams - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian soundtrack CD cover "Prince Caspian" is the second story from The Chronicles of Narnia series, with Harry Gregson-Williams continuing to provide the musical backdrop. While building on the soundscape and certain themes from the first film, the mystery and magic from the first film have largely disappeared, and the second movie heads straight into action and adventure with an adult soundtrack which doesn't pull any punches or attempt to patronise the younger members of the audience. The soundtrack CD is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Philip Glass - Cassandra's Dream soundtrack CD cover "Cassandra's Dream" is a film by Woody Allen with a soundtrack from Philip Glass. If you know Glass's music you will have some idea of what to expect and won't be disappointed. The opening and closing tracks have a dramatic section on tremolo strings and introduce the lyrical main theme. The tone of the whole score is very much darker than some but this is very much dictated by the plot. The only disappointment is that the soundtrack album is short and leaves you wanting more. The soundtrack CD is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

The Music of Laurie Johnson - Volume 1: The Professionals soundtrack CD coverThe Music of Laurie Johnson - Volume 1: The Avengers soundtrack CD cover The British composers Laurie Johnson is gradually re-releasing his substantial music catalogue, and we now have two volumes of three CDs each containing film and television music, plus music composed for the concert hall, marching bands and other events. Find out more at these locations: Volume 1 is named after "The Avengers" and available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, while Volume 2 is called "The Professionals" and is at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

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