Welcome to Jim's Blog:

Subscribe to mfiles feed Keep in touch with what's new on mfiles. Jim's Blog has the latest music news. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to be notified of music news and new content on mfiles, or Subscribe to mfiles feed. Follow us on Pinterest to see our latest Pins, or on YouTube to see our latest videos.

Twitter Logo Facebook Logo Pinterest Logo YouTube Logo LinkedIn Logo

Jim's Blog by:

October 22nd - World Soundtrack Awards 2023

Nicola Piovani and Laurence Rosenthal The annual World Soundtrack Awards were presented yesterday as part of Film Fest Gent. The photo shows Nicola Piovani (left) and Laurence Rosenthal (right) who both won Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contributions to film music. Nicola Piovani is known for Fellini's "Intervista" (1987) and "La vita è bella" (1997) among many others, and Laurence Rosenthal is known for Arthur Penn's "The Miracle Worker" (1962) and the popular series "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1995) among many others. Laurence Rosenthal is approaching his 97th birthday, and his music will feature in an album to be released shortly by the Festival. Other award recipients included Film Composer of the year, Volker Bertelmann for War Sailor, All Quiet on the Western Front & Memory of Water, Television Composer of the Year Nicholas Britell for Andor Season 1 and Succession Season 4, Best Original Song "Your Personal Trash Man Can" from Season 5 of "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" written by Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore, Discovery of the Year Simon Franglen (no, I don't understand this either!) for "Avatar: The Way of Water", Game Music Award River Boy (Narayana Johnson) for "Cult of the Lamb", Amelia Warner, Alec Sievern, Dirk Brossé, and Robert Townson. Congratulations to all winners, nominees and participants at the event.

October 18th - Winifred Phillips: Horse Club Adventures

Winifred Phillips: Horse Club Adventures The last time we mentioned Winifred Phillips it was concerning her score for the game Jurassic World: Primal Ops. In complete contrast to that, we introduce her multi-award-winning music for "Horse Club Adventures". This is a series of games on various platforms aimed at a younger audience. It involves adventures, mini-games, missions, tasks and exploration, and the general tone is very much a feel-good one. Phillips' choice of music reflects this and includes plenty of variety in genres, styles and tempo. The main theme recurs at various points to keep things centred. The dominant instrumental sound comes from wooden flutes with guitar and percussion support, but there's also plenty of orchestral backing from the strings. The composer touches on folk sounds, with some jazz and funky moments, and the music occasionally veers off into early music or baroque with hints of oriental sounds. Quite an eclectic mix, but the overall feel is one of mood painting within an idyllic setting, using a light touch and full of fun. Music from the Horse Club Adventures has been released on two "folk" albums here: Winifred Phillips Folk.

October 6th - Jim Parker (1934-2023)

Jim Parker - composer It was just this week that I learned of the death of the composer Jim Parker in July at the age of 88. Even if you don't know his name, you will undoubtedly have heard his music, especially if you were watching UK television during the past few decades. His mysterious waltz theme for "The Midsomer Murders" has been a constant on the show for 24 years, and he also composed themes for other long-running series like "Ground Force" and "Changing Rooms". "Soldier Soldier" helped to launch the singing careers of "Robson and Jerome" (Robson Green & Jerome Flynn) when they sang "Unchained Melody" in one episode, and it was then released as a single. For this series Parker created a theme tune based on the old folk song "Soldier, Soldier". Other TV themes by Parker included "Born and Bred", "Foyle's War", "The House of Elliot", "The Booze Cruise" and many more. He studied Oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and played for a time with the City of Birmingham Orchestra. In addition to his television and film work, he also composed for the theatre and delivered a number of commissions from various groups and festivals. When John Betjeman was the Poet Laureate, Parker set several of his poems to music. He won a total of 4 BAFTAs for his television music including "To Play the King" (a sequel to "House of Cards"), "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders", "The History of Tom Jones" and "A Rather English Marriage".

October 3rd - The Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo: A Twenty-Year Retrospective

The Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo: A Twenty-Year Retrospective - album cover Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon are a husband & wife team making up "The Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo". They have been playing together for some time since this album (released earlier in 2023) is "A 20-year Retrospective" looking back over their recordings from two decades. The sound has remained remarkably consistent over that time period, bringing out a rich and mellow sound, both warm and intimate. The only familiar tracks to me are the 1812 Overture and the Ride of the Valkyrie, and it's interesting to hear two violas tackle orchestral music. However the main benefit of such an album is to introduce new repertoire to the listener, and there is considerable variety here demonstrating the versatility of these musicians. There are classical tracks from Bruni and Rolla, a passionate movement from "Double Helix" by Rachel Matthews, through to the relatively modern Sonata for Two Violas by Frank Proto. There are several compositions from Scott Slapin himself and these are both varied and listenable, pleasantly modern without being atonal. The album also features some fun tracks by David Rimelis. All in all this album is a celebration of the Duo itself, the Viola as a chamber instrument and some largely unknown repertoire. The best way to hear the Duo's music is either through their website violaduo.com, or via their Youtube Channel which also features Viola lessons. And if you aspire to play in a Viola Duo yourself, their website has many suitable sheet music links.

September 1st - Patrick Jonsson: Scrapper

Patrick Jonsson: Scrapper - film score album cover "Scrapper" is the directorial debut film of Charlotte Regan, and it has won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. The film is about a young 12 year old girl called Georgie, who is dealing with the grief of losing her mum. The music score is by Patrick Jonsson, who has consistently scored a wide range of well-regarded scores for films and television series over the last decade or so. In the film Georgie deals with her grief by building a large tower of scrap metal, as a displacement activity and form of self therapy. Early conversations between director and composer agreed that the score should be from Georgie's point of view and include metallic sounds to mirror the scrap metal construction. The result is very acoustic and real-world reflecting the girl's thoughts, dreams, and memories. The metallic sounds are not dry and hard, but strangely warm and homely, including some isolated sounds and rhythmic sequences. This is an interesting score which seems to strongly reflect the subject matter, and very much worth a listen. The score is released today and you can stream it on all music platforms such as this link on Spotify.

August 3rd - Carl Davis (1936-2023)

Carl Davis We are sad to announce the death of the composer Carl Davis at the age of 86. He was born in the US but moved to the UK in 1961, where he settled in Liverpool and married the actress Jean Boht (best known as the Mum in the comedy series "Bread") who died in 1991. As a composer Davis scored films such as "The French Lieutenant's Woman", "Frankenstein Unbound", "Up Pompei!" (the movie version) and "Anne Frank Remembered" and also UK TV series such as "The World at War", "Cranford", "The Naked Civil Servant", "Pride and Prejudice" and "A Year in Provence". However he was also particularly known for composing scores for older silent movies such as "Napoléon" (1927), "The Thief of Bagdad" (1924) and a number of Buster Keaton classics. In 1991 he worked with Paul McCartney on his concert work called "The Liverpool Oratorio". As a conductor he reconstructed and re-recorded some of Charlie Chaplin's own scores such as "The Gold Rush" and "City Lights", and he frequently conducted concerts with programmes of his own or others music and I attended one such concert in Edinburgh where he introduced and conducted a selection of well-known film music.

July 10th - Two Releases by Nainita Desai

Nainita Desai: Call of Duty - Modern Warfare II, Season 3 - album cover Two very different scores by Nainita Desai have been released recently. First is the Game Score for the most recent Call of Duty, "Modern Warfare II, Season 3". The action for this installment is set in Mexico, and the composer uses an electro-acoustic instrument called a "Halldorophone" to give the score its own unique sonic pallet. Each string on the instrument its own dedicated pickup allowing different electronic effects, with sympathetic drone strings providing additional colour and feedback. The Halldorophone provides melodic moments and the score features plenty of ambience with distressed string layers, some interesting evolving ostinatos and organic sounding percussion. Stream this score on Spotify.

Nainita Desai: Green Space, Dark Skies - album cover Green Space, Dark Skies was an unusual project connecting people across the UK for a celebration of their local National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The project culminated in a "finale" event with an associated film which featured on a special Countryfile episode broadcast in October 2022. Large groups of people formed light patterns (using low impact lights) on the slopes of the 4 highest mountains of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Desai's music for the film is dramatic and emotionally powerful as it underscores moments of reflection, community and epic majesty. It is beautiful and uplifting, with evocative folk strings (played by Matt Kelly) soaring over a lush ambient backdrop of music. Find streaming options for this mini-album at MovieScoreMedia.

July 3rd - Mark Tewarson: Assassin

Mark Tewarson: Assassin - album cover The OST for "Assassin" released by Filmtrax Ltd. is now available on Streaming platforms. The movie is sadly Bruce Willis' final role, and also stars Nomzamo Mbatha and Dominic Purcell. It's a sci-fi action thriller, with the central concept of technology allowing agents to carry out covert operations by inhabiting the minds and bodies of others. Willis leads a team to recover some drone tech which has fallen into enemy hands. The film score is by Los Angeles based composer Mark Tewarson, whose palette for this film is based on synth sounds with strings, piano and percussion. Partly sound design, there are plenty of industrial atmospheres with some processed voices adding to the dehumanised feel, with action sequences propelled by percussion at a rapid BPM. There is some some humanity in the form of both solo and section strings and piano, and small snatches of melodic musings provide a small element of hope. Check it out on your favourite Streaming platform.

May 25th - Mikyung Sung: The Colburn Sessions - All about that Bass!

Mikyung Sung: The Colburn Sessions - album cover The Double-Bass is rarely the star in classical music, but Mikyung Sung is set to change that! She is a Korean classical bassist, born into a musical family where she played the instrument from a young age, before giving her professional debut at the age of 12. She has since given recitals, played at festivals, performed with a range of orchestras, and has become something of a social media phenomenon. Her debut album is "The Colburn Sessions", featuring the Double Bass as a solo instrument (with piano accompaniment), and named after the school in Los Angeles where she studied. On 2 discs the album features works by Bottesini, Massenet, Hindemith, Montag, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov and Franck - some written for the double-bass, some adapted from cello works and some even originally for violin. Indeed in the hands of Mikyung Sung the instrument sounds like a deeper version of a cello, richly lyrical and with a surprising agility. Here is a youtube example of Sung playing the Schubert song "Ständchen" from Schwanengesang, and on her website at mikyungbass.com you will find many more examples and details about the album.

May 11th - Dmitri Golovko - Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism

Dmitri Golovko - Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism - score album cover It has long been observed that audiences tend not to like avant garde music, but that it seems to be acceptable in film scores for the horror genre. We expect horror movies to be unsettling and the music is part of that experience and certain avant garde techniques now become appropriate like dissonance, atonalism and "found sounds". Dmitri Golovko's score for "Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism" is certainly a case in point utilising these methods, but it is not an extreme example by any means. The film is an Australian production based on a true story about an overzealous exorcism that goes badly wrong. The film score features some strange bowing sounds and percussive noises plus some weird electronic processing, but much of the score is orchestral and reasonably tonal. In places some tracks even manage to be tender and emotional, and there is a clear sympathy for the woman who is the unfortunate subject of the exorcism. It is certainly a very listenable soundtrack and easy to recommend. The composer Dmitri Golovko is based in Australia, has been contributing to film and television scores for more than a decade and has won several awards for his music. His website is at www.dgmusic.tv, and the film score can be heard on Youtube and other streaming services. The final track on the album is a remix of one of Golovko's score tracks by electronic artist Tobacco Rat.

May 9th - John Murphy: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

John Murphy: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 - score album cover Music albums are now available for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 coinciding with the cinematic release. There's the expected "Mixtape" soundtrack, though no longer restricted to 80s music as that storyline has moved on. The original score is by the composer John Murphy. Murphy has been creating film scores since the early 1990s but it was his music for "28 Days Later" in 2002 which made people take notice, specifically the track "In The House, In A Heartbeat" with its haunting guitar melody. The track made a welcome return in 2007's sequel "28 Weeks Later" and that year also saw the release of the influential track "Adagio in D minor" for the movie "Sunshine". He went on to score many more movies, most recently "The Suicide Squad" and the GOTG "Holiday Special" short. For GOTG Vol.3 he has put together a rock-metal-electronic-orchestral-choral score with some of his signature guitar sounds, which help to blend with the "mixtape" songs. Some of the tracks sound like huge battle scenes (Warlock vs. Guardians & Guardians vs. Hell Spawn) but then we have the juxtaposition of church-like boy soprano with "elevator music". There is also some classical touches with a hyped up version of Purcell's "Dido's Lament" wringing every last drop of emotion. The excellent score can be played on Youtube and other streaming sites.

April 25th - Jean-Michel Jarre: Oxymore

Jean-Michel Jarre: Oxymore Back in the 70s & early-80s Jean-Michel Jarre was the darling of electronic music with albums like Oxygène, Équinoxe, etc. Then he progressed to huge multimedia experiences with lights & fireworks accompanied with music, including locations like the Eiffel Tower and major stadiums across the world. But he never stopped releasing music and "Oxymore" is his latest in a long series of studio albums. The title seems to refer back to "Oxygene" but is a riff on the word Oxymoron. Oxymore is subtitled "Homage to Pierre Henry", Henry being the French pioneer of musique concrète and electronics who left Jarre with a series of sounds (including vocals) for further development, which Jarre duly delivers in this album. The album also makes much use of the latest immersive spacial techniques. If you buy the CD you get a code to download special binaural versions of the tracks, with weird dynamic panning effects when using earphones. Although many artists work in the electronic field these days, Jarre can still deliver the goods. Check it out at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

As a fan of film music I've often wondered how much influence on his musical career came from his father Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, etc.). The answer may be very little, since his parents split when Jean-Michel was only 5 and his father left to pursue a career in Hollywood. However growing up he had lots of contact with artists of all types, and his mother was also influencial and famous as a leading figure in the French Resistance during WWII who spent almost a year in a concentration camp.

April 12th - Gayathri Khemadasa wins Best Music for "The Newspaper"

Gayathri Khemadasa is a Sri Lankan composer and pianist who studied piano at the Prague Conservatory in the Czech Republic. Starting out as a pianist in 2005 she has composed film scores since 2009, and in 2015 she became the first woman in Sri Lanka to win a domestic award for film music despite working in a very male-dominated industry. In 2020 the composer wrote the music for the Sri Lankan film "The Newspaper" which did very well internationally, and in June 2022 she was nominated for and won in the category for Best Music at the Santa Barbara Ceylon Film Festival. The title track from the film is shown alongside. More about the composer and her career can be found at her website: GayathriKhemadasa.com.

April 3rd - Ryuichi Sakamoto (1952-2023)

Ryuichi Sakamoto I regret to announce the death of the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto at the age of 71. Sometimes it seems as though I'm always reporting the passing of composers. In the case of Ryuichi Sakamoto, I first became aware of his music from "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" which starred David Bowie and had Sakamoto himself in the cast, but it's the composer's music which made a lasting impression. He went on score "The Last Emperor", the 1990 film adaptation of "The Handmaid's Tale", "Wuthering Heights", "Little Buddha", "Snake Eyes" and "Silk". More recently he scored "The Revenant" where Leonardo DiCaprio seeks revenge after being left for dead following a bear attack, and The Black Mirror TV Episode "Smithereens" starring Andrew Scott. Beyond his film career he composed albums and singles as solo projects and with numerous collaborators, and went on tour with live shows. His website is at SiteSakamoto.com.

March 27th - Christopher Gunning (1944-2023)

Christopher Gunning It is with great sadness that I report the death of the composer Christopher Gunning at the age of 78. To many people Gunning was best known as a composer for film and television. In the realm of TV music he is the saxophone sound of Agatha Christie's "Poirot" starring David Suchet, though he also created themes or scores for "Rosemary and Thyme", "Cold Lazarus", "Porterhouse Blue", "Wild Africa", "Rebecca", "Middlemarch" and more. For film he scored the award-winning Edith Piaf biopic "La Vie en Rose", "Hands of the Ripper", "Amin: The Rise and Fall" and the haunting vocal music for "When the Whales Came". Away from his screen music, his main artistic focus was his concert music. In total Gunning composed at least 12 Symphonies recording many of these conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra or the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and his affinity for the saxophone also gave rise to a Saxophone Concerto as well as concertos for many other string and wind instruments. On a more personal note, I never met Christopher but was pleased to call him a friend on social media where he frequently liked and commented on my many photos of the Scottish Highlands.

February 9th - Burt Bacharach (1928-2023)

Burt Bacharach It is with regret that we report the death of the songwriter Burt Bacharach at the age of 94. Bacharach had a classical musical education but quickly showed a strong interest in and an aptitude for Jazz, Big Band music, and the popular music of the time. He met, accompanied and arranged for numerous singers, and soon formed a non-exclusive songwriter partnership with Hal David. The pair wrote many songs for Dionne Warwick, and Bacharach's career snowballed with further collaborations with leading singers and lyricists. "Magic Moments", "Anyone Who Had a Heart", "Walk on By", "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?", "I'll Never Fall in Love again", "That's what Friends are for", "Always Someone there to Remind me", "I Say a Little Prayer", "What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love" and "Close to You" are just a small sample of his songs. He also wrote songs and themes for (and sometimes scored) films such as "What's New Pussycat", "Casino Royale", "Alfie" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", and he made cameo appearances in all the "Austin Powers" films. His impact on Popular Music is immense.

January 17th - Amanda Lee Falkenberg: The Moons Symphony

Amanda Lee Falkenberg: The Moons Symphony - album cover For her "Moons Symphony", Australian-born composer Amanda Lee Falkenberg has picked seven of the most interesting moons in the Solar System to depict musically. A similar idea to Holst's Planet Suite, but Falkenberg goes for an emotional reaction to each moon's unique science, rather than the Astrological character of Holst's approach. We get a glimpse of some widely varied geology and unimaginable chemistry, culminating in the inspiring yet relatively homely Earthrise from our own Moon. Falkenberg's Symphony is a choral work with lyrics by the composer herself, and it has been recorded by The London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Marin Alsop, with the London Voices directed by Ben Parry. The result is a wonderfully evocative work that could equally grace concert halls or film scores. The album has some additional content from the composer and it can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. The composer's website is at AmandaLeeFalkenberg.com.

January 9th - Hildur Gudnadottir & Various: Tar

Hildur Gudnadottir and Various: Tar - soundtrack album cover Deutsche Grammophon isn't a label that you immediately associate with film soundtracks, but "Tar" is labelled as a Concept Album with "music from and inspired by" the movie. "Tar" stars Cate Blanchett as a fictional conductor called Lydia Tár, and features a score by composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker, Chernobyl, Arrival). The album features a number of score tracks, with some additional non-score tracks by Gudnadottir specially composed for the album, and inspired by the film. Blanchett immersed herself in music in preparation for the role, learning how to conduct, brushing up her piano skills and learning German. Whether playing or conducting, musical sections of the film were recorded live for maximum authenticity. The album includes film recording sessions of Blanchett conducting rehearsals with the Dresdner Philharmonie in portions of Mahler's 5th Symphony, and similar recording sessions of the Elgar Cello Concerto with Sophie Kauer on Cello. With a couple of additional film-related tracks, the album is certainly a varied and interesting listening experience - check it out on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

December 13th - Angelo Badalamenti (1937-2022)

Angelo Badalamenti It is with regret that we announce the death of the composer Angelo Badalamenti at the age of 85. He worked frequently with the filmmaker David Lynch and scored most of his films, first becoming a household name with his music for the TV series "Twin Peaks" especially its title theme, though he had worked with Lynch previously on the equally dark "Blue Velvet". He went on to score "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me", "Arlington Road", "The Beach", "Wild at Heart", "Mulholland Drive", "A Very Long Engagement" and the 2006 re-imaging of "The Wicker Man". In "Mulholland Drive" the composer played a cameo role on screen as Luigi Castigliani, and was convincingly scary in the role. Although known for his Lynch scores and other psychological thrillers, he scored a range of other genres including several war-time dramas and movies with an element of romance. For something completely different he also scored "The Straight Story" which is David Lynch's gentlest and most uplifting film.

December 2nd - Barry Schrader: Lost Analog

Barry Schrader: Lost Analog - album cover Barry Schrader is another of those intrepid early explorers of Electronic Music, working in America while others were based in Europe, but using Buchla synthesizers rather than Moog instruments. One of Schrader's earlier works from 1973 is the score for the short film "Death of the Red Planet" whose footage was made using lasers and mirrors. The original quadrophonic score is now lost but Shrader has released a stereo suite from the movie as part of his album "Lost Analog". The album is a retrospective of the composer's work, and also contains his 5 movement "Bestiary" from the early 70s, imagining a collection of mythological creatures and what they might sound like. He explores some classical forms in the 3 short movements of "Classical Studies", and "The Moon-Whales Suite" consists of the non-vocal movements from a larger work featuring poems by Ted Hughes. Schrader's music is frequently ambient in nature, though at other times its otherworldly sounds demand the listener's total attention. The album can be found on Bandcamp.

November 14th - Vidjay Beerepoot: Ainbo

Vidjay Beerepoot: Ainbo - film score album cover "Ainbo" is an animated feature film based on Amazon rainforest folklore. The movie was released in several countries in 2021, with the film score by Vidjay Beerepoot released more recently in 2022 perhaps to better coincide with its US release. The movie's full title is "Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon" and it features a young hero who embarks on an epic adventure with her two animal Spirit Guides, who you can see on the album cover. Vidjay Beerepoot is an Indian-born Dutch composer now based in the US. He has composed for film and TV before, though his greatest experience is with Video Game music. For "Ainbo" he sought to include musical flavours of Peru. The score has a rich orchestral core, with wooden flute providing an authentic jungle feel. It's clear that Ainbo's journey is as much emotional as physical. More about the movie at AinboMovie.com and stream the album on Spotify and other music services.

October 17th - Ceiri Torjussen: Delhi Crime Season 2

Ceiri Torjussen: Delhi Crime Season 2 Delhi Crime is a gritty police drama series set in New Delhi, and its current Season 2 is scored by the composer Ceiri Torjussen. Season 1 was released back in 2019 (music by Andrew Lockington) with Season 2 following on in August of this year on Netflix. Both Seasons were based on real-life crimes which shocked the world. You can see the trailer here on YouTube and hear a selection of tracks from the series here on Soundcloud. As you might expect the music fits the universal mould for modern Police dramas, with a gritty urban vibe. It uses some instruments from the Indian subcontinent but quite sparingly such that the music is not overly bonded to its location. However it is not all Police action and suspense. Some of the music has a brooding atmosphere, and certain tracks seems to paint the loneliness and hopelessness of the city's slum residents, as well as its gang-land culture.

September 9th - World Soundtrack Awards

WSA Film Composer nominees 2022 The World Soundtrack Awards will take place at Film Fest Ghent in October. Among the nominees for Film Composer of the Year are Germaine Franco (Encanto), Jonny Greenwood (The Power of the Dog, Spencer), Daniel Hart (The Green Knight, The Last Letter from Your Lover), Alberto Iglesias (Parallel Mothers), Daniel Pemberton (The Rescue, Being the Ricardos, The Bad Guys, Brian and Charles) and Hans Zimmer (Dune, No Time to Die, The Survivor). For Television Composer of the Year, the nominees are Nicholas Britell (Succession, Season 3), Natalie Holt & John Williams (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Jung Jae-il (Squid Game), Hasham Nazih (Moon Knight), Theodore Shapiro (Severance), and Christobal Tapia de Veer (The White Lotus). Other Awards to be presented include Best Original Song, Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer, Best Original Score for a Belgian Production, Public Choice Award, and Discovery of the Year.

July 18th - Brett Aplin: No Mercy, No Remorse

Brett Aplin: No Mercy, No Remorse - album cover Last year we introduced the composer Brett Aplin, and his score for the Australian TV series "The Bureau of Magical Things". This year one of his recent releases is the score for "No Mercy, No Remorse" which is completely different in character. The film is a documentary which covers the harrowing story of the Frankston murders which were perpetrated in Melbourne 25 years ago, and the subsequent police investigation leading to the conviction of Paul Denyer. Using mostly piano and strings with some electronic textures, the music is sometimes melodic but frequently dark and chilling. It's use of detuning seems to reflect the twisted mind of the killer, and its bleakness paints the terror and devastation he inflicted on the community. The score can be heard on a range of streaming services via this album link.

July 1st - Oscar Fogelström: Greed

Oscar Fogelström: Greed - album cover Set in the Pilippines, "Greed" is written and directed by Yam Laranas. The story involves a couple winning the lottery, but "things don't go as planned...". The setting may be unfamiliar, but the story itself is very relatable. The film's sound world is also familiar, scored by Swedish composer Oscar Fogelström a frequent collaborator of Laranas. It's musical core is orchestral but the sound is raw and includes orchestral and other effects. It manages to convey an all-consuming feeling of angst, yet still be engaging! The opening track "Fire Burning" gets straight into the dramatic tension with a percussive beat, and sound effects becoming orchestral cadences with a layer of string embellishments. Although the mood is much lighter in "The Ticket" subsequent tracks mostly continue with different shades of darkness until the opening mood returns in "Greed" with added heartache from a melancholy cello. It's a good score, and you can find it on most streaming platforms including Spotify and Youtube.

June 27th - Vangelis (1943-2022)

Vangelis Last month the world lost Vangelis who died at the age of 79. The Greek composer (real name Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou) grew to prominence in the 1980s for his film scores to the likes of "Chariots of Fire" (for which he won the Best Score oscar) and the sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" (whose score played a critical role in creating the movie's dystopian atmosphere). Much of his musical output was synth based, but he also scored for traditional orchestral and choral forces, and sometimes more unusual ethnic instruments. Back in the 1960s he formed the prog rock band "Aphrodite's Child" with Demis Roussos (who continued to contribute vocals on several of Vangelis' scores), Loukas Sideras and Silver Koulouris. Other noteable Vangelis film scores include "1492: Conquest of Paradise", "Alexander", "The Bounty", "Antarctica", "Missing" and "L'Apocalypse des animaux", and his numerous non-score albums include "Mythodea" which was linked to the NASA Mission to Mars in 2001.

May 11th - Music by John Barry

Music by John Barry - book cover Out now is a new book called "Music by John Barry" about the composer John Barry and his film music. The hefty 500-page tome was written by Jon Burlingame, Geoff Leonard and Pete Walker who between them had already amassed a lot of information about the composer, providing detailed CD jacket notes for many album releases, but further research has produced a lot of substantially new material. Burlingame we have mentioned before as the author of The Music of James Bond and the latest book follows the same pattern of having dedicated chapters per film. But there the similarity ends with the latest book's sole focus on Barry across the breadth of his work. I've not finished reading the book, but it is engrossing for all film music fans and lavishly illustrated with photos from Barry's wide-ranging career. It can be found on Amazon.co.uk.

April 22nd - Latest mfiles improvements

Romantic Piano - album cover Improvements have been made to the audio options for some mfiles music tracks (e.g. Fur Elise). These tracks have been re-recorded with improved playback and enhanced audio. Sets of related tracks have been released as online albums, so that the improved audio can then be played back through various streaming platforms such as Spotify & Apple Music. The albums have been distributed using a service called Songtradr, which means those tracks are also now available to be licensed in full hi-definition audio. So far 3 albums have been released (Romantic Piano, Baroque Piano and Ragtime Piano) with a combined total of 61 tracks. This is only a fraction of our existing catalogue, but over time further albums will be released, with a focus on classical and instrumental tracks. Midi & mp3 files will continue to be included, for those who don't use streaming services or need an option for budget licensing.

April 14th - Gerry Anderson in Concert

Gerry Anderson in Concert - Promo With apologies for the short notice, "Gerry Anderson in Concert" will premiere at the Birmingham Symphony Hall on Saturday 16th April. Gerry Anderson of course is the creator of many TV shows, many (though not all) featuring puppets and including Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Terrahawks and Space Precinct. Barry Gray was the composer for many of Anderson's best-known shows although the music of other composers who worked with him will also feature in the concert, including Richard Harvey (Terrahawks) and Crispin Merrell (New Captain Scarlet). Richard Harvey is a BAFTA-winning composer, and he will conduct a full orchestra for the concert. For more information and booking see the BMusic website. Finally if they are calling this a "premiere" then it suggests this could be the first concert of a tour, so there is hope for those of us who stay many miles from Birmingham.

March 30th - 2022 Film Music Awards so far

Hans Zimmer: Dune - film score album cover All the big Film Music Awards were again in agreement this year, with Hans Zimmer winning the Golden Globe, the BAFTA and the Oscar for his score to the epic movie "Dune". Press photographs showed Zimmer wearing a bathrobe and holding a plastic oscar statuette outside his hotel in Amsterdam, having been woken by his daughter to tell him he had won the Oscar. The composer was staying in Amsterdam where he is continuing his European Live tour after performing recently in London's O2 arena. The "Best Song" Golden Globe and Oscar went to Billie Eilish for her title track to the Bond film No Time to Die, which was also scored by Zimmer. The success of the "Dune" movie at the box office will hopefully mean that sequels will hit our cinemas in the coming years, all based on the books of Frank Herbert. In other news the nominations were announced today for both sets of the BAFTA Television Awards (since they are split into "Television" and "Television Craft" awards). The "Dune" film score album is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

March 17th - Erwann Chandon: Simon's Got a Gift

Erwann Chandon: Simon's Got a Gift - album cover Continuing our search for talented yet relatively unknown composers, we introduce the French composer Erwann Chandon and his score for "La dernière vie de Simon". This translates as "The Last Life of Simon" but the English title "Simon's Got a Gift" is more enigmatic. Chandon's music shows a rare intimacy with the orchestra with some great writing for woodwind and tuned percussion, orchestral colours frequently neglected on film scores. The Gift in the title is a superpower that Simon has, and the early parts of the score reflect this with a magical quality. But his gift gets him into trouble and the score accompanies him during his unusual yet emotional coming-of-age journey. The score won the Prix ​​Michel Legrand in 2021 for Best Emerging Talent and also Best Original Score at the Boston Sci-fi Film Festival last month. You can hear the film score on various streaming services at this album link for La dernière vie de Simon.

February 22nd - Contretemps rescored by Hervé Gilles

Contretemps (Setback) is a short animated film released in Sept 2021 by Gobelins, a French Visual Arts School. The film highlights the everyday issues faced by someone with OCD. The film also touches on the topic of music, since it involves the misplacing of a ligature, used to hold the reed on a clarinet's mouthpiece. The video alongside shows the film as re-scored for orchestra in a blend of post-romantic and avant-garde styles by composer Hervé Gilles. You might want to compare the result with the music on the Original Film which has a minimal soundtrack by Arthur Dairaine with sound design elements.

January 25th - Patrick Doyle: Robert Burns - Love Songs for Solo Piano

Patrick Doyle: Robert Burns - Love Songs for Solo Piano, album cover To tie-in with Burns Night tonight, Scottish film composer Patrick Doyle has produced an album of Burns songs called "Robert Burns - Love Songs for Solo Piano". The composer has arranged and performed these instrumental songs, and the first single "My Luve's Like a Red Rose" is out now on streaming platforms. The 2nd single "Ae Fond Kiss" will be available later this week from 28th January, though unfortunately you will need to wait until 25th February to get the full album whose cover is shown alongside. Update: You can now stream the Full Album while the first single can be played below:


January 12th - Andrew Lloyd Webber: Symphonic Suites

Andrew Lloyd Webber: Symphonic Suites - album cover "Symphonic Suites" is an album of orchestral suites of music from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals. This may be the first in a series of albums, and contains suites for Evita, Sunset Blvd & Phantom of the Opera. Each suite is a continuous single track of 20-plus minutes, the music is orchestrated by Andrew Cottee and the album produced by the composer's son Nick Lloyd Webber. Suites such as this make ideal vehicles for showing familiar music in a new light, and these tracks remind us what a great tunesmith Andrew Lloyd Webber is. The album was recorded and released in 2021, the same year that his new musical Cinderella hit theatres after suffering Covid delays. In the media, the composer championed the impact of pandemic restrictions on the arts, those very restrictions making us better appreciate the value of live music. The album may have been gestating over some time, but the lean year may have provided some slack in an otherwise busy schedule to complete the project, albeit those restrictions provided many new challenges when it came to recording such a large orhestra. The music is everything you imagine and is highly recommended. It is available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

More Music News from Jim's Blog posts

For current and recent new items, see Jim's Blog.

For older posts, the archive pages are Jim's Blog 2021, Jim's Blog 2020, Jim's Blog 2019, Jim's Blog 2018, Jim's Blog 2017, Jim's Blog 2016, Jim's Blog 2015, Jim's Blog 2014, Jim's Blog 2013, Jim's Blog 2012, Jim's Blog 2011, Jim's Blog 2010, and Jim's Blog 2009.