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September Film Music Overview

The month has truly flown by here and there have been a number of interesting new releases hitting streaming and specialty labels this past month.

Jerry Goldsmith's music continues to get a good trickle of releases. Varese Sarabande has added to it with an expanded release of his truly gorgeous score to the underrated Rudy. If you think of the composer as a horror or action score master, you do indeed need to add this work to your appreciation of his talent in subtle shades of orchestral color and an achingly beautiful theme. Not to be outdone, La-La Land has also released a new 2-disc set in their Goldsmith at Fox Series. These have been a mix of re-issues of scores that had been previously available though now with improved sound, as well as some new-to-disc scores as well. The new set focuses on Goldsmith's television work between 1968-1975. Disc one has some of the music for the brief TV series Anna and the King which show off some of the composer's deft hand in colorful writing within a reduced orchestra. It has some overlap with other film project approaches (The Sand Pebbles; The Chairman), but it is some rather engaging material. There are a couple pieces from a pilot that never got pickec up (Only in America) as well as new masterings of music from Nick Quarry and Room 222 (a little more music than has appeared on its FSM release). Disc two has some great pilot series' work as well including a stereo version of his work on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and the premiere of Prudence and The Chief. A Girl Named Sooner is also included. It brings together a really nice package overall.

On the video game side of things, Nainita Desai's work on Immortality is among her many impressive works. Throughout there is this somewhat melancholy, Gothic quality to the music often crafted in warm orchestration with a sultry sax sneaking in as a connective tissue. The different scenarios are presented with a set of variations that reflect the descent into the supernatural and unusual worlds. It is all quite brilliant. Working with a decidedly smaller budget and platform, Winifred Phillips work for the IOS/Android mobile game Jurassic World: Primal Ops is a well-knit score with strong thematic ideas and good tension building ideas that seem to provide an endless variety of scoring ideas. These all grow organically from her rhythmic planning and it is interesting to see how parts of the music can be looped or jumped in and out of without compromising what she has created.

On the score front John Debney's delightful work on Luck has a strong thematic core that is quite delightful "Samantha’s Theme" provides a real anchored quality across the score as it often floats through the shifting moments taking on slight variations, or being interrupted for a moment of adventure, mayhem, or even reflective pause.It makes the score a delightful thematic work with a host of great little touches along the way.The orchestration here is quite superb and it is also interesting to hear how Debney applies interesting harmonic shifts to move the themes along in often briefer segments.In many respects, Luck is a distant cousin to Debney’s Elf (“Meet Rootie”, with its jazzier flair even has a slight melodic similarity), a blend of strong themes that can tug at the heart with a blend of action and comedic underscoring.All of this wrapped in a well-orchestrated package that delights throughout.

Fans of Doctor Who will also want to take note that Silva is releasing finally some music from Series 13, Doctor Who Flux. The Segun Akinola score features more updated electronic atmospheres now added to more pronounced orchestral writing. Thematically, the score also shines a bit more than the last efforts and the growth and emotional impact of these ideas increases well throughout the presentation. The release is easily recommendable to fans of this approach and even to those who may have given up and is some of Akinola's finest work on the series to date.

Finally, if you have not heard the score for Ti West's latest film, Pearl, you really should. The film takes us back for an origin story based on the character introduced in X which was released earlier this year. That score, by Tyler Bates and Chelsea Wolfe, is equally excellent with touches of experimental techniques. For Pearl, Bates is joined by Timothy Williams and the two have created a real throwback to the Hitchcock-Herrmann styles of the 1950s/1960s. The ghost of Vertigo seems to inform some of the musical gestures which are gorgeously-orchestrated. The score is easily one of the best of the year and not to be missed.


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