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Apocalypse World War II
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Music from the Batman Trilogy
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Snowpiercer
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Captain America:  The Winter Soldier
Rio 2

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Volume 20
September 2001

 

 
Baby Boy by David Arnold

Running Time: 40:53


 Audio Clips

Track 2 - Waiting
Track 16 - Drive By

Baby Boy by David Arnold
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Composed by David Arnold
Orchestrated and Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Produced by David Arnold
Executive Producer: Robert Townson
Released by Varese Sarabande August 2001

John Singleton's returns to South Central Los Angeles ten years after his groundbreaking film, Boyz N the Hood.  For Boyz N the Hood, Singleton selected jazz bassist, Stanley Clark, to create the musical backdrop.  Singleton's choice for Baby Boy, features a very intriguing and unexpected choice of composers - David Arnold.  Known for his action-packed scores for the likes of Stargate, Independence Day, and most recently, The Musketeer, Baby Boy is quite a departure for Arnold.

As might be anticipated, due to the subject matter, Baby Boy is an strongly urban-influenced score.  Utilizing various synthesizer leads (popularized in recent years by Tom Newman), relaxed rhythms, an occasional black-spiritual-edge, and an undergirding of restrained orchestral accompaniment, David Arnold's a-typical score for Baby Boy is a subdued, but pleasurable listen.  Only on rare occasion does one get the slightest hint of the more familiar dramatic-Arnold; specifically in Jody's Nightmare (3) and Drive By (16). 

David Arnold fans who are in search of more of his more adventurous side should look at The Musketeer instead.  Those who enjoyed Howard Shore's recent work for The Score or Christopher Young's work for The Hurricane or In Too Deep, may well want to check this one out.

Rating: 5/10

 

 

   

Black Scorpion by David G. Russell and Kevin Kiner

Running Time: 73:04

 

 Audio Clips
Track 25 -
In the Tower

Black Scorpion by David G. Russell/ Kevin Kiner
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Composed by David. G. Russell and Kevin Kiner
Performed by David G. Russell and Kevin Kiner
Produced and Arranged by David. G. Russell
Album Produced by Ford A. Thaxton and Mark Banning
Executive Album Producer:  Neil Norman
Released by GNP Crescendo Records August 28, 2001

GNP Crescendo continues to deliver huge amounts of music from Sci-fi world.  With two other concurrent releases:  Stargate:  SG-1 (The Best of Season 1) and James Horner's vintage, Battle Beyond the Stars/ Humanoids from the Deep,  GNP offers up music from the television film and series, Black Scorpion.

While Kevin Kiner raised more than a few eyebrows with his high-powered score for Wing Commander, his work for the television feature film, Black Scorpion, is somewhat less engaging.  Following the course of this female-Batman, Kiner's music moves with a dark edge.  When the character went to the Sci-Fi Channel, as a weekly series, the crime-fighter ditched the dark-shtick in favor of a more conventional, double-identity style.  Brought on to help in that transition was composer David G. Russell.  While somewhat "lighter" than Kiner's work, Russell's efforts for the television series shows greater budgetary constraints as there is a noticeable increase in the reliance upon electronic instrumentation.  In any event, listening to the CD straight through finds the two composers' music meshing well, but may yield a flat emotional response from the listener.

The majority of GNP Crescendo's mammoth release of Black Scorpion falls into the painfully hollow mold that many other current, Sci-Fi television shows do.  Of course factors such as budgets, deadlines, and director/producer input has, for eons, limited the level of enjoyment the typical film music fan may have.  Full blame can only be unfairly placed upon the composers.  In the end, it will take quite a bit of sifting through the 73 minutes plus of music in Black Scorpion to unearth satisfying tracks, but with diligence a few can be found.

Rating: 4/10

Buy Black Scorpion by David G. Russell and Kevin Kiner at Amazon.com

 

 

   

Cats & Dogs by John Debney
 

Running Time: 33:47

 

 Audio Clips
Track 2 -
The Neighborhood

Track 10 -
Blasting to Headquarters

Cats & Dogs by John Debney
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Composed and Orchestrated by John Debney
Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony
Orchestrated by John Debney, Frank Benner, Don Nemitz, Chris Klatzman,
Pete Anthony, Ira Hearshen, Jeff Atmajian, John Kull, Louis Febre
Conducted by Pete Anthony
Produced by John Debney, Michael Mason
Executive Producer: Robert Townson
Released by
Varese Sarabande August 2000

In recent years family-oriented films have produced some of the most entertaining soundtracks such as:  Chicken Run and Spy Kids  or even Mark Mothersbaugh's The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000).  Animated or CG-laden films seem to be giving composers, if not demanding of them, more eclectic scores.  While frustrating for some listeners, many film music fans truly relish such experiences.  Cats & Dogs is certainly a bag-o-eclectic-fun as some of its predecessors proved to be; it falls just short, in terms of originality, of their overall quality. 

The soundtrack is easily divided into one of two categories:  the spy-spoof, and the comedic.  For Cats & Dogs, John Debney returns to the mission-impossible-influenced style he (and several other composers of "Team Spy Kids") utilized in Spy Kids.  Funnily enough, Cats & Dogs features an "orchestrating team" even larger than Spy Kids!  The opening track, Main Titles (1), sets the spy-spoof-tone right away, recalling memories of Lalo Schifrin's well-known theme or even moreso Elfman's contemporary treatment of the Mission Impossible theme. The vast majority of tracks follow this suit.   Several happy-go-lucky tracks such as: Lou The Dreamer (3) or  Dress Up Time for Tinkles (13), nicely counter the all the bombastic mayhem.  There are a number of moments that are keenly reminiscent of some of Alan Silvestri's great comedic scores like:  Richie Rich, Mouse Hunt, and Stewart Little.  Together both elements play off of each other well providing the listener with a nice half-hour of entertainment.

Rating: 7/10

 

 

     

The Score by Howard Shore

Running Time: 38:34


 

 Audio Clips
Track 4 - Recon

The Score by Howard Shore
Impressions by Christopher Coleman

Composed, Conducted and Orchestrated by Howard Shore
Performed by:  Charnett Moffett (Bass), Tim Hagans (Trumpet), David Samuels
(Vibes), David Torn (Guitar), Mike Lang (Piano), Steve Schaeffer (Drums)
Produced by Howard Shore and Suzana Peric
Album Producer: Budd Carr
Executive Producer: Robert Townson
Released by
Varese Sarabande April 2000

The sleeper-hit of the Summer of 2001 that featured stellar performances from Robert De Niro and Ed Norton, The Score, also featured the composing talents of Howard Shore...albeit in a somewhat unexpect fashion.  While fans wait for one of Howard Shore's most anticipated projects to date, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this jazz-influenced project has been released by Varese Sarabande.

Shore's work here certainly reminds of a handful of Christopher Young efforts such as:  The Hurricane and Entrapment, but is even stronger in its jazz-characteristics than either of these two.  Howard Shore's simple, sneaky, main motif is used quite often...too often. The theme is first heard in track one, Main Title; the most repeated of it being an eight-note descending motif.  Nearly every other track features this motif, but  abbreviated to six-notes.  Despite its subtle effectiveness within the surprisingly entertaining film, by the end of the 38 minute experience this motif has worn thin.  The end result is an overall experience that is tiresome.

To Howard Shore's credit, The Score is certainly consistent from start to end - the steady, heist-like-music never becomes too foreboding nor does it rise above a minimal level of "brightness."  Instead, from first track to last, it plods along, calm, cool and consistent as can be.  The regrettable part is that never really captivates the listener.  Finally, If one is feeling particularly mischievous then The Score can provide some great backdrop music for whatever capers one might be getting into.

Rating: 5/10

 


 

 

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