Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2012 May 21 • Monday

The 218th Soundtrack of the Week is Ravagers, scored by Fred Karlin.

The first track, "Military Installation No. 1", is similar to certain John Barry or Ennio Morricone compositions, creating textures with strings and trumpet then adding woodwinds. There are oboe and flute statements and harp-like nylon-string guitar playing. It has a peacheful mood but ends with slight dissonance.

Then comes "Ravagers Attack Falk", which has cymbalom playing with some choppy strings. What happens melodically is a bit similar to the theme for The Six Million Dollar Man.

Melodic percussion and deft acoustic guitar playing give way to full orchestral expansion of these moods in the next track, "Miriam Dead". There are plaintive cello solos.

"Falk Kills" starts with a blast, a sythesizer backed by orchestra. The cymbalom returns with a driving rhythm, drops out, comes back in, drops out again. In places it sounds a bit like music from the Star Trek movies and I thought I heard something like a blaster beam in there.

"New Home" begins with a wistful, pretty melody and an instrument that reminded me of the Ondes Martenot. The melodic line from "Ravagers Attack Falk" comes back. "Cabin" starts with buzzing strings and then a continuation of the "New Home" mood with tasteful and impressive guitar work.

Electronics, ominous strings, cymbalom and wooden flute create a mood of tension and danger for "Military Installation No. 2". This relaxes, then trumpet comes in, laid back but with occasional martial snare statements.

Bursts of action music and the return of the theme heard first in "Ravagers Attack Falk" define "Ravagers in Pursuit" while a more ethereal mood introduces "Ravagers Kill". The thing that makes me think of the Ondes Martenot is used again, and then there's a fugue-like passage for strings. Then it alternates between bursts of dramatic music and wooden flute solo.

"Ravagers Inside House" is suspenseful underscore with subtle electronics and percussion. "Ravagers Attack House" is driving action music that sounds appropriate for a siege or battle scene. It mellows out near the end.

An urgent-sounding triangle leads "The Ship" and the fugue-like theme from "Ravagers Kill" comes back. It ends with electronics and cello voices.

"The Fish" sounds a bit like John Barry's "Wednesday's Child" and features sensitive guitar and flute playing. It develops into an optimistic, gentle sort of piece.

Cymbalom and chopping strings suggest danger for "Ravagers Attack Ship". Again I thought of John Barry, possibly his music for the Fort Knox raid in Goldfinger. There's a recapitulation of the theme first heard in "Ravagers Attack Falk".

"End Credits" winds down with the main theme again and builds to a powerful climax.

Following this there are three tracks of source music. "Folk Dance" is cheerful music for guitar, percussion, winds and fiddle. "Solo Piano" sounds like a beat-up old upright playing a sad, bluesy tune. And "Polka Dot Rag" sounds like you'd expect, especially if you expect accordions.