Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2015 November 30 • Monday

The 398th Soundtrack of the Week is UHF by "Weird Al" Yankovic.

From the movie you get fake ads for Gandhi II and Spatula City. There's also the Dire Straits parody "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies", which is presented as a music video/dream sequence in UHF.

My favorite track is the title song, though, an upbeat and infectious rock/pop number with great lyrics and typically fine playing by Yankovic's band.

Also of note is a Rolling Stones polka medley and one of Al's best originals, "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota".

2015 November 23 • Monday

The 397th Soundtrack of the Week is sweet music for one of the sweetest movies ever made. The composer is Joe Hisaishi and the movie is the classic My Neighbor Totoro.

First up is the surreal march song for the opening credits, probably about as lyrical and swinging as a march can get.

Then the score deploys the orchestra for a wide range of emotional expressions and music that conveys the natural world: joy, fear, rain, wind. One cue even sounds like a cousin to "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."

Finally at the end comes the beautiful Totoro song performed by Azumi Inoue. Her voice is so lovely and the song so poignant...

2015 November 16 • Monday

Hard Plains Drifter, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, is an unusual movie, a ghost story, a revenge drama and a Western. Dee Barton's excellent score for it is the 396th Soundtrack of the Week.

It starts with some creepy atmospheric noises that soon give way to the main theme, a mournful and beautiful undead waltz.

The rest of the music keeps this feeling of dread and horror, with Barton doing wonderful things with textures and ostinati.

The blending of electronics and electronic instruments with acoustic instruments is brilliant..

2015 November 09 • Monday

The 395th Soundtrack of the Week is this strange record, Michael Sena's music for the surf film Bali High.

The music is groove oriented with cheesy fusion touches. There are also rock numbers and cue that are presumably supposed to reflect various internation locations.

The main title piece is a highlight, as well as the proggish "Agatha Trim".

The rest of it will depend on your mood. I'm enjoying "We Are Whole" right now but I could imagine not liking it tomorrow.

2015 November 02 • Monday

I loved The Avengers: Age of Ultron and I thought Mad Max: Fury Road was mostly just silly. There, I said it. You can ignore all my opinions now.

But it's beyond me how anybody could think Fury Road was better than The Road Warrior, which I watched again recently just to make sure I wasn't romanticizing a memory. It's a really great movie, better than Fury Road in every way, including music.

Brian May's score for The Road Warrior is the 394th Soundtrack of the Week.

This a serious, dynamic score, rich and propulsive with a strong sense of narrative to it. Without being heavy-handed, it's the opposite of sonic wallpaper.

The cues aren't so much about themes as they are about the moods of the action and the emotions of the characters. Bernard Herrmann scored like that also, but this music isn't anything like Herrmann's.

Just like the movie, the music is solid, thoughtful, exciting and crafted with discipline for maximum impact.