Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 October 28 • Monday

One more for the Halloween season: the 593rd Soundtrack of the Week is Philippe Sarde's score for Ghost Story.

The music shows some Bernard Herrmann influence without being imitative. Certainly some of the patterns and instrumentation bring to mind soundtracks such as The Day the Earth Stood Still and Obsession, to name just two.

The score for Ghost Story hovers over the territories of romantic longing, suspense, action and terror.

"Accidents" has obsessive ostinati competing with swooping and swirling orchestral lines and even an ethereal wordless chorus.

The "Love Suite" is tender and moving, as expected.

Two cues, "Mansions" and "Old Mirror" start with the same nimble woodwing workout, which is perhaps echoed in the beginning of "Milburn".

"Cemetery" makes good us of that old standby the pipe organ.

Ghost Story doesn't end well, as I recall, and the "End Credits" wrap things up on a suitably unsettling note.
2019 October 21 • Monday

Tito Arevalo's music for The Mad Doctor of Blood Island is the 592nd Soundtrack of the Week.

The "Pre-Title" and "Title" cues blend blaring wind instruments with strings, percussion and wordless vocals to create a powerful atmosphere of danger and dread.

Then things get mellow and even a bit sweet with “Number 1”, a much more relaxing piece which still generates some suspense while mostly sounding like a love theme.

Most of the other cues are “Number 2”, “Number 3” and so on and generally deliver solid dramatic underscore, admirably crafting a wide range of tension, terror and action with a relatively small ensemble.

“Number 7” stands out for being a tender and even perhaps pastoral-sounding cue.

“Number 12” likewise has a wistful and vulnerable quality to it.

Hand percussion, chanting and some unusual-sounding reed instruments create the dense layers of “Dance, Pt. 1”. “Dance, Pt. 2” has a different feel and slightly different instrumentation.

“Distant Drums” lives up to its name.

And finally, “Finale” winds things up on a quiet and elegiac note.
2019 October 14 • Monday

The 591st Soundtrack of the Week is Richard Band's score for Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype.

Much of it is a reworking of the jaunty main title theme, which suggests that this movie is a horror comedy (as the title also might indicate).

There’s a nice blend of acoustic and electronic instruments with some synthesizer elements that reminded me of old episodes of Doctor Who.

“Madame Puree’s Last Foxtrot” is indeed a light and old-fashioned dance number.

“The First Transformation” is a very effective horror cue and “Coral’s Love Theme” is a wistful and beautiful piece of music for piano with strings.

Another stand out is the dreamy and gently swinging “Hoo Dies” cue, a piece of music that manages to be touching and yet kind of goofy at the same time.
2019 October 07 • Monday

Kicking off Halloween month, the 590th Soundtrack of the Week is Dracula music by John Williams!

The “Main Title and Storm Sequence” starts things out very dramatically with a stirring theme that Williams threads through the score.

The arrangements and instrumentation reminded me of some of the music for Raiders of the Lost Ark and I assume that Angela Morley made significant contributions.

There’s a great love theme heard in “For Mina” and some pulse-accelerating high-tension writing for “Grave Trampling and the Asylum”.

And of course there’s suspenseful, eerie and creepy music to accompany scenes like “Into the Crypt”, “The Attack” and “Casting a Spell and The Visitation”.
2019 October 04 • Friday

Once a proofreader, always a proofreader, I suppose.

These books look good and I bought them to read, but what's going on with this front cover blurb? Is it from The Guardian or the Observer?

Oh, it turns out that the Observer (or is it The Observer?) is part of The Guardian.

Then what about that Oxford comma? With or without? You can take your pick here! It's madness!

2019 October 02 • Wednesday