BÖRÜ – Lincoln Jaeger

Börü (Wolf) is a Turkish Netflix Original 6-part series (not to be confused with the movie of the same name) that aired in 2018. The show follows a group of military Special Ops types – the Wolf team – from 2014 through to just prior to the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, Each episode focuses on a specific operation although there is an over-arching story across all 6 episodes and the obligatory personal stories also to tell. Critics have noted the well executed action sequences – of which there are many – but the show is let down by the quality of the stories, the script and the characterisation of members of the Wolf team.

Börü’s score is by UK composer Lincoln Jaeger, whose previous credits to date are mainly trailer music (though he has also scored the feature film version of Börü). A quick read of the composer’s website and you will find that the composer “…love[s] grand orchestral sounds, hybrid trailer music, great drum grooves…”, and that’s exactly what you get with Börü. [Read more…]

THE SOURCE PARK – Edward Blakeley

Listening to a lot of film scores, as I do, it’s music that has a different sound or other property that differentiates it from the rest that particularly piques my interest. The use of the church organ in film music is something that always attracts my attention – Hans Zimmer’s use of the organ in Interstellar is the most interesting part of that score to my ears – and upon hearing Edward Blakeley’s music for the 2018 documentary, The Source Park, I was immediately drawn to it. My interest was further fueled when I realized the film’s subject matter.

The film follows the story of two brothers, Marc and Richard Moore, and the mammoth two-year restoration work they had to create the world’s biggest underground skate park underneath the seafront promenade in Hastings, a town on the UK’s southeast coast. [Read more…]

THE PREGNANT GROUND – Andreas Gutuen Aaser

The Pregnant Ground is a 2019 short film produced at the UK’s National Film and Television School that follows a woman who is trying to come to terms with having had a miscarriage. As part of her journey she begins to believe that the ground below her apartment becomes pregnant.

Written and directed by Haolu Wang, the score is by UK-based Norwegian composer Andreas Gutuen Aaser who has also written the music for the Norwegian documentary, Jeg ser deg. Aaser’s score for The Pregnant Ground is very similar throughout, with very little to differentiate between the seven tracks. Processed violin and cello create an ambient tremolo motif that is a constant presence that puts the listener on edge. [Read more…]

EL LIBRO DE LILA (LILA’S BOOK) – Juan Andrés Otálora

Lila is a character who falls out of a children’s book and ends up trapped in the human world. That’s the premise that opens El Libro de Lila (Lila’s Book), a 2017 animated feature film from Columbia. Lila realizes that the only person who can help her return to her world is the owner of the book. But he has grown up, has given up reading and – more importantly – has lost his childhood sense of wonder. Lila must convince him of her predicament so that he will help her on a journey to return her to the book before she disappears and is forgotten forever. The score is by LA-based Colombian composer, Juan Andrés Otálora whose credits to date include music written for several short films and additional music credits in TV shows such as Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny.

[Read more…]

8 DAYS (8 TAGE) – David Reichelt

8 Days (8 Tage) is an 8-episode German apocalyptic sci-fi mini-series where a 60-kilometre wide asteroid/meteor is on a collision course with Earth. American attempts to neutralize the threat have failed and Europe is in line to be completely wiped out by the impact. The drama focuses on the final days in the lives of a normal German family and the final countdown is interspersed with flashbacks to fill out the protagonists’ backstories.

German composer David Reichelt has provided the music for the SKY Germany drama, combining a textural sonic landscape with beautiful soprano vocals that, separated from the visuals, takes on the qualities of a 50-minute tone poem that works surprisingly well as a stand-alone listen. It’s Reichelt’s vocal compositions that leaves a lasting impression. Mesmerizingly sung by sopranist Caroline Adler, liturgical texts offer a stark contrast to the electronica. The opening “Eight Days”, with its combination of vocals and church-organ styled keyboards, gives a religious feel to the score. “Freedom” and “Passion” are tracks with strong performances from Adler and feels like a timeless arias. Adler’s vocals become more aggressive in tracks such as “Trafficker” and “Hostage” where a punchier, rhythmic delivery adds variety to the use of the human voice. A breathier version of this rhythmic vocal in “Abortion” weirdly echoes the patterned breathing sometimes encouraged during labour and childbirth. In all cases, Adler’s ethereal vocals are sympathetically underscored by the composer’s enveloping soundscapes: meandering synth washes or delicate pulsing electronic rhythms. [Read more…]

THE MUSTANG – Jed Kurzel

The Mustang tells the story of the inmate of a Nevada prison who is placed onto a program to train captured wild horses. Despite the movie covering a subject that is open to clichéd story-telling – the movie is even described as the protagonist “must learn to tame not only the mustang but also the beast within” – director and co-writer Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre has apparently side-stepped such well-worn paths and made a movie that has been received well by critics.

The score is written by Australian-born composer Jed Kurzel, who has written an arresting score featuring a small ensemble of musicians, particularly strings. The close-miked nature of the instruments (which also includes percussion and acoustic guitar) gives the score a powerful presence and showcases the various musical ideas Kurzel has fashioned. [Read more…]

OS PRÍNCIPES – Gustavo Jobim

Os Príncipes (The Princes), directed by Luiz Rosemberg Filho, is a 2018 drama set in Brazil that follows two men driving around Rio de Janeiro at night to alleviate their boredom. They are looking for sex and violence and pick up a couple of prostitutes to accompany them and help satisfy their needs. The award-winning music is composed by Gustavo Jobim who landed the job because he was working on a score for director Filho’s recently discovered movie, Imagens do Silêncio (1973), and the director felt there were similarities between the two movies. Jobim has come up with a bleak and oppressive score for what looks like an equally bleak and oppressive movie, with the music focusing on the use of unforgiving and somewhat aggressive electronics.

[Read more…]