Weekly Recommendations – w/e 13th August 2021

Here’s another round-up of recommended scores released over the previous week (w/e 13th August 2021).

The Life Underground (2021) – Diego Baldenweg, Nora Baldenweg & Lionel Baldenweg (GREAT GARBO Music)

Written for a short film set in the dangerous underground world of city subway tracks, the composers combine orchestral elements and soloists (particularly trumpet and drums) to create a score of dual personality. The soloists provide a gritty, urban, jazz-infused aspect (with some breath-takingly speedy passages) that seamlessly melds with the orchestra that leans towards providing a more personal and emotional side to the music.

Free Guy (2021) – Christophe Beck (Hollywood Records)

Beck’s score for Free Guy is an entertaining orchestral score that rarely slows down from it’s frenetic pace. But, whether focusing on the quick-paced action scoring or the more sedate emotional interludes, the composer doesn’t lose his ability to create a very listenable album. Of particular note is the effective combination of the orchestra with noticeable but subtle use of synths.

Beckett (2021) – Ryuichi Sakamoto (Milan Records)

This Netflix thriller which, by some accounts is a sub-par effort trying to pay homage to the thrillers of the 1970s, features a score from Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Known for his range of styles, Sakamoto’s score does cover a number of different musical styles in the 40-minute album: Jagged ambient soundscapes and disorienting percussion sit side-by-side with ominous orchestral tracks that creates a foreboding listening experience that is only occasionally lightened by something brighter. The joy – if that’s the right word – of this score is seeing (hearing?) the aural journey the composer takes the listener on.

What If (Episode 1)…Captain Carter Were the First Avenger? (2021) – Laura Karpman (Hollywood Records)

The animated Disney+ TV show, What if…?, digs deeper into “pivotal moments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe [MCU]…leading the audience into uncharted territory.” Karpman has created a familiar musical universe in the sense that it fits nicely with previous musical forays into the MCU taken by other composers. And has provided a top-quality score that’s exciting and emotional in equal measure. The music for What If…? is another example from the record labels of releasing music from individual episodes separately and, to date (music from Episode 4 has recently been released), the composer has delivered top quality TV scoring on each occasion.

The Potato Venture (2021) – Panu Aaltio (MovieScore Media)

MovieScore Media has provided a great service to film music enthusiasts by regularly releasing music from Finnish composer Panu Aaltio. Aaltio rarely disappoints and his music for this comedy-adventure feature (which mixes 17th century civilization with modern day culture of the start-up company) to come up with a score mixing baroque music (and instrumentation) and with modern film scoring (a mix ‘encouraged’ by the COVID pandemic). Always entertaining, Aaltio’s score brims with enthusiasm, strong thematic material and the added bonus of the baroque/modern music mix.

Un rescate de huevitos (2021) – Zacarias M. de la Riva (MovieScore Media)

The composer seems happiest when composing for films that mix action and emotions. Un rescate de huevitos, a 2021 animated movie (and a follow-on to Un gallo con muchos huevos (2005)), features a thematic score (new themes as well as themes re-used from the original film) that’s a joyous listen that will lighten the mood of any listener. One thing that is particularly appealing is that the composer balances telling the story but keeps in check the comedic aspects of the storytelling.

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