MINE 9 – Mauricio Yazigi

Mine 9 is a survival thriller that follows a group of miners who work two miles under their Appalachian hometown. The miners know that conditions underground are not safe but they must risk their lives for the sake of a job or starve. Film reviews have noted director Eddie Mensore’s vivid depiction of the hardships faced by the workers as well as the dire claustrophobic conditions they must endure. A methane explosion below-ground traps the 9 men and they have limited time to make their escape as oxygen levels dwindle. The film’s soundtrack features a number of traditional and newly-composed songs that help to give the film a sense of place, but this review focuses on the original music score written by Chilean composer, Mauricio Yazigi.

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CURIOSA – Arnaud Rebotini

A stylized French historical drama set at the end of the 19th century, Curiosa tells the story of a love triangle between Marie de Régnier, who reluctantly marries to pay off her father’s debts but who loves another: Pierre Louÿs, a poet, photographer and erotomaniac. First-time director, Lou Jeunet, tells the story from Marie’s point of view and documents her journey as model for Louÿs’ photographs from victim to taking her destiny into her own hands. The director’s decision to provide a modern twist to the story is echoed in the music which is by French musician Arnaud Rebotini who is probably best known for his work with the French band, Blackstrobe which fuses electro and synth-pop of the 1980s with the techno and electronic dance music of the 1990s. Rebotini mixes electro, techno and dance music beats with a small ensemble of orchestral instruments including percussion, woodwinds, harp and strings to create a fascinating aural journey.

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POLTERHEIST – Umberto Gaudino

Set in the North of England city of Bradford, Polterheist has two dim-witted gangsters desperately trying to find a stash of drug money stolen by their boss. However, to complicate matters, they have just murdered him, and they must therefore kidnap a local psychic medium and force her to contact the dead gang boss. Unfortunately, they only succeed in unleashing an evil spirit seeking revenge. Primarily a gritty British gangster comedy, Polterheist adds a supernatural horror element that gives the movie added entertainment value.

The score for Polterheist is by Italian composer Umberto Gaudino. Since finishing his Masters at Leeds College of Music, Gaudino’s main credits include composing and arranging music for fashion shows for the likes of Dolce & Gabbana. Polterheist is his first feature. [Read more…]

BEYAZ BALİNA – Cenk Erdoğan

It’s interesting to hear how a composer approaches a score when he limits himself to predominantly one instrument. This is the case with Cenk Erdoğan’s score for the 2017 Turkish family drama, Beyaz Balina (White Whale), where he uses acoustic guitar as the main instrument.

Beyaz Balina is a story about two young boys. Ali moves to his grandfather’s village after the death of his father. He meets Vahap, who has always lived in the village. Although there is initially conflict between them, the boys interest in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is a common element that may be the catalyst for a developing friendship.

The composer studied guitar, specializing particularly in the fretless guitar and his proficiency in both instruments is ably demonstrated in this soundtrack. [Read more…]

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…]