Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Past Spotlight-Battlefield 3 Video Game Score Review

Title: Battlefield 3

Composer/s: Johan Skugge, Jukka Rintamaki

Length: 36 minutes

Track Count: 19 tracks

Year Of Release: 2011

Hello! I'm back with another past spotlight, this time with the score for Battlefield 3. I'm checking this out solely to get myself pumped for the Battlefield 4 score, which I'm checking out in days to come. Johan Skugge and Jukka Rintamaki score this game, and neither of them I've ever heard. Am I excited to bring you this score? Not at all! So lets dive in and get it all over with!

The score is based around extremely irritating and powerful synth, which does nothing but hurt your ears. The vast majority of the pieces that lie within this score are all repetitive, one dimensional and uninteresting. It sounds as if a 5th grader could write this stuff, no music experience required! What it lacks most of all, in my opinion, is heart and depth. It doesn't tap into my emotions at any point, and it's not full of witty melodies or impressive beats. It's constantly bland and slow.

I can normally get some kind of a theme out of score, but for this score, I simply can't! I don't imagine much happening whilst this score is playing. Isn't that what music is meant to do? Show something to you, whether it be a theme or a scene or a character, without physically showing you that specific person? This score lacks all of those points.

Once a piece starts, and a beat and melody is established, it sticks for the rest of the piece. It doesn't seem to change much. There may be a small period in between where some new noise is introduced to simply break up the constant hammering of synth. But these are short and far between, and that means that you're stuck with painful beats which last for too long to bear! I can't invest in a score, get involved, enjoy it if it's continually bringing me pain!

The Battlefield 3 score is one of the worst scores I've ever heard. It's lack of variety is unbearable, it's constant heavy synth is cringe worthy and there is almost nothing worthy of value in the way of melodies. It's all just hammering music, which will induce pain upon your ears. The bottom line is avoid this score at all costs. I'm hoping for something a little better for Battlefield 4!

Solomon's Theme
The Death Of Vladimir

Individual Piece Scores:
Battlefield 3 Main Theme-52
Thunder Run-50
The Red Wire-43
Solomon's Theme-69
The Death Of Vladimir-60
Fire From The Sky-38
Kaffarov's Villa-09
Operation Metro-12
La Bourse-47
Black Gold-20
The Great Destroyer-59
Hunter's Point-40
Interrogating Blackburn-20
Battlefield 3 Dark Theme-05

Junkie Score: 37

My Spotify Account

Past Spotlight-The Hunt For Red October Score Review

Title: The Hunt For Red October

Composer: Basil Poledouris

Length: 30 minutes

Track Count: 10 tracks

Year Of Release: 1990

Film Synopsis: In 1984, the USSR's best submarine captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the USA. Is he trying to defect, or to start a war?

Hello! I'm enjoying writing about older scores, so after discovering this little one, I thought it necessary to post something about it up here! Basil Poledouris's score for the film The Hunt For Red October received mixed reviews, but I'm willing to stick it out and see what I think of it! Does it succumb to common action score cliches, or does it make it's own mark? Let's see!

It feels quite basic, the whole score. The brass doesn't do anything too spectacular, the strings play some predictable and repetitive riffs, especially through the first few pieces, both which run for a fairly long time. I will admit, I did enjoy the vocal showcase that took place throughout the first piece. It wasn't exactly memorable, but it was enjoyable. That said, this score doesn't offer too much you haven't already heard, if you've gotten around to listening to a good amount of action scores. Most of the cues succumb to slow build ups, and non-satisfying climaxes, which makes a good deal of the score a grind. There are a few pieces which sound original and have some riffs which don't sound textbook, but these have to be some of the shortest cues on the track list!

There are some intense and gripping pieces. Whilst they are few and far between, they still exist! One of the stand outs had to be Chopper, which had the percussion on display. Poledouris certainly excels here, and it's good to see! And on the other end of the spectrum, there are some bland and uninteresting pieces, such as Two Wives. It doesn't seem to know it's tone, and it never seems to go anywhere! There is such a contrast between the great and the not so great! There are some pieces which don't do anything for me, and yet there are some which will stick in my head for days!

Basil Poledouris certainly tries his best to make something that sounds original and complex, and for a good half of the score, he really does! There is just a lot of the piece, that while decent enough, doesn't really appeal to me. It's not exactly a typical 90's action score, I'll give Poledouris that. This still doesn't make me enjoy it any more. I can see myself slipping this on if I'm really bored and want a little kick, as it's only 30 minutes, but I don't see a whole heap of replay value.

Putin's Demise 
Ancestral Aid

Individual Piece Scores:
Hymn To Red October-76
Nuclear Scam-70
Putin's Demise-86
Course Two-Five-Zero-43
Ancestral Aid-92
Two Wives-58
Red Route I-84
Plane Crash-77

Junkie Score: 74.2

My Spotify Account

Monday, 11 November 2013

Past Spotlight-Public Enemies Score Review

Title: Public Enemies

Composer: Elliot Goldenthal

Length: 29 minutes

Track Count: 11 tracks

Year Of Release: 2009

Score Themes: 1930s, dark, classical

Film Synopsis: The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.

Hello! Another past spotlight, I'm sure you're getting sick of them! This time we have Elliot Goldenthal's score for the film Public Enemies, a film that got a "Meh" out of me, or more specifically, a 6 out of 10. I don't know much about Elliot Goldenthal, and I've never heard one of his scores, but apparently, he's not too shabby. I'm looking forward to listening to this score, so let's jump in!

The score is a lovely display of orchestral skill, and from the first piece, Drive To Bohemia, Goldenthal has me hooked! It's very classical and minimalist, both some of my favourite types of score. It's a satisfying score, filled with pieces that will leave you feeling complete. One of the biggest problems I have with these classical scores is that they often leave me wanting more. Not the greedy more, because it's so good. The "I feel no fulfillment! Give me more!" It's good to see that Elliot Goldenthal has provided enough substance and power to leave you feeling full.

The score has a couple classical songs by musicians such as Diana Krall, Otis Taylor and Billie Holiday. These all fit the tone of the score, and they don't at all detract from the overall experience. The Diana Krall set, Bye Bye Blackbird is a soft and soothing song that will have you relaxed and calm. Otis Taylor gives us Nasty Letter, which showcases some awesome guitar solos, and it suits the 1930s period so damn well! The Indian Bottom Association Old Regular Baptists presents the haunting and striking Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, which has a short running time, filled with some really hard hitting moments. Billie Holiday gives us some funky music, in our final guest appearance. It's enjoyable, and once again, suits the rest of the score perfectly!

Goldenthal shines through with the string and brass sections. He evokes saddening and powerful pieces from these instruments, and these types of instruments suit this film and score well. So much of the score feels so effortless and simple, that it just allows you time to sit back and enjoy. You don't need to examine the score in a heap of depth to enjoy it! Just get comfortable and let the music take you on a ride, a ride to an interesting and fantastic world!

The only negative that I can find would have to be that there are a few pieces with repetitive and unoriginal riffs, most noticeable in Plane To Chicago. These are small riffs, but they are still there, and they needed pointing out, in my humble opinion. It's a small nitpick, simply because these repetitive riffs are far between.

Haunting and incredibly gloomy, both in the positive sense, Elliot Goldenthal's score for Public Enemies is a real treat! It captures the time period it's film takes place in, and Goldenthal takes advantage of this, creating something that is minimal yet powerful. He ticks a lot of boxes here, and I'm disappointed in myself for not finding the man quicker! Great score!

Drive To Bohemia
Billie's Arrest
Bye Bye Blackbird*
Nasty Letter*
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
JD Dies*

Individual Piece Scores:
Drive To Bohemia-98
Billie's Arrest-95
Love In The Dunes-82
Bye Bye Blackbird-100*
Phone Call To Billie-92
Nasty Letter-100*
Plane To Chicago-86
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah-98
Gold Coast Restaurant-90
The Man I Love-95
JD Dies-100*

Junkie Score: 94.18

My Spotify Account

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Batman: Arkham Origins Video Game Score Review

Title: Batman: Arkham Origins

Composer: Christopher Drake

Year Of Release: 2013

Score Themes: Darkness, madness, heroic

Game Synopsis: Years before the Arkham incidents, the neophyte Dark Knight finds himself the target of an open contract courtesy of Black Mask that draws the likes of Deathstroke, Deadshot, and Bane.

Hello! I'm very excited to review the score for Batman: Arkham Origins! Batman is one of my favourite heroes in the comic book world, and scores relating to Batman usually turn out in fairly good shape! Take Hans Zimmers wonderful Dark Knight trilogy, one of my favourite score trilogies! This time, Christopher Drake has been recruited to tackle the next installment into the Arkham setting, and he has to handle a younger and less experienced Batman. Christopher Drake has done some magnificent scores in the past, most noticeably the score for The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2!  So, it's no surprise that this is one of my more anticipated scores of the year, so lets see if it delivers!

Arkham Origins Main Theme starts us off, and it sounds a little like Zimmer's work for The Dark Knight trilogy. There is a heavy emphasis on strings and brass throughout the entire piece. It certainly sounds like a Batman theme, and one of the better ones out there! Not many negatives within the piece, to be honest! The Night Before Christmas is a haunting and harrowing piece. It has a distinct reliance on the percussion here, and it brings worth sounds which perfectly replicate the Christmas kind of feel. Black Mask Escapes is faster and more dangerous than it's predecessor. There are some brilliant riffs lying all through this piece, but the piece lasts for a mere 0:47 seconds, so we don't get much! Killer Croc is something of a longer version of Black Mask Escapes, with a little higher intensity and pace, which really has a big effect! There are various edgy and distressing riffs that fire all throughout the piece, and it makes for an interesting ride. Christopher Drake never lets any come off as lazy or 1 dimensional. There are so many aspects to this piece, and whilst it is filled to the brim with constant, original riffs, it never feels too overwhelming.

Croc Arrest has much more of a distinct theme to it than our last Killer Croc themed piece had. It's short, but awesome, as is our next piece, Batwing Storm Damage, which only lasts 0:39 seconds! It's a strong piece in the brass and percussion areas, but it doesn't do much in it's running time, for obvious reasons. Assassins is one of the more infectious pieces in the score so far. It's got some heavy percussion, and some really powerful brass. It goes to so many places in it's running time, and not a second is wasted! Weapons Deal is a softer, Christmasier piece. It's short, but it manages to capture some aggression and the feel of Christmas. The Final Offer starts off with either a heavy synth riff, or a single note being played over and over again on an electric pedal guitar. Either way, it's a slightly irritating piece due to this continuous riff. It's not stacked with much, and it is one of the more dull pieces on the score so far. The piece Deathstroke, in my opinion, perfectly replicates Deathstroke himself in music. It's fast, it has a heap of aggression and grunt and it never relaxes. All these points are so perfectly captured! An uneven beat makes for an impressive first few minutes. The strings and brass, once again, are a main focal point in this piece. The piece surprisingly never feels like it drags on for too long, despite the fact that the same rhythm and beats are used for fairly long durations.

Winter Comes To Gotham returns to the Christmas vibes. It's slow and manipulative, and it almost reminds me of some 80's horror film! More recently, Marco Beltrami's Carrie score, as a matter of fact. It's a dark piece, that keeps your interest the whole way through! Carols Of The Bells doesn't feel like it has a specific mood to it, which is a little confusing. It's light and bubbly, mixed with a dark overshadowing of brass. It feels so much like The Joker, so unpredictable and strange! G.C.P.D returns to the heavy brass and percussion we got in Deathstroke, to create a faster and more infectious beat to begin with. This piece in particular feels so much like Zimmer's Dark Knight. The amount of power in the percussion is insane towards the end! Can't You Just Play Along? is incredibly dark and unfocused in it's direction. You don't know where anything is going, what's happening until it happens. It's quite exciting, to be honest! It's thrilling climax is perfect for the kind of piece Drake wanted to create. Merchant Bank Escape is a fast and direct piece and doesn't take it's time on finishing up and ending with a bang! Copperhead is slower, more methodical, more dangerous. It constantly reinvigorates itself, recreates itself, with a stop start kind of format that I usually hate, that strangely works here! Hallucinations is a piece which screams madness! You can almost hear The Joker laughing as the piece ramps up! It's edgy, twisted and demented. Every second of it's 2:57 are so incredibly intense, so brutal, that the piece will leave you physically drained.

Snake In A Box is a charming yet mischievous piece. I feel like it ends much too quickly, with a running time of 0:40 seconds. Night Patrol has an heroic tone to it, mixed with an edgy and fierce riff that plays the entire way through. Regent Hotel uses most of it's playing time to build to a less than appealing climax. The piece doesn't offer too much, unfortunately. Bane plays to the effect of Bane, like I expected. It's heavy and powerful, and sets itself to an almost marching beat, which I personally loved! As of this point, Drake has managed to perfectly recreate most of the main characters into music! Why Would You Save... Me? is a mixed bag. There are some key moments which are done to perfection, mixed with some moments where the tone is really undefined. The Thieving Magpie is such a strange piece in the context of this score! It's so chirpy and wonderful! If I hadn't have seen the cutscene this piece is included in, I would've been completely lost! If this doesn't bring a smile to your face, there is something truly wrong with you! It's a great composition by Drake that will stick to your memory for sure!

The Bridge is not nearly as exciting than many of it's previous pieces, and it's full of an uninteresting melody, to my dismay. Firefly is the longest piece on the score, clocking in at 6:00, and showcases some of the more intricate and powerful riffs and melodies within the score. Despite it's length in comparison to a lot of the other pieces, it continually stays fresh and very energetic, to my delight! It runs the line between darkness and heroic, with some aggressive and brutal riffs, mixed in with some strong Batman themes. It's climax is one of the better riffs this score has to offer! I won't state the full name, just I Have Left, is a short piece full of some saddening and touching moments. Like a lot of the rest of the score, I don't know the tone of the piece, and it's hard whether to say it's dark or quite the opposite. Allies is an incredibly sad and sombre piece. It manages to hit the emotional mark quite well, and it's got some heart wrenching moments, to be brutally honest. It ends with a big change in tone and pace, and turns itself into a dark and brooding piece in a matter of seconds. Electric Chair is much like a lot of The Joker's themes. Edgy, raspy and dark. The underlying theme to this whole score, darkness. It's a little slow, but it's got enough smart and interesting riffs to keep you invested. One Of Us Will Die sounds like Bane, Batman and The Joker, all in one piece, and that it should be! The cutscene this piece is titled after includes all three of those characters. It's threatening, edgy and almost brooding.

Shadow Of The Bat is quite obviously The Batman's theme. It's fast, cunning and sane. It's the very opposite of The Joker! You sense there is a complete sense of control in the music, that Drake is certain for what is to come next, unlike The Joker's themes, at which were unpredictable and random! Arkham Origins End Titles is a very smooth and dark piece, that perfectly sums up the experience that has been the Arkham Origins score! It's heroic and brutal, which makes for a perfect ending! But, we're not finished yet. Arkham Origins Suite is pretty much a showcase of some of the best riffs from the score, and this makes for a very interesting piece. Drake mixes so many melodies and riffs into an almost perfect standard! It's ending is sublime, and I'm glad to say I really do approve this score!

Christopher Drake has knocked it out of the park here! There are a couple of points in which the score turns a little dull and silly, but these are clearly overshadowed by the dark tone and incredibly fast and aggressive power that this score showcases. It's one of Drake's best scores on it's own terms, and I can say for sure that this score plays into the game incredibly well. It's an hour and 4 minutes well spent, in my opinion. If you're a fan of superhero scores, this will certainly be to your liking!

Arkham Origins Main Title*
Killer Croc
The Thieving Magpie*
Arkham Origins End Titles*
Arkham Origins Suite*

Individual Piece Scores:
Arkham Origins Main Title-100*
The Night Before Christmas-95
Black Mask Escapes-80
Killer Croc-98
Croc Arrest-90
Batwing Storm Damage-79
Weapons Deal-87
The Final Offer-73
Winter Comes To Gotham-97
Carols Of The Bells (Jokers Theme)-86
Can't You Just Play Along?-90
Merchant Bank Escape-82
Snake In A Box-78
Night Patrol-83
Regent Hotel-75
Why Would You Save.... Me?-80
The Thieving Magpie-100*
The Bridge-70
I Have Left Enough Life In Him For Some Final Words... If You Hurry-80
Electric Chair-87
One Of Us Will Die-90
Shadow Of The Bat-95
Arkham Origins End Titles-100*
Arkham Origins Suite-100*

Junkie Score: 89.84

My Spotify Account

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Past Spotlight-The Impossible Score Review

Title: The Impossible

Composer: Fernando Velázquez

Year Of Release: 2012

Score Themes: Strength of the human spirit, survival.

Film Synopsis: The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Hi! I'm back with another little spotlight for a score that I only recently heard. The Impossible is a film that I saw earlier this year, and I have to say, it is one of the most heartbreaking films I've ever seen. It's emotionally wrenching, and multiple viewings are almost impossible. Fernando Velázquez has the job of creating a touching and dramatic score, and I have to say, he does so to almost perfection! I just couldn't resist sharing this brilliant score with you!

The whole score is incredibly minimal. Velázquez doesn't overdo any of the pieces, and this works to great effect. Emotional music doesn't require heavy synth (Take note Johann Johannson) or an entire orchestra. Grab a piano and you can create something which brings you to tears. That's the message I get from this score! The whole score is so delicate and original, it's almost impossible to compare this to any other work I've heard as of recently. The way he uses vocals and strings is so aggressive in a subtle way. The way the piano cuts through pieces full of loud and obnoxious instruments, almost as if to say "Hey, I'm here, and I don't need to power my way through all the other instruments to reduce you to an emotional state." It all works so well!

When Velázquez sees fit to add an instrument into a piece, he makes sure the instrument is given time to shine. Everything is added for a reason, and you get to hear every instrument make a distinct impact on what you're listening to. It's such a unique way of composing. A composer treating every instrument he uses with respect is something that I love listening to.

The score is only 52 minutes long, so it's obvious that Velázquez didn't set out to create a score that covers every aspect of the film. He saw the essentials, and he provided them. And he does so with near perfection. Every key aspect within the film is seen to, and the majority are seen to in spectacular fashion. He manages to create a flowing and smooth score, despite moments at which he has to make his way from a light, touching and emotional piano solo, to a dark and threatening cello showcase. How he does this with a close to perfection hit rate is beyond me!

I often hunger for speed and volume from a score. Maybe it's because I'm a young 13 year old and I get bored easily, or maybe it's just how I am, how I was born. Whatever the cause, I didn't hunger for anything of the sorts throughout this score. It kept slow and touching for the vast majority of play, minimal volume and pace changes occurring throughout it's running time. Despite this, I wanted more of the quiet and small piano solos, the violin ensemble sets where the music would turn dark and haunting. It takes a strong composer to evoke these kinds of feelings out of myself, someone who has their preferences in music and generally sticks to them. Velázquez is indeed a strong composer.

The score to The Impossible will rush by, in a sense. This isn't just because the score is a short one. It's the fact that it almost makes you feel like time's stopping. It's just you and the score, and that doesn't downgrade the score to a grind. Velázquez has created something emotional, touching, edgy, dark and beautiful. I want to write more about this score, I really do! But some scores are just so near perfect, that it becomes difficult to pinpoint the best parts, the extraordinary factors. It's more of a personal journey, something that you have to hear yourself to get an idea of the power and and raw emotion this contains. From start to end, your breath will be taken away!

The Impossible Main Titles*
The Best Holiday Season Ever*
Kem Kang Noi*
I Will Bring Your "Pappa" Here
Mom, Guess What I Just Saw Outside?*
Let's Go, No Need To Wait
I Have A Family Too*
He Looked So Happy*
The Impossible End Titles*

Individual Piece Scores:
The Impossible Main Titles-100*
The Best Holiday Season Ever-100*
Is It Over?-82
Even If It's The Last Thing We Do-92
Kem Kang Noi-100*
My Boys, I Cannot See Them-90
Go And Help People-93
I Will Bring Your "Pappa" Here-100
Is There Somebody We Could Call?-80
We'll Drive You Somewhere Safer-81
I Won't Stop Looking Until I Find Them-90
But She'll Be OK, Right?-98
Mom, Guess What I Just Saw Outside?-100*
Let's Go, No Need To Wait-99
Am I Dead?-84
I Have A Family Too-100*
He Looked So Happy-100*
The Impossible End Titles-100*

Junkie Score: 93.83

My Spotify Account

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Call Of Duty: Ghosts Video Game Score Review

Hello again! We're nearing the end of the year, and big scores are coming out in both the film world, and video game world! I'm a huge fan of the CoD game scores, not so much the games themselves though. The majority of the scores are all fast paced, well done action themed music, and it's good fun to listen to! This time, we have departed from Black Ops II's composer Jack Wall, and we've turned to a much less experienced composer, David Buckley. I'll be honest, I've never even heard of the guy! I'm hoping for his sake that he can pull of one of the biggest scores of the year! Let's see if he does in this 35 track, 1 hour and 14 minute long score!

We begin with Main Theme. It has a techno vibe to it, mixed in with some cool brass. It turns into less of an action, fast paced theme, something I'd expect, and goes for something more mysterious and heroic. It's a surprise to say the least! Whilst the piece isn't incredibly memorable, it has some pretty awesome orchestral riffs! Ghost Stories is a slow and plotting kind of piece. Buckley hasn't jumped the guns, which is something that is quite common in Call Of Duty scores. They're never incredibly complex; more like straightforward action fun! Ghost Stories provides a few nice riffs, but doesn't offer heaps. Rorke Files has a techno percussion beat playing off in the background which shall certainly urge your foot to tap along! It's more of the same, but with some small new riffs here and there. It's certainly not bad, not in the slightest! It just doesn't offer much!

Loki Combat gets the fast paced stuff rolling, and it does it in great fashion! Buckley doesn't succumb to the temptation of throwing loads of percussion in, and instead focuses the piece around some heavy brass and edgy strings. The piece loses it's intensity and speed towards the end for an anticlimactic finish. I sense more to come! Infiltration keeps the intensity up, but leaves more of an emphasis on percussion and small riffs. Buckley mixes the piece up with a variety of melodies, and you never know exactly where the piece wants to go, but it's not the most interesting of pieces. Tower Battle is a little more of a heroic and action filled piece. It has some interesting and powerful riffs thrown in, but the piece lasts a mere 1:15, to my disappointment. Sin City has a refreshing pace and volume. It's a complex piece, and Buckley does try to keep interest high with a variety of melodies and beats. Santa Monica Beach Invasion is an emotional piece, or at least it tries to be. It just doesn't have too much of an impact. It never hits me in the heart, I guess. It's a little off target, despite the obvious effort. Whilst there are impressive moments, I was never marveling at the piece. Computer Hack returns us to the lower volume, and to the quick and short percussion. It's a mysterious and treacherous piece, but it doesn't reach any thing significant. Enemy HQ builds up for a short while, before proceeding with some powerful and intelligent brass and strings. After the first big climax, the piece never seems to go anywhere for the rest of it's running time.

Threnody is a short and dull piece. It doesn't do much at all! Space Suicide is a building sort of piece, which takes it's merry old time to get started! It leaves itself room to build, but it doesn't achieve anything. End Of The Line mixes brass with synth to great effect for the first minute or so. It has some touching moments, but it fails to deliver a decent send off. Severed Ties is a little more aggressive than a lot of our more recent pieces. It doesn't sound like Buckley is really trying to push his orchestra to their limits, unfortunately. It has interesting sounds to it, but it never really gives you a really powerful and loud punch. Despite this, it's more complex and powerful than a lot of our more recent pieces, so I'll mark it up. Clockwork is full of foreign sounds, all appealing to the ear. I'm clenching my fists, waiting for Buckley to launch something that will have me mystified, and the piece hints and teases at something like this a couple of times. It doesn't ever go for it though, to my disappointment. San Diego Burning showcases the piano present, and has some saddening and emotional moments thrown in. I so desperately want Buckley to go for it! To give us some raw power or a little volume! He hasn't so far, but he hints and teases here and there. The final minute delivers a much needed volume step up, but even this isn't enough to save the piece. Atlas Falls leads up and down a couple of times with pace and volume, before some catchy and funky riffs kick in. It doesn't last long, but it's certainly a little bit of fun! Space Enemy throws it's punches quickly, opening up with some powerful beats. It drifts back down, and embarks on a mysterious route. It's volume is a nice change, but the pace is still a little too slow for my liking. Buckley delivers some genius riffs through out the piece, but they never seem to create a solid, full picture, unfortunately.

Odin goes from a more subtle opening, to a touching and heroic rhythm. There are some moments of pure brilliance lying within this piece, and it finally hits a soft chord, to my delight! Gathering Intel sticks to the same background riff the whole way through, a synth based riff, which is quite amusing and catchy. Meanwhile, the rest of the piece has some interesting and complex rhythms flowing in and out. It's well sounding, but it's not remarkable. No Man's Land Battle is a battle piece, obviously, and it covers complex and smart riffs and melodies. Nothing too incredible. Trench Run has a little bit more pace and intensity to it than a lot of our previous pieces have had. It's a little too one dimensional for my liking, and it never feels like Buckley is really letting go, something I've noticed the whole way through. Stealth Kill reflects it's name. It's quiet and mysterious. I find it slightly more suiting than a lot of the score so far, the fact that the name reflects the kind of piece we're going to get. There are some fun and memorable moments laying throughout, but it doesn't have much more to offer. Liberty Wall reminds me that whilst Buckley is inventing new and smart riffs and melodies all throughout the score, he is failing in creating something that feels complete. Every piece up to this point has left me desperately wanting more! Liberty Wall is a reflection of this point, and it never gives enough to keep you satisfied. Maybe that's what he want, I'm not sure. I'm hoping for better things to come.

Brave New World is less dark and brooding than previous pieces, and delivers some more satisfying riffs and beats, whilst keeping the common theme of originality that the rest of the score has composed. Northern Andes Mountains, Venezuela has a sense of urgency to it to begin with. After a short period, it curls back into it's shell, and doesn't try much else for the duration of it's running time. Birds Of Prey is much more aggressive and intense than our predecessor. It is a short piece, but it's certainly one of the more memorable attempts at power. Federation Base has an urgency to it, once again! A little bit of consistency in that area is something I like to see. It doesn't have much variety, but it certainly keeps you interested. The Hunted has a dark and complex melody playing throughout that should have you engaged. It ends quietly and dully. Struck Down has me turning up the volume, as it lays a lot of emphasis on smart percussion. It lasts a short while, but will certainly have you listening in carefully.

Ghost Killer is a mix between touching and dark. It's short running time is fitting, and it doesn't try to do too much. It's satisfying, at least. Train Chase begins with some intensity, and it carries this through the majority of the piece. The brass and strings set a strong pace and beat, which is nice to see! Federation Battle is filled to the brim with complex and fast riffs, and this keeps the piece fresh and vivid. It's the piece I've been wanting the entire score, and I've turned my volume up on full just to embrace it! It's climax is powerful and satisfying, and it's got me appreciating Buckley once again! Legends Never Die is a sad piece. Buckley has certainly been keeping his cards close to his chest, if this is what he can deliver. There are some breathtaking percussion moments littered throughout, and the brass works well to create a mystifying and powerful environment.  It's the longest piece, which earns a big thumbs up from me! Buckley has earned a lot of points back for these past few pieces! Atonement is another touching piece, which earns lots of stars in my books! For a final piece, it's a rewarding one. There are some particularly memorable trumpet riffs placed throughout the piece, and they steal the show for me! Buckley ends us with some soft, yet dark and dangerous sounding music. Satisfying ending!

David Buckley is, in a sense, a musical genius! He has created a consistently smart score, one which embraces originality and certainly isn't a grind to get through. There are some powerful and touching moments throughout, particularly towards the end, which steal the show for me. Despite all of this, there is a point at which the score constantly under delivers. It doesn't satisfy for a good majority of the pieces, and it'll always leave you wanting more. Normally, I'd say that's a good thing, but when it constantly gives you this same feeling, it becomes a little irritating. This aside, Buckley has a great career ahead of him. His composing skills are fairly great, and I can't wait to see what more he can deliver in the future. A solid score!

Loki Combat
Space Enemy
Train Chase
Federation Battle*
Legends Never Die*

Individual Piece Scores:
Main Theme-87
Ghost Stories-79
Rorke Files-78
Loki Combat-90
Tower Battle-82
Sin City-85
Santa Monica Beach Invasion-72
Computer Hack-75
Enemy HQ-89
Space Suicide-66
End Of The Line-74
Severed Ties-80
San Diego Burning-85
Atlas Falls-75
Space Enemy-91
Gathering Intel-86
No Man's Land Battle-78
Trench Run-79
Stealth Kill-86
Liberty Wall-70
Brave New World-85
Northern Andes Mountains, Venezuela-74
Birds Of Prey-88
Federation Base-83
The Hunted-72
Struck Down-85
Ghost Killer-78
Train Chase-94
Federation Battle-100*
Legends Never Die-100*

Junkie Score: 81.74

Here's some stuff relating to me:
My Spotify Account

Monday, 4 November 2013

Past Spotlight-Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine Video Game Score Review

Austin Wintory is one of my favourite composers. All his music is so energetic and it feels very alive. He knows how to use an entire orchestra, to make every section stand out on it's own, something that is worth marvelling at. I'm a huge fan of the game Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine and one of the key things that sets this game apart is it's mischievous and smart score, done by Wintory. It's a bunch of fun to listen to, either in the context of the game, where you're sneaking around and taking guards out, or just sitting back at your computer, enjoying some wonderful music. It's a stealth score, one of my favourite genres in orchestral music. It goes from a calm and collected state, to a disastrous and chaotic melody in a quick second, before returning back and repeating the process. It's a difficult kind of score to perfect, but I have to admit, Wintory has achieved perfection in it's highest form!

Wintory loves piano. If you've followed him for a while, you'll know this beforehand, and it's used a damn lot here! It's such a simple instrument, and Wintory must enjoy the challenge that comes with something like that. Creating something complex and intricate with the piano is not the hardest thing in the world, but creating a score with piano at heart, and often, the only instrument playing for sustained periods, must have been a huge challenge for Austin. He surely did embrace the challenge, and had his heart set on a specific kind of score. Creeping around is the kind of feeling Wintory is trying to reflect in his music within this score. It's fairly obvious, to be honest. This is a sneaky kind of game anyway! But it's so wonderfully crafted, that's it's not all that simple! Unlike a lot of snooping around games, there is almost always a sense of jeopardy in the music, one which is constantly telling you "You could very well be caught and seen right here, despite the somewhat calm that you're experiencing at this present time!" This is a constant theme, obvious even in our first piece, the self titled What's Yours Is Mine. You can never really see what's coming is what I think I'm getting at. The pieces, and the score in general has a very unpredictable feel to it. Don't anticipate what's to come, because more often than not, you'll be left wrong!

I've listened to multiple Wintory albums, and one thing is clear; he loves to make music which isn't overly investing. You don't need to abandon everything you're doing when you turn on Wintory, just so you can appreciate the music! He never seems to try to overpower or overwhelm you with his catchy melodies and riffs. The Monaco score is a perfect example of all these points. I can sit here at my desk, writing this review, whilst having the score playing in the background. I don't have to listen to each of the pieces, gather my thoughts and then type. The whole score seems to create one almost seamless piece, and this makes simply writing about it much easier than having to go over each separate and individual part and commenting. I love something fun, and something that doesn't feel full to the tip with big orchestral riffs and rhythms. Wintory makes everything sound so easy, which, going back to my points before, makes his music sound so simplistic, quite the opposite of overwhelming and really fun!

I can listen to this score over and over again, and never get bored of it! I've never really been tempted to buy a score in the past, simply so I can reward the composer for delivering something so brilliant, but I really am tempted here! Wintory creates a simplistic, smart and unique score, one that can not really be rivalled in today's musical world. Wintory won me over with this score, and after listening to a couple of his other albums, such as Spirit Of The Cosmos, I have to call myself a hug fan. There are tiny moments of dullness, but these are almost completely overshadowed by the quick and fun melodies!

What's Yours Is Mine*
Hijack At The Hairpin
Foreign Affairs*
Turf War
False Teeth*
Discotheque Rouge*
Hotel De Monaco

Junkie Score: 98.50

Here's some stuff relating to me:

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Ender's Game Score Review

Hello, once again! I'm back with another score review, this time for the Gavin Hood space epic Ender's Game! The film is about our main protagonist Ender, an extremely intelligent teenager, being chosen as a commander in a war against another race. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford and Hailee Steinfeld. The score for the film is done by Steve Jablonsky, who has done scores for other films such as Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, Battleship and A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010). I will admit, that list of scores and films is not the best, but lets see if Jablonsky can win over any fans with this score!

Ender's War is our starting piece, and it sets the tone. Fast paced, haunting and quite epic. Jablonsky starts us off with one hell of a piece! The whole brass feels so heavy and powerful, before an almost emotional theme kicks us in the gut! It's a very complex piece, and it will certainly have you tapping along with your foot, I guarantee that! Stay Down builds for a longer period than it's predecessor, and doesn't have a complete feeling to it, that is, until the 0:40 second mark. The piece doesn't do much for me, which is disappointing after such a great start! Battle School has the same epic and rounded feeling to it that our first piece had. It's has quite an intoxicating beat. Move It Launchies starts a little faster than some of our previous pieces, and it has a ticking sound playing off in the background. Adds a little intensity to the whole piece, in my opinion. The piece only lasts for 0:57 seconds, so it doesn't have anything too amazing, but it's very well done. The Battle Room has some beautiful flow to it. It's smooth and very saddening. It has an almost Game Of Thrones theme to it, around mid way through, which I have to admit I love! It's climax is fairly affecting. Great piece!

Mind Game Part 1 is a simple yet touching piece. It's a little delicate, that is until the drums and the synth decide to make themselves known. It goes from pleasant to deep and dangerous in about 2 seconds, which amuses me quite a bit! Mind games indeed! Salamander Battle has the same infectious kind of beat we've heard numerous times throughout the score so far. It's a very heroic and powerful piece, and Jablonsky mixes it up with a lot of emphasis on the strings and drums. The piece has a constant sense of direction, and Jablonsky knows where he wants to go with the piece, and it leads up to a wonderful climax for a lot of satisfaction! Mind Game Part 2 feels much the same as it's first counterpart. It doesn't appear to be going anywhere, to begin with at least. It teases you in a multiple forms, and it's almost a little irritating in that sense. When the major beat towards the end kicks in, which might I add is pretty bloody awesome, I feel a lot less overpowered than our original major beat we had in the first part. Solid piece.

Dragon Army sounds a little Hans Zimmerish, to be honest. I guess Jablonsky must have taken a lot of inspiration from Zimmer, based on the first half or so of this score. The piece speeds up towards the end, and once again, I have to admire the fact that Jablonsky always seems to have control. He knows when to speed up and when to break. He's a great composer, in that sense. Dragons Win feels much the same as Dragon Army did, except the piece takes a lot more focus on pace and brass. Honestly, some of the brass sets are absolutely incredible, some of the best of the year! The piece varies it up in terms of speed and volume, something which it does very well. Bonzo doesn't do much for the majority of the piece, before having a small synth riff. It's quite uninteresting. Ender Quits is our longest piece in the score, sitting at 6:23. It's slow and enveloping over the first 2 and a half minutes, before developing a proper melody, which is haunting and saddening, all at the same time. Piano takes over for a short stint, and it provides a little more depth to the sound. Our next set is quite powerful, and really relies on that piano and strings. The piece doesn't provide much more after this though, so we move on!

Mazer Rackham has a much more interesting melody to it. Almost epic, I'd say, but it lacks a little power. There are many components to this piece, and they form together quite nicely. Enemy Planet is darker than some of our previous pieces. It sounds a little like something from Gravity, by Steven Price. That is until it slows down and lets itself build. The ticking sound kicks in once again, and brings upon a rhythm which feels a little underwhelming to a certain degree. It's awesome, nonetheless, and I approve of this piece! Command School is faster and a more intense than most of our previous entries into the score. The Zimmer inspiration is very obvious here, and that is certainly not a bad thing! The percussion stays very vital throughout the piece. Some heavy synth hits towards the end, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I'm not generally a fan of it, but it works well here! Command School is one of the best pieces as of yet. Graduation Day seems to sound a little darker than it's name would suggest. Jablonsky pumps as much epic into the 1:29 minute piece as physically possible, but the running time of the track is a little short for my liking. Final Test is one of our longer pieces in the score, clocking in at 6:03, and it's a lot more energetic and intense than our previous long and haunting piece, Ender Quits. It has a certain building sensation to it, one that is well appreciated. It leaves you anticipating something the entire way through. It has so many twists and turns, which never deviate from the basic beat and melody that has been set the whole way through, so you know there is a point to all of this. The problem is, the ending is a little anticlimactic. It's not a deal breaker, the whole piece being intense and pretty bloody awesome, but it's certainly an annoyance.

Game Over certainly feels like a send off piece, but it's ending suggest somewhat otherwise. The whole piece doesn't seem to have much direction, which disappoints me. The Way We Win Matters is a slow and deep piece. One of the most noticeable and impressive things showcased here are the vocals. There is some real talent! It's about halfway into the piece before things start to get fairly interesting. The emphasis on deep and dark becomes a little less obvious. It lightens the tone up to deliver a very sad, almost heartbreaking set around the final 3rd of the piece. Before letting the piece become a little more jagged and dangerous. Ender's Promise is exceptionally slow and sombre to begin with. A sudden jump occurs which literally sent shivers down my spine! It certainly never really slows down from that point, to my approval. The theme is quite prominent towards the end of the piece, before finishing off with a heroic and uplifting set. Commander is a slow piece to begin with, before the strings take hold. The strings and percussion work very well with each other to create a lighter atmosphere. The piece then rockets off, with a final melody. It's breathtaking, actually. Jablonsky has certainly succeeded in the marvel worthy category.

Steve Jablonsky has created one of the best score I've heard this year, a certain score of the year contender. It has a wonderful array of beautiful and light cues, mixed with dark and powerful pieces. There is never really a point in which the score gets dull or boring, and loses your attention. And even if it does, Jablonsky manages to pick your attention back up with power and volume, neither overused though. It's a consistently awesome score, and it's certainly a must listen to!

Ender's War*
The Battle Room*
Salamander Battle
Command School*
Final Test
The Way We Win Matters
Ender's Promise*

Individual Piece Scores:
Ender's War-100*
Stay Down-73
Battle School-86
Move It Launchies-90
The Battle Room-100*
Mind Game Part 1-80
Salamander Battle-100*
Mind Game Part 2-92
Dragon Army-88
Dragons Win-96
Ender Quits-83
Mazer Rackham-87
Enemy Planet-93
Command School-100*
Graduation Day-91
Final Test-97
Game Over-70
The Way We Win Matters-98
Ender's Promise-100*

Junkie Score: 89.47