what to watch when you're stranded
Random header image... Refresh for more!

SCORE! Top 20 Film Scores of 2012 (pt. 4)

Welcome to the exciting conclusion of our Top 20 Film Scores of 2012! Check out parts 1 (here) 2 (here) and 3 (here). It’s been a fun ride and we sincerely hope you enjoyed the musical snippets along the way! Tomorrow morning the Oscar nominations come out and you’ll have the mainstream’s opinion – but until then we hope we’ve unearthed some rarer gems for your aural pleasure. And now we present our top 5 score of 2012: the cream of the musical crop. Enjoy!
 

5.) MotorwayAlex Gopher & Xavier Jamaux

Motorway

Last year Cliff Martinez released Drive, a soundtrack that barely missed our top 20. This year a more muscular score in a similar vein shot all the way to the top – the vein being the Tangerine Dream / John Carpenter style of brooding ambient electronics, full of retro synths and melodies perfect for speeding down a darkened highway at 2am. Composer/DJ’s Alex Gopher and Xavier Jamaux are members of what’s commonly referred to as “French Touch,” and they’ve touched on something magical for this score to Motorway, a Hong Kong action film produced by Johnnie To and directed by Pou-Soi Cheang, about a rookie cop who takes on a veteran escape driver in a death defying motorway chase. Just writing that last sentence raised my testosterone levels. You can tell from the ” target=”_blank”>trailer this film is not messing around, action-wise – even if the officers are wearing some goofy day-glo safety vests (which I’m sure they’ll drop for the Hollywood remake).

Here’s track 7, “Night Theme”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 8, “Lessons”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 14, “Hide and Seek”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

4.) Il Comandante E La CicognaBanda Osiris

Il Comandante E La Cicogna

Sounding like it was performed by a drunken Italian orchestra seated in bombed out Fiats in some surreal back-alley, the score to director Silvio Soldini‘s Il Comandante e la Cicogna (The Commander and the Stork) is a feat of deconstructed beauty. Pots and pans clang alongside pianos and accordions, melodies sweetening before coming to an abrupt halt, creating an atmosphere that is at once both cacophonous and harmonious. You’ll find rich basslines, bold trumpets, and curious clarinets probing the tenuous silences before giving up completely, only to reemerge in fragile tangos that collapse under their own weight. It’s jazzy, schizophrenic and delicious, both confident and unsure of itself, steady and fragile. And it all culminates in a Russian vocal track that sounds as if it were being played on a bad Victrola. Like a beautiful mix of Tom WaitsRain Dogs and Angelo Badalamenti‘s score for La Cité des Enfants Perdus (City of Lost Children), this is one heady brew that’s not to be missed!

Here’s track 3, “Tango Di Amanzio”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 8, “Garibaldi Osserva (Leopardi Version)”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 11, “La Cicogna (Strumentale)”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

3.) Killer JoeTyler Bates

Killer Joe

Director William Friedkin‘s Killer Joe, adapted by Tracy Letts from his own stage play – sweeps all awards in the category of “boldest use of a drumstick” – and has a killer score to boot, supplied by Tyler Bates, who also scored Zack Snyder‘s Watchmen and 300. Here Bates gives us a loud and snarling beast of a score, with a heavy take on good-ol’ Southern twang, full of a grittiness that’s unshakeable. This is not background music – it’s jagged and bold and it taps into some serious darkness. The music serves as a character itself: an embodiment of the violence constantly hovering just over the trailer park in which our twisted characters (played superbly by Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple and especially Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church) find themselves. Harmonicas reverberate amidst Frampton-esque ‘Talkbox‘ guitar, and heavy bass stalks alongside plucked piano like creatures in the dark. A supremely engaging, brilliantly executed nightmare.

Here’s track 2, “Killer Joe”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 4, “Billiards Hall”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 5, “Texas Motel”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

2.) Anna KareninaDario Marianelli

anna k

A beautiful, varied, and truly haunting affair that ranges from rich & euphonious to downright chaotic, Dario Marianelli‘s classically inspired score doesn’t rest on its laurels or settle for prettiness. Marianelli – whose prior collaboration with director Joe Wright, Atonement (2007), earned him an Oscar – here crafts an unforgettable score, combining Russian orchestral music with folk music, and then adding a few quirky twists – like the sound of locomotives, whistles, balalaikas and garmon accordions, topped off with the incredible solos of British violin prodigy Jack Liebeck. The classic tale of a Moscow socialite married to a boring government official who falls in love with a cavalry officer and discovers the true meaning of love, it features waltzes which mirror the underlying themes of courtship and are extended to the overall construction of the score, as the motifs intertwine and separate as if mirroring the central figures in the story – and the many points at which their lives intersect. Adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard and studded with the starpower of Keira Knightley & Jude Law, this is an Anna Karenina whose highbrow production comes with a breathtaking score to match its pedigree: Leo Tolstoy himself would be proud!

Here’s track 2, “Clerks”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 3, “She is of the Heavens”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 8, “The Girl and the Birch”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 10, “Can-Can”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

1.) Beasts of the Southern WildDan Romer & Benh Zeitlin

Beasts of the Southern Wild

This sleeper indie directed (and co-written) by Benh Zeitlin caught everyone’s attention with its unique blend of Magical Realism with post-Katrina realism, highlighted by an incredible performance by its child star, Quvenzhané Wallis. Borrowing heavily from the Neil Gaiman / Hayao Miyazaki school of children’s fable, it was well executed, deeply emotional, and above all else understated – a rare feat indeed.  Beautifully shot (by cinematographer Ben Richardson), there are many passages in which we glimpse the world through the eyes of our protagonist, with little to no dialogue. Music naturally plays a critical role in the failure and/or success of these types of films… and in that regards composers Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin (this guy does everything!) deliver an even greater achievement than the film itself: a magical piece of music which builds emotional momentum through rhythmic passages brimming over with Cajun flavor, that pulsate and crescendo and brim over with life. Simply put, it’s an outstanding piece of music, uplifting without being overbearing, full of hope yet tinged with sadness, as small as a little girl yet as vast as the world beyond her tiny existence.

Here’s track 2, “The Bathtub”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 5, “The Smallest Piece”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 7, “End of the World”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 15, “The Confrontation”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

There you have it! The sounds and sights of another year over! Hope you’ll join us next year for more lovin’ of cinema on the Isle of Cinema. Don’t forget to give us some feedback so we can grow brighter and better in 2013! Check out last years’ countdown as well as the ridiculously ambitious and highly subjective countdown that started it all – our Top 150 scores of all time!
 
And check out our companion list: 100 favorite albums of 2012, here!
 
Enhanced by Zemanta

January 9, 2013   1 Comment

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 3 (of 15)

130.) I Want to Live! (1958) – Johnny Mandel

Johnny Mandel’s soundtrack to the great Robert Wise’s film about a wayward woman whose life spirals out of control is jazzy with a Latin tinge, full of bongos and flutes and sudden changes in tempo and tone, meant to represent the protagonist’s low-class lifestyle, which back then meant jazz. Here’s track 4, “Henry Leaves”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

129.) Coffy (1973) – Roy Ayers

Jack Hill, one of the greatest b-movie filmmakers of all time, gave Pam Grier her first leading role as Coffy, a nurse who’s kid sister is hospitalized after shooting some contaminated heroin, and who hits the streets in search of revenge. This contribution to the world of Blaxploitation soundtracks comes courtesy of jazz-turned-R&B vibraphonist Roy Ayers, and is an altogether funky affair. Here’s track 4, “Aragon”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

128.) Elephant Man (1980) – John Morris

David Lynch’s first feature film after Eraserhead was produced by Mel Brooks, starred Brooks’ wife Anne Bancroft, and was composed by Brooks’ frequent collaborator John Morris, who had scored Brooks’ parodies and comedies – not the composer you’d pick for a dramatic art film about a disfigured side-show freak in Victorian England. But the soundtrack is magnificent, with dark segments played against lighter, carnivalesque ones, lending the soundtrack as creepy a feeling as anything Angelo Badalamenti would compose for Lynch’s later films (in fact it sounds like Badalamenti lifted entire segments for Jeunet and Caro’s City of Lost Children). Here’s the title theme:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

127.) Mickey One (1965) – Stan Getz & Eddie Sauter

Like many of the directors of the American New Wave, Arthur Penn was influenced by the French Nouvelle Vague, who themselves were inspired by American film noir. So it figures that when Penn made Mickey One, a crime film about a comedian (Warren Beatty) on the run from the mob, that he’d dive deep into the New Wave handbook and emerge with a movie full of jarring cuts, inventive camera angles, atmospheric lighting, and moody JAZZ! It’s a fantastic soundtrack, melodic at times and challenging at others, marked by Stan Getz’s West-Coast-Cool tenor stylings. Here’s track 5, “The Succuba”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

126.) Daimajin (1966) – Akira Ifukube

Akira Ifukube composed the soundtracks to many of Ishirō Honda‘s most memorable movies – including Gojira (aka Godzilla) – but his score for Kimiyoshi Yasuda’s haunting film about giant stone God-statue rising to protect a nearby village from an evil warlord is his best, filled with rumbling bass clarinets hitting unbelievably low notes, traditional Japanese drumming, and an orchestra of strings, which fuse to create the perfect ominous, otherworldly atmosphere you want out from your kaiju eiga. Here’s the main title theme:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

125.) ¡Mátalo! (1970) – Mario Migliardi

Cesare Canevari’s western, also known as Kill Him! is reportedly one of the trippiest of the genre, a psychedelic mood-piece filled with wild camera angles, heavy use of slow motion, and a climax which features boomerangs – all which place it firmly on my list of “must-watch Westerns.” And if it’s anything like the soundtrack, which is filled with acid-tinged fuzz guitar and weird discordant sounds, then I’m sure it will not disappoint. Here’s the theme song:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

and here’s track 6, “Old Town”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

124.) Beat Girl (1959) – John Barry

Edmond T. Gréville’s beat-era film about strippers, divorces, and rock and roll is nothing to write home about, but the soundtrack, by Mr. James Bond himself, John Barry, is instantly recognizable, a guitar riff that immediately transports you to the era. Here’s the main title:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

123.) Z (1969) – Mikis Theodrakis

Costa-Gavras’s political thriller is the true story of a Greek cover up, and Mikis Theodrakis’ soundtrack mixes folk music heavy on the Bouzoukis with passages of tension-filled atmosphere, a smattering of jazz, and even caps it off with a couple of traditional songs. It’s a fantastic soundtrack. Here’s track 2, “To Yelasto Pedi”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

and track 7, “Batucada”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

122.) Donne-moi la Main [Give Me Your Hand] (2008) – Tarwater

I’ve read mainly negative reviews of Pascal-Alex Vincent’s movie, which I have not seen, but the soundtrack is amazing, composed by Tarwater, the German post-rock/electronic band comprised of Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok. Here’s track 3, “The Blacktop”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

and track 9, “Wednesday’s Child”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

121.) The Belly of an Architect (1987) – Wim Mertens & Glenn Branca

I’ve never really been a fan of Peter Greenaway’s films, with their cold theatricality and inflated self-importance, but of all of them, Belly of an Architect is by far the one I can almost say I like. Perhaps it’s because of Brian Dennehy, an actor who brings some passion and conviction to the otherwise pretentious affair. Or maybe it’s the soundtrack, which features compositions by minimalist composers Glenn Branca and Wim Mertens, and is chock full of swelling, twirling piano motifs, driving flutes, and even the occasional oboe. Here’s track 7, “Time Passing”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

30 down, 120 to go!

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10).

Check back in the coming weeks to see the rest of the countdown.

And be sure to leave feedback!

Enhanced by Zemanta

September 6, 2010   No Comments

  • Some of the topics discussed on the isle

  • Meta