Upcoming soundtracks on vinyl
Have you seen ‘Uncut Gems’? If not then you should - it's absolutely brilliant, one of the best films this Norman Records™ chump-changer has caught in ages. Part of the reason that it’s such a good flick is the fact that it has an excellent score. Cooked up by one Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), the ‘Uncut Gems’ OST is one of several superb soundtracks that have emerged in the past couple of months. We've taken the trouble of rounding them up for you below. Let's all go to the movies.
Nowadays it is likely that more people know Mark Mothersbaugh for his film-scoring work than the trail he blazed as leader of seminal art-punk group Devo. One of Hollywood's most in-demand film composers - titles from the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ and ‘Lego Movie’ series are among his recent credits - back in 2017 Mothersbaugh linked up with Marvel to turn in an original score (original Thor?) for their 2017 flick ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. An air of superhero movie gravitas dictates Mothersbaugh’s orchestral compositions here, but there are still moments in which his signature synth-based zaniness puts its head above the parapet - the track ‘Where Am I’, for instance. This new edition presents the score on vinyl for the first time.
No, this one has nothing to do with the Radiohead song of the same name (great tune, that). A half-decade on from his previous score, the ‘Kill The Messenger’ and ‘Looper’ composer Nathan Johnson returns to serve up a soundtrack to his cousin Rian Johnson’s celebrated murder-mystery flick ‘Knives Out’. Working predominantly with string quartet, Nathan Johnson evokes a sense of stately eeriness here which brings to mind a BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie cross-pollinated with Michael Abels’ score for ‘Get Out’.
Johnny Jewel’s score for 2017 flick ‘Don’t Come Back From The Moon’ gets its first UK vinyl pressing courtesy of Jewel’s own Italians Do It Better imprint - on ivory coloured wax, no less. Jewel’s stock as a screen composer was rising at the time this one first dropped, with him contributing music to ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and ‘Home’ in the months around ‘Don’t Come Back From The Moon’s release. This 14-track set really demonstrates Jewel’s compositional range - as well as his own evocative pieces of sound-art noir, we also get neo-Italo contributions from label luminaries Glass Candy, Symmetry and Chromatics.
Usually, when you meet someone for the first time, you tend to begin with idle chit-chat, pleasantries and small talk. However, this wasn't the case for guitarists Ivar Grydeland & Henry Kaiser - when the pair first linked in an Oslo recording studio in early 2019 they thought it best to skip the preliminaries and launch right into a bit of improvisational back-and-forth. Taking cues from Roald Amundsen’s 1925 polar exploration documentary ‘Ellsworths flyveekspedition 1925’ the pair immediately spooled out over an hour's worth of luminous noodling to accompany the film. Now packaged by Rune Grammofon as ‘In The Arctic Dreamtime’, this set draws from a rich lineage of guitar music - everyone from Steve Reich to Thurston Moore to Jonny Greenwood.
You can count the number of South Korean films to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with one finger, because that number is one. The film in question, Bong Joon-Ho’s ‘Parasite’, achieved the feat in 2019 with a unanimous vote. This victory was thanks in no small part to the movie’s score, a set of spare chamber compositions from Jung Jae Il (‘Okja’, ‘Take Point’). The curious, quixotic music that Jung Jae Il turned in for the film is reminiscent of David Schwartz’s chipper work for ‘The Good Place’.
An early contender for the year’s most eyebrow-raising film premise - it’s a comedy about the Final Solution - ‘JoJo Rabbit’s soundtrack is also sure to ruffle a few feathers. ‘But why?’, you ask; ‘All I can see here is a list of classic jams by the likes of David Bowie, Roy Orbison, Ella Fitzgerald and The Beatles’. Yes indeed, we reply. But here's the thing - all of these versions are in German.
Whether operating under his given name or the Oneohtrix Point Never moniker, Daniel Lopatin can usually be relied upon to turn in impressive sets of futuro-dystopian sonic trickery with each new record. ‘Uncut Gems’, his latest set of film music, sees Lopatin reunite with ‘Good Time’ directors the Safdie brothers. He manages to recapture the magic of his score for that 2017 movie here, delivering synth-based soundscapes which are unsettling and beautiful in equal measure. Think Vangelis gone wrong.
2019’s ‘The Virtues’ was a typically upbeat romp from ‘This is England’ director Shane Meadows, dealing as it did with alcoholism, sexual abuse and childhood trauma. Such dark and stormy subject matter required a composer who could match it for mood. Enter PJ Harvey - who, after her celebrated commissions for ‘All About Eve’, is making real hay as a screen-/stage-composer these days. Harvey’s six original pieces here eschew the hearty songcraft that she has made her name with for something more abstract, full of darkly droning synthesizers and unsettling massed vocals. As well as Harvey’s contributions ‘The Virtues’ also contains tracks by Gazelle Twin, Aphex Twin and Micah P. Hinson.
Many things come to mind when thinking of the Leeds post-punk scene of the 1980s. Gang of Four, The Mekons, Delta 5 ... and The Moomins? Tove Janssen’s beloved graphic novels-turned-TV programs are generally more associated with Finland than West Riding, but for the show’s late 70s/early 80s run Yorkshire musicians Graeme Miller & Steve Shill were responsible for creating the program’ sound-world. Their compositions, utterly charming vignettes pitched somewhere between Oliver Postgate and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, have been collected on the lovely seasonal vinyl ‘The Moomins: Winter Wunderland Edition’ by Finders Keepers Records.
Previously known for his work in the avant-garde ensemble Razen, Brecht Ameel recently contributed a score to Bas Devos’ feature-length flick ‘Ghost Tropic’. While Razen’s work tends towards intense and brooding drone, this set shows an altogether more contemplative side of Ameel’s oeuvre, drawing more overtly on his classical guitar background than the stuff he comes up with in his group. These tender and fragile instrumentals dovetail perfectly with the film’s tale of a journey through the Brussels streets one cold winter’s night.
While Hellraiser’s primary contribution to the world of music will forever be the sample in Aphex Twin’s ‘Come To Daddy’, the scores for the cult film franchise are prime examples of a certain kind of horror movie soundtrack - you know, the sort of thing that was so expertly parodied by ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.’ Christopher Young composed the music for the first two ‘Hellraiser’ films, the second of which, 1988’s ‘Hellbound - Hellraiser II’, has been lavished with a new edition courtesy of the Death Waltz Recording Company. The label has also set the music of 1992’s ‘Hellraiser III - Hell On Earth’ to wax, though Randy Miller handled the sound that time around.
SQÜRL, for those of you not in the know, are an experimental rock group who number Jim Jarmusch and composer Carter Logan among their lineup. They bring a fair bit of film-scoring pedigree to the table at this point - Logan has previously scored the Jarmusch’s 2005 flick ‘Broken Flowers’ while recent years have seen SQÜRL do the music for ‘Paterson’ and ‘The Dead Don't Die’. ‘Some Music for Robby Müller’ was composed to soundtrack ‘Living The Light’, Claire Pijman’s documentary about the ‘24 Hour Party People’ and ‘Paris, Texas’ cinematographer Müller. The group’s gorgeous, widescreen shoegaze ambiences nicely compliment a film about an artist preoccupied with moving images and the dusky light of the Magic Hour.
What the matter, ‘Honey Boy’, afraid you might listen to something? When he’s not mucking about with Jonsi, Alex Somers likes nothing more than whipping up a quick bit of film score - he has credits on both 2016 Viggo Mortensen vehicle ‘Captain Fantastic’ and the ‘Hang the DJ’ episode of ‘Black Mirror’. ‘Honey Boy’ the latest movie to bear Somers’ compositional mark, finds him delivering some pitter-patter niceness in the vein of Jonsi’s Sigur Ros outfit. Zach Shields - the Paul to Ryan Gosling's John in Dead Man’s Bones - does vocals on a bunch of tracks.
I met Summer Camp, the duo of Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey, a few times around the release of their debut album ‘Welcome To Condale’ back in 2011. They were very nice to me - no mean feat given how insufferable I was in my late-teens - and since then I’ve always had a soft spot for their knowing, evocative take on 80s synth-pop. Summer Camp have a knack for pairing up with documentaries whose subject matter perfectly complements their sound - after soundtracking Charlie Lyne’s 2014 teen movie-investigation ‘Beyond Clueless’ the pair now return to the silver screen to score Sankey’s feature-length directorial debut ‘Romantic Comedy’.
One of the most beloved film soundtracks of the 2010s, the ‘Call Me By Your Name’ OST needs little introduction at this point. Those of you who have missed out on previous pressings of the record now have another chance to get your hands on this fabulous work courtesy of a new red vinyl edition. Ryuichi Sakamoto, Erik Satie, Sufjan Stevens and Maurice Ravel are among the featured artists - Stevens’ ‘Mystery Of Love’, which was composed specially for the movie, almost took home the Academy Award for best original song back in 2018.
‘1917’ is - surprise, surprise - a film about stuff that happened in 1917. Specifically the film is about the First World War, something that very much happened in 1917. It’s a good job that we've put world wars behind us for good these days (...), because frankly this film makes the whole situation look pretty ghastly. Thomas Newman, a composer with countless blockbuster credits to his name (‘Skyfall’, ‘Jarhead’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Tolkein’), was the perfect choice to imbue ‘1917’s soundtrack with the gravitas that its subject matter deserved.
Graham Coxon’s solo career is often unfairly overshadowed by the doings of his precocious former Blur bandmate Damon Albarn (no, not you Alex James. Never you. Leave us alone). However, it may be that his recent scores for the TV series ‘The End Of The F**cking World’ come to outlast much of the stuff Albarn has put out of late. Throughout both series of ‘The End Of The F**king World’ Coxon has honed a hugely evocative sound, a blend of noirish Northern Soul and Link Wray-style guitar vamps that perfectly matches the show’s Lynch-On-Sea aesthetic. February will see the soundtrack for the second series released on vinyl.
Everyone loves Studio Ghibli, right? We are certainly yet to meet someone who's not susceptible to the charms of the legendary film studio. Joe Hisaishi has been responsible for many of the most famous Ghibli film scores, including the one for 1992 romp ‘Porco Rosso’. Recorded with a seventy-piece orchestra, Hisaishi’s verdant classicist soundtrack is truly wonderful, helping to transport the listener to the 1920s Italy that the film is set in. As far as we can tell this new Studio Ghibli Records run of the ‘Porco Rosso’ score is the music’s first European vinyl pressing. There is an alternate-cover edition, though be wary that this features a different tracklist.
We told you that he knew his way around a film score. While ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ may not be the most well-known of the Studio Ghibli flicks, this 1989 work remains a crucial part of both the SG story and Hisaishi’s compositional evolution - in the way that his music here harks back to early Hollywood masters like Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Hisaishi laid the groundwork for what he would do with ‘Porco Rosso’ three years later. Again there is also an alternate 'Image Album' version of the ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ score, and again this has a different tracklist to the one at the top of the paragraph.