Musings About Music In Film

The Roundup

Otherwise known as "we didn't have time to write full reviews"... Firstly, scores old and new are represented in Fimucite 6 (Varese Sarabande, out now) with Diego Navarro leading the Tenerife symphony orchestra on a journey through the musical history of Universal Pictures. The 100th anniversary celebration includes music by John Williams (Dracula), Jerry Goldsmith (The Mummy), Alex North (Spartacus), Alfred Newman (Airport), Bernard Herrmann (Cape Fear), and the late James Horner (Field of Dreams), and is brilliantly conducted and performed, albeit heavy on the mainstays.

Two new albums represent music for the drug wars in Latin and South America, both with similarities despite different approaches in their respectives sources. Pedro Bromfman's music for the Netflix original series Narcos (Lakeshore Records, out now) has a very typical ethnic feel for its setting, some of it almost romantic, but there are layers of danger and mistrust. Bromfman communicates the lethal world of Pablo Escobar with efficiency and creates an evocative sonic world you probably wouldn't want to get caught in. H. Scott Salinas and Jackson Greenberg's score for Cartel Land (Lakeshore, out now) - a documentary on the drug wars - has a similar ethnic style but a grittier feel, albeit with a surreal edge. Salinas ' dreamy melodies recall Cliff Martinez (who did his own take on the drug war with Traffic) and there is a sheen of style and glamour with menace below the surface. Highly recommended.

While more a songtrack than a score, Tangerine (Milan Records, out now) is certainly worth your time. An acclaimed indie comedy about trans sex workers in Los Angeles, it's a heady and eclectic mix of hip-hop, dub, grime, electro, jazz, and pop that works a treat, even if you're someone like me who generally runs away from dubstep like Donald Trump from a Mexican. Due to this, I don't recognise any of the artists involved - White Night Ghost, OKKO, Nato Feelz - but it's inspired me to check some of them out. That can't really be said for Max (Sony Classical, out now), Trevor Rabin's score for the recently released canine caper that seems to essentially be Lassie with PTSD. It has some nice melodies but it comes in two flavours: cheesy or bland. Leave this dog in the pound.

Danny Elfman seems omnipresent at the moment and he's back again, scoring The End Of The Tour (Lakeshore, out now), the acclaimed film about the relationship between David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace. His score is wistful and nostalgic, with sparse orchestration, primarily guitar, piano, and strings. It's emotional at times, but not overtly, and running through it is a sense of modern Americana, albeit fairly restrained. It's a wonderful effort and more evidence of Elfman's increased vocabulary. -CB