Watch The Breeders and Melkbelly cover John Carpenter's "Halloween" theme

At Asbury Park's The Stone Pony last week, alt.rock icons The Breeders and Chicago noise pop band Melkbelly covered John Carpenter's "Halloween" theme. According to Kim Deal, the band was inspired by a recent viewing of the new Halloween film and worked out the tune at soundcheck. Read the rest

Watch Thom Yorke play one of his stunning Suspiria songs on piano

Thom Yorke plays "Unmade" on the grand piano for BBC Radio 6 Music. The double-LP Suspiria soundtrack was released today and it's a stunner. Oh yeah, the movie is out today too.

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"Tubular Bells" live in 1973

Mike Oldfield performs Tubular Bells live on the BBC in 1973. The first release on Richard Branson's new Virgin Records, Tubular Bells became a huge success after film director William Friedkin cast off the Lalo Schifrin score for his new film The Exorcist and went with "Tubular Bells (Part One)" instead. At the time, Oldfield said he didn't want to see the film because it was too scary.

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Deconstructing the synth score of Blade Runner (1982)

Justin Delay breaks down and recreates the otherworldly 1980s synth sounds of Vangelis's stunning score for the original Blade Runner.

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La-La Land Records: movie and TV soundtracks for the absolutely obsessed

I just came across this amazing company, La-La Land Records, that releases soundtracks of movies and TV shows.

But they don't just release ordinary soundtracks, like their score to the new movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle. They also produce obsessively researched and mind-bogglingly complete soundtracks for older properties.

For example, they offer a 3-CD set for the Henry Mancini soundtrack to the 1965 movie The Great Race, which must have a running time longer than the movie itself.

But it's on televisions series that they really shine. The Star Trek: The Original Series soundtrack is a 15-CD monster that will set you back $224.98. The complete DVD set for the series (which includes music and dialog and moving pictures) only costs $39. The La-La Land soundtrack set is beautifully packaged, and includes such tracks as "Zap the Space Ship" and "Mudd's Farewell/Back in Orbit"

If you love the incidental music from the TV show Lost In Space, you are really in luck. Their 12-CD set contains over 14 hours of musical interludes like "A Running Start / Never Fear / Zeno's Plan", and includes a 104-page booklet.

This stuff is not for me; I couldn't even make it through the end of one of those sample tracks. But I'm strangely glad this stuff exists. Some might call this music entertainment detritus, but others clearly love it, and for them and for posterity, it's been expertly curated, cataloged and archived. Read the rest

John Carpenter's new music video (and vinyl release) for the "Christine" movie theme

Along with directing such classic films as Escape from New York, Halloween, The Fog, and The Thing, John Carpenter also composed the soundtracks. For those who want a survey of Carpenter's synth stylings, I recommend the new compilation from Sacred Bones Records, titled "John Carpenter Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998." The celebrate the release, Carpenter created this music video for the theme from Christine (1983), in which a woman summons an Uber and the demonic driverless 1958 Plymouth Fury shows up. Just kidding about the Uber part.

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Vinyl reissue of David Bowie and Trevor Jones's Labyrinth soundtrack

David Bowie and Trevor Jones's soundtrack to Jim Henson's fantastical film Labyrinth, starring Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King, will be reissued on vinyl next month for the first time since its release in 1986. (These days an original pressing goes for around $75-$100.) To complement Trevor Jones's synthesizer/orchestra score, Bowie wrote five original songs for Labyrinth, including Underground, As The World Falls Down, and the classic Magic Dance.

With Magic Dance, "the song for Jareth and the baby, sung by them and the goblins in the castle throne room - I had problems,” Bowie said at the time. “The baby I used in the recording studios couldn’t, or wouldn’t, put more than two gurgles together, so I ended up doing the baby-gurgle chorus myself! It’s an up-tempo song, and visually exciting.”

Labyrinth LP (Amazon)

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Hans Zimmer performs "Inception" live at Coachella

By all accounts, German soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer's performance at Coachella last night was magnificent. Here he leads his talented orchestra in a rousing, tension-inducing Inception medley.

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Great electronic soundtrack for award winning short documentary film "Little Potato"

My friend Robyn Miller (co-creator of the Myst series of computer games) is an accomplished musician. His soundtrack for the award winning short documentary film "Little Potato," is available on iTunes, and you can listen to a few tracks above.

From IndieWire:

Premiering at this year’s SXSW festival, “Little Potato” centers around the Seattle-based artist Wes Hurley and the obstacles he faced as a gay man growing up in Russia. Including an interview with his mother, “Little Potato” focuses on a mother and son wanting to find a better life for themselves outside the confines of an oppressive Russian regime.

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Mad Max Trilogy soundtrack on vinyl

With track titles such as "Max Decides On Vengeance" and "Max Enters the Compound," the first two Mad Max soundtracks embody the movies' stark and ironic dystopia. Disc 3, of course, has "We Don't Need Another Hero." I have embedded the instrumental version here as a taster of the forthcoming vinyl set, with Brian May, Maurice Jarre and Tina together at last.

For the first time ever, the original Mad Max trilogy of soundtracks have been combined into a stellar deluxe package designed by Marvel comic artist Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Blade). The outside three panels consist of all new original artwork while the inner panels display minis of the original jackets and the tracklisting. The color of the vinyl is Gray, Sand and Black respectively in keeping with the central colors of the new art panels. No more than 2000 units will be made and the trilogy will not be duplicated in another package.

It's up for preorders at $70 and will ship in April. I wonder: why doesn't it include Mad Max 4?

Mad Max Trilogy [3 LP] Soundtrack [Amazon] Read the rest

Ominous music in shark videos makes people more negative about the fish

A new study suggests that the ominous background music often heard in shark documentaries correlates with viewers' fearful and negative opinions of sharks. (For the source of this musical cliche, see the 1975 trailer for Jaws above.) From the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers paper in the scientific journal PLOS One:

Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments. This is the first study to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks. Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.

"The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks" (PLOS One via Dangerous Minds)

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John Williams to score Ready Player One (and next Star Wars, hopefully)

Celebrated film composer John Williams, 84, who scored Star Wars, the Indiana Jones films, E.T., and so many more, says that he will be writing the music for Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," based on the marvelous 2011 novel by Ernest Cline. After that, it'll be time to return to a galaxy far, far away to score the next Star Wars film.

“If I can do it, I certainly will. I told (producer) Kathy Kennedy I’m happy to do it, but the real reason is, I didn’t want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley,” he told Variety.

Last night, Williams received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, the first given to a film composer in the award's 44 years.

Here's classic video of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops performing the Star Wars Main Theme:

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You can now own the Fez soundtrack on gorgeous translucent colored vinyl

Disasterpiece's remarkable soundtrack for Fez has been released on beautiful pollen-colored vinyl, alongside a striking red-and-gold physical release for the game itself.

Sun City Girls' Alan Bishop shares his love for Ennio Morricone

Alan Bishop, bassist/vocalist of Sun City Girls and global music collector, wrote an excellent post about his favorite film scores by legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Read the rest

World's finest soundtrack reissue labels merge (and 2001's lost score!)

My two favorite soundtrack reissue labels, Death Waltz Records and Mondo, have united, and the vinyl gods are pleased. Read the rest

The Hired Hand soundtrack (1971) by Bruce Langhorne

The Hired Hand is a 1971 western directed by and starring Peter Fonda. I've never seen the film but today I heard the score and it is absolutely fantastic. The composer is Bruce Langhorne, a veteran of the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, and the inspiration behind Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Also of note, Langhorne lost two fingers on his right hand as a child but clearly that doesn't impair his playing. The Hired Hand OST is a beautiful collection of atmospheric ghostly banjo, lapsteel, violin, and piano. Dig the cinematic blues:

The Hired Hand by Bruce Langhorne

Recently released by Scissor Tail Editions, the music has been compared to contemporary electronic experimentalists like Black Dice and Boards of Canada! Along with a digital download, Scissor Tail Editions sold 1,000 copies on 180-gram vinyl. I teared up when I realized they are completely, utterly sold out.

Have a listen and buy the digital album for $10 here: "The Hired Hand" Read the rest

Classic horror soundtracks on vinyl

Death Waltz Recording Company deals in exquisitely-curated horror/cult movie soundtracks reissued on vinyl in gorgeous packaging with newly-commissioned cover art.