Here are some recently released scores (and a bonus album) you should really listen to right now.
Ben Frost – Dark: Cycle 3 (Original Music From The Netflix Series)
Ben Frost’s scores for the German sci-fi show on Netflix have always been captivating and, of course, often downright haunting or even terrifying. This round lives up to that standard, but there does feel like there’s more foreboding here. I haven’t seen the show yet, admittedly, so it’s probably related to plot development. (Yes, I sometimes listen to scores for shows and films I have yet to see.) Available digitally via Lakeshore Records and Invada Records. Invada will release a vinyl version at some point, but in the meantime pick up Cycles 1 and on wax now.
Anne Nikitin – Sulphur & White (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
City of London trader and mountaineer David Tait has professional success that masks a series of traumatic secrets. Nikitin’s classical score deftly captures the tension, foreboding, and ostensible catharsis of the story. Available digitally via Lakeshore Records.
Dan Romer & Mike Tuccillo – Ramy: Seasons One and Two (Original Composition Soundtrack Album)
Romer and Tuccillo are one of my favorite composing duos right now. Their electronic-driven music is bursting at the seems with a vibrant and colorful creativity that’s rare and cherished. Available now digitally via Lakeshore Records.
Ben Salisbury – Make Up (Original Score)
Gifted English composer Ben Salisbury (co-composer of Devs, Annihilation, Luce, and many other scores) has a compelling new two-track score release out that is tied to British film Make Up. Claire Oakley’s film tells the story of a young woman who is drawn into a mysterious obsession when she suspects her boyfriend has cheated on her. Available digitally via Invada Records.
Matthew Rogers – Volition (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Matthew Rogers’ synth-driven score for director Tony Dean Smith’s sci-fi thriller is an intensely captivating quest. The film is about a man who foresees his own death, and not only does it have these clairvoyant elements but there’s also time travel. Rogers’ dissonant creativity and pointed arps, at times, channel the vibe of fellow time-travel film composer Ben Lovett’s score for Synchronicity. Available now digitally via Lakeshore Records.
Various Artists – Culpable (Official Podcast Soundtrack)
Virtually all of the Tenderfoot TV podcasts — including Atlanta Monster, Up and Vanished, and Radio Rental — feature the eminently fantastic music of Makeup and Vanity Set, but Culpable is noteworthy for being one of the shows in the network to feature a few different artists with varying styles. MAVS’ synth-driven fare is there, but also noteworthy are the contributions of artists like Dirt Poor Robins. Note the haunting wail of the strings over the slow, death-march quality of that artist’s “Meridian Prime,” for example. Available now digitally via Lakeshore Records.
Ilan Eshkeri and Shigeru Umebayashi – Ghost of Tsushima (Music from the Video Game)
Eshkeri and Umebayashi have composed a captivating score for this acclaimed video game, relying heavily on traditional Japanese instruments along with more straightforward orchestrations. Out on digital and CD via Milan Records.
Clint Mansell & Clint Walsh – Berlin
This is not actually a score, but it’s an album from one of the best score composers out there. And it’s a cover of Lou Reed’s 1973 album, Berlin, no less! Mansell might be best known for his score work on Darren Aronofsky’s films, in addition to Duncan Jones’ Moon and Mute, and beloved Black Mirror episode “San Junipero,” but he got his start in the pop/rock/electronic world in the 1980s with the band Pop Will Eat Itself. On this cover album, Mansell and fellow Clint (Walsh of Tweaker) deftly turn the arty original into a tightly structured and profoundly catchy new wave album.
The often upbeat album has some deeply moving and sad roots. The record is dedicated to Mansell’s late partner Heather, who died in 2014. Here’s what Mansell said about this release in promotional materials: ” In Levels Of Life, author Julian Barnes lists the “lasts” he shared with his wife before her death. The last film Heather and I watched together was the Julian Schnabel film of Lou Reed performing Berlin live at St Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, in 2006. Reimagining this music with musician and producer Clint Walsh — a friend who became a great friend through this experience — is part of what lifted me over a wall of grief that I had previously been unable to climb. So this is dedicated to Heather, and Lou, with love.”