Category Archives: Press & Reviews

Mud and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints named Two of the Best Film Scores of 2013!

The 15 Best Film Scores Of 2013 | The Playlist | IndieWire.Com

MUD – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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One of the masterstrokes of the near-meteoric rise of Jeff Nichols was borrowing a composer from friend and collaborator David Gordon Green. David Wingo scored many of Green’s early films, as far as back as “George Washington” (recently reteaming with him for “Prince Avalanche”—see below), and came up with one of the most memorable scores of 2011 at his first time at bat with Nichols on “Take Shelter.” We hope the collaboration with Nichols is as long-running as the one with Green, because they’ve come up with gold again for “Mud.” Even more so that its predecessor, it’s real country-fried stuff, with Wingo combining bluegrass banjo and fiddle with persistent percussion and foreboding strings. The latter in particular is crucial to the film: even at its most carefree, the filmmaker and his composer don’t let you forget that something terrible is coming.

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Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Album Available At: iTunes / Amazon

The moody and mystical “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” features a trifecta of lived-in performances, sun-dappled cinematography, and a lilting, lovely score by Daniel Hart. Layers of strings, from violins and cellos to the higher ranges of bluegrass-inspired mandolin is buttressed by rhythmic hand-clapping, creating a totally unique and hypnotic sound. The score colors in all the elements of time and place, at once authentic and at other times magical and fairy-like, sounding of winged creatures taking flight. And yet, it feels organic, real, and worn, much like the aesthetic of the picture. Hart, another of ourOn The Rise composers this year, is a violinist and composer who also worked on David Lowery’s feature “St. Nick,” and short “Pioneer,” and it’s clear that the two artists’ work informs each other, fitting together seamlessly. Intimate, organic, grounded, and yet airy, the score of “Aint Them Bodies Saints” is what makes that film such a specific and unique piece.

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The Spectacular Now – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Album Available At: iTunes / Amazon

Indie composer Rob Simonsen is becoming quite ubiquitous. In 2013, he wrote music for “Girl Most Likely,” “The Way Way Back” and “The English Teacher” among others, but it’s his dreamy and emotional work in “The Spectacular Now” that really caught our ear.

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DRIVE Soundtrack named as one of the “20 Best Movie Soundtracks Of All Time” named the Drive Soundtrack as one of the Top 20 Greatest Movie Soundtracks of All Time!

Drive Top soundtracks

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The Grandmaster (NPR) Renowned Kung Fu Master Inspires Slew Of Action Flicks

Filmmaker Wong Kar Wai credits Ip Man’s generation for passing on the martial arts tradition despite upheaval in China. His latest film, The Grandmaster, which stars Tony Leung as Ip Man, is an action-packed meditation on Chinese martial arts philosophy that is intentionally old-fashioned.

“Today we see the Chinese went through rapid changes. It’s time for us to return to our roots and to revisit our heritage,” Wong says.

True to Wong’s signature art-house style, The Grandmaster is one lush sequence after another. In an early scene, a gleaming brothel serves as the battleground for Ip Man and his rivals. The film crisscrosses over decades between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Listen to the complete NPR Spotlight on The Grandmaster!

Out now the incredible soundtrack album to The Grandmaster at iTunes here:



The Grandmaster Track Listing:

01. Main Theme I – Opening – Shigeru Umebayashi & Nathaniel Mechaly
02. Main Theme II – Dreaming of the 64 Hands – Shigeru Umebayashi
03. Love Theme I – Shigeru Umebayashi
04. Love Theme II – Shigeru Umebayashi
05. Beijing Opera – Si Lang Tan Mu – Traditional
06. The Gold Pavilion – Shigeru Umebayashi
07. Manchuria Express – Shigeru Umebayashi & Nathaniel Mechaly
08. Action 150 – Vichaya Vatanasapt, Traithep Wongpaiboon & Nathaniel
09. Sorekara Epilogue I – Kokuhaku – Shigeru Umebayashi
10. Moyou (from the film “Sorekara”) – Shigeru Umebayashi
11. Opium – Shigeru Umebayashi & Nathaniel Mechaly
12. Casta Diva (from the opera “Norma”) – Vinenzo Bellini
13. Main Theme IV – The Sacrifice – Shigeru Umebayashi & Nathaniel
14. La Donna Romantica – Ennio Morricone
15. Once Upon a Time in America: Deborah’s Theme – Ennio
16. Manchurian Bolero – Nathaniel Mechaly & Shigeru Umebayashi

Interview with The Spectacular Now composer Rob Simonsen

Check out this interview from with The Spectacular Now composer Rob Simonsen:

Simonsen’s subtly captivating music is totally in the headspace of these two characters, the hilarious boozy-brass opening of “Spectacular Now” gradually getting past the humor to reveal its drifting self in beautiful washes of melancholy melody. For “The Way Way Back,” an alternately lyrical and bouncy guitar-driven theme pushes Duncan out the door for his journey of water slide self-discovery, all while gentle, echoing chords and a piano show the dead-end his mom’s settled for with a passive-aggressive boyfriend.

Though each Simonsen score is character specific, they’re linked by an understated, highly melodic approach that links the films and their music as taking place in the same teen universe where quirky humor blends with the angst of invading adulthood. Their offbeat tones show that Simonsen has indeed learned well from time spent with Mychael Danna, a composer who set the bar for the musically offbeat with such scores as “The Ice Storm,” “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” Fully teaming as composers for the quirky acoustical romance of “Management” and a surprisingly traditional orchestral approach that counted down the bittersweet “(500) Days of Summer).” While he’s remained just as busy with more grown-up concerns from a murderous heir in “All Good Things” to the cop family of TV’s “Bluebloods” and the ironic task of “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World,” “The Spectacular Now” and “The Way Way Back” represent the full graduation of Simonsen into Gen Y scoring as he translates the tunes its characters listen to into the entrancing scores of their lives.

Read the full interview here:

Download the  The Spectacular Now soundtrack now at: and see the film, in Theaters Today!

The Spectacular Now at iTunes / Amazon

Listen to exclusive track from The Spectacular Now Soundtrack!

From Indiewire today:

In the midst of the summer blockbuster season, it may be hard to remember that a lot of really good movies are on the horizon, and one picture that made our honorable mentions roundup in our 2013: The Best Films Of The Year…So Far list was “The Spectacular Now,” from “Smashed” director James Ponsoldt. And with the movie on the way, we’ve got an exclusive listen to one of the many winning elements of the film, the score by Rob Simonsen (“The Way Way Back,” “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World“).

Starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, “The Spectacular Now” follows the blossoming romance between Aimee (Woodley), and the popular yet aimless Sutter (Teller). As you’ll hear in the track “Paper Route” from the score, Simonsen nicely captures the tenor of the film, which bounces from melancholy to something a bit lighter on its feet. It’s a movie we called “a valuable and honest film that’s worth the investment,” when we saw it at Sundance, and needless to say, it’s one we recommend tracking down this summer.

“The Spectacular Now” opens on August 2nd, with the soundtrack arriving on digital outlets on July 30th. Full details for the release are below along with the exclusive listen of “Paper Route.”

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Album out tomorrow! Pre-order it here: