Latest reviews of new albums:
LA Noire
  • Composed by Andrew Hale and Simon Hale
  • Rockstar Games / 2011 / 50:29

I’m not a big player of computer games (other than sport-related ones and ones with Lego in the title) but LA Noire has had me hooked; set in 1940s Los Angeles, the player is a detective who has to solve various crimes.  There’s a big James Ellroy feel to it all (more Badge of Honour than LA Confidential, admittedly) and it’s great fun.  The music plays a big part in creating the wonderful atmosphere.  It’s composed by Andrew and Simon Hale and draws inspiration from various great film noir scores – for starters there’s a wonderful trumpet theme, of course there is, and it’s sexy and soulful and superb.  The more straightforward dramatic cues remind me of Bernard Herrmann’s Taxi Driver – there’s that jazzy feel, similar orchestral techniques too.

There are a few cues composed for a small jazz ensemble rather than orchestra – these are credited only to Andrew Hale – and they sound perfectly at home too.  The real highlight for me is the action music – full of big-city bustle and bravado, its lineage can be traced back to Leonard Bernstein and On the Waterfront, but perhaps its closest modern antecedent is my own favourite noir score from the last couple of decades, Mark Isham’s wonderful The Black Dahlia.  This is a fabulously entertaining album (even with a trio of songs after 40 minutes or so of score) – pastiche, yes, but that’s the whole point, and it’s done with real panache.  Definitely worth a look.  ****

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  1. Solaris (Reply) on Saturday 9 July, 2011 at 14:21

    100% Percent agreed. A very fine Score and one of these years hidden gems. 🙂

  2. ddueck (Reply) on Tuesday 12 July, 2011 at 16:00

    I agree, it’s terrific fun. Good to hear something so thoroughly entertaining. If you’re the type with a wide set of musical tastes, I also recommend the EP album LA Noir Remixed. It’s not really electronica, just beefed-up old jazz songs with a splash of ska. A great little companion to Andrew Hale’s score. 🙂