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  • Composed by Mark Mancina
  • La-La Land Records / 2012 / 59:54

Mark Mancina seemed destined to be one of the next big things in film music around the mid-1990s, working on some of the biggest action films of the time (Speed, Bad BoysTwister, Con Air) and a major Disney animation (Tarzan).  For whatever reason, going into the new decade the big films dried up, and we haven’t heard much from him at all for the last few years.  But video games offer a new route for film composers to take – and Sorcery, a PlayStation game in which the player takes on the role of a sorcerer’s apprentice battling the evil queen, is the latest opportunity for Mancina.  In his liner notes, the composer says that he was encouraged to be as creative and non-derivative as possible – I initially took this with a large pinch of salt, but actually his music does go off in a rather unexpected direction.

Mancina draws heavily from celtic influences – there are pipes and whistles, some of the tracks sound more like dances than dramatic underscore.  It certainly gives the music an unexpected flavour, though it’s not quite the smoothed version of the style usually embraced by Hollywood, so you have to be of a certain disposition to enjoy it completely I would suggest.  More straightforward is the action music, of which there is quite a lot – it’s rather similar to that in the action scores I listed earlier, right down to the remarkable Media Ventures ability to make a real orchestra sound like samples.  Still, it’s pretty enjoyable.  My favourite parts are the (relatively rare) occasions when the composer calms things down and offers more reflective, considered dramatic music.  Mancina fans will probably love it but I find it a struggle to motivate myself to get through a whole hour of this music, which is just – despite its celtic flavour – too generic to truly satisfy.  ** 1/2 |

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