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Exciting action/adventure music gets new deluxe presentation
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2006 Cinetelfilms Music; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
Chuck Cirino is a composer from the Roger Corman stable, who has been steadily scoring films since 1980 (he has over 40 scores to his credit), many for director Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray. These pictures are still made at a rate of knots (the majority going straight to DVD) and are as popular as ever, though none of Cirino's music has been released on CD before. Now, in a limited release, Buysoundtrax.com has released three of his recent scores together on CD through their label BSX Records - AI Assault, Komodo vs Cobra and Solar Attack.
Needless to say, budgetary restrictions mean the music is synthesised, but at least on this disc, the synths are very high quality and Cirino embraces them, mercifully avoiding writing "fake orchestra" music and instead using his electronics to create music which he couldn't do otherwise. AI Assault begins with a striking theme which sets the tone for the entire score, a propulsive one driven on by great percussion effects which propels the action music into exciting territory; and Cirino excels in the action, which has vague similarities with Jerry Goldsmith's more synth-laden efforts in the 1980s. He does find time to put in a tender little piano theme, somewhat improbably in a track entitled "Killbot", which is very nice and gives a little room for a rest.
After the virtual non-stop action of the first score, the somewhat subdued opening to Komodo vs Cobra is welcome, but inevitably it doesn't last long and the driving main theme appears - again with percussion accompaniment, this time more standard "jungle" percussion, but this time the theme is played by (synth) horns and then guitars and is effectively scene-setting and dynamic. It's a really good theme. The score contains some more mellow moments, including the lovely "Bora Bora", but the action is never far away - perhaps there's a similar kind of vibe as in Alan Silvestri's popular Predator score, but if anything this is more dynamic and interesting music. The central action piece, "Cobra vs Cameraman", is particularly impressive.
Solar Attack opens with a slightly more expansive theme, with a slight science fiction tinge. There's a martial air about the excellent "Orbital Decay", highly-effective suspense scoring with a hint of Alien. It is a less "showy" score than the other two on the disc, but no worse for that. This album is one of those which catches you a bit by surprise - this is unadulterated fun, great music, and it's good to just sit and listen to something whose only mission is to entertain once in a while. It's a blast!