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289 466 989-2

Artwork copyright (c) 2000 Universal Studios; review copyright (c) 2003 James Southall

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Modern score with strong theme, action highlights

Randy Edelman is one of those "hit and miss" composers who sometimes dazzles, sometimes grates, sometimes within the same score!  His style is fairly constant though - extremely gifted at coming up with the traditional "big theme", his scores almost all feature a combination of small orchestra, electronics, prominent part for piano (Edelman is a pianist) and action sequences with percussion.  Sometimes the results can be highly-entertaining - such as his recent score for XXX, which seemed to go largely unnoticed by the film music community, but really is very good - sometimes not, as with the awful Daylight.

Probably his most important relationship with a director has been that with Rob Cohen - they have worked (so far) on five films together, including the aforementioned XXX and also Dragonheart, which is probably Edelman's best score - The Skulls was their fourth collaboration.  The film - which did respectively at the box office - concerns a secret student society and the danger inherent in its mysterious ways.  Edelman's score is highly-effective.  

I mentioned the composer's talent for the "big theme", and he certainly doesn't disappoint here - heard most fully in "The Race", it's just fantastic stuff.  The rest of the score is mostly action music, a very effective (and surprisingly enjoyable) mixture of synths and percussion which certainly sounds a lot better on the stereo than it does when it's described in words.  I don't think there's an orchestra at all - but the synths are so good that you can never quite be sure.  Highlights of the action music include "The Duel" and "Ready to be Reborn".  More tender moments appear in cues like "Thorazine Hell" (gotta love it), where prototypical Edelman piano solos abound.

This is not a work of art by any means, but it's solidly entertaining and quite diverting for a while.  It's pleasantly melodic given what passes for music in this sort of film most of the time these days, and Decca's album gives about 35-40 minutes of score along with a few songs.

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  1. The Skulls (1:17)

  2. Will's Funeral (1:52)

  3. The Race (4:19)

  4. The Duel (3:43)

  5. Watch Me (1:30)

  6. Ready to be Reborn (1:45)

  7. Thorazine Hell (1:07)

  8. Snake and Skeleton (2:21)

  9. Trust (2:06)

  10. Skull Island (1:06)

  11. For a Friend (2:20)

  12. Secret and Elite (1:24)

  13. A Closed Membership (2:02)

  14. No One Is Safe (1:38)

  15. Revisiting the Race (2:46)

  16. Pictures (:59)

  17. Luke and Chloe (1:56)

  18. Reprise (2:05)

  19. Something About a Ceiling 3 Day Wheely (3:30)

  20. Falling Eman (3:22)

  21. Rigamarole BTK (3:46)

  22. Taste Lorna Vallings (4:01)