Virtuosity - Christopher Young

I don't know a lot about Chris Young's Virtuosity because a lot of it is so terrible I can't listen to the whole thing without scrambling for the skip button.

It's a synthesis of Young's trademark thriller style with a overload of contemporary electronic whizbangery, a lot of which sounds awfully dated, some twelve years after the score was written. Look no further than the infamous "orch hits" in the aptly titled "Techno Turd" if you feel like cringing.

Virtuosity was released in a string of promo titles (along with such "classics" as Hush, Murder at 1600) by the composer and manufactured by the label Intrada. I'm sharing this album by request for Chris Young titles. Look for more (better) titles in the near future.

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Behind Enemy Lines - Don Davis

Following the success of The Matrix, Don Davis scored this laughably over-the-top actioner with a mix of Matrix-like modernism with flourishes of contemporary rock and synth effects.

While not as popular as his music for the Matrix series, Davis' score infuses the film with a patriotic fervor and a sense of urgency, effectively evoking the chilly Eastern-European locale ("Main Title (Ustao)") and militaristic might of America. The score does descend into temp-tracking reference in the rah-rah finale ("Battle On Thin Ice"), sounding specifically like Jerry Goldsmith's chest-thumping main theme for Air Force One.

Released in 2001 as a promotional disc by the composer shortly after the film's theatrical release. The disc runs 67:20 over 23 tracks.

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The Boy Who Could Fly - Bruce Broughton

Bruce Broughton must have been the King of the '80s, judging by his prodigious output in that decade. The assignments have gotten lower in profile and farther between for the composer these days, but we'll always have those '80s gems to hold on to. One of which is The Boy Who Could Fly, a fantasy/drama scored by Broughton in 1986.

Broughton's music is appropriately tender, considering the subject matter, anchored on a sweet theme for flute, harp, guitar and strings, which the composer wastes no time establishing in the opening track ("Main Titles/Meeting Eric"). The orchestrations are firmly entrenched in Broughton's sound at the time, i.e., a lot of the filigreed elements ("Military Mission/New Neighbors") are similiar to those in his masterwork, Young Sherlock Holmes.

Originally released on LP as a re-recording by Varese Sarabande shortly after the film's disappointing theatrical run, Percepto Records produced a 1,000 copy promotional disc in 2001 that quickly vanished from specialty retailers.

Anyone ever wonder what happened to Lucy Deakins, who played Millie? Me too.

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Outcast - Lennie Moore

Lennie Moore's score for the videogame Outcast helped pave the way for what is now a standard occurrence in the gaming industry -- the full orchestral score. Moore recorded his mammoth effort in Russia with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra with film music favorite William T. Stromberg conducting. The result is not unsurprisingly Soviet in sound, with the large mixed chorus evoking the lumbering might of Basil Poledouris' The Hunt For Red October. However Moore's Outcast is more varied, mixing ethereal chorale with exotic percussion and a rollicking main theme.

Available only through purchasing the game in 1999, this is a limited promotional release produced by Infogrames. The score has been available for download from the game's official site for years, but this is perhaps the best sounding free version on the internet. Highly recommended download. Enjoy!

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Heist - Theodore Shapiro

Before he started scoring comedies, Theodore Shapiro wrote two standout scores for David Mamet. The first was State and Main, released by RCA Victor on CD. The second was Heist, an underrated, lippy thriller starring Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Delroy Lindo delivering classic, profanity-laced Mamet barbs. Shapiro's score harkens back to a '70s aesthetic with bass and a solemn brass theme not unlike Ron Grainer's The Omega Man. The score also has a sharp-edged Goldsmith feel, particularly Goldsmith's smoky Chinatown and aggressive L.A. Confidential. Released only as a promotional disc, and yours for $0. Remember, stay quiet, as quiet as an ant pissing on cotton.

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