Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck has certainly broken more boundaries than any other picker in recent memory, from his early days performing bluegrass-inspired folk compositions on Rounder in the late '70s to his quirky jazz freak-outs with the Flecktones throughout the '90s. In late 2001, this peculiar innovator released an album of banjo interpretations of classical works by Bach, Chopin, and Scarlatti. Before classical purists roll their eyes, they must remember that the banjo hasn't always been seen as the instrument of choice of backwoods musicians in the Appalachian mountains, but as recently as the 1940s was used as a primary rhythm instrument in all manner of parlor music.
The original score to Alien: Covenant was written by Australian composer Jed Kurzel (The Babadook, Macbeth). Inspired by elements of the original Alien score, Kurzel’s work invokes feelings of isolation and abject horror in the face of an unavoidable mounting catastrophe.
Before he went on to direct the smash-hit films La La Land and Whiplash, Damien Chazelle began his career with Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. A jazz musical film written and directed by Chazelle while he attended Harvard, Guy and Madeline tells the story of a young couple, an up-and-coming trumpeter and an aimless introvert, whose relationship falls apart as the glow of their new love fades. Heartbreak, hope and regret follow as the two try to find meaning in their new lives apart from one another. Chazelle was steadfast that a film so focused on the world of jazz and tap would need an excellent score. Luckily fellow Harvard student Justin Hurwitz was recruited to the challenge of composing Guy and Madeline, which he flourished at. Hurwitz meshes the classic big band sound of early 20th century jazz sensibilities with smaller progressive ensemble pieces and lyrics written by Chazelle to delightful results. Now available for the first time, Guy and Madeline shows the early genesis of a Hollywood partnership that would be responsible for multiple modern classics.
An above-average soundtrack to a mediocre film, this dance-oriented album hits more than it misses. The title track by David Bowie is fluff by his standards, but as it's produced by Nile Rodgers (a year before their collaboration on Black Tie White Noise), it's danceable fluff. Further in, the album samples the beginnings of the '90s techno revolution, with excellent tracks from Future Sound of London ("Papua New Guinea"), Moby ("Next Is the E"), Ministry's Bush-era primal scream "N.W.O.," and Mindless's "Mindless." Brian Eno's exclusive track "Under" is one of his best from the '90s.
Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels managed to turn Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan's recurring one-joke skit about two clueless clubheads into a major motion picture. That's why they call him an entrepreneur. More importantly, the soundtrack to said film makes a good excuse for a compilation full of surefire club hits whose sights are set squarely on the dancefloor. From the inescapable "What Is Love" (Haddaway) to 3rd Party's revamped version of M's '80s hit "Pop Muzik," A Night at the Roxbury is a nonstop dancefest, full of relentless beats and hooky synth riffs guaranteed to fire up even the most lackluster of parties.
Power Rangers gets a big budget reboot and super composer Brian Tyler is along for the ride. Tyler is the primary composer for the Fast and Furious soundtracks, including the forthcoming eighth installment. Also in the past year, Brian has helmed the duties for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Now You See Me 2, xXx and others.