J-ok’el/George Shaw

August 1, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

It is really a pleasure to watch the growth of someone like George Shaw. Last year I had the opportunity to review his score to the ultra low budget thriller/horror film Marcus and it was evident then that there was a certain sound and level of talent a step above many young composers I have listened to since the start of my reviewing. What George did with “Carol of Death” is still one of the best tracks I’ve heard from anyone in a long time. This new release J-ok’el is a feature with 10 times the budget thus George had the advantage of 40 members of the Hollywood Studio Orchestra and the maturity comes through loud and clear. If you like to hear themes then a George Shaw soundtrack is one to listen to over and over and over!

J-ok’el,

” a weeping woman”, is based on a Mexican legend about a woman who kills her babies and comes back as a spirit to claim more babies as her own Directed by Benjamin Williams and filmed in Chiapas Mexico with an all Mexican cast except for Tom Parker and Dee “ET Wallace, the film was recently released to the video market in March of 2008. While the concept and idea could have produced a quality film, the budget limitations, too many holes in the script, and pretty much everything in general relegate this film to the DVD bargain bins. All except for the film score which was honored with a gold medal of excellence at the Park City Film Music Festival.

“Legend of La Llorona” is the first theme and a good one complete with a wordless female singer who is dominate in the first track. The brass has a different sound low and frightening due to the lack of trumpets. This legend theme is also used as a variation in “Fernardo Taken” in a brash dissonant cue. “Journey to Mexico” is the dominant theme that appears throughout the entire score, first appearing as a mournful motif on first the oboe followed by strings and flute. It will be one that you’ll remember as you also hear it in “It’s Jokel”, “Flashlight Cue”, “Nocturnal Abduction”, and “J-ok’el” among others. “Weeping Woman” offers a different theme with the wordless female voice again. This track is a lovely and soft yearning theme which segues to the journey theme on the harp. “Prayers for the Missing” is a nice elegiac hymn and in “Market Chase” there is a small but noticeable acknowledgment to the Superman theme. All in all this is an excellent effort in a dull film.

 

Marcus

, was the 18th release of Movie Score Media, coinciding with the DVD release on Warner Bros. It is yet another low budget horror film (100,000), this one taking place at Christmas time and dealing with a night of terror and violence against a man trying to reconcile with his estranged sister. No comments on the movie as this is one film that I will likely never see. But the music is another story. The opening track, “The Main Titles”, begins simply with a wonderful musical box theme and piano which seques into the strings repeating the melody with very nice harmony. It then offers a solo violin with the music box theme. “Brooke I’m Home” features the melody again except this time it is featured on the flute. “Blood Bath” offers up some string like danger chords not unlike what Pino Donaggio has done in the past. “Brooke Comes To” offers some of that good old fashion dramatic Herrmann like harmony with a dissonant horn or two to put you on the edge of your seat. All modern horror scores have to have some of the swarming bee strings and this one is no exception with “Stabben In the Neck”. Fortunately its only one track and the following cues “Nose Bleed”, “First Punch”, and “Seizure” return to a more Exorcist style of music. “Carol of Death” is in reality the well known Christmas song “Carol of the Bells”. It starts out sounding like yet another version of the song with a small female chorus sung well enough but pretty mundane. But as the entire 4+ minute track unfolds his orchestration turns it into something that reveals a bit more of his true signature which makes the cue an interesting one, worthy of a place on a compilation CD.This CD or download is a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to an exciting new composer in Hollywood. George is going places and look for his name on more and more films in the future.

Maintitles rating is ***1/2

Produced by George Shaw

Recorded and Mixed by John Rodd at Capitol Records

Track listing

1. The Legend of La Llorona (02:21)

 

2. Journey to Mexico (02:32)

 

3. Carolina Apparition (00:48)

 

4. Nocturnal Abduction (01:16)

 

5. Missing Child (00:46)

 

6. The Weeping Woman (01:48)

 

7. Prayers for the Missing (03:24)

 

8. Scaredy Dog (00:16)

 

9. Market Chase (03:25)

 

10. Siblings Snatched (01:30)

 

11. He Left Me (01:42)

 

12. Kids in the Dark (01:06)

 

13. Flashlight Clue (00:57)

 

14. Now You Will See (00:43)

 

15. Mistaken Identity (01:57)

 

16. Fernando Taken (01:28)

 

17. It’s J-ok’el (01:42)

 

18. The Search (04:03)

 

19. Cavern Confrontation (04:28)

 

20. Cemetary (03:19)

 

21. J-ok’el (02:57)

tracks 1-21 from “J-ok’el”

22. Main Titles (02:33)

 

23. Brooke, I’m Home (02:26)

 

24. Bloodbath (02:08)

 

25. Brooke Comes To (02:19)

 

26. Stabbed in the Neck (02:03)

 

27. Nose Bleed (00:55)

 

28. First Punch (01:04)

 

29. Seizure (02:43)

 

30. Carol of Death (04:38)

tracks 22-30 from “Marcus”

Total Duration: 01:03:17

 

 

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