July 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/monthly listings/JULY/



Any Given Sunday


How to get copies of promotional discs

In close succession we are offered Hans Zimmer's electronics for Gladiator, and Richard Horowitz electronics for American football movie Any Given Sunday, intended by the director Oliver Stone to 'reflect the ancient soul of the film', 'the mythological souls of his modern gladiators.'

Oliver Stone is one of those rare directors who pushes the form of commercial cinema to the limit, and his use of music has ranged from era-defining pop, to outstanding scores from John Williams for Born on the Fourth of July, JFK and Nixon. Stone decided to try something very different with Any Given Sunday. The 'score' if such it can be called, is a vast patchwork of rap - two albums, one with swearing, one without, have already been issued - and work by a wide range of other composers, Richard Horowitz just being one of nine. There are copious notes by Horowitz included with this disc, which necessarily concentrate almost exclusively on his part in scoring the film, though an excellent article by Jeff Bond in Film Score Monthly (Vol 5, No. 2) puts the whole complex process in context. Horowitz notes are exuberant, deeply personal, arguably pretentious, and include a letter to Stone which it is simply astonishing.

A huge amount of work and intellectual effort has been put into conceptualising this score. This is meant to be considered art, shame then that a director who understands so well how music can work to enhance the emotional power of film, that Stone should be satisfied with this end result. Clearly this is the same Richard Horowitz whose music worked well as extra material in The Sheltering Sky and 1492: Conquest of Paradise, though here while still often derived from ethnic rhythmic devices, the scoring is largely synthesised. The sad fact is that it all boils down to 'dance music'. Only the opening 'Final TD' - presumably from near the end of the film, has any sense of mythological destiny - and that in a very modern, digitised idiom.

For 40 tracks, loop follows loop. There are atmospheric patches. And loop follows loop - a relentlessly turgid machine with no clear end in view - as the composer's notes essentially point out. He improvised/wrote hours of this stuff, and Stone mixed and matched as his team of editors edited and edited and re-edited his million and a half feet of film, attempting to find a film out of the chaos of what appears to have been a project close to being out of control. The resultant CD is the sort of thing anyone familiar with MIDI can assemble with a decent synthesiser, some 'world music' samples, a digital reverb unit and a sequencer. There are no worthwhile themes, only loops, riffs and beats. At normal volume it is all but unlistenable. A aggressive cacophony that may well be appropriate to the undeclared war that is American football. Even so, it is without a doubt the worst film related release I've heard so far this year.


Gary S. Dalkin



Gary S. Dalkin



Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers :

BlackStar.co.uk - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit piedog.com

Return to Index