Film Music Editor: Ian Lace  Music Webmaster: Len Mullenger


Angmering is a pretty little village nestling between the South Downs and the English Channel, just west of the Sussex town of Worthing. In the High Street's parade of shops, above and between a bridal shop and a florist is the headquarters of Hot Records. The Company's catalogue includes a number of record labels revered by film music enthusiasts: Preamble, Pendulum, Citadel, Bay Cities, Label X, Retrograde, Entracte and Southern Cross. All have important memorable scores from the Golden and Silver Age of Film Music and not easily available outside Australia and the USA.

I became suddenly aware of Hot Records because of the outstanding UK film Magazine press reviews the Company had been getting of such Preamble and Southern Cross classics as Bernard Herrmann's Citizen Kane and Marvin Hamlisch's Sophie's Choice. Also Hot Records is cannily affixing an address sticker to the back of the CDs it carries presumably to encourage enthusiasts to enquire about their other film music titles. [Hot Records sells a wide range of recorded music and one of their hottest-selling artists is Eva Cassidy]

I travelled to Angmering to visit Hot Records and talk with their chief executive, Martin Jennings. Hot Records was established in Australia back in 1982 but it was only some two years ago that the Company began to trade in film music.

"I spend a lot of time travelling between Angmering and Australia often taking in Los Angeles en route," commented Martin. "On one occasion, I purchased a CD of a John Barry score in Los Angeles on my way through to Australia.. I had always liked Barry's music. The film was clearly American but when I arrived in Australia, I read the booklet notes more closely and noticed that it was a limited edition and, surprisingly, that the recording had been produced in Australia by John Stephen Lasher. Well, I eventually contacted John Lasher, we met and he told me that he wanted to discontinue his film music recording activities. That is how we took over the distribution of the Fifth Continent Group of labels which includes Preamble and Label X.

"Then, about that time, through my interest in soundtracks, I met Alain Silver who had been associated with the Bay Cities label. Although I knew that Bay Cities had gone bankrupt, I had always been interested in the quality of their products so I met Alain Silver in Santa Monica and we picked up the distribution rights of the remaining Bay Cities material. Then I talked with Tom Null of Citadel who had been a principal of Varèse Sarabande and Alain Silver's partner in Bay Cities. The result was that we took on the Citadel catalogue as well. Currently we are continuing to look for quality film music and we have for instance an agreement with Lukas Kendall of Film Score Monthly to carry his Retrograde label.

"We sell our products all over the world. Recently we have been encouraged by rave reviews of our CDs in the film magazines and other media. Our intention is to release three CDs per month. Imminently we will be releasing three compilations of scores by Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann and Alex North together with Herrmann's complete score for Citizen Kane, Jerome Moross's music for The Cardinal, Basil Poledouris's score for The Blue Lagoon, and David Shire's vibrant jazz-based score for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three."

We discussed film music for some time. Martin has strong views about film music particularly of present day scores. "Composers today are at the mercy of directors, producers and above all commercial considerations. They are restricted to a format that is considered to be safe, that will sell well and offset the costs of producing the film. Too many scores sound too alike; it is like composing by numbers, by computer (and this, literally, is too often the case). Too often, the older scores, the type in which we specialise, outshine today's material."

I understand that we can expect more exciting releases in coming months - scores of the stature of Hugo Friedhofer's The Best Years of Our Lives, that wonderful Preamble recording which has been unavailable for so long and Herrmann's The Magnificent Ambersons.

For a catalogue of film scores (and Hotline's Jazz, Popular and Easy Listening Music, Singles, 'Classical Music,' and Videos) please e-mail:

Ian Lace

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