Profile for L. Hubbard > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by L. Hubbard
Top Reviewer Ranking: 285
Helpful Votes: 1456

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
L. Hubbard (Cardiff)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 - The Score
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 - The Score
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 10.14

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breaking Dawn Pt 1 sounds like a musical calm before the storm of Part 2 - but it is one of the best scores in the series, 8 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The scores to the Twilight series have been somewhat disjointed. Composer Carter Burwell composed the score for the first film, and was subsequently replaced by Alexandre Desplat for The Twilight Saga: New Moon The Score, and Howard Shore's contribution for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - The Score (which I considered to be the weakest score in the series). Carter Burwell returns for a second attempt in Breaking Dawn Pt 1, and I think this is one of the strongest scores in the series.

The main difference between Burwell's first score, and those subsequently for New Moon and Eclipse is that the latter two have been more orchestral in nature. This is a move which Burwell has emulated in Breaking Dawn Part 1. The album features a lot of piano, strings, and guitar writing, which sounds very pleasant, but the tempo is fairly slow. There is a lot less reliance on electronic elements which were commonplace in his first score. I wont attempt to go into a track by track analysis of BDP1, because many of the tracks have a similar style to them. In terms of the more action based tracks, "A Wolf Stands Up (track 12), "Playing Wolves (Track 17) and "You Kill Her You Kill Me" (Track 24) provide the more up tempo sections. Even these sound slightly restrained, and I feel Burwell is saving his best for the next installment. That said, the tracks are of high quality, (and despite a few moments of dissonance (eg towards the end of "Wedding Nightmare (Track 4)), the album makes for an easy listen.

The duration of the album is just short of 54 minutes - and I thought this was a little short. Of the 25 tracks present on the album, none reach over 4 minutes in length. This is a shame, because the musical themes established are good, but none are presented in any extended form to provide a longer action cue. On a related note, the film runs for 117 minutes, and I would guess (I have yet to see the film) that this under represents the amount of score that is heard in the film. I would therefore recommend listening to the samples prior to the purchase in case there are cues that you liked within the film that may be missed off the album. Also, I didn't notice any development on any previous themes from either of the three albums, so consider this release to be somewhat of a clean slate from a musical point of view. I would have quite liked to have heard a extension of some of Desplat's themes from New Moon, but I can't say I was hugely shocked at the exclusion.

Overall, I think this is a strong score by Burwell. From my perspective, which favours a more orchestral sound, I thought this was a definite improvement compared to his initial Twilight score (however for those who liked his style initially, you may not like this more orchestral approach as much). This album is slower paced than previous installments, and I would guess this is the calm before the storm for Breaking Dawn Pt 2. I loved Desplat's score for Breaking Moon, and I don't think this album beats that, however, it is a superior effort compared to Burwell's first score and Howard Shore's effort for Eclipse. I wish some of the tracks on the album were longer, and this was the only criticism I could find. An extended presentation of the themes in the form of a longer suite would have been welcome, but this is not a good enough reason not to buy the CD. I have no idea whether or not this will be the case, but with Desplat's scores to the Harry Potter scores for the finale Deathly Hallows Pt 1 and 2, I found Desplat's efforts to be vastly superior in the DHP2 compared to DHP1. If Burwell can find an extra gear for BDP2, and I have a feeling he will, the result will be something pretty epic for Breaking Dawn Part 2.


Hugo
Hugo
Price: 15.71

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for those who like the orchestral arrangements with fairly stereotypical French instrumentations, 3 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hugo (Audio CD)
Howard Shore is best known for his scores for the Lord of the Rings films, and I believe these are some of the finest ever written in the film score genre. Hugo shows off a very different side for Shore - 1930s Paris rather than Middle Earth. This is a style which he seems very comfortable with, and the orchestrations are good, but I cannot help but feel this album will appeal to a fairly niche listener. The album consists largely of accordion performances with additional orchestral arrangements, particularly from the string section and piano.

There are several different themes, although I have to confess I didn't find any of them particularly catchy or memorable. The quality of the orchestrations and arrangements of the music is easily 5*s though. I should confess that I am not a massive fan of the accordion, and although it is by no means present throughout the whole duration of the album, it is more common than not. The music never sounds or feels particularly heavy - I would call it whimsical but that would be a disservice.

I particularly liked track 14 "Trains", which had slightly less influence from the French instrumentation allowing the rest of the orchestra to shine - there is some great string writing during the end of the opening half, and the more uptempo second portion made a welcome change of pace. It is difficult to do a track by track analysis, because often there would be some orchestral gems (minus the accordion) interspersed in the majority of the tracks but they are rarely long enough to deserve specific mention.

The running time is just under the 70 minute mark and this is fairly good value for money. On a production note, the size of the orchestra sounds fairly small (or this is because it has a fairly dry mix) - and this produces a less epic feel compared to LOTR for example, although I appreciate the differences in scale of the film would contribute to this.

Overall, this is a score which is saturated with French mannerisms, particularly in the form of the accordion. This isn't surprising given the time period and location for the film (1930s Paris) - and the music does fit this setting remarkably well. However, the style does not vary greatly across the album, despite the consistently high quality. For those that despise stereotypical French sounding accordion music, even if it is well mixed well with an orchestra, will not like this release. I personally think it shows an interesting and different side to Shore's writing, but I would be lying if I said it was a classic, or an album that I would be likely to play regularly. However, I do appreciate that it would be very appropriate for the film, and I can't help but like the orchestrations. However, I don't think this is the easiest album to listen to all the way through unless you loved the soundtrack within the film, or if you like that specific style of French music. The purely orchestral portions (that I was personally more interested in) were up to Shore's usual quality although they rarely appear in any extended form. That said, I do think that there are enough decent cues to justify the purchase even if you find the accordion and other stereotypical French instrumentation hard to stomach.


Real Steel
Real Steel
Price: 12.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe this will stand as one of Danny Elfman's best scores. Orchestral, electronic and rock perfection, 22 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Real Steel (Audio CD)
Danny Elfman is a composer I associate with the weird and zany, particularly when he scores for his long time collaborator Tim Burton. The score for Reel Steel however is Elfman like you have never heard him before. He has left zany aside and instead gone for a rocky orchestral sound in a way that cannot fail to captivate you as a listener. As a side note, I have read comments on past albums where score and song albums are both released - do not buy this expecting the songs from the film - you can find that here Real Steel - Music From The Motion Picture. Buy Danny Elfman's score instead though, it's better!

Firstly, the main theme as introduced in the opening track "Charlie Trains Atom" will really dictate how much you like the album as a whole because this theme saturates a large portion of the album. The main theme itself is fairly upbeat, although it does sometimes border on being cheesy in an uplifting way. That minor quibble aside, what makes this album is the number of variations of this theme, whether on the acoustic guitar, the orchestra, or choir, it sounds surprisingly fresh even after listening to the album the whole way through.

Some tracks like "On The Move", "Into the Zoo", "It's Your Choice" are very much more electronic/rocky. One of my favourite tracks is "Twin Cities' Intro", which is short, but it combines rock, electronic and orchestral sections with such ease. As the previous reviewer said, there are also some nice vocal contributions from Poe (a singer I am not familiar with). Her voice is great and has exactly the right tone for the album on the tracks she features (Why We're Here" and "Parkway Motel"). Her contribution isn't a huge part on the album though. In addition, "Meet Atom" is my second favourite track on the album, which is largely orchestral with a bit of choir to add to the mix - stunning.

I won't go into detail on every track, but I can't avoid "Final Round", which is by far the best track on the album by far. To say it is epic is doing it a disservice. At 6.54 in length, it's the longest track on the album. As a result, it really takes the time to build up, and just after the 5 minute mark, the choir and orchestra kick in and the resulting mix is spine tingling.

Running in at just over 42 minutes, this is a relatively short release, but that doesn't matter at all. At the risk of sounding cliched, it does take you on a musical journey and by the end you aren't left feeling like you need any more...accept to press the play button and start it all over again. From a sound production perspective, the orchestra, electronic and rock elements are beautifully mixed making the album sound fantastic.

Overall, I had heard good things about Reel Steel, but I wasn't prepared or expecting such a different sound from Elfman. And it works. If you think modern film scores sound formulaic, think again. This, I believe will stand as one of Elfman's best scores so don't hesitate to buy this absolute gem.


Arthur Christmas - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Arthur Christmas - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Offered by SourceMediaUK
Price: 4.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Gregson-Williams has produced a wonderful wintery score for Arthur Christmas - it's brilliant!, 21 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Harry Gregson-Williams is one of my favourite composers. Having worked on all the Shrek films, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia-The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian Original Soundtrack and a load of others, he has shown his orchestral writing is amazing. As well as this, he also regularly uses electronic elements in some of his scores (which I usually find somewhat mundane). In Arthur Christmas, he has, for the most part, taken a fully orchestral approach, and has composed a wonderful wintery soundtrack.

The whole album has a consistently high quality throughout. The main theme for the film gets its first showing in "Mission Control" and is reprised several times across the album. "Goodbye Evie" contains a wonderful statement of of this, but other tracks have a different sound. For example,"Operation Christmas"has a wintery bond sounding going on with some electronic beats in with the mix (but this just aids the rhythm and isn't overtly obtrusive). "Arthur's Sadness" is one of the more slower melancholic tracks - but that said, the writing for strings and piano is sublime. "Christmas Morning" has a tranquil opening with some really pleasant writing for strings and piano before a final burst of the main theme ends the main score portion of the album.

"Dash Away" deserves a special mention and is my favourite track on the album - the main theme for the film gets multiple arrangements with orchestra and choir and it really does sound stunning.

There are a couple of additional tracks on the end - the first is a nice (but somewhat cheesy) arrangement of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and a song with Bill Nighy closes off the album. I didn't particularly like it, but that's very much personal taste.

Overall, this is definitely one CD that HGW fans shouldn't be without. The wintery Christmas sound is present, but is in no way cheesy in a way that I would consider to be annoying. The main theme is great and the music but it never takes itself to seriously - but don't think for a second that corresponds to a decrease in quality, this is HGW at the top of his game. It's a fun Christmasy romp pretty much start to finish, and for anyone who likes orchestral scores and HGW will really enjoy this release. It's one of his finest in quite a while.


The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers
Price: 16.87

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did you enjoy the scores to POTC, Transformers and Robin Hood? If yes, you'll like this CD. If not, then avoid like the plague., 11 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Three Musketeers (Audio CD)
Lets be clear at the outset that the score for The Three Musketeers is not a musical masterpiece. Composer Paul Haslinger has followed Zimmer's textbook example for scoring an action film - choppy ostinato strings, simple harmonies and themes that despite their simplicity in terms of composition, sound pleasant to listen to in an undemanding way. This is very much a score that has a hybrid sound of Pirates of the Caribean, Transformers: The Score and Robin Hood. Add a bit of acoustic guitar and percussion in the mix and you have the recipe for The Three Musketeers score.

I won't go into a track by track analysis for the whole album, but there are a few that deserve mention. The track "All For One" contains similarities to Marc Streitenfelt's main theme from Robin Hood in both melody and rhythm which clearly borders on he line of plagiarism. I know that these days films are temp scored from existing film scores to give composers a reference sound for what to emulate, but in this case the similarities were a little too obvious for my liking. If you like this theme (which starts at around the 24 second mark to 45 seconds), check out Robin Hood for a better version of this theme!

Although the album contains more action based music, there are slower tracks which contain some great writing for the acoustic guitar over a nice orchestral accompaniment. My favourite track is by far "The World Calls To The Young", where Haslinger has written a wonderful section for solo oboe over the orchestra and before the track concludes on an epic note.

In addition, Take That fans will like the fact this release contains the track "When We Were Young", although I am in no way competent enough to make a judgement about whether it is any good because of my appalling knowledge and lack of appreciation of pop music!

Overall - this score is not the dictionary definition of originality. The sources of inspiration for this score (Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers with occasional influences from Robin Hood) are not well disguised and so this can only lead to one main conclusion. If you are a fan of these scores, with choppy strings over a bed of rather pleasant (but simplistic) harmonies, this is the album for you. I am in no way attempting to be snobbish in this review and criticise this style of scoring, as I believe there is a place for scores like this. Some people would consider this place to be the bin. However, I think that for those who are willing to accept this for what it is then there is enjoyment to be had. But if you are in any way annoyed by the increasing use of Zimmer's techniques in the genre, this is not the score for you. If you can overlook this then there is about 40 minutes of undemanding music which, despite it's simplicity in musical terms, makes for an enjoyable listen on album.


Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Price: 11.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful orchestral / synth soundtrack - Space Marine is a great action romp from start to finish, 10 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The demand for orchestral/electronic scores for new games continues to increase, and this can only be a good thing for fans of scores for TV, cinema and games. The composers, Sascha Dikiciyan & Cris Velasco are not names that I am familiar with. But don't let their obscurity put you off - this score contains some wonderful orchestral writing and synth elements that make this a highly enjoyable listen.

The main theme for the album is first highlighted in "Titus' Theme" which is simply wonderful. This is reprised several times over the duration of the album and forms a key backbone of the score. My favourite track has to be the finale "A Hero's Legacy" - this sounds like a suite to end the album and contains the best statement of Titus' Theme, with the orchestra sounding absolutely bombastic. Towards the end of the penultimate track, "Heresy", there is also a great somber version of this theme with some added punch with of the use of a choir to add a bit of extra depth. The choir is used sparingly on the album, but when it does appear I think it is very effective. I won't go into all of the other tracks - needless to say they are all action based and the album as a whole has a very consistent feel with the quality of the tracks remaining high throughout.

The score runs for 50 minutes and this is a fairly short release. Whether it contains all the music as heard in the game, I don't know. However, I thought this was a good length and the variety of tracks was good both in style and duration.

From a sound production perspective, the mixing is very crisp and sounds great. The only criticism (and this is surely due to financial constraints), is that at times the orchestra does sound fairly small. That said, the combination of the synth elements and the orchestra is brilliant and I believe that given the financial constraints, the composers and production screw couldn't have done a better job.

Overall, Space Marine is a perfect example that game scores should not be overlooked. Everything is here that makes up a good score - a strong (and in my opinion fairly catchy) theme, nice orchestrations and good use of synths. On first glance, it might not grab your attention as the composers are not well know and this is a niche musical taste, but for anyone that enjoys film/tv scores, this will be right up your street. Specific tracks that are essential are Titus' Theme and A Hero's Legacy, but I recommend the whole album so this score can be enjoyed in full.


The Greatest Miracle (El Gran Milagro) [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
The Greatest Miracle (El Gran Milagro) [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece - don't think twice about buying this, 1 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mark Mckenzie is not one of the best known composers in the world of film scoring, but after The Greatest Miracle, he certainly should be. This is by quite a long way, my favourite score of 2011. This is a stunning orchestral and choral effort that really deserves some recognition. I own a lot of film and TV scores, and I feel like it takes a fair amount to impress me these days (although I try and see the best in most of the music I listen to). The Greatest Miracle is a score that could easily be called a masterpiece.

The main theme introduced in the opening track "The Greatest Miracle Prelude" is beautiful with string and choral accompaniment. This theme is a core component of the album, and is reprised in many of the tracks. That isn't to say the album sounds repetitive - far from it. The huge variety of orchestrations of this theme is what makes the album fantastic. As a standalone point, those who like scores with a decent main theme - it doesn't get much better than this in my opinion. A secondary theme is prevalent in track 13, "Go In Peace", which is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The melody reminded me slightly of James Horner's main theme to Titanic, but in this score it has much more power and depth and isn't overused to the point of cheesiness or annoyance. I won't do a track by track analysis because essentially, you need the whole album to appreciate it fully.

One of the questions is whether this album will appeal to you. The Greatest Miracle certainly has some religious components in the form of some great choral writing, but I didn't find it so overbearing that it lessened my enjoyment of the score. Choral sections are commonly used in many soundtracks, and if you are a fan of that style of writing, this album will be a delight, regardless of the tone or purpose of the narrative of the film.

At 48 minutes this isn't the longest score ever released, but blimey, that really doesn't matter. This album is the what the phrase "quality rather than quantity" is made for. Every single track sounds fantastic, the sound quality is superb, and the mix of the orchestral and choral elements are sublime.

Overall, The Greatest Miracle is simply extraordinary. The wonderful melodies, stunning harmonies and amazing orchestrations cannot fail to impress. I was expecting good things based on reviews I had read, but I truly underestimated this absolute gem of a soundtrack. This is probably the finest score of 2011 and is an orchestral and choral powerhouse like I have not heard before - but not in an apocalyptic sense, just an overwhelming sense of majesty and beauty. This music really makes you feel uplifted. You don't need to be religious to enjoy this music - for those who are, it will surely help, but for those who are soundtrack/score collectors like myself, this is one album you cannot afford to be without in your collection. Five stars is simply not enough and I cannot recommend this highly enough.


The Adventures Of Tintin
The Adventures Of Tintin
Price: 6.53

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of John Williams' finest works - The Adventures of Tintin is pure orchestral class, 26 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first score by veteran composer John Williams since his effort for Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in 2008. Whilst some people liked this score, I wasn't a huge fan, and was hoping after a three year absence, that he would produce the goods for The Adventures of Tintin. I can assure you that he certainly did, and has written one of my favourite scores of 2011.

Firstly, for those who are familiar with John Williams' style of writing, his mannerisms saturate the score for almost it's entire duration. I won't go into every track (needless to say the majority is outstanding), but will mention some tracks I found noteworthy. The album opens with "The Adventures of Tintin" which has a very jazzy sound to it (and is slightly out of kilter with the rest of the album), whilst "The Milanese Nightingale" had a nice (if somewhat cheesy) accordion accompanied by strings.

The latter parts of "The Secret of the Scrolls" and "The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale" reminded me very much of a type of inverted Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter. My favourite track on the album is "Sir Francis and the Unicorn", which is one of the best pieces of action music I have heard from John Williams since his scores for Star Wars Episodes 2 & 3. "The adventure concludes" with some great up tempo writing and finishes off the album on a high.

The only thing I didn't appreciate that much was the track "Presenting Bianca Castafiore" because of its operatic nature. I like the use of choirs and sopranos in soundtracks, however the opera style did nothing for me (it might work better within the film).

The score runs for approximately 1 hour and I thought this was a perfect duration without it outstaying its welcome or ending prematurely. On a sound production note, the recording sounds exceptionally crisp and the album presentation has a good flow to it which makes for a great listening experience.

One thing that always astounds me about Williams' writing is the complexity and the number of layers to the music using purely the orchestra. Unlike more modern composers who like to fill out the soundscape with electronic elements, Williams' scores are always saturated by the sound of the orchestra and The Adventures of Tintin is no exception. Whilst some people may think this causes the music to sound dated, I challenge anyone not to be impressed by his skill, and I think Tintin is a great example that John Williams is still the most talented composer film composer alive.

Overall, if you are a fan of John Williams, this album will be a taste of heaven. All of his mannerisms are present and in a highly listenable form. Although I am a fan of more "modern" scores by the likes of Hans Zimmer and others, Tintin is a welcome reminder of how proper "orchestral" scores can sound without the need for additional electronic elements. The Maestro is back, and I can't wait for his score to War Horse in early 2012. Until then, The Adventures of Tintin will wet your appetite perfectly and is film scoring at its best.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2012 12:45 PM GMT


THE BORGIAS
THE BORGIAS
Price: 14.93

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning effort by composer Trevor Morris, 19 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: THE BORGIAS (Audio CD)
This is my first soundtrack by composer Trevor Morris, and what a soundtrack it is. A fantastic orchestral and choral effort, The Borgias is one of my favourites of 2011.

There are so many tracks that I won't go into each one, but will comment on the ones I thought stood out. The album starts off with the opening titles and is an absolute beauty. Starting off with solo guitar followed shortly by strings and choir, it really builds into something pretty epic. I liked track 28, "Cesare and Ursula Make Love" - the writing for strings is great, and whilst the melody and harmonies are simple, it is very effective. The finale track Lineage of the Family is stunning, and at 6 minutes 45, it is the longest track on the album. It has the chance to build slowly over the duration with some stunning string and choral writing in the last 3 minutes or so. Aside from the dissonant "Rovere Finds A Body in His Bed", I can't think of a single bad track on the album.

The album is approximately 77 minutes in length which is a lengthy release in terms of TV soundtracks. There are 38 tracks present, and that means the majority of the album is made up of relatively short cues. Normally this would bother me because it means the flow of the album is greatly disturbed. Not in this case however - it flows like a dream and whoever edited the CD together has done a spectacular job. The sound quality is great, and the quality is exceptionally crisp.

Overall, this is a soundtrack not to be missed. There is some amazing orchestral and choral writing present. Trevor Morris is a name I will look out for again, and I strongly recommend purchasing this if you love scores or soundtracks.


Gold 2M HDMI Extension Cable Lead Male To Female 1.3
Gold 2M HDMI Extension Cable Lead Male To Female 1.3
Offered by memorycapital
Price: 2.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extends an HDMI connection with no loss in picture or sound quality, 16 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wanted to connect my Mac to a TV through the HDMI port but the 5M HDMI cable I purchased was about 50cm to short to reach. Didn't want to buy a giant HDMI cable so decided to go for a short HDMI extender. Does the job perfectly - just connect your HDMI cable from source 1 to the female port on the extension and then the male port from the extension can plug into any HDMI connection. Great price, and no drop in the HDMI quality with the extension lead.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20