Home > News and Announcements > MOVIE MUSIC UK – The First Twenty Years

MOVIE MUSIC UK – The First Twenty Years

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since I started Movie Music UK in the summer of 1997. In many ways, it feels like a lifetime ago, but in others I can barely believe that so much time has passed.  Considering this milestone occasion, I thought it would be appropriate to set down a few thoughts about my site, my life in film music, and the people I have met over the past two decades who have helped make the site what it is and, perhaps most importantly, make me who I am. Settle in… this is a long read!

 

The Early Years

A lot of people know my ‘film music origin story,’ but for those who don’t, here it is again. I’ve always been interested in film music, for as long as I can remember. I remember when I was a child, I couldn’t have been much more than seven or eight years old, having my first Star Wars experience. My cousin Eileen Worthington was the first person in my family to own a VCR, and I used to lie on a big sheepskin rug in her lounge watching the film over and over, being entranced by the music. At that age I don’t think I was ever aware that there was actually a guy who was writing the music – I suppose I just assumed that it was “there,” that it just organically sprang from the movie – but as I got older I started noticing it more and more, and realizing that there were real people behind the scenes, creating all these wonderful sounds.

I never actually went to the cinema a great deal when I was a kid. I would go once or twice a year with my mum, as a special treat, or when we were on holiday in Bournemouth – the first films I saw in a theater were Return of the Jedi in 1983, and E. T. The–Extra Terrestrial when it was re-released in cinemas for a short time in 1984 – and once I hit my teens, I would occasionally go with my high school friends, but mostly I watched movies on TV. I watched them endlessly, in fact, devouring as many as I could. It wasn’t really until towards the end of 1992, when I turned 18, that I started going to see movies more regularly in cinemas.

The score that started it all

The turning point in terms of my love of film music for me came in April 1995, when I went to see Legends of the Fall at my local cinema, the old Warner Village at Meadowhall in Sheffield. I thought the movie was pretty awful, but the music just took my breath away. I had never been moved so deeply by music in a film before, so I went out and bought the soundtrack CD afterwards, from the HMV right there in the shopping centre, and I played the thing to death.

A couple of months later, I saw Braveheart, and the same thing happened; and then the very next week I saw Apollo 13, and I started making the connection between all this amazing music, and realized that James Horner had written it all. So, it was really through James Horner that my interest in the genre was cemented. It was only much later that I realized that many of my favorite films growing up – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Cocoon, Krull, Battle Beyond the Stars, Willow – had all been scored by Horner, so I guess I must have always had this subconscious emotional connection to his music that I didn’t realize was there. From that point on I began exploring other composers; I already knew who John Williams was, of course, through Star Wars and Indiana Jones and things like that. I was also familiar with John Barry, from his James Bond scores, which were staples of my childhood. That trio – Horner, Williams, and Barry – led me to Jerry Goldsmith, who led me to Danny Elfman, who led me to Alan Silvestri, to Basil Poledouris, to the others, and I was pretty much hooked from that point on.

The other most important CD

Another strong memory I have from my early years as a film music fan is of buying a compilation album called Cinema Century from a branch of Woolworths in New Milton in Hampshire while I was on holiday the following summer. Cinema Century was a Silva Screen compilation containing dozens of re-recorded film themes, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic, conducted by Nic Raine, and produced by James Fitzpatrick, and it was through that CD that I was introduced to a whole host of Golden Age greats including Nino Rota, Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, and Miklós Rózsa. Raine and Fitzpatrick have plenty to answer for too!

Running parallel to this discovery of film music was my love of writing. English had always been my strongest subject at school, and for a while I harbored ambitions of becoming a journalist, specializing in either entertainment or sports, but various circumstances resulted in me not going to university after I graduated, so that was put on the back burner and I went out and got a real day job instead. By the summer of 1996 I was working in an academic department at the University of Sheffield, where one of the staff perks was being allotted some space on the University’s web server to have a personal homepage. I saw this as an opportunity for me to finally indulge in some writing. These were the fledgling days of the internet, so I learned a little bit of HTML coding and a little bit of graphic design, and started putting some film reviews on the University’s server for my own amusement. I have no idea if anyone ever read them, and they are all lost to the mists of time now, but I really enjoyed the process: it was as a fun outlet for myself, and it got my creative juices flowing, especially as I started thinking more deeply about cinema as an art form, thinking about cinematography, editing, production design, and especially music.

It was at this point, in late 1996 and early 1997, that I made the discoveries that would literally change my life: the existence of film music websites. During those months I stumbled upon three of them: Christian Clemmensen’s Filmtracks, James Southall’s Movie Wave, and Tom Daish’s much-missed Soundtrack Express, all of which had all started a year or so beforehand. Other sites existed too, including Soundtrack Net, the long-dormant Cinemusic (which at that point was run by a woman from Alabama named Helen San), and the now long-defunct ScoreLogue (edited by Vance Brawley and Nathaniel Thompson), but it was to those first three I gravitated the most. I devoured their reviews voraciously, learned about older composers I didn’t know existed, exchanged e-mails with the editors, and joined Christian’s Filmtracks Scoreboard the week it went live. Soon afterwards I joined an e-mail discussion list, Filmus-L, which was hosted on the servers of the University of Indiana, and I subscribed to a new upstart print magazine called Film Score Monthly. It was all tremendously exciting, discovering that all these people all over the world loved this music as much as I did.

Screenshot from the site’s early years. Don’t laugh.

Eventually, inspired mainly by the writings of Christian and James and Tom, I found myself concentrating less on film reviews and more on the music itself, so I decided to create a website of my own, dedicated solely to film music reviews: thus was born Broxweb’s Soundtracks – an utterly appalling name. The first review I ever published was of Danny Elfman’s score for Batman, towards the end of August 1997. The review was even more terrible than the name of the site – in fact, pretty much every review I wrote between 1997 and the middle of 1999 was awful, which is why none of them are on the site now – but at that point I didn’t care. I was 22 years old, freshly let loose on this brand new thing called the internet with no idea what I was doing, armed only with a love of film music, a love of writing, and a desire to combine the two.

I would sit for hours, every night when I got home from work, in a big maroon armchair in the living room of my house, listening to and writing about the newest scores. These scores were all on CD – no MP3s, no streaming – and I quickly amassed a mountain of soundtracks, which were housed in enormous stacking racks in my bedroom. I would stop off at a used CD store called Record Collector in Sheffield on my way home from the office and pick up ten second hand soundtracks for £1 and £2 each. I traded audio cassettes and CDs with people I met on the internet – one of the first ones ever was with Scott Williams, involving James Horner’s score for Red Heat. I subscribed to the mailing list of a specialist store, Movie Boulevard, which would send out a catalogue of newly released soundtracks in the mail every month; eventually, I started actually visiting the location itself – built into the railway arches on a back street in the middle of Leeds – where I would regularly be coerced by the owners, Richard and Robert, into paying far too much for promos and bootlegs.

I received a little bit of feedback from the few people who somehow found my site in that first year – my site pre-dates Google, so I don’t know how they did it! – but the three people who probably deserve the most credit for making me take this more seriously are Ray Costa, Ford A. Thaxton, and Robert Townson, each of whom contacted me out of the blue independently of each other asking for my address so that they could send me promo CDs to review. The fact that two American record producers and a Hollywood publicist were contacting me and wanting me to review their products was staggering – but of course I said yes. Soon other labels had got in touch and before long promos were coming in left right and centre. At this point I decided I needed a website name which sounded a little more professional, so after giving the matter some thought Broxweb’s Soundtracks eventually became Movie Music UK, on 1 February 1999.

According to my website stats I have written and published 2,338 reviews since I launched my site – that’s an average of one review every 3-4 days for 20 years straight. If my average review length is around 2,000 words, that’s around 4,476,000 words written in celebration of the film music art. Quite astonishing numbers.

 

Much Has Changed

Working in the Movie Music UK office, 2017.

Once I got really into writing soundtrack reviews, and had been doing it for a few years, I really felt as though I was providing a service for people. In the early 2000s the only places where people could get opinions on film scores were through reviews and online forums, and the only place you could actually hear film music (outside the film itself) was on a physical product that you had to go to a store and buy. iTunes didn’t exist before 2001. YouTube didn’t exist until 2005. Spotify didn’t exist until 2008. Obviously, people’s money was limited, and consumers could only afford to buy a certain number of titles per month, and so I felt that by giving people my opinion on scores I was affecting their decisions on what to buy; I know for a fact that my reviews influenced many people with regard to their purchasing decisions. I took great pride in this, and I took it very seriously, because I knew that a good review from me could positively effect album sales a little, while a bad one could have the opposite effect.

In addition to my continued love for the genre, this was partially what kept me going for such a long time. By the mid-2000s I had amassed quite a back catalog of reviews, people knew my tastes and (I hope) respected my opinions, and they often waited until I gave my thoughts on a particular score before they decided whether to buy it on CD or not. However, over the last ten years or so, this has all changed quite significantly, and it got to the point where I spent some time seriously considering whether there was any point writing reviews any more.

My thinking was that, now that potential purchasers can stream and listen to all the latest film music albums, often for free, on so many online platforms, there was no real need for them to seek out opinions about the music to help them decide whether to buy it or not. Often, by the time I’d listened to a score enough times to be able to come to an informed opinion about it, and then actually taken that opinion and turned it into a review, my core audience of readers had already listened to it thirty times on YouTube, discussed it to death on the multitude of social media locations, and moved on to something else. What was I contributing?

After soliciting opinions and doing some soul-searching, it was pointed out to me that my site could slightly shift its focus to be less about informing purchasing decisions, and instead be more about providing some sort of intelligent commentary on all that is good about film music. So, that’s what I did. I still try to keep up with all the biggest new releases, but now I tend to concentrate more on celebrating quality film music. I tend not to review scores that are not very good, unless I think I may have something interesting to say with regards to the score as it relates to the wider film music industry, and instead I concentrate on writing about what I think is worthwhile and is representative of the best the genre has to offer.

My goal for the site now is to champion scores and composers I think are especially enjoyable or talented. To seek out and recommend outstanding under-the-radar scores by largely unknown composers from film music backwaters as part of my annual ‘around the world’ write-up. To talk about all the great scores I loved growing up as part of my Throwback Thirty series. And, honestly, I think I’ve hit on a winning formula. My readers seem to enjoy what I write, and consider my opinions worthy of their time. Composers and other professionals in the film music industry are appreciative when I praise something they have written, or go out of my way to recommend an especially excellent score for a smaller project, and appear to respect me as someone who is trying to do something positive for the genre. Best of all, I’m enjoying my writing more than I have in years. I love this music wholeheartedly. Being a film music critic is one of the core things that makes me who I am as a person, and I will be forever thankful that I have been able to go on this journey over the last two decades.

 

A Long List of Thanks

A night on the tiles! James Southall and I in Los Angeles, 2000.

I want to take this opportunity to mention a few people who have meant a lot to me over the years, but who I would likely not have met were it not for my website. James Southall and I bonded quite quickly, over our love of music and film and football, and spent quite a bit of time together, travelling around the country to football matches, to concerts, and just hanging out, watching films and listening to music. He and I have shared some wonderful adventures together gallivanting around England and California, everything from getting pelted with beer bottles by teenagers outside Cribbs Causeway Shopping Centre in Bristol, to chatting up some girls while listening to Young Bess by Miklòs Ròsza in James’s car outside Star City in Birmingham, and using the fact that we were listening to Ròsza as our sophisticated chat-up line. I have memories and in-jokes that will last a lifetime – many of them involving Dame Judi Dench and goats – and to have him as my friend for the past twenty years has been my distinct honor. Seeing his website become so respected as time has gone on, and to see him become such a good husband and father in recent years, makes me very happy indeed, and I miss his company greatly.

For a little while James and I were part of a sort of ‘London Club’ who would meet up whenever there were concerts or events in the nation’s capital. I met some excellent people over the years, many of whom became good friends, notably the suave and sophisticated screenwriter Peter Briggs (you may know him as the man who wrote the movie Hellboy), the talented writer and music journalist Paul Tonks who gave it all up to become a cop, the late and much-missed Silva Screen music producer David Wishart, and the prodigious composer and arranger Glen Aitken who went on to work with Patrick Doyle and Christopher Gordon, among others. I have fond memories of the times I spent with them, drinking at the Opera Bar next to the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields off Trafalgar Square, or spending evenings at Peter’s club, the Groucho, where I once had conversations with both the actor Charles Dance and the singer Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals on the same evening while propping up the bar.

Me and the Filmtracks gang in Leicester Square in London, 2004. Nate, Brendan, me, Christian, Robert, Peter.

Through Christian Clemmensen’s Filmtracks I also met online many extraordinary people who would become 20-year friends in real life. I felt, and continue to feel, a strong friendship with Christian Kühn, although I suck at keeping in touch with him, and I’m ashamed to admit it. Peter Simons eventually moved from the Netherlands to Sheffield and rented a room in my house; I take some responsibility for him meeting a girl in Sheffield and settling down, and now he has dogs and horses and a mortgage and everything. Friends from the United States actually travelled to England to attend concerts and the like; the times I spent with people like Brendan Anderson, Jens Dietrich, Nate Underkuffler, and Robert Walker, remain very special. I knew Nate when he was just a shy teenage kid from Maine, traveling abroad for the first time; now he’s a music editor in Hollywood who’s worked with Thomas Newman and Alexandre Desplat.

There are so many other names from that period – Joe Bat, J.J. Hinrichs, Jon Lord, Mike Lyons, Yavar Moradi, John Schanen, Alonso Sobrado, and Cap Stewart among them. I’m still friends on Facebook with most of them, and I’m happy I am: my long, detailed, passionate conversations with these people over the course of many years helped shape my film music knowledge. These days I spend a lot of my time conversing online with a younger generation of film music aficionados – Anthony Aguilar, Jonathan Ammon, Michael Arlidge, John Cunha, Anže Grčar, Hari Haran, Bernhard Heidkamp, Adam Irving, Kalaisan Kalaichelvan, Vikram Lakhanpal, Edmund Meinerts, Hasan Namir, Geoffrey Prout, Martin Ramirez, Ethan Revere Smith, Boden Steiner, Robert Taylor, Riley Webster, many others – and their boundless enthusiasm for the genre, and their eagerness to explore, is tremendously inspiring to me to keep writing the best reviews I can.

Craig and I in our natural habitat, 2017.

Of course I must also mention my good friend and fellow MMUK writer Craig Richard Lysy. Craig and I met on Filmtracks in October 2006, and when we realized we were both Los Angeles natives we met up for a coffee at a local bookstore, as a wildfire raged in the mountains nearby, raining ash and smoke upon us – a truly apocalyptic first meeting! Since then, Craig has become a wonderful friend, and an excellent contributor to the site. His knowledge and expertise of Golden Age scores, his enthusiasm for the art, and his constant support has been invaluable. His work in educating and encouraging younger readers to embrace older scores gives the site a wonderful balance between the classic and the contemporary that few other sites have achieved. I feel honored to call Craig and his husband Segundo Estrella friends, and privileged that we have had so many memorable film music-related adventures together, from concerts to movies to signing events, and more.

Outside the Albert Hall in London with the Horner Shrine gang, 1999. Tom, Sheri, Martin, Julie, Karsten, with me at the front.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention the wonderful people at the James Horner Shrine, which was originally set up as a joke in response to a sarcastic comment on Filmus-L about how “Horner fans had shrines to him in their bedrooms, where they stick pins into Danny Elfman dolls.” What emerged from this inauspicious beginning was a wonderful community of people, all of whom were brought together online through their mutual love of Horner’s music, and I spent as much time online there as I did anywhere else during the 1990s and early 2000s. Marshaled by our fearless leader Tom Hudson, I developed strong friendships with Marann Fengler, Brandon Fibbs, Sheri Freedman (as she was when I first knew her), Julie Olsen/Brown, Martin Paternoster, Julianne Smith McCollum, Karsten Spreen, and many others, and have spent wonderful times with all of them, both online and in person – in fact, I even attended Sheri and Martin’s wedding in Laguna Beach in 2001, them having met on the site, as Sheri became Mrs. Paternoster!

Several other people also deserve a great deal of credit in encouraging me to continue. Lukas Kendall, the owner and editor of Film Score Monthly, and Luc Van de Ven, the owner and editor of Soundtrack Magazine and the owner of Prometheus Records, published dozens and dozens of my reviews and interviews in their publications over the years, including interviews with composers like Trevor Jones, Christopher Young, Howard Shore, Zbigniew Preisner, Simon Boswell, and Patrick Doyle, of which I am admittedly rather proud. Luc even asked me to write liner notes for two of his CD releases of Basil Poledouris scores: Flyers/Fire on the Mountain, and Amanda. I enjoyed writing for them very much, and would have loved to have done more liner notes had I been given the opportunity, and I was very sad to see the demise of the print magazines years later. The last issue of Soundtrack came out in December 2002, ending a 27-year-run, and the final hardcopy FSM came out in June 2005 – and I haven’t seen anything of mine published in print since then.

The first time meeting a composer! James Southall and I with Michael Kamen, 1998.

Two composers also made a huge difference to me: Michael Kamen and Debbie Wiseman. Michael was the first composer I ever met; I’m not sure how, but I somehow convinced him to let me come down to his house in London and interview him around the time he was scoring Lethal Weapon 4. So, in the company of James Southall, I turned up at his beautiful Georgian home in Holland Park, and proceeded to mumble and fumble my way through my first ever meeting with a composer. I knew nothing, and asked ridiculously amateurish questions, but Michael treated James and I with the respect usually afforded to much more serious journalists. He welcomed us into his home, answered our questions thoughtfully and sincerely, was gracious and charming and funny, and even treated us to an impromptu recital on the antique harpsichord he had in his study. Having that experience with him gave me the confidence in myself to say that, yes, I was doing something worthwhile, and that I could continue further with this.

With Debbie Wiseman, 1998.

Debbie was the second composer I met; I interviewed her during the reception after a concert she conducted at the Royal Festival Hall and, like Kamen, she couldn’t have been lovelier, answering my amateurish questions with similar insight and honesty. Debbie and I became friends, and through her I began working with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; I wrote the programme notes for several film music concerts the RPO did between 1998 and 2000, including one which featured the world premiere of Debbie’s score for Arsène Lupin, and wrote the liner notes for a couple of film music compilation CDs. During this time I also met and struck up a friendship with one of the RPO’s violinists, Stephen Kear, who wanted to establish an orchestra contracting company in London to attract Hollywood composers to come to the UK and record their scores with the RPO. Due to my knowledge of the film music industry Stephen asked me to collaborate with him on the project, and during 1999 we somehow convinced several composers to come and record – John Debney did Relative Values with us, we had a young German composer called Oliver Heise record a score called The Ring of the Buddha, we did an outdoor film music concert with the late great Ron Goodwin, and Randy Newman used the RPO string section on a series of one-man shows. It was a wonderful time, which for the first time got me to see and understand the nuts-and-bolts of scoring sessions, and how the composers actually work.

Of course I must also mention my colleagues at the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA), of which I have been a member of since 1998. The great Mikael Carlsson, formerly the editor of Music From The Movies magazine and currently the owner of the Moviescore Media record label, started the organization as a way of bringing all the online critics together to pass judgment on the latest scores, and give out some annual awards. Since then the IFMCA has grown so much in scope and stature. We have members all over the world, many of whom write for prestigious publications, author academic books, give lectures, teach film music related classes at universities, and are involved with organizing some of the world’s most popular and successful film music festivals. These people inspire me every day, and I’m honored that I can call so many of them friends, and that I have been able to spend time with them – in addition to Craig Lysy and James Southall, I have met and enjoyed the company of Basil Boehni, Ley Bricknell, Tim Burden, Bregt de Lange, Olivier Desbrosses, Thomas Glorieux, Dan Goldwasser, Florent Groult, Thor Joachim Haga, Randall Larson, Eleni Mitsiaki, Alan Rogers, Brian Satterwhite, Kaya Savas, Daniel Schweiger, David Serong, Damian Sołtysik, Stefanos Tsourouchas, Steve Vertlieb, Łukasz Waligorski, Erik Woods, Łukasz Wudarski and Conrado Xalabarder, as well as former members Oscar Flores, Brian McVickar, and Pawel Stroinski.

Leading a session at the Krakow Film Music Festival, 2017. Me, Jean-Michel Bernard, Klaus Doldinger.

I have also been fortunate enough to be asked to travel to Poland twice to take part in the Krakow Film Music Festival, firstly in 2012, and then again earlier this year. Being asked to speak at such a prestigious international event was an incredible honor for me personally, and I must thank Robert Piaskowski, Agata Grabowiecka, Joanna Pichola, and everyone at the FMF office for the opportunity to take part not once, but twice, and for treating me so well while I was there. I got to meet many excellent people during my trips there – especially panel members Ray Bennett, Jean-Michel Bernard, Emmanuel Chamboredon, Klaus Doldinger, Peter Ebbinghaus, Eleni Mitsiaki, Gorka Otieza, Damian Sołtysik, Robert Townson, Łukasz Waligorski, and Łukasz Wudarski – and the memories I have of those trips will last a lifetime.

Me and my mum, 2012.

Finally, on a more personal note, there are a few people I have to thank. First of all my mum Christine Keeton, my late grandmother Iris Hawley, and my late stepfather Malcolm Keeton. My mum and my grandmother both had a deep love of movies. My grandmother saw two movies a week at the cinema from 1937 until at least the mid-1950s; it’s what she did on her nights off from being a virtual full-time carer for her bed-ridden mother, my great-grandmother, and it was through her that I developed my long-standing appreciation for Hollywood musicals like Singin’ in the Rain, which was her favorite film. All three of them have consistently encouraged my passion for cinema, music, and writing, at least until Malcolm died in 2000 and my grandmother died in 2001, and I will be forever grateful to them for that.

Secondly, my first wife Ami played an enormous part in my current circumstances. I first met Ami while I was in Los Angeles in the spring of 2002, writing an article for Soundtrack Magazine about the BMI Film & TV Music Awards. She moved to England to be with me later that year, we got married in August 2003, and then moved from England to California in August 2005. Although she and I divorced a few years later, it is still because of her that I am in the situation I am in now, living in the film music capital of the world, with a good job, good friends, and a good life.

With Holly in the California desert, 2017.

The most significant part of the good life I have now is my fiancée Holly McQuillan, who I first met in September 2011, and who agreed to marry me in May 2016 after I popped the question following a sunset stroll round Lake Windermere in England. There are many wonderful things about Holly – too numerous to mention here – but amongst them is the fact that Holly loves movies, and really likes film music too. Her taste is different to mine, as you would expect, but the fact that she knew who Trevor Jones was, before we even met, was an exceptionally attractive quality! Holly supports me, is fine with me disappearing into headphone-land for hours on end to write reviews, tolerates me gushing about the latest bizarre Japanese animation score, accompanies me to concerts, goes to signing events and composer meet-and-greets, and is generally the best partner anyone could ask for. I love her to bits, and I wouldn’t be half as good or content as I am without her in my life.

So, that’s it. Twenty years. As I mentioned, I almost can’t believe that it’s been this long. The next time I get to celebrate a 20-year milestone for Movie Music UK will be in August 2037, when I will be 61 years old. I wonder what sort of films we will be watching then? I wonder what sort of soundtracks will be being written? I wonder what sort of media we will be listening to them on? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out!

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  1. Alex
    August 19, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Congratulations! Visiting your site since 1999.

  2. August 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    What wonderful memories and congratulations. I have read many of your reviews and have a great soundtrack collection myself. Long may you continue.

    • August 19, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate it.

  3. August 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    congratulations! As someone who produced a podcast and a film music radio show for three years, I know how much hard work it takes to keep things going. But 20 years? That’s an amazing accomplishment.

    As for the part you wrote questioning the value of the site, just wanted to share a recent experience I had. I was highly anticipating the score for Valerian by Depslat. It had all the makings of the kind of scores I usually can’t get enough of. But after listening to it twice, I was somewhat disappointed. It had amazing moments but for some reason it all wasn’t clicking for me.

    Then I though to myself ” I need help, I need someone else’s perspective on this. Someone who knows”. I looked up your review for the score and read it throughly. As I suspected, you had uncovered all the details and connections I was failing to do so on my end. I went back and listened to the score and thankfully this time it all finally clicked for me, thanks to your analysis. It’s an awesome score. In short, for me it’s more about film music appreciation. Even if it was a score that I might be a fan of and listened to it hundreds of times, reading someone else’s informed opinion helps me to get an additional perspective on the composition.

    Thanks for your work!

    • August 19, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      Thank you! This is exactly the kind of feedback I love to hear – helping people love film music as much as I do is one of the main reasons I write!

  4. August 19, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Just want to say I absolutly love your site. You’ve shown me a lot of awesome scores I would have never found on my own. I got hooked on film music in the 90’s and both John Williams and James Horner played a huge role in that. Thanks for the amazing work you put into this site and I look forward to 20 more years of discovering new music.

    • August 19, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      You’re very welcome – I hope I’m still doing this in 2037!

  5. August 20, 2017 at 4:28 am

    My thanks for your reviews! I started following around 2013, I believe the first review I read was Elysium by Ryan Amon, and I’ve been reading ever since! Finding your enthusiasm for the medium has been very gratifying, as there are few in my social circles who share a similar level of interest – I feel I would bore them to death! I knew Williams and Zimmer well, but your reviews have led me towards so many more great composers, chiefly Michael Giacchino, James Horner, and Alexandre Desplat. And of course, my thanks go also to Craig, for inspiring within me a love of Golden Age film scores.
    Congratulations on 20 years of reviews, here’s to 20 more!

  6. southall666
    August 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    It’s been two decades of goats, Dame Judi Dench, rubbing alcohol, Knuckles O’Toole, our production of the Cutthroat Island soundtrack being fondly appreciated by the composer, listening to satanic music in Disneyland, standing six feet away from Lalo Schifrin, towels being dry… as someone once said, it doesn’t get better than this.

  7. Kevin
    August 20, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Happy 20th. I’ve read your reviews since high school 12+ years ago. Like you, James Horner was my entry point to film music (A Beautiful Mind is my favorite movie ever and probably my favorite score ever). I miss him terribly; Hollywood misses him too.

  8. digital123
    August 21, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Happy 20th, been a pleasure reading your reviews and discussing scores with you. Also really nice to hear that Michael Kamen was a good guy. His X-Men score was one of the first that got me into film music and I always regretted not being able to somehow tell him that before he passed. Cheers and well done Jon!

    • Riley KZ
      August 21, 2017 at 7:50 am

      That comment was from me by the way, in case you’re wondering who the hell digital123 was. Thought we needed a goofy password in order to make a comment, what a dumbass.

  9. August 21, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Jon, I have been visiting your site and reading your reviews since around 2002, and I was exceedingly excited to finally meet you for the first time in person last year and cannot wait until next week when I travel to California once more. Your site had a tremendous impact on my ‘film music’ formative years and, like you, it was James Horner’s music that got me into loving film music. I even remember your old site design! Anyway, your writing has to me always been exceptional and I am very glad Movie Music UK did not go the way of the dinosaur like so many other film music sites over the past decade or so. It’s a gem in our little corner of the internet. Congratulations on making it to 20 years! Here’s to the next 20!

  10. August 30, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Hi Jon. I’ve been reading your site since 1998 and have always enjoyed your informative reviews. Being a similar age I can relate to your experiences quite well and I can’t quite believe how much film music has changed in the last 20 years. Film music for me will always be about emotion. That’s why I miss Goldsmith, Barry, Bernstein, Poledouris, Horner (and many more) so much… having the knowledge and experience of their music makes the current crop of ‘sound design’ scores so hard to swallow. Of course we still have some great composers working today (Giacchino, Powell, Newton Howard, Beltrami, McCreary, Williams among others) but producers and directors all too often are just too afraid to let film music have a strong voice anymore. Perhaps the rise of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises will help to buck that trend! Anyway, congratulations on reaching 20 years! Keep up the great work!

  11. September 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    What a wonderful history going over twenty years of your site! As an avid follower and reader for about 6 years now I can definitely attest to the fact that your in-depth reviews influence my purchasing – and often without needing to go away and hear a sample. The greatest gift for a film music enthusiast is to be in the hands of a writer and reviewer who can illuminate a film score and make you hear it in the absence of the music itself. With children who are film music aficionados in the making, I can also say, with your assistance, that I know a good phrase or two to explain why something sounds so good!

  12. Haikili
    September 20, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Congratulations for these 20 years of passion shared with us: they seem to have been fun & fruitful indeed! ^_^

    Since, as you explained, you’re “diversifying” your articles, I thought I might drop my suggestion about what I’ve always found missing in yours & James’ website: you have a deep understanding & knowledge about how movie scores are actually composed, orchestrated & conducted, and also a vast knowledge about orchestras themselves. Why don’t you write a series of articles for those of us who have no idea about these areas but would love to know in order to appreciate even further these scores?

    You could, for example, write an article about how composers go about composing. Or maybe even a series on how different composers do what they do. Another on how orchestrators actually decide which instruments should play what from the melodies they get from the composers. Another on how the recording days with the orchestra actually happen. Another on how the orchestrator actually instructs the orchestra on how to play the music.

    Alternatively, in the reviews you might add specifics on certain tracks, explaining why a specific section is highly challenging for an instrument, etc.

    These kind of specialized information is unattaivirnable for most of us, but since you already have it, you could share it with us offering something nobody else does, while improving our listening experience by appreciating what’s “behind the scenes” 😉

    Those are my 2 cents. Congratulations once again for an excellent website. Mahalo!

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