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Archive for September 23rd, 2013

East Meets West on Kritzerland’s Reissue of “Rising Sun”

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KL_RisingSun_Cov.600x600Kritzerland’s latest soundtrack reissue marks the full release of the underrated score to 1992’s Rising Sun by legendary Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu – his first and only assignment for an American film.

Part murder mystery, part diplomatic treatise, Rising Sun was the first novel released by bestselling author Michael Crichton after the blockbuster release of Jurassic Park in 1990. The film version, starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes as two cops investigating the brutal death of an escort at the American offices of a Japanese corporation, was released just over a month after Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the dinosaur technothriller; Rising Sun was in fact co-adapted and directed by Philip Kaufman, who received a story credit alongside George Lucas on Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.

While the film was only a moderate success at the box office, score fans were quick to note the quality of the soundtrack by Takemitsu, a native Japanese composer who scored several pivotal Japanese films, including Dodesukaden (1970) and Ran (1985) for Akira Kurosawa. It would be his only American film score and final score overall; Takemitsu died in 1996, leaving behind a body of work acclaimed by his countrymen and beyond.

Kritzerland’s reissue of Rising Sun greatly expands on the original Fox Records CD presentation, presenting about an hour’s worth of music, down to the last source cues. Kritzerland hails the work as “an addictive, mesmerizing neo-noir tone poem of exquisite orchestral color and sounds…with a great main theme that weaves itself in and out of the score like wisps of smoke.”

Score fans can find out for themselves with this new disc, limited to 1,000 copies and available to order now at Kritzerland’s official site. Hit the jump for the full track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 23, 2013 at 17:30

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Short Takes, Christmas Edition: Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, Al Hirt Bring Holiday Cheer

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Glen Campbell ICON Christmas

  • At long last – Capitol Records has That Christmas Feeling.  Glen Campbell’s first Christmas album, from 1968, has long been absent from CD, but the label has rectified that with the new release of Campbell’s ICON Christmas.  Though retitled and with new artwork, ICON Christmas is, in fact, That Christmas Feeling as newly remastered by Mike Jones at Universal Mastering.  (The previous, now-hard-to-find CD issue, from the Netherlands, also presented the album with new art.)  Produced by Al De Lory – who also helmed many of Campbell’s classic singles including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” – That Christmas Feeling has the same warm, orchestral pop-country style as those timeless 45s.  Three of the album’s eleven songs came from the pen of legendary wordsmith Sammy Cahn, two with his frequent music man Jimmy Van Heusen.  “Christmas is For Children” (also recorded by Jo Stafford) and “It Must Be Getting Close to Christmas” were the Cahn/Van Heusen contributions; Cahn also adapted the familiar 19th century melody “There’s No Place Like Home,” a.k.a. “Home Sweet Home.”  Glen also brought his smooth tones to familiar holiday tunes like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” as well as Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” and Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains.”  A true seasonal staple, it’s good to have That Christmas Feeling in stores once again.  Don’t be fooled by the new cover art and skimpy packaging (lacking liner notes or any indication of the songs’ origins) – this is the real deal.  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

After the jump: what Christmas-themed reissues are on the way from Al Hirt and Judy Collins? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 23, 2013 at 11:03

Stamp of Genius: New Ray Charles Compilation Coming to the Post Office (and Beyond)

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Ray Charles ForeverTomorrow sees the release of a new compilation of tunes by the late, great Ray Charles, to commemorate his latest posthumous achievement: a stamp from the United States Postal Service.

Ray Charles Forever is far from your typical hits-packed compilation; the biggest “hits” of note are Charles’ takes on “America the Beautiful” and Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” for which Ray won a Grammy for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance in 1993. The songs on display run the gamut of his entire discography and primarily showcase the singer/pianist as an interpreter of popular, soulful songs, from 1959’s swinging The Genius of Ray Charles for Atlantic (a take on Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “Come Rain or Come Shine”) to an uplifting 2002 cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Tracks from the Impulse and ABC years are present – even a track apiece from Come Live with Me, released on Charles’ own Crossover label in 1974, and Concord’s Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (2010), make appearances here.


And, of course, it wouldn’t be a compilation without some vault material. In this case, there’s one “new” track – a cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” – as well as a 20-minute DVD of rare live footage and interviews, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s. (There’s technically a second bonus track – Ray’s charting 1969 version of Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” – if you brave the long lines and pick up a copy at your local postal branch.)

Ray Charles Forever is available tomorrow, September 24, and today at your local USPS branch. Amazon listing are after the jump, along with the full track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 23, 2013 at 10:10