Over the years pianist, composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin has done many things. He has scored more than 100 films and television shows (including Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry and The Amityville Horror), created works for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and The Sultan of Oman… and you might remember a little ditty he did for Mission: Impossible that is easily one of the most recognizable bits of music ever recorded. But even with five decades of composing under his belt – during which he earned four Grammy Awards and six Oscar nominations – Lalo Schifrin has managed to find a new venue for his music: the graphic novel. And we’re not talking about a graphic novel film here; that’s been done. What Lalo Schifrin has done here – with help from Andy Garfield – is create a score exclusively for a graphic novel.

Having his son Ruan Schifrin as a cowriter of the graphic novel probably didn’t hurt his decision to create the music. Spooks, originally created as a four-issue comic in February 2008, is a new military horror series released by Deveil’s Due Publishing. Spooks is a secret branch of the government that protects humanity from the otherworldly… kind of like a hardcore Ghostbusters. And the score that Lalo Schifrin and Andy Garfield have created for the graphic novel bring out those themes full force. Schifrin shows his history particularly well in the action-packed “Omega Team,” which sounds like a throwback to some of Schifrin’s earlier spy work, and even his more recent work on the Rush Hour scores. There are jazzily bouncing beats and an energetic yet determined flow to the music. It’s like spy music-lite; a tongue-in-cheek exploration of a humanity-saving team of government agents… oh wait, that’s exactly what the music is representing. Then there’s the seductive “Zach and Felicia,” which is more like lounge jazz, with lightly flowing, but slightly mysterious rhythms exploring an obviously intimate relationship.

Andy Garfield comes in when the action gets a little heavier. With heavier, more driving beats, and backup choruses (especially in “Headless Jack”) Garfield gives the score its horror edge. From the creeping strings in “The Graveyard” to the eerily building bass in “The Witch’s Manor,” it’s clear that Garfield knows how to work the horror genre.

It was announced in July that Spooks will be adapted to a live action film by Men in Black producer Barry Josephson… and I think he might have a lead on some score work… considering that Andy Garfield scored the Men in Black ride, this pairing may be closer to reality than we think.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: Listening to while reading the graphic novel, obviously
Stay Away if: The thought of score music for a graphic novel just seems weird to you
If you buy just one track, make it this one: “Omega Team” – Ghostbusters on acid

To purchase the score for Spooks, visit Aleph Records
To purchase the graphic novel, visit Devil’s Due Publishing

Be Sociable, Share!