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The House With a Clock in its Walls
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:
Nathan Barr

Conducted by:
Lucas Richman

Orchestrated by:
Penka Kouneva
Jeremy Borum
Larry Rench
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Back Lot Music
(September 21st, 2018)
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Digital-only commercial release with no high-resolution option.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Buy it... if you appreciate diverse fantasy instrumentation emphasizing treble ranges, this score's resurrection of an authentic Wurlitzer organ impressive in parts but leaving a nagging feeling of incompleteness in its dainty mix.

Avoid it... if you demand a resounding fantasy soundscape for this topic, Nathan Barr's affable and spirited emulation of vintage Danny Elfman music engaging in parts but underplayed in much of its length.
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WRITTEN 11/2/18
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The House With a Clock in its Walls: (Nathan Barr) It's remarkable that the 1973 John Bellairs novel on which 2018's movie, The House With a Clock in its Walls, is based had not been fully plundered by studios prior to Eli Roth's version. The children's fantasy story places a ten-year-old boy in the care of an uncle who practices magic in a haunted old mansion. As the boy learns the craft, he, his uncle, and a family friend must thwart the legacy of the house and the doomsday clock hidden within. It's a tale about loss, primarily, sharing some similarities in tone with 1995's Casper and enticing audiences with its light-hearted demeanor and spectacular visual style. The movie was only a moderate critical and fiscal success, satisfying audiences but not living up to its potential. Arguably sharing the same fate is the film's soundtrack, which itself has a long backstory. The score is handled by Roth's longtime collaborator, Nathan Barr, who had not been challenged with a full-fledged opportunity like this during his successful career in the smaller modes of television scoring. Completely aside from any consideration of The House With a Clock in its Walls, Barr, who collects rare and unusual instruments, had managed to purchase and restore the classic Wurlitzer organ that had originally graced the scoring stage at 20th Century Fox and had been utilized by countless film scores from the era of Bernard Herrmann to John Williams and Elliot Goldenthal more recently. After six years of restoration work, Barr built a custom scoring studio with the Wurlitzer as its centerpiece and didn't need to wait long before a perfect film score assignment for the instrument rolled his away. The composer had always aspired to write a large-scale fantasy score akin to the music of John Williams and Danny Elfman, and The House With a Clock in its Walls allowed him to not only explore that genre in full but employ the Wurlitzer at the same time. The instrument itself functions more like a synthesizer than an organ, its immense capability conveyed in over 1,500 pipes and the various methods of air movement through them. The traditional pipe organ sound, of course, was expected for this film because of the on-screen presence of an equivalent. The breathiness of this instrument's authenticity is a major selling point of the score, as truly synthetic alternatives cannot emulate the breathing sounds of the pipes. It is, simply put, a pleasure to hear the fruits of Barr's efforts on behalf of the instrument and the film.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.04 Stars
***** 9 5 Stars
**** 17 4 Stars
*** 22 3 Stars
** 16 2 Stars
* 8 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Total Time: 70:01
• 1. New Zebedee (4:04)
• 2. A Lot of Clocks (1:35)
• 3. Quite Different Around Here (1:40)
• 4. Poker Face (1:02)
• 5. Mother Visits (1:50)
• 6. Jonathan With Ax (1:31)
• 7. A Boy Witch (3:09)
• 8. Studying Magic (1:32)
• 9. Issac's Album (1:24)
• 10. Backyard Magic (1:46)
• 11. Bevy of Swans (1:43)
• 12. My House is Magic (0:49)
• 13. Secret Entrance (1:55)
• 14. Tarby Opens the Book (2:05)
• 15. Mother Returns (1:16)
• 16. Raising Issac (2:39)
• 17. Messy Room (0:45)
• 18. Horse Shoes (1:07)
• 19. Nickelodeon (3:53)
• 20. Books Attack (1:28)
• 21. Lewis Confesses (1:51)
• 22. My Beautiful Wife (4:23)
• 23. Bedroom Escape (1:32)
• 24. Lewis in Cage (4:08)
• 25. Automatons Attack (0:50)
• 26. Pumpkins Attack (1:58)
• 27. Lewis Finds the Clock (1:32)
• 28. Smashing Pumpkins (1:19)
• 29. Gassing Automatons (1:18)
• 30. Issac Starts the Clock (5:15)
• 31. Back to Normal (1:48)
• 32. Insect Book (1:23)
• 33. The Mighty Wurlitzer (5:16)

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No packaging exists from the label for this album.
Copyright © 2018-2019, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The House With a Clock in its Walls are Copyright © 2018, Back Lot Music and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 11/2/18 (and not updated significantly since).
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