Batman: The Killing Joke
Studio: La-La Land Records
Release Date: July 26th, 2016
BATMAN – THE KILLING JOKE: LIMITED EDITION
Music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis
Limited Edition of 1500 Units
RETAIL PRICE: $15.98
La-La Land Records, DC and Warner Bros. Animation present the original score to the DC Universe Original Movie BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. Composers Michael McCuistion, Kristopher Carter & Lolita Ritmanis (BATMAN: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES) unleash a powerful, emotionally-charged score, expertly melding synth and live orchestral players to harness all the thrilling action and psychological drama within this exciting feature-length re-telling of what is considered by many to be one of the finest Batman comic stories of all time! Produced by Michael McCuistion, Kristopher Carter and Lolita Ritmanis, and mastered by James Nelson, this special, limited edition release also features the original song “I Go Looney,” performed by the Joker himself, Mark Hamill! Writer John Takis takes you behind the score with exclusive, in-depth liner notes (featuring interview comments from the composers) and the Gotham-infused art design is by Dan Goldwasser. This is a limited edition of 1500 units.
1. How the Story Begins* 0:53
2. We’ve Got a Robbery** 2:44
3. Uncle Not Pleased*** 0:48
4. Narcissist and Sociopath** 2:44
5. Hit on Yacht*** 0:53
6. Serious Business* 4:09
7. Bats and Babs Cross the Line*** 2:39
8. Rooftop Regrets*** 1:57
9. The Abyss** 3:32
10. Batman Was Right* 1:37
11. Storage Unit Corpses*** 1:47
12. The Halls of Arkham** 1:28
13. Joker Imposter*** 0:45
14. Making a Killing** 0:53
15. Jeannie Flashback* 2:01
16. Looking for a Clue** 2:06
17. Broken Books*** 1:40
18. Hoods Present the Hood*** 2:52
19. Nothing Will Be the Same** 0:21
20. Trapped in a Nightmare* 3:54
21. Jeannie Is Gone* 2:23
22. Bats Pummels for Clues*** 1:37
23. Throw the Book** 1:58
24. Horrifying Images** 0:22
25. Bats Receives Tickets*** 0:25
26. Ghost Train Stops* 0:55
27. Chemical Factory Heist*** 3:36
28. Batman Arrives at the Carnival* 0:40
29. Merry-Go-Round Source** 0:24
30. By the Book** 2:29
31. All It Takes Is One Bad Day* 3:30
32. Let Me Help You** 0:57
33. Oracle Is Here*** 0:57
34. End Credits§ 3:07
35. “I Go Looney” §§ 1:50 - Performed by Mark Hamill
TOTAL DISC TIME: 66:04
* composed by Lolita Ritmanis
** composed by Michael McCuistion
*** composed by Kristopher Carter
§ composed by Michael McCuistion, Kristopher Carter & Lolita Ritmanis
§§ music by Michael McCuistion, Kristopher Carter & Lolita Ritmanis
Batman: The Killing Joke Soundtrack Review
By James Harvey
Dark, moody and at times invigorating and haunting, the score to Batman: The Killing Joke is not only a riveting listen, but easily the best part of the animated film. Superbly setting the tone of the movie, the score by Dynamic Music Partners (Michael McCuistion, Kristopher Carter and Lolita Ritmanis) ranks as easily one of the best animated Batman movie scores not only in recent years, but of all-time.
While the scores to DC Comics' animated film library has usually been consistent, save for the odd slip here and there, the score for Batman: The Killing Joke is truly something special, and a lot of that has to do with the work of Dynamic Music Partners. Having worked in the animated DC Comics world for nearly twenty-five years, the team here knows how to really create a stirring piece of music that perfectly brings to life the world of Batman. While a lot of the modern composers for the animated films - including the likes of Frederick Weidmann and Christopher Drake - have turned in some fantastic works, Dynamic Music Partners expansive experience in the animated world of DC Comics definitely gives them a bit of an edge and freedom to really cut loose here, and that is something the exploit beautifully here.
Overall, Dynamic Music Partners have whipped up a score which is perfectly balanced and nuanced with the film's frantic action sequences and haunting, terrifying moments, and is on point in every regard. Even a track that some might find a bit jarring, such as the Mark Hammill-led "I Go Looney," is perfectly in sync with the story unfolding. And honestly, the score just perfectly accompanies and even enhances the movie itself. Played on it's own, as a soundtrack release, it's a dark, somber experience that's riddled with a few moments of levity and some unexpected surprises - particularly the segment that covers Batgirl's backstory in the first portion of the Batman: The Killing Joke animated feature. This half features, easily, some of the more intense, action-packed beats (which makes sense, given this portion features more action). And then, once the second portion of Batman: The Killing Joke hits, the soundtrack becomes this dark, almost haunting affair that is punctuated with brief moments of intensity. But there's always this sense of ... dread.
Even the tracks that serve as a backdrop for some of the flashback sequence, which don't feel as overwhelmingly dark, have a tinge of sadness to them, which is appropriate for the subject matter. It's almost like this jazz noir-type sound. And, recurring throughout the movie and the score itself, regardless of what the situation is, Dynamic Music Partners are able to accompany and enliven what's unfolding during the story. They're able to perfectly peg the moment, be it a moody flashback, an action scene, or a quiet, somber moment of reflection. In fact, there are moments in this score that remind me of some of Dynamic Music Partner's work, particular Carter's score for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and some of Ritmanis' work on Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
The score it just fantastic, from start to finish, so much so that I'd run out of superlatives if I just gushed about it as much as I'd like to. It's a perfectly realized score, with Dynamic Music Partners taking full advantage of having a full orchestra back under their control. It's a full, robust sound that feels every bit as large as it should. Never once does the score feel like it's trying to reach for something more than it actually can. And the fact that the film's tonal shifts don't hamper the score's listening experience is a testament to the skill of Dynamic Music Partner. Actually, it's their score goes a long way in keeping both portions of the film on somewhat the same page despite how different both actually are in the animated feature itself. The score provides that bridge that keeps the film connected.
La-La Land Records has released yet another amazing (and at times powerful) score that, honestly, may actually be better than the film it comes from. Dynamic Music Partners have created an absolutely stunning piece of work here with Batman: The Killing Joke that ranks as one of their best work - which is saying something considering their already incredible resume. Regardless of whatever your thoughts may be on the animated feature itself, the film's score it really something worth seeking out and can easily be enjoyed on its own. It's a riveting listen that really runs the whole gamut while keeping a near persistent underlying sense of dread. It's a complete experience that, to me, it's basically impossible to pick out a favorite track since all of them work so well together.
Whether you enjoyed the animated Batman: The Killing Joke animated film or not, I implore you to pick up this soundtrack release. La-La Land Records has, once again, done a beautiful job creating an excellent physical CD release for it, complete with a booklet delving into the production of the soundtrack and thoughts from some of the minds behind it. And given the low price point for the soundtrack, this is an absolute no-brainer of a purchase. A fantastic score, beautiful sound and a great package makes the soundtrack release of Batman: The Killing Joke a Must Own for Batman or soundtrack aficionados looking to beef up their collection with some truly riveting work.
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