Danny Elfman,
Serenada Schizophrana
(a.k.a. Deep Sea 3D)
(Sony BMG, 2006)

Danny Elfman is one of Hollywood's most talented score writers, with more than 100 movie soundtracks under his belt. His musical arrangements never fail to impress, and he has an almost mystical ability to match the mood of his music to the action on-screen -- particularly when he's working with filmmaker Tim Burton.

Commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, this symphonic piece gave the former Oingo Boingo frontman a new challenge -- working without the visual cues of a movie to inspire him. But, while the resulting tracks are entertaining on an aural level, they still sound like a soundtrack to me. And, without my own visual memories to accompany the music, my imagination filled them in -- I mostly saw scenes of Johnny Depp emoting or the stop-action hijinks of a skellington at play.

Appropriately, it was later picked for use as a soundtrack for the IMAX film, Deep Sea 3D.

So really, it's simple. If you enjoy Elfman's soundtrack work, get this and you'll love it. If you think soundtracks should only be heard in the background of a film, skip this or get yourself to an IMAX theater for a little underwater exploration with narrators Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet and, of course, Elfman.

by Tom Knapp
5 May 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.