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Soundtrack Review

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Looney Tunes Cartoons
Original Soundtrack


Composers: Joshua Moshier and Carl Johnson
Label: WaterTower Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 July 2020

WaterTower Music release the official soundtrack album to Looney Tunes Cartoons. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Looney Tunes Cartoons is a series of new short-form cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and other iconic and beloved Looney Tunes characters...

Featured on the soundtrack are 26 tracks (1 hr, 41 min, 44 sec) of music created by composers Joshua Moshier and Carl Johnson, that serve as the musical backdrop of the new (2020) Looney Tunes Cartoons series.

Anyone who grew up on a healthy (or unhealthy) diet of original Looney Tunes cartoons will instantly fall in love with this release. Composers Joshua Moshier and Carl Johnson have managed to perfectly capture the essence of the original shorts and sprinkle it liberally throughout their score - although a more apt description might be collection of music cues.

As with the original cartoons of the Golden Era (1944–1964) of the franchise, the music incorporates familiar traditional songs like 'Shortnin' Bread' ('Boo! Appetweet', 'Pain in the Ice', 'Rhino Ya Don't feat Tweety' and 'Buzzard School'), The 19th century song 'Home! Sweet Home!' ('Pain in the Ice', 'Plumber's Quack'), while 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' is at the heart of 'Pest Coaster' and the American folk song 'I've Been Working on the Railroad' appears in a few tracks (most notably 'Plumber's Quack').

There are also nods to classical pieces like Franz Liszt's 'Liebesträume' (which can be heard on 'Overdue Duck feat Daffy Duck'), While 'Ode to Joy' from final (fourth) movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony plays a prominent part in 'Boo! Appetweet').

There's even a bit of modern disco, which briefly pops up in 'Big League Beast feat Bugs Bunny'. In fact, part of the fun is spotting all of the musical references... There are a lot. 'Rhino Ya Don't feat Tweety' has probably the most homages shoehorned into one track.

In addition there are quite a few pieces that you'll recognise from old cartoons. It's almost as though Moshier and Johnson have opened up the Looney Tunes vault and been allowed to pay homage to as much of the original work as possible. I can't think of a better way of honouring the legacy of Carl Stalling who was the composer for the original Looney Tunes shorts produced by Warner Bros. Stalling was said to have averaged one complete score each week, for 22 years. And of course, the classic 'Merry-Go-Round Broke Down' theme has been given a very subtle tweak.

Talking about the project, composer Carl Johnson said "The whole team involved with this show has really put tremendous care, craft and effort into these shorts - from the scripts to the voice acting to the animation and sound effects. I think musically we’ve been able to honour the tradition and legacy established during the golden age of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, while adding some new ideas along the way. It’s also a showcase for the amazing studio musicians we have in Los Angeles, who constantly push their playing beyond the bounds of what’s possible."

Composer Joshua Moshier added: "Stepping into the rich musical language of Looney Tunes is a true honour and a humbling pursuit, given the brilliant legacy established by Carl Stalling. A great joy for me is partnering with the brilliant animation team led by Pete Browngardt to push the comedy as far as we can while honouring the tradition of classical and popular music in Looney Tunes."

A lovingly crafted collection of cues that those of us of a certain age will get hours of enjoyment from. It's incredible that music like this is able to bring a smile to your face. Even though there are no visuals to go with it, you can picture everything so clearly.


Darren Rea

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