A Warrior’s Odyssey
Music By Penka Kouneva
Howlin’ Wolf Records HWRCD012
18 Tracks – 48:00 Grade: A-
Penka Kouneva has been an orchestrator in Hollywood for many, many years working for the likes of composers such as Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonsky, Cliff Eidelman amongst others, while also forging her own career as a rising composer in her own right with recent films such as Midnight Movie and contributing her invaluable talents to the video game industry where orchestrial scores have really emerged in big ways in the last decade. Now here comes a very special and piece of work, A Warrior’s Odyssey, which is inspired by the traditions of film music and contemporary video games using a conceptual narrative rather than visuals from her work in the genres she’s excelled in highly.
The album which was recorded during July 2012 featuring some of L.A.’s best musicians including Fred Emory Smith, Chris Lord, Dave Holden, Mike Rubino, Christian Ulstrup, Stephen Erdody, Nathan Barr, Tim Davies, Katia Popov, Lorand Lokuszta, Andrew Duckies, MB Gordy, and Justin R. Durban, A Warrior’s Odyssey really delivers and thrives on Kouneva’s gifts to create both emotion and excitement to the projects she’s worked on for her respective colleagues. Her style is very dramatic, but also has a grandiose sound that really is much better some recent composers I’ve had the priviledge to have heard in recent years. This album plays more like a film soundtrack and a truly successful one because it doesn’t play like one and Kouneva goes all out to really make something special here.
From patriotic and elegaic drama (A Soldier’s Odyssey – Epilogue: Flowers at a Monument, A Soldier’s Odyssey – Part 1: At a Soldier’s Grave / Part 2: Engaging the Enemy, Mission Fail 2 and Requiem, The Wanderer), to the wonderous (Airplane Bound to the Skies), edgy and contemporary sound (Confrontation From A Lo-Fi Dimension) and finally to the exciting action and bombast (Pilot Bombardier and Dogfights, Sniper Attack, Storming the City Heights. Minotaur Battle) Kouneva really shows her range and versitility with each track demonstrating her passion for her craft and giving the colleagues that she has worked with in the past a definite run for her money. This is an exceptionallly recorded and produced album by Howlin’ Wolf Records which is a great showcase for Kouneva’s talents which are completely on display here and is really a great album for the reasons that she really put alot of thought and effort on how she wanted to display her talents and comes out looking like a rose. A Warrior’s Odyssey is one of the best conceptual albums I’ve heard this year and one that should put alot of Hollywood composers on notice that Penka Kouneva will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future and there’s no doubt that this album will be one of the major reasons why she’ll be one of the best when it’s all said and done in a few years. A solid achievement without a doubt.