Quite often I judge the value of a film by its soundtrack. Not just selected songs from the director but the score itself, which determines how powerful a scene can turn out. One of the supreme composers, who achieves unique results with his film scores, is a man nothing short of a musical sorcerer, Ennio Morricone. I find that the majority of the menace and tension in a Western film is stirred up by Morricone, the best examples being A Fist Full of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and Once Upon a Time in the West. In these films he uses gentle, yet unnerving string arrangements, and even cleverer, musical devices that are brought into the screenplay such as El Indio's pocket watch in Few Dollars More or the stranger's harmonica in Once Upon a Time. Considering these props, Morricone's music almost takes over the story lines, giving scenes more of an edge. The theme to Fist Full of Dollars was later taken by Quentin Taratino and used in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 as part of his great tribute to classic Westerns. Tarantino is probably the greatest pioneer of the film soundtrack alive. When he writes a scene he picks an inspiring song from his collection, using it to shape and structure his screenplay, pondering the situation that would take place to that song. This is how he came up with such iconic moments as the twist contest in Pulp Fiction, along with his introduction to Reservoir Dogs and the infamous 'Ear Scene', in which the character, Mr. Blonde, mutilates a cop while strutting to Stealers Wheel's 'Stuck In The Middle With You'. As well as Tarantino, the one-hit wonder, Guy Ritchie, picked his moments well in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for example, having John Murphy and David Hughes recreate the tune of 'Zorba The Greek' to fit into a comic, yet violent, action scene. The mention of John Murphy takes me back to score writing. Murphy, the composer of the modern age, put his finest work into 28 Days Later. His eerie, disturbing soundtrack captures one man's bewilderment and disturbance as he wonders around a derelict London, and the sheer panic and terror of a group of people, alone in a dark mansion with a rabid, enraged lunatic. Danny Boyle cleverly splits up this film, having John Murphy's distressful attacks on the audience, and the rest periods where we are encouraged to forget about the trouble that the main characters are in, as they run around a supermarket to Grandaddy's 'AM 180'. Boyle experiments well with these scenes, adding some tranquility and refuge, but still hinting that there's trouble round the corner. When a masterpiece of a song fits a masterpiece of a film the power is unbelievable. You are watching so much more than a motion picture; two great forces intertwining to show you something beyond reality, taking a symphony or a moving image sequence beyond the next level. Some films are renowned for their silence, but I ask myself constantly: Would I even like Days of Heaven without Morricone's score? Would I be as mesmerised by Blade Runner without the influence of Vangelis? Would I be as moved at the end of Edward Scissorhands without hearing Danny Elfman's 'Ice Dance'? Side One: 1. Blade Runner Main Titles by Vangelis (We witness a grand futuristic landscape with a part violet, part black skyline, covered in buildings illuminated by dots of light, and towers that let out eruptions of flames.)  2. A Fistful Of Dollars by Ennio Morricone (The man with no name strolls towards his targets. "Get three coffins ready", he tells the coffin maker/ Kill Bill: Vol. 2: Budd taunts and mocks the Bride having just shot her in the chest with rock salt.) 3. Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack (From Jackie Brown: Tarantino reinvents the beginning of The Graduate, as we see our heroine strut her way through the airport) 4. The Killing Moon by Echo & The Bunnymen (From Donnie Darko: Donnie cycles home to his middle class, American suburban neighbourhood.) 5. Zorba The Greek by John Murphy and David Hughes (From Lock Stock: The moments leading up to a botched, but bloody gangland battle.) 6. Atmosphere by Joy Division (From Control: We witness Ian Curtis' family and friends receive the news of his death one by one, followed by the smoke from the crematorium drifting up.) 7. For A Few Dollars More by Ennio Morricone (El Indio opens his musical pocketwatch, preparing to kill his next victim: "When the chimes finish, begin.") 8. Bullitt by Lalo Schifrin (The introduction: A series of shots portraying the underworld of San Francisco.) Side Two: 1. 54-46 Was My Number by Toots and The Maytals (From This Is England: A montage of events from the 1980s.) 2. In The House - In A Heartbeat by John Murphy (From 28 Days Later: Jim sets one of the 'infected' loose in the mansion, hunting each soldier down in the dark.) 3. The Lonely Shepherd by Zamfir (From Kill Bill: Vol. 1: The Bride receives her sword from Hanzo and proceeds to write her death list on the plane) 4. In Dreams by Roy Orbison (From Blue Velvet: Frank's henchman mimes the song while looking into Frank's disturbed face) 5. Days Of Heaven by Ennio Morricone (The labourers of 1910s America harvest crops in vast fields of wheat) 6. Watermelon In Easter Hay by Frank Zappa (From Y Tu Mama Tambien: The credits roll after we are told that two best friends with an already broken down relationship will never meet again.) 7. Once Upon A Time In The West by Ennio Morricone (A family of freshly shot bodies lie outside their house in a silent dessert, the gunmen emerge from their vantage points.) 8. Keep Quiet by Mimas (From the Wil Cook Movie: Not yet made.) Download mixtape here