Mondo 2020 Wrap-Up - Music

Hey, everyone -

For our final newsletter of 2020, we thought we'd highlight some of this year's releases which may have flown a bit under your radar. We've been fortunate this year to release some huge soundtracks, such as Tron: Legacy, A Nightmare Before Christmas, The Last Of Us Part 2, The Mandalorian Season One, Death Stranding, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. All of these scores are fantastic and essential, but we want to highlight some records that we feel deserve some love from you and your ears over the holidays.

As always, we can't thank you enough for your support this year. It means the world to us here at Mondo, and we hope our releases have brought some joy to you throughout 2020. Wherever you are, we wish you a happy holiday, and we're raising a glass to you and yours.

- Spencer & Mo



A love letter to record collecting through the discovery of big budget Broadway-style musicals that were written and financed by major corporations about their product lines. This album features 50-year-old showtunes about bathroom appliances, sliced bread and the benefits of surgical gowns. They sound like they're from another dimension, and were discovered by a Late Night with David Letterman writer as a bit that became a full-fledged obsession. Seek out the documentary this soundtrack is for, fall in love with the people who wrote these silly beautiful songs about dishwashers, and see the American dream from the point of view of the Also-Rans of the musical industry. - Mo Shafeek

TALES FROM THE LOOP - Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan

Tales From The Loop is heartfelt, breathtaking and stunning. The accompanying soundtrack is all of these things, with added melancholy and heartbreak laced with a small amount of hope. Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan's music here is top tier work, worthy of any Top 10 list of 2020. The piano refrain which floats throughout the score is enchanting, underpinning the melodies and delivering real emotional depth. The musicianship on display is phenomenal. The perfect record for these long winter nights; it's cozy but never twee, it's familiar without being hackneyed, and most of all, it is magnificent. - Spencer Hickman

HOMECOMING: Season 2 / KAJILLIONAIRE - Emile Mosseri

Our composer of the year. The brilliant Emile Mosseri made his debut in 2019 with his unforgettable score to The Last Black Man in San Francisco, followed by an indelible mark on the world of film and television scoring with two 2020 masterpieces — three if you count his forthcoming score to the film Minari. If you have some downtime this holiday season, please check out the film Kajillionaire, and the second season of Homecoming (no, you don't need to see the first to dive in). They're both special in their own right, and made by amazingly talented people: Miranda July and Kyle Alvarez, respectively. - Mo Shafeek

POSSESSOR - Jim Williams

David Cronenberg's sophomore movie proves he is his father's son without any overt similarities to the elder Cronenberg's work. Possessor is bold, visionary and brutal. Jim Williams' score is immediately recognizable from his work on Raw and A Field In England, mixing the organic and synthetic to spectacular effect. Unsettling stuff for sure, but the rewards more than pay off. An incredibly dense and multi-layered work, this is one to sit down with the lights off as you listen. - Spencer Hickman

THE INVISIBLE MAN - Benjamin Wallfisch

What can you say about this piece of work? It blew me away when I first heard it, and when approving test pressings, I thought it was going to collapse my speakers! "Dynamic" is a word that gets thrown around a lot — especially for horror scores — but the dynamics on display here are genuinely terrifying. Vast slabs of industrial noise give way to quiet classical pieces and massive sounding synths. The score is a central character in the film but really shines on the turntable, where it can take over and wreak terror all its own. - Spencer Hickman


I love Scott Bomar, a joy to work with and an undervalued composer. Dolemite is My Name is everything you would expect from a Grammy-nominated producer who has worked with the likes of Al Green and Cyndi Lauper. His versatility shines here as he delivers hit after hit of sweet-sounding horns, souped-up bass and funk licks for days. The most feel-good record we released in 2020. - Spencer Hickman


In a year where we released multiple soundtracks for AAA games, it may seem strange to highlight the soundtrack to a quirky, indie VR game. But here's the thing: it's the best video game soundtrack that came out this year. Asy Saavedra (one half of Chaos Chaos) makes her solo album debut with this incredible, lush, dream-pop masterpiece that is so inventive and brilliant, it will absolutely be sampled by other artists in the years to come. I absolutely cannot wait to hear what she does next. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't give this album a spin. Listen with headphones for maximum effect. - Mo Shafeek

TRAVELOGUE Vol 1 - Michael Giacchino and his Nouvelle Modernica Orchestra

If you asked us how we could top working on the LOST Live Concert album last year, I wouldn't have had any ideas. But leave it to Michael Giacchino, the most clever, talented and tireless composer in the industry, to produce Taylor Swift levels of output during quarantine. Travelogue Volume 1 is the first chapter of an epic concept album, but as its own experience, it's possibly my most listened-to album of 2020. This project is sort of a culmination of everything Spencer and I have tried to do with the originals label. And we're not done yet; check out his Christmas single, and stay tuned for Volume 2, and a whole other secret project we had to tell him to save for next year! - Mo Shafeek

BLOOD ON HER NAME - The Blair Brothers

The Blair Brothers have previously scored Green Room, I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore and Hold The Dark. They have a knack for capturing dark, oppressive atmospheres and dropping you into midwestern American without a compass or a clue where you are. They're unsurpassed at capturing a mood. Their work here is fearless, moody, unsettling and uncomfortable, which is what makes it is so essential. It feels good to step outside your comfort zone once in a while and soak up something entirely unfamiliar. Seek this movie out; as debut films go, it doesn't get any better than this. - Spencer Hickman

FREAKED - Various Artists

I love Freaked. I love Alex Winter, I love Tom Stern and I love the merry band of lunatics they convinced to make this film. We released this LP back in January — which seems like a lifetime ago — and hosted an LA screening on Hollywood Blvd at the American Cinemateque. The show sold out and was pure madness. We had Paul Leary from the Butthole Surfers playing along live to the picture, and almost every actor from the film was in the house. It was extraordinary, as is this soundtrack. Nearly four years of my life went into this, and it was well worth it. Kevin Kiner's fantastic score sits on one disc, with needle drops from the Butthole Surfers, Henry Rollins, Bootsy Collins and Blind Idiot God on the other. 360 grams of solid gold madness for you and your turntable. Essential. - Spencer Hickman

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