Timeline – music by Jerry Goldsmith

If there’s one eternal truth that every composer of film or TV music faces sooner or later, it’s the rejection slip. Everyone gets one eventually. And even a composer of Jerry Goldsmith’s stature gets them, such as the one Goldsmith received when he turned in this score to the already-troubled time travel flick Timeline. However, as much as I love Goldsmith’s work in general, listening to this CD of his rejected score, released by Varese Sarabande, I came to one conclusion: there’s a reason Brian Tyler wound up scoring this movie.

For whatever reason, Goldsmith’s take on Timeline winds up sounding like, well, reheated Goldsmith. Now granted, even well-worn works by this particular composer make for good listening, but there are whole passages that sound almost exactly like music from Star Trek: First Contact. Given that this was one of Goldsmith’s final scores, I almost expected to hear stuff that was more like Star Trek: Nemesis, and thought that maybe I’d find a few things that he salvaged from this unused work for that movie. Nope. There are big stretches that sound a lot like, in particular, First Contact‘s “The Dish” cue, particularly the percussive, guttural battle music. (Ironically, I now realize that even when working on First Contact, Goldsmith used a particular kind of action music that dates back to the Logan’s Run score.)

The element that’s unique to Timeline is a strange approach to a brass theme, a clarion call that occasionally dips just far enough out of the dominant key that it seems to be at odds with everything else behind it. It sticks out just enough to be distracting early on, and one can only imagine the reaction of the movie’s director or studio head upon hearing that.

2 out of 4Sadly, I can’t say this is one of Goldsmith’s finer works; as a limited release, it’s clearly intended for Goldsmith collectors and completists only, though even that crowd may find themselves wondering what one of their favorite composers was thinking when working on this one. Then again, at the risk of overlaying my own opinion onto the proceedings, the source material – the movie itself – doesn’t appear to have been terribly inspiring either. This soundtrack-that-never-was is a curiosity for the late maestro’s faithful followers.

Order this CD

  1. The Dig (4:10)
  2. Cornflakes (2:05)
  3. No Pain (3:10)
  4. To Castlegard (1:27)
  5. Find Marek (1:55)
  6. The Rooftop (4:21)
  7. A Hole In The Wall (2:27)
  8. Move On (6:58)
  9. Be Careful (1:28)
  10. Ambushed (1:12)
  11. Setting Up (2:12)
  12. Greek Fire / Light The Arrows (2:32)
  13. Prepare For Battle / Victory (11:12)
  14. To My Friends (1:40)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 46:49

Godzilla: 50th Anniversary – music by Akira Ifukube

“Subtle” isn’t normally a word used in connection with Godzilla. However, Akira Ifukube’s soundtrack to the original Godzilla movie is deceptively subtle.

Most soundtracks have themes for characters and scenes that echo the main theme. But in Godzilla, nearly every piece of music is the main theme. With shifts in tempo or style, or emphasis on different types or individual instruments, the theme is reformed in many ways, each of them sounding completely unique and original. It’s a testament to Ifukube’s skill that he was able to stretch the theme into so many nearly unrecognizable shapes.

The main theme itself is a brisk and tense thriller, primarily using woodwinds with some brass for emphasis. When he appears in Tokyo Bay and moves on shore, the music becomes slow, dark and ominous using deep, throaty sounding muted trumpets to represent Godzilla and an almost disconsonant piano to highlight the people’s helplessness.

Ifukube often weaves two or more variations into the same piece of music. Among the most interesting are those hiding in a happy military march and tucked away in an island festival. There are even strains of the theme heard in a harmonica played by a sailor on a merchant vessel. The “Prayer For Peace,” which remains one of the most haunting pieces of music I’ve ever heard, brings the theme to a funeral dirge. When we see Godzilla on the ocean floor, the theme shifts to help us realize that the King of the Monsters is a victim as well.

4 out of 4The latest trend on the internet is to create original works in “mashups” of different source material. Akira Ifukube did it the old fashioned way- using only one source and without using “loops.” Godzilla: 50th Anniversary is an excellent achievement that is not only good to listen to, but can also be used as a study guide for budding composers.

Order this CD

  1. Godzilla Approaches (Sound Effects) (0:49)
  2. Godzilla Main Title (1:31)
  3. Ship Music / Sinking Of Eikou-Maru (1:06)
  4. Sinking Of Bingou-Maru (0:23)
  5. Anxieties On Ootojima Island (0:50)
  6. Ootojima Temple Festival (1:21)
  7. Stormy Ootojima Island (1:53)
  8. Theme For Ootojima Island (0:34)
  9. Japanese Army March I (0:42)
  10. Horror Of The Water Tank (0:42)
  11. Godzilla Comes Ashore (1:52)
  12. Godzilla’s Rampage (2:25)
  13. Desperate Broadcast (1:12)
  14. Godzilla Comes To Tokyo Bay (1:25)
  15. Intercept Godzilla (1:27)
  16. Tragic Sight Of The Imperial Capitol (2:18)
  17. Oxygen Destroyer (3:11)
  18. Prayer For Peace (2:48)
  19. Japanese Army March II (0:21)
  20. Godzilla At The Ocean Floor (6:20)
  21. Ending (1:41)
  22. Godzilla Leaving (Sound Effects) (1:04)

    Bonus Tracks

  23. Main Title (film version) (2:03)
  24. First Landing (film version) (3:37)
  25. Tokyo In Flames (film version) (2:17)
  26. Last Assault (film version) (2:21)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2004
Total running time: 46:28