Jodorowsky’s Dune – music by Kurt Stenzel

Jodorowsky's DuneA unique documentary about a movie that almost, but didn’t, get made, the musical treatment for Jodorowsky’s Dune is a novel one: score the documentary with the music that the unmade movie should’ve gotten. Chronicling, as it does, an abortive attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s genre-redefining novel to the big screen in the 1970s, Jodorowsky’s Dune is graced with a fittingly ’70s-style score awash with analog synths (or very good approximations of them).

Think of early Tangerine Dream (composer Kurt Stenzel’s auditory reference point), or the all-synth, almost-abstract score of Enter The Dragon, or the music of Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who: that sound in your head is the sound of the Arrakis that was never meant to be. It’s the sound of a Dune that would’ve starred the likes of Salvador Dali, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger, rather than Kyle MacLachlan and Sting. The music is authentically trippy – as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s vision for Herbert’s epic likely would’ve been – and anyone born in the ’70s or steeped in ’70s genre cinema will likely find the wobbly analog synth sounds are a comforting old friend.

On a few tracks, there is dialogue from the documentary itself, and depending on my mood I can come down on either the “no, just let me hear the music, please” or the “oh, that’s kinda neat and it helps set the tone” side of the fence. It’s only on a few tracks. Stenzel sequences the album as a four-sided double LP, staying true to the medium that would’ve been available to a soundtrack album from the unmade movie. Tracks blend together as ethereal suites and reach an end point whereupon, in some alternate universe where Jodorowsky beat David Lynch to the punch, someone presumably turns the record over.

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mid-1970s attempt to change how sci-fi reached the big screen never happened, and Dune languished in Hollywood turnaround hell while a little movie about the last of the Jedi Knights became the film that changed the entire playbook in 1977. That movie, of course, redirected movie music back onto a 4 out of 4European-inspired orchestral course, almost exactly 180 degrees away from the music Stenzel imagines here (and 180 degrees away from Jodorowsky’s pie-in-the-sky dream of having post-Syd-Barrett-era Pink Floyd score his vision of Dune). But Kurt Stenzel’s realization of the course on which movie sci-fi soundtracks could have continued is an incredible, atmospheric listen.

Order this CD

  1. Coming of a God (5:27)
  2. Greatest Movie Never Made (1:01)
  3. Parallel World (1:41)
  4. Parallel World (outro) (1:03)
  5. Leap of Faith (0:43)
  6. Time and Space (2:04)
  7. Optical World (2:55)
  8. Nebula (1:25)
  9. Invitation (1:02)
  10. Point of View (2:36)
  11. Moebius (4:48)
  12. Arrakis (1:58)
  13. Millions of Stars (0:21)
  14. Into the Galaxy (1:26)
  15. O’Bannon Meets Jodo (1:18)
  16. Finding the Others (0:57)
  17. Spiritual Warriors (1:36)
  18. Conception of Paul (2:01)
  19. Ships With Souls (1:51)
  20. The Pirate Spaceship (5:23)
  21. Rescue From a Sandworm (2:36)
  22. Mad Emperor (0:23)
  23. Burning Giraffes (1:42)
  24. Baron Harkonnen (0:33)
  25. Giger’s Theme (1:06)
  26. Deepest Darkness of the Soul (1:15)
  27. Feyd Rautha (4:17)
  28. Total Extermination (2:16)
  29. I Am Dune (6:00)
  30. Hollywood (2:22)
  31. Fingerprints (4:16)
  32. Open the Mind (3:38)
  33. Try (2:30)

Released by: Cinewax
Release date: November 13, 2015
Total running time: 75:31

Doctor Who: Series 8 – music by Murray Gold

Though Matt Smith’s first season seemed to take a momentary sidestep into sounds inspired by Doctor Who’s radiophonic, synth-heavy past, the musical paradigm for the new Doctor Who series’ first decade has always been John Williams: big, unapologetically brassy action music, widescreen action cues, and heavy choral doom when the occasion demands.

Peter Capaldi’s first season, however, seems to mark a major turn left (sorry, had to) for new Doctor Who’s musical style: the paradigm has shifted from Williams to a Hans Zimmer-inspired sound, more reliant on synths and urgent low cello ostinatos. There are still brassy action scenes, but they’re brassy in a different way than before. Several cues seem to echo Doctor Who’s 1980s sound, including the new theme tune arrangement (included here in a full-length version).

A suite of themes and variations of the musical signature of the new Doctor proves to be more introspective than the popular, in-your-face bombast of “I Am The Doctor” (a running theme throughout Matt Smith’s tenure). Inexplicably missing is Foxes’ unexpectedly catchy big band cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” – a musical highlight of the season that could have served as a single to 3 out of 4raise this collection’s visibility. (Only an instrumental version is available…and even then, only as a bonus track on the download version, not on CD.)

The first two CDs cover the entirety of Capaldi’s freshman year in the TARDIS, while the third presents virtually the complete score of his first Christmas special, Last Christmas.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Doctor Who Theme (01:17)
  2. A Good Man (Tweleve’s Theme) (07:34)
  3. Something It Ate (02:40)
  4. Concussed (03:28)
  5. It’s Still Him (02:00)
  6. Pudding Brains (05:27)
  7. Breath (04:45)
  8. Hello Hello (03:17)
  9. Drink First (02:02)
  10. Aristotle We Have Been Hit (01:00)
  11. We’re Still Going To Kill You (03:56)
  12. Tell Me, Am I A Good Man? (04:04)
  13. Blue Rescue One (01:38)
  14. What Difference A Good Dalek (03:32)
  15. The Truth About The Daleks (02:08)
  16. You Are A Good Dalek (01:49)
  17. Old Fashioned Hero (02:16)
  18. This Is My Spoon (02:07)
  19. Robert, Earl of Loxley (02:00)
  20. The Legend of Robin Hood (02:18)
  21. Robin of Sherwood (03:15)
  22. The Golden Arrow (01:37)
  23. Listen (02:25)
  24. Rupert Pink (03:57)
  25. Fear (02:47)
    Disc Two

  1. The Architect (01:28)
  2. Rob The Bank (00:59)
  3. Account Closed (02:09)
  4. Open Up (02:07)
  5. The Caretaker (05:16)
  6. Missy’s Theme (01:34)
  7. Hello Earth, We Have A Terrible Decision To Make (00:54)
  8. Are You Going To Shoot Me? (01:57)
  9. When I Say Run (01:46)
  10. They’ve Been Here The Whole Time (02:48)
  11. That Is The Moon (02:02)
  12. NASA Is That Way (01:00)
  13. Start The Clock (01:33)
  14. There’s That Smile (02:24)
  15. The Sarcophagus Opens (03:59)
  16. The Artefact (02:05)
  17. Study Our Own Demise (02:13)
  18. Not Knowing (03:01)
  19. Siege Mode (01:27)
  20. In The Woods (02:22)
  21. We Weren’t Asleep That Long (01:03)
  22. The Song of Danny and Clara (02:41)
  23. Forgetting (01:46)
  24. Throw Away The Key (04:15)
  25. Browsing (02:23)
  26. Missy Theme Extended (02:06)
  27. Heaven (01:30)
  28. They Walk Among Us (02:21)
  29. There is No Clara Oswald (01:00)
  30. Missy And Her Boys (01:18)
  31. Freefall (01:41)
  32. Need To Know (05:00)
  33. Missy’s Gift (02:04)
  34. (The Majestic Tale of) An Idiot With Box (02:22)
    Disc Three: Last Christmas

  1. Perfectly Ordinary Roof People (04:21)
  2. Unsealing The Infirmary (02:47)
  3. Ghosts (01:53)
  4. What Seems To Be The Problem (01:08)
  5. We Don’t Know What’s Real (02:34)
  6. Thinking About It (01:16)
  7. Clara’s Dream Christmas (03:57)
  8. The Doctor’s Dream Christmas (05:33)
  9. Dreams Within Dreams (04:51)
  10. Believe In Santa (01:31)
  11. Sleigh Ride (02:48)
  12. Reunion (03:12)
  13. Every Christmas Is Last Christmas (03:49)

Released by: Silva Screen Records
Release date: May 26, 2015
Disc one total running time: 1:12:54
Disc two total running time: 1:14:01
Disc three total running time: 39:27

Doctor Who: The Rapture – music by Jim Mortimore

Doctor Who: The RaptureIn 2002, Big Finish Productions released The Rapture, a Doctor Who audio play which had the distinction of being the first professionally-published work by one Joe Lidster (who went on to do more for Big Finish before being snatched up by the BBC itself), and of being one of the most controversial things the company had produced up to that point. Plucking the seventh Doctor and Ace out of tea time TV and dropping them into a storyline at an all-week rave complete with sex and drugs was too much for some fans’ tender sensibilities. And The Rapture had some awesome music – real club music, not some soundtrack-composer-for-hire’s second-hand impression of real EDM. Composer Jim Mortimore, in addition to having written Doctor Who novels and audio stories in the past, had also enjoyed a second career, playing live music at raves through much of the 1990s. To say that The Rapture‘s music is merely authentic is probably underselling it. It’s the real deal.

In 2012, via Bandcamp, Mortimore released three CDs’ worth of music from an audio story (whose narrative running time was only enough to take up two CDs). Drawing from his ’90s recordings as well as concocting an entire CD worth of new music, and bringing collaborators Jane Elphinstone and Simon Robinson on board, Mortimore presented Big Finish with a series of pieces that would be excerpted as needed for The Rapture, with some music heard only briefly in the background mix at the story’s titular nightclub and with other pieces – the specially composed ones – more prominently placed in the foreground. A few Rapture tracks had previously been presented on a Big Finish soundtrack CD in the past, but were savagely edited down to two and three minute running lengths: most of the tracks in their original form run close to eight minutes long, and are better for it, with the melodies developing a bit more naturally. Tracks such as “Over Me” show much deeper layers and arrangements than the edited-down versions hinted at.

The “A Side” covers all of the music composed expressly for The Rapture, while the “B Side” tracks are the full-length tracks Mortimore presented from his ’90s work for inclusion in the background of several scenes. (Again, the average length is about eight minutes; most of the excerpts of these pieces in the finished audio play could be measured in seconds or maybe as many as a couple of minutes.) The “E Side” consists of downtempo tracks, one of them quite lengthy; whether the “E” is for “epic”, “ecstasy”, or “etheral” is up for you to decide.

4 out of 4Many times over the years I’ve dragged out that Big Finish soundtrack and its woefully truncated soundtrack for The Rapture because it’s ridiculously good music by which to write. Color me “E” for “elated” that the full tracks – and more of them – are now available. And gloriously, “Doctored Who” gives us the full-length rave remix of Delia Derbyshire’s Doctor Who theme. Whether or not the story of The Rapture is worth the listening time is something that’s still hotly debated in Doctor Who fan circles, but its soundtrack is undoubtedly worth the listening time for audiences far beyond Doctor Who fandom.

Order

    “Side A”

  1. Over Me (7:02)
  2. On The Beach (6:01)
  3. Rebirth (7:46)
  4. Brook Of Eden (8:07)
  5. Freestyle (6:34)
  6. Sorted (6:31)
  7. Jude’s Law (9:09)
  8. Pink Pulloff (4:52)
  9. Music Of The Spheres (6:10)
  10. Gloves Off (3:40)
  11. Doctored Who (2:10)
  12. “Side B”

  13. Kanhra (8:18)
  14. Udu (8:08)
  15. Uracas (8:16)
  16. Xanthulu (7:17)
  17. Mahser Dagi (8:07)
  18. “Side E”

  19. Sven’s Wrath (3:39)
  20. Radio Beach (5:32)
  21. Ice Floes At Twilight (35:20)
  22. Phases Of The Moon (3:58)

Released by: Jim Mortimore via BandCamp
Release date: October 28, 2012
Total running time: 2:36:37