KrullAnnounced just prior to (and available at) the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, this long-overdue remastered (and, this time, officially-licensed and above-board) edition of the Krull soundtrack is practically custom-made for Comic Con – it’s such an obscure, cult-following niche item that only a Comic Con attendee or Krull‘s own mother could love it.

As hard as I ride the familiar horse that virtually everything James Horner composed in the 80s had the DNA of his score for Star Trek II in it, Krull at last pushes the familiar chords and progressions into a more fantastical, sword-and-sorcery realm. The movie itself was one of numerous cinematic attempts to marry SF and swashbuckling fantasy in the wake of Star Wars, though Krull made the mashup more literal than most, with more traditional feudal elements jostling for screen time with sci-fi concepts. Despite a merchandising blitz, it wound up with a cult audience and little more.

And up until La-La Land’s nicely cleaned-up 2010 two-disc soundtrack release, that cult audience had to make do with the (now insanely rare and expensive) pressing of the Krull score from the defunct Supertracks label. Supertracks was a ’90s outfit, also known for having turned out the only CD release of the music from the Paul McGann Doctor Who movie, that operated on a slightly shady basis: composers needed promotional copies of their work could get them pressed by Supertracks, but in exchange, they would quietly look the other way while Supertracks also sold copies of the same albums to soundtrack collectors. Though frequently sporting fine cover artwork and booklets, Supertracks’ releases were seldom, if ever, officially licensed. Supertracks suddenly disappeared early in the 2000s, and one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to connect the dots. Krull – and everything else produced by Supertracks – went out of print overnight and became collectors’ items.

La-La Land snatched up the rights to an official Krull soundtrack, fortuitously timed to both Comic Con and the DVD and Blu Ray release of Krull. The track list is largely the same as the Supertracks edition, but it sounds much better – the 4 out of 4difference in sonic quality is considerable. There’s also a specially-edited “Theme From Krull” suite assembled by the album producers from portions of the opening and credits.

Though this edition is also, as far as the label is concerned, sold out of its edition of 3000 copies, but let’s look on the sunny side: there are 3,000 fresh copies out there with better sound quality than the old release that was all but a bootleg. Krull‘s worth revisiting, and this time you just might be able to afford it.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title And Colwyn’s Arrival (7:34)
  2. The Slayers Attack (9:18)
  3. Quest For The Glaive (7:23)
  4. Ride To The Waterfall (0:53)
  5. Lyssa In The Fortress (1:28)
  6. The Walk To The Seer’s Cave (4:10)
  7. The Seer’s Vision (2:18)
  8. The Battle In The Swamp (2:39)
  9. Quicksand (3:38)
  10. The Changeling (4:04)
  11. Leaving The Swamp (1:58)
    Disc Two

  1. Vella (3:46)
  2. The Widow’s Web (6:18)
  3. The Widow’s Lullaby (5:01)
  4. Ynyr’s Death (1:41)
  5. Ride Of The Firemares (5:22)
  6. Battle On The Parapets (2:53)
  7. Inside The Black Fortress (6:13)
  8. The Death Of The Beast And The Destruction Of The Black Fortress (8:31)
  9. Epilogue And End Title (4:52)
  10. Colwyn And Lyssa Love Theme (2:35)
  11. The Walk To The Seer’s Cave – album edit (2:16)
  12. Theme From Krull (4:48)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2010
Disc one total running time: 45:23
Disc two total running time: 54:16

The Complete Sounds Of Katamari

The Complete Sounds Of KatamariThe final release in a trilogy of soundtracks accompanying the trilogy of Katamari games (Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari and the PSP title Me And My Katamari), The Complete Sounds Of Katamari is an unusual combination of material, ranging from the music of Me & My Katamari to previously unreleased tracks from We Love Katamari to tunes from other Namco video games with no Katamari connection at all. But as with the previous two soundtracks in the series, Complete Sounds has enough gems of pure musical cheerfulness to offer that it’s easy to overlook any lack of cohesiveness.

As one might expect, the first disc – featuring only music from the Katamari games – has moments of pure gold, as well as moments that really work better as in-game music than stand-alone listening material. “Shine! Mr. Sunshine” is a highlight of the tracks from Me & My Katamari, with a soulful, southern gospel feel that’s almost unexpected after its opening, which is a short, NES-style rendition of the Katamari theme. That theme is reinterpreted and experimented with endlessly, in such tracks as “Katamari On The Moog” and “Katamari On The Funk” (to name just two of the better tracks). From track 10 onward, the first disc presents music from We Love Katamari that didn’t make it onto that game’s soundtrack CD; a favorite among these is the quirky “One Tip March.”

Disc two’s tracks are more symphonic in nature, and hail from such games as Splatterhouse and Tales Of Eternia Online – an interesting mix to be sure. There are also a few tracks of ambient Rating: 3 out of 4outdoor sound effects. It’s almost like a Namco “best of” collection, but given how expensive this 2-CD set can be (depending on where one gets it), one wonders why Namco didn’t just divide this package into two separate releases and save some of us who are really after more Katamari music the money.

It’s all a nice package of music, but certainly a strange collision of styles and sources.

    Order this CD in the StoreDisc One

  1. Overture III (2:35)
  2. Katamari On The Funk (10:22)
  3. Katamaresort (3:04)
  4. Shabadoobie (3:01)
  5. Jesus Island (4:47)
  6. Family Damacy (4:41)
  7. Katamari On The Moog (0:32)
  8. Shine! Mr. Sunshine (5:36)
  9. Katamarhythm Box (1:41)
  10. Dan Don Fuga (2:14)
  11. Tron The Grasslands (4:27)
  12. One Tip March (2:43)
  13. Do Re Mi Katamari Do (3:13)
  14. Starlight Jamboree (2:56)
  15. Everyone Dancing Katamari Damacy (1:00)
  16. Love & Peace & Katamari Damacy (0:43)
  17. Big Cosmos Salon (3:03)
    Disc Two

  1. In A Muddle (7:05)
  2. Kanewood Edge – Morning (0:40)
  3. None But the Lonely Heart (Op. 6-6) (2:51)
  4. Presto Scherzando (1:35)
  5. Appassionate, Allegro Moderato (2:15)
  6. Super Taiko Damacy (0:59)
  7. None But the Lonely Heart (Op. 6-6) (2:58)
  8. Super Taiko Damacy (Refrain) (0:26)
  9. Sadness (1:42)
  10. Stizzoso (1:08)
  11. Kanewood Edge – Day (0:33)
  12. Con Energico (5:49)
  13. Sento Nel Core (Arrange Version from Splatterhouse (4:24)
  14. Kuttsuki Taro (2:43)
  15. Misterioso (3:03)
  16. Chaotic Ambience (0:54)
  17. Andante, Con Moto, Grandioso (1:41)
  18. Big Fire (1:55)
  19. Night Moo Moo (0:41)
  20. Kanewood Edge – Star (9:55)

Released by: Columbia Japan
Release date: 2005
Disc one total running time: 56:38
Disc two total running time: 53:17

Krull – music by James Horner

Krull soundtrackKrull! If that word conjures up images of Kevin Sorbo and swords and sorcery…well, you’re in the wrong place. That was Kull The Conqueror. Krull was a big-budget 1983 popcorn flick featuring Kenneth Marshall and swords and sorcery, and it was practically designed to be the next Star Wars. Needless to say…it wasn’t. While it brought the concept of throwing stars to the attention of a great many youngsters (myself included), Krull wasn’t a box office smash. And much as I hate to say it, perhaps its soundtrack has something to do with that.

I’ll admit, however, that what is stated above is my opinion alone, and it’s not one shared by soundtrack collectors or film music fans for the most part. James Horner’s Krull soundtrack is revered, and this 2-CD version released in the 1990s by the now-defunct internet soundtrack specialty shop is considered particularly desirable on the collectors’ circuit. But when I listen to it, what hits my ears sounds like the music from Star Trek II, cut-and-pasted around a bit so it doesn’t sound exactly the same. Even the arrangements and the balance of instruments used is nearly identical. I do like the heraldic blasts of brass the punctuate the more heroic moments of the music, but so much of the bulk of Krull‘s music is borrowed from The Wrath Of Khan that it’s not funny – I already paid for this same music once. (See also: Horner’s music from Aliens.)

3 out of 4To be fair, though, I will give Horner some praise for his attempts to differentiate Krull from his previous work. There’s a cuttingly siren-like descending synth note in the attack scenes involving the Black Fortress minions that, while it’s a bit dated now, does indeed jump right out, grab you by the neck and telegraphs “bad news!” straight into your ears. “Ride Of The Firemares”, even with its own borrowed passages, is simply one of the best things Horner’s ever put in front of an orchestra.These new developments to what seems like very familiar material are interesting…but I’d be more inclined to adjust my thinking of Horner from unoriginality to an artist who keeps revisiting a theme until he’s perfected it if I hadn’t had to pay good money to hear every “work in progress” stage of that theme.

Order this CDDisc One:

  1. Main Title & Colwyn’s Arrival (7:34)
  2. The Slayers Attack (9:20)
  3. Quest For The Glaive (7:23)
  4. Ride To The Waterfall (0:54)
  5. Lyssa In The Fortress (1:29)
  6. The Walk To The Seer’s Cave (4:10)
  7. The Seer’s Vision (2:19)
  8. Battle In The Swamp (2:40)
  9. Quicksand (3:39)
  10. The Changeling (4:04)
  11. Colwyn and Lyssa (Love Theme) (2:38)

Disc Two:

  1. Leaving The Swamp (2:00)
  2. The Widow’s Web (6:19)
  3. The Widow’s Lullaby (5:02)
  4. Vella (3:47)
  5. Ynyr’s Death (1:42)
  6. Ride Of The Firemares (5:23)
  7. Battle Of The Parapets (2:53)
  8. Inside The Black Fortress (6:15)
  9. The Death Of The Beast and The Destruction of the Dark Fortress (8:32)
  10. Epilogue & End Title (4:50)

Released by: Super Collector / Supertracks
Release date: 1998
Disc one total running time: 46:10
Disc two total running time: 46:43