L’uomo Puma (The Pumaman) – music by Renato Serio

The PumamanKnown to the English-speaking world as the infamously cheesy, MST3K-mocked movie Puma Man, L’uomo Puma boasts a score that, heard in isolation, outclasses its accompanying movie in nearly every inportant way. Well, for the most part.

Let’s quantify the outclassing being done by the score here: this isn’t “the first Star Trek movie was okay, but Jerry Goldsmith’s groundbreaking score made it even better” territory. Instead, the orchestral portions of L’uomo Puma‘s score class up the adventures of Tony (the hapless nerd who receives “the powers of a puma”) and Vadinho just enough to give the perhaps mistaken impression that money was spent on the movie as a whole (spoiler: it really wasn’t).

This long, long overdue CD release – this score’s first release on any format – was issued by Italy’s Beat Records in late 2017 in a ridiculously small pressing of 500 units, and to be quite honest, its track titles are opaque and unhelpful at best, managing to completely obscure where that track falls in the movie unless you’re a Puma Man scholar who has memorized the movie (a status which your reviewer is slightly embarrassed to admit he may be approaching).

There are three primary themes in the Puma Man score: a noble-but-mysterious theme for the alien visitors who conferred “the powers of a puma” upon a selected member of the human race, an ominously menacing theme for the machinations of the character played by Donald Pleasence (whose sole instruction from the movie’s director must have been “that’s nice, but can you do it more like Blofeld?”), and of course, the goofily late-’70s-supermarket-commercial-jingle feel of Puma Man’s theme.

The former two categories of music are where the most praise is deserved; they’re nicely composed, marvelously played, and well-engineered. The hollow echo treatment on the cellos lend them more menace than usual. Composer Renato Serio, known primarily to Italian audiences, wasn’t fooling around here; this music outclasses the movie it’s in easily.

If you’re even slightly enamoured of late ’70s scoring that tries to force an orchestra to play to a disco beat, then you’ll be a sucker for the Puma Man theme, a cheery recurring theme that seems oblivious to 3 out of 4the fact that its hero seems to have stumbled upon his superpowers and doesn’t really know how to use them. There’s something hilariously compelling about it – you’ll find yourself humming or whistling it for days afterward.

Earlier, the small pressing of 500 copies of L’uomo Puma was described as ridiculously small; maybe it is. Or maybe it’s just right, given how far underground this movie’s cult following must be. But for those who enjoy this slab of finest Italian-made cheese, it’s almost certain to earn a place of honor on the soundtrack shelf.

Order this CD

  1. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 1 (2:14)
  2. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 2 (2:13)
  3. Puma Man #1 (2:03)
  4. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 3 (2:38)
  5. Puma Man #2 (2:07)
  6. Puma Man #3 (3:13)
  7. Puma Man #4 (1:43)
  8. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 4 (2:04)
  9. Puma Man #5 (2:26)
  10. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 5 (2:36)
  11. Puma Man #6 (2:28)
  12. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 6 (2:07)
  13. Puma Man #7 (2:26)
  14. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 7 (2:40)
  15. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 8 (2:24)
  16. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 9 (1:42)
  17. Puma Man #8 (1:57)
  18. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 10 (2:15)
  19. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 11 (2:22)
  20. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 12 (2:14)
  21. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 13 (1:35)
  22. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 14 (2:03)
  23. Puma Man #9 (2:38)
  24. Puma Man #10 (1:49)
  25. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 15 (2:46)
  26. Puma Man #11 (2:13)
  27. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 16 (2:08)
  28. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 17 (2:38)
  29. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 18 (1:54)
  30. L’Uomo Puma – Seq. 19 (2:04)
  31. Puma Man #12 (3:14)
  32. Puma Man #13 (2:45)

Released by: Beat Records
Release date: October 20, 2017
Total running time: 75:12

Luke Cage – music by Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad

Luke CageThere’s the Marvel cinematic universe, the Marvel TV universe, and then there’s the unexpected delight that has been the Marvel Netflix universe. Okay, technically they’re all happening at the same time in the same universe, but Netflix’s Marvel shows have been a feast for those expecting their comic book heroes to be a little bit more grown up without being awash in the grimdark that drowns out most of DC’s live-action superhero films of late. Marvel’s willingness to foreground characters often thought of as second- or third-tier fare is also fun: while the Avengers are getting billion-dollar movies, these other tentacles of Marvel’s universe show us the street-level fight for justice.

And it doesn’t get much more street-level than Luke Cage. Netflix’s unexpectedly popular series was scored by Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest) and producer/composer Adrian Younge. The resulting combination of their score and a few contributions from other artists was quite possibly the most addictive, compulsive-repeat-listening soundtrack album of 2016. The combination of hip-hop groove, ’70s funk, and lush orchestration is infectious. Hitting “play all” again after the last track is pretty easy.

The songs peppering the soundtrack are perfect, from the quintet of tunes at the beginning of the album to “Bulletproof Love”, which drops a razor-sharp Method Man rap perfectly describing the show as a whole over that symphonic beat brew. Somewhat oddly, the show’s slinky main theme is buried halfway through the album, 4 out of 4but it’s not out of place there – the composers had a vision for the sequencing of the album, and it works just fine.

Even if you didn’t watch the show (and why not?), give Luke Cage’s soundtrack album a spin. It’s a rewarding listen the first time and the fiftieth time.

Order this CD

  1. Good Man – Raphael Saadiq (3:45)
  2. Mesmerized – Faith Evans (4:07)
  3. Ain’t It a Sin – Charles Bradley (3:50)
  4. Stop And Look (And You Have Found Love)
  5. – Adrian Younge and The Delfonics (2:46)

  6. 100 Days, 100 Nights – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (3:43)
  7. Diamondback Arrives (2:52)
  8. Final Battle – Part 1 (1:44)
  9. In the Wind (2:22)
  10. Diamondback’s Trap (1:42)
  11. Blue Fusion (2:41)
  12. Final Battle – Part 2 (2:14)
  13. I’m Luke Cage (1:17)
  14. Street Cleaning (1:38)
  15. The Ambush (2:05)
  16. End Theme (1:41)
  17. Coffee at Midnight (1:31)
  18. Red-Handedly Blameless (2:57)
  19. Always Forward Pops (1:19)
  20. Unveil the Bride (1:46)
  21. Shameek’s Death (2:19)
  22. The Plan (1:48)
  23. Requiem for Phife (3:43)
  24. We Had Coffee (0:55)
  25. Pops Is Gone (2:48)
  26. Theme (1:09)
  27. Greed Becomes Me (0:35)
  28. Bulletproof Love featuring Method Man (2:12)
  29. Microphone Check Five’O (0:56)
  30. Luke’s Freedom (4:52)
  31. Uptown Claire (0:43)
  32. Shades Beware (0:44)
  33. Misty Resolute (1:28)
  34. Fresh Air (1:24)
  35. Kinda Strong (0:37)
  36. Big Man Little Jacket (1:06)
  37. Scarfe’s Dying (2:17)
  38. Claire’s Wisdom (1:13)
  39. Gun Threat (2:40)
  40. Bad Love (1:16)
  41. Finding Chico (1:22)
  42. I Am Carl Lucas (1:04)
  43. Crispus Attucks (0:47)
  44. Hideout (2:22)
  45. Cuban Coffee (0:44)
  46. Like a Brother (1:24)
  47. Cottonmouth’s Clamp (1:38)
  48. Survival (1:01)
  49. Cottonmouth Theme (0:19)
  50. Luke Cops (1:12)
  51. Crushin’ On Reva (1:07)
  52. Beloved Reva (1:24)

Released by: Hollywood Records
Release date: Octover 7, 2016
Total running time: 1:20:47

Ladyhawke (newly expanded edition)

Ladyhawke (newly expanded edition)Either an awkward or awesome fit for its movie, depending upon whom one asks, 1984’s Ladyhawke veered away from the usual (indeed, almost stereotypical) Korngold-inspired heraldry expected of swords-and-sorcery films and, courtesy of composer Andrew Powell and his producer/collaborator Alan Parsons (of Alan Parsons Project fame), dared to score a period piece with synthesizers and rock music.

The result is practically a lost Project album in style and execution, and not a bad one at that. La-La Land Records expands the Ladyhawke score (last issued in the 1990s by GNP Crescendo) to two discs, including every note of the score, plus goodies such as demos, unused cues, and bite-sized edits of the movie’s music intended for radio advertising. If you already like the score, this release will delight you: there’s more where it came from, including fascinating alternate cues. If you didn’t like the score to begin with, steer clear: nothing here is likely to change your mind about it unless you’re prepared to go in with an open mind and open ears.

3 out of 4The packaging is a huge improvement on the almost-generic presentation of the 1990s release, with liner notes including interviews with Powell, Parsons, and director Richard Donner. This 2-CD set balances out the synth-heavy Crescendo single CD release by revealing that Powell prepared as much “traditional” material as he did anachronistic material; it’s still a fun listen.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title (03:02)
  2. Phillipe’s Escape From Dungeon (01:51)
  3. Phillipe’s Escape Through Sewer (01:43)
  4. The Search For Philippe (03:27)
  5. Navarre At Sunset (00:22)
  6. Tavern Fight (Philippe)
  7. (02:10)

  8. Tavern Fight (Navarre)
  9. (02:43)

  10. Navarre’s Saddlebag (00:37)
  11. Navarre Dreams Of Isabeau (00:56)
  12. Pitou’s Woods (04:07)
  13. Marquet’s Return To Aquila Part 1 (01:01)
  14. Philippe Describes Isabeau (01:14)
  15. Marquet’s Return To Aqula Part 2 (01:17)
  16. Bishop’s Garden (00:45)
  17. Navarre Has Returned (00:27)
  18. Monk’s Chant In Bishop’s Garden (01:58)
  19. Isabeau Chases A Rabbit (00:25)
  20. Navarre’s Sunset / Philippe’s Capture (00:36)
  21. Navarre Is Ambushed / Hawk Injured (04:55)
  22. Philippe And Imperius Enter Abbey (01:18)
  23. Philippe Discovers Isabeau’s Secret (01:28)
  24. Imperius Removes Arrow From Isabeau (01:37)
  25. The Bishop Interviews Cezar (01:33)
  26. “You Must Save This Hawk” (01:07)
  27. Chase Up The Turret / Isabeau’s Fall Part 2 (02:49)
  28. Isabeau’s Transformation (00:39)
  29. Isabeau Flies Free (01:14)
  30. Navarre And Imperius (00:42)
  31. Navarre And Philippe Leave The Abbey (01:45)
  32. Wedding Party (01:45)
  33. Navarre’s Transformation (00:44)
  34. Wedding Dance (02:38)
  35. Cezar’s Woods (05:32)
  36. “She Was Sad At First” (02:09)
  37. Navarre Rides To Aquila (01:40)
  38. Philippe And Imperius (00:28)
  39. Wolf Trapped In Ice Pool (02:38)
  40. Navarre And Isabeau’s Dual Transformation (03:24)
    Disc Two

  1. Navarre Sees Phillipe’s Wounds (00:44)
  2. Return to Aquila (02:44)
  3. Phillipe’s Return Through Sewer (01:03)
  4. Bishop’s Procession Chant 1 (01:32)
  5. Bishop’s Procession Chant 2 (01:48)
  6. The Service Begins (Part 1) (00:50)
  7. Navarre’s Instruction to Kill Isabeau (00:50)
  8. The Service Begins (Part 2) (00:40)
  9. Navarre Enters the Cathedral (01:36)
  10. Navarre and Marquet Cathedral Fight (04:27)
  11. Marquet’s Death (02:02)
  12. Isabeau Appears (00:50)
  13. Bishop’s Death (02:30)
  14. The Final Reunion / End Titles (06:07)
  15. Chase Up the Turret / Isabeau’s Fall Part 1 (00:53)
  16. Chase / Fall / Transformation (02:10)
  17. Phillipe Discovers Isabeau’s Secret (01:44)
  18. Imperius Removes Arrow From Isabeau (01:33)
  19. Navarre and Phillipe Leave the Abbey (01:45)
  20. Navarre’s Transformation (00:46)
  21. Wolf Trapped in Ice Pool (02:36)
  22. Phillipe’s Jewel (00:51)
  23. Ent Titles (05:00)
  24. Spot 01 Radio Bed A – 30′ (00:35)
  25. Spot 02 Radio Bed A – 30′ (00:35)
  26. Spot 03 Radio Bed B – 30′ (01:05)
  27. Spot 04 Radio Bed C – 30′ (00:56)
  28. Spot 05 Radio Bed A – 60′ (01:03)
  29. Spot 06 Radio Bed B – 60′ (01:09)
  30. Spot 07 Radio Bed C – 75′ (01:16)
  31. Spot 08 Radio Bed A – 90′ (01:31)
  32. Spot 10 Radio Bed B – 90′ (01:38)
  33. Spot 09 Radio Bed A – Full (03:32)
  34. Ladyhawke Theme (Single) (03:37)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: February 10, 2015
Disc One total running time: 1:08:23
Disc One total running time: 1:01:38

The Lone Gunmen / Harsh Realm – music by Mark Snow

The Lone Gunmen / Harsh RealmLook up “SF television scoring of the past 20 years” and you might as well look up Mark Snow, who first brought himself to genre audiences’ attention as the sole musical maestro of every episode of The X-Files. What’s more, during much of the ’90s, he was concurrently working on several other Fox genre shows, also created by The X-Files’ Chris Carter, and more often than not those shows were X-Files spin-offs. This doesn’t even count other genre fare (i.e. UPN’s Nowhere Man). These days, Snow is ensconsed in his own musical fortress of solitude, scoring teen-Superman kinda-sorta-prequel Smallville, but he’s also handed the keys to that fortress to La-La Land Records, who has a number of Snow titles available now or coming soon.

The label has already issued a 2-CD set of Snow’s music from the first X-Files spinoff, the moderately-successful mid-’90s show Millennium, but this CD focuses on the less prominent X-Files offspring, the short-live Lone Gunmen, and another brief Chris Carter creation, the stylized “dystopian future” of Harsh Realm (which wasn’t connected to the X-Files). As different as these two shows sounded, they’re a good fit for sharing a soundtrack CD, as both are fairly atypical of Snow’s usual pad-heavy, atmospheric sound from The X-Files.

The music from The Lone Gunmen takes its cues from its characters, the less-than-deadly-serious trio of conspiracy theorists who aided and abetted FBI Agent Fox Mulder in several X-Files episodes. Now on their own, the Lone Gunmen tried to peel back the layers of other conspiracies with their unique talents, while having to deal with the fact that while they’re perfectly competent “back room guys,” they’re ill-equipped to be action heroes on their own. The show’s theme spoofs the echoing bass guitar of the James Bond franchise after kicking off with a tribute to Hendrix’ electric guitar rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, while the score cues themselves rely heavily on pizzicato string samples, further use of the bass guitar, and piano.

Harsh Realm veers closer to X-Files territory with its more introspective piano/synth material, but it doesn’t exactly lull anyone to sleep. One track in particular, “The Challenge”, is a marvel of pounding industrial percussion samples that could’ve been recorded yesterday.

4 out of 4Standouts from the album include the Lone Gunmen cuts “G.I. Jimmy,” “Elmers” (almost Carl Stalling-esque in places) and “Tailing” (with its surprising minor-key reprise of “The Star-Spangled Banner”), while the Harsh Realm highlights include the unease-inducing “Jump Back”, and “The Challenge”, which almost sounds like a ’90s prototype for the Torchwood theme.

Order this CD

    The Lone Gunmen

  1. The Lone Gunmen Main Title (0:45)
  2. Empty (0:23)
  3. Motiv-8 (1:37)
  4. Just What We Needed (2:42)
  5. Lost Causes (1:05)
  6. Rectal Palpation (1:44)
  7. G.I
  8. Jimmy (2:14)
  9. The Vaults (2:30)
  10. Lost Puppy / Confession (3:30)
  11. Elmer’s (2:28)
  12. Sawsall (5:13)
  13. El Palacio (1:56)
  14. El Lobo (1:37)
  15. Sling Blade (2:23)
  16. Wool / Poly Blend (1:40)
  17. Tailing (3:44)
  18. Memories Of Youth (1:12)
  19. The Lone Gunmen Theme – Alternate (0:49)

    Harsh Realm

  20. Harsh Realm Main Title (0:46)
  21. Overlooking Tradition (1:28)
  22. The Wound (2:35)
  23. Love Letter (2:26)
  24. Virtual Vista (1:00)
  25. Chain Gang (1:45)
  26. Jump Back (5:33)
  27. Harsh Realm Main Title – Long (3:22)
  28. The Challenge (1:57)
  29. Thirsty (2:40)
  30. Trickster (3:47)
  31. Two On A Switch (2:33)
  32. Roadblock (3:50)
  33. The Conspirators (1:22)
  34. Harsh Realm Main Title – Full (3:45)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2010
Total running time: 77:27

Lost: Season 4 – music by Michael Giacchino

Lost Season 4 - music by Michael GiacchinoThank goodness Lost found its way. After an occasionally painful-to-watch third season that filled us in on the backstory of the Others and the Dharma Initiative (not always the same entity, coincidentally), the decision was made by the show’s own producers and writers to shorten the three remaining seasons to something only slightly longer than a UK television season, setting a finite end point in the process. And yet somehow, with that limitation set, the show’s storytelling has become anything but finite, as it messes around with time and space with reckless abandon. The fourth season was an eye-opener that made good use of the renewed focus that was made necessary by the shorter season length; the fifth season then proceeded to be a jaw-dropper.

This CD of music from the fourth season of Lost also benefits from the show’s sharper focus, collecting the absolute cream of the musical crop from the fourth year. Many themes from prior seasons are rehashed and expanded upon, but for the most part, the fourth season’s soundtrack doesn’t feel like a musical flashback to something we’ve already heard. The early tracks seem to have a more intimate feel, a bit less epic, as the show’s core characters – ostensibly the only six survivors of the Oceanic 815 crash so far as the general public knows – work out their own internal dilemmas. Even these cues tend to take a right turn into melancholy or menace, as the fourth season’s early episodes developed a knack for revealing that the survivors’ apparently triumphant return wasn’t as it seemed.

4 out of 4There are moments of uncharacteristic-for-Lost whimsy (“Maternity Hell”), deceptive calm (“The Constant”), and flat-out mayhem (“Keamy Away From Him”). Many of the tracks clock in at a pleasing length – actually, a few of them at surprising lengths for television scoring. The disc is chock full – and yet never quite achieves the slightly top-heavy feeling that I got from the two-disc season 3 soundtrack (even though it was marvelous to have the complete score from Through The Looking Glass in that collection). This is a good specimen of a compilation soundtrack with just the right cues, and at just the right length.

Order this CD

  1. Giving Up The Ghost (2:40)
  2. Locke’ing Horns (1:51)
  3. Lost Away – Or Is It? (1:41)
  4. Backgammon Gambit (1:17)
  5. Time And Time Again (2:43)
  6. The Constant (3:52)
  7. Maternity Hell (2:31)
  8. Karma Jin-itiative (1:24)
  9. Ji Yeon (3:07)
  10. Michael’s Right To Remain Wrong (1:55)
  11. Bodies And Bungalows (1:25)
  12. Benundrum (3:24)
  13. Hostile Negotiations (2:19)
  14. Locke-About (6:04)
  15. There’s No Place Like Home (2:35)
  16. Nadia On Your Life (1:41)
  17. C4-titude (1:59)
  18. Of Mice And Ben (2:19)
  19. Keamy Away From Him (4:58)
  20. Timecrunch (2:06)
  21. Can’t Kill Keamy (1:48)
  22. Bobbing For Freighters (5:20)
  23. Locke Of The Island (7:07)
  24. Lying For The Island (4:52)
  25. Landing Party (3:22)
  26. Hoffs-Drawlar (3:58)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 78:18

Lost Season 2 – music by Michael Giacchino

Lost Season 2 soundtrackAs with the TV series it accompanied, the music of Lost really ramps up the stakes in season two. Where it’s scary, it’s much more boisterous and scary than season 1, and where it’s mysterious, it’s much more mysterious. There are quieter moments too, including the piano piece from what still stands as my favorite episode to date, Everybody Hates Hugo.

Definite themes emerge as the chronologically-ordered selection of music unfolds (if indeed any show that has flashbacks every week can be described as chronological), including a theme for the Dharma station hatch, which may also be shared by Desmond. This first appears in “Peace Through Superior Firepower,” the scene which introduced us to Desmond, and later appears in a couple of other tracks, including the moment in last season’s finale when Desmond realized that he brought down Oceanic 815 in the first place.

Michael Giacchino’s instrumentation is more densely layered here, generally lending the whole thing a “bigger” sound. (Like Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary, Giacchino is classy enough to list every session player who participated in the Lost sessions – and lo and behind, many of them are the same musicians. What a great job that must be, playing all that killer music.) Somehow that fits because, obviously, the story is getting bigger too.

One of the most interesting tracks is the show’s end credits. (“Wha…?”, I hear you saying already, “there isn’t music on the end credits because ABC squishes everything and runs previews.”) I’m guessing this is the end credit music for the un-squished credits on the DVDs. It’s interesting, and it defnitely has the same “Lost sound” as the score cues, but it’s almost too upbeat.

Some fans may not be thrilled with how much music is heard from specific episodes; some shows – quite pivotal ones in the Lost mythos, in fact – wind up represented by only one track or don’t appear at all, while others (I’m looking at you, Live Together, Die Alone) seem like most of the music written for them is here. It’s a nice listen from beginning to end, but with shows like this, Galactica and Doctor Who, the track listing seems like it’s bursting to expand beyond the running time of a single CD.

Those looking for songs featured in the show go away empty-handed again; I’m not saying that I don’t like having an entire CD of underscore, but with non-score material like Driveshaft, and prominently heard songs Rating: 4 out of 4like Mama Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind Of Music,” you’d think someone would’ve put together an official “Songs heard on Lost” compilation by now.

It’s a tremendously enjoyable and relentlessly intense listen, and that’s why Lost Season 2 was one of my favorite soundtracks of 2006, hands-down.

    Order this CD in the Store

  1. Main Title (0:17)
  2. Peace Through Superior Firepower (1:26)
  3. The Final Countdown (5:49)
  4. World’s Worst Landscaping (1:18)
  5. Mess It All Up (1:28)
  6. Hurley’s Handouts (4:42)
  7. Just Another Day On The Beach (2:49)
  8. Ana Cries (1:47)
  9. The Tribes Merge (2:05)
  10. The Gathering (4:19)
  11. Shannon’s Funeral (2:12)
  12. All’s Forgiven…Except Charlie (5:19)
  13. Charlie’s Dream (1:50)
  14. Charlie’s Temptation (0:51)
  15. A New Trade (2:40)
  16. Mapquest (0:38)
  17. Claire’s Escape (3:45)
  18. The Last To Know (2:22)
  19. Rose And Bernard (2:40)
  20. Toxic Avenger (0:41)
  21. I Crashed Your Plane, Brotha (1:46)
  22. Eko Blaster (1:44)
  23. The Hunt (3:57)
  24. McGale’s Navy (2:21)
  25. Bon Voyage, Traitor (5:30)
  26. End Title (0:32)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2006
Total running time: 64:48

Logan’s Sanctuary – Brian Reitzell & Roger J. Manning, Jr.

Logan's Sanctuary soundtrackBased on an entirely fictional sequel to the last great pre-Star Wars SF flick of the 70s, Logan’s Run, Logan’s Sanctuary is the equally imaginary musical score, composed by Roger Manning (Jellyfish) and Brian Reitzell (Air) and featuring Jason Falkner as a guest performer. Conceptually, Manning and Reitzell try to create this music as if they were in the 70s.

Musically, your enjoyment of this “soundtrack” from Logan’s Sanctuary (which, by the way, isn’t even trying to be a part of the three-book Logan’s Run cycle written by William F. Nolan) will depend on your tastes in instrumental music. Analog and Moog synthesizers are the order of the day here, all played very much in a 70s style; Falkner contributes appropriately 70s-flavored “wah-chicka” guitar licks to the instrumental track “Metropia”, and plays guitar, bass and sings on the 70s-styled power pop anthem “Search For Tomorrow”. (Unless I’ve completely forgotten what Falkner looks like, he also appears to have been the authentically-costumed “hero” in the CD booklet’s amusing plethora of freshly-shot “movie publicity stills.”) Search is easily the most modern thing on the whole CD, played very much as one of Falkner’s own solo tunes, though Falkner’s own style of writing and performing is so firmly rooted in the 70s aesthetic that this doesn’t put it at odds with the rest of the CD.

Getting back to the liner notes booklet for a moment, the “synopsis” of the movie is knee-slappingly funny (as are the photos of Jason Falkner in full Sandman uniform, dispatching white-hooded villains at futuristic-yet-vaguely-mall-like locales), almost as if we were reading about a Logan’s Run sequel…directed by Ken Russell. This actually enhances the whole experience, as the music on the CD itself isn’t music that’s aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Jerry Goldsmith. It’s music befitting a low-budget 70s cash-in flick. Which, let’s face it, is probably what any cinematic sequel would’ve been, with or without George 4 out of 4Lucas completely rewriting the SF filmmaking book.

Pretty enjoyable stuff, though it’s not going to be up everyone’s alley; fans of 70s power pop or of Jason Falkner might put this one on their list just for “Search For Tomorrow”, however. And the whole “movie that wasn’t” gag is enough to spark one’s imagination (or, at the very least, it worked for Manning and Reitzell).

Order this CD

  1. Islands In The Sky (2:39)
  2. Search For Tomorrow (5:14)
  3. The Game (4:25)
  4. Lara’s Rainbow (5:08)
  5. Metropia (5:56)
  6. Pleasure Dome 12 (4:46)
  7. Ian’s Orbit (6:00)
  8. Escape (3:27)
  9. Endless Tunnels (6:10)
  10. The Silver Garden (5:40)

Released by: Emperor Norton
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 49:25