51 Shades of Geek

Stargate SG-1: Music From Selected Episodes

Stargate SG-1: Music From Selected EpisodesIf there’s a property I didn’t expect to resurface in the soundtrack world in the summer of 2017, it’s the Stargate TV franchise. In hindsight, though, I wasn’t paying attention to the clues – Intrada has long championed the musical output of Richard Band, brother of Full Moon Pictures producer Charles Band, and composer-in-residence on Full Moon’s extensive slate of low-to-mid-budget horror movies. And, patterned somewhat after the arrangement that governed music during the entirety of spinoff-era Star Trek, Band alternated on episodes of Stargate SG-1 with Joel Goldsmith for the show’s first two years on the Showtime pay cable channel, with other composers occasionally filling in (including, ironically, Star Trek’s Dennis McCarthy). This 2-CD set from Intrada gather’s Band’s carefully selected highlights from his time with the Stargate franchise.

The episodes for which Band felt he’d done his best work were Cold Lazarus, In The Line Of Duty, In The Serpent’s Lair, and Singularity – oddly enough, all early favorites of mine. Listening to the scores Band composed for these episodes, which feature small orchestral ensembles attempting to fill out and deepen the sound of synthesizers and samples, it’s easy to tell the real musicians from the electronic sounds. With the show opening every week with an adapted version of David Arnold’s theme from the original Stargate movie (for which Arnold had to be paid for every usage), the rest of the music budget – especially before Stargate SG-1 found its legs and popularity with its audience – was tightly constrained. But even when roughly half of what you hear is synthesized, it’s still a fun listen. Military drums, low, urgent brass ostinatos, and actual recurring themes (including quotes of Arnold’s theme) – the music of SG-1 was everything that the music of the show’s Star Trek contemporaries usually wasn’t: propulsive and threatening and dangerous. Stuff was happening in the music rather than it being relegated to background wallpaper. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the nearly-nine-minute solid cue covering the entire final act of In The Serpent’s Lair: literally wall-to-wall music for the show’s climax.

Cold Lazarus, which uncovers a painful incident from Jack O’Neill’s past, is the outlier here, with gentle piano accompanying the unfolding revelation that Jack had lost a child. In The Line Of Duty and Singularity are far more representative of the musical sound of Stargate SG-1 as a whole, with both quiet passages, mysterious music for the team’s discoveries of ancient (or is that Ancient?) mysteries, and gung-ho action music where needed.

3 out of 4I remember, when first seeing that Intrada was releasing a new round of Stargate TV scores, being a bit let down that Joel Goldsmith’s work wasn’t represented. Now I realize this wasn’t a downside: Richard Band was as much a part of SG-1’s sound in those heady formative years of the show – where anything was possible and the Stargate franchise had yet to fall into the trap that befalls many a long-running series, namely slipping its neck into the noose of ever-thickening continuity – as Joel Goldsmith’s sound was. Much like the Star Trek: The Next Generation box sets that finally gave Dennis McCarthy’s work exposure in the wake of a massive all-Ron-Jones soundtrack box set, this SG-1 soundtrack set redresses an imbalance and is worth a listen.

Order this CD

    Disc One
    Cold Lazarus

  1. Teaser (3:42)
  2. Is It Really Jack? (3:53)
  3. Jack At Ex-Wife’s House (3:25)
  4. Jack Visits Charlie’s Room (3:24)
  5. The Crystals (2:14)
  6. The Crystal Monitor (2:18)
  7. Jack And Wife On Park Bench (3:08)
  8. They Re-Activate The Crystal Monitor (2:03)
  9. Pushing Back Through Gate To Hospital (3:53)
  10. Jack Meets Alien Self And Finale (9:10)

    In The Line Of Duty

  11. Teaser (2:50)
  12. Medical Time (3:12)
  13. O’Neill Comforts Cassie (3:05)
  14. O’Neill To Burn Victim (0:38)
  15. Teal’c Gives O’Neill Advice (2:28)
  16. Daniel Talks To Girl Survivor (2:07)
  17. Bad Guy Bandages Doc (2:20)
  18. Daniel Talks To Alien Carter (2:26)
  19. Finale – Daniel And Then Others Visit (10:11)
    Disc Two
    In The Serpent’s Lair

  1. Finale (8:50)


  2. Teaser (3:34)
  3. From Stargate To New World (2:36)
  4. Sam With Girl And Back Through Gate (2:49)
  5. Sam And Little Girl Get Closer (2:58)
  6. Heart Attack And Operation (3:36)
  7. Jack And Teal’c Escaping Battle (4:22)
  8. To The Underground Site (2:35)
  9. Time Is Up And Finale (8:26)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: June 27, 2017
Disc one total running time: 67:01
Disc two total running time: 40:01

Stargate: Continuum – music by Joel Goldsmith

Stargate: ContinuumReleased hot on the heels of the direct-to-DVD movie, Joel Goldsmith’s epic score from Stargate: Continuum is, not unlike the movie it accompanies, even bigger and better than Ark Of Truth. Continuum is a story painted on a broader canvas, and the music follows suit – in places, it’s positively epic stuff, in the tradition of John Williams and, yes, a certain other film composer named Goldsmith.

The score opens with a spacious new rendition of David Arnold’s Stargate theme (hearkening back to the original movie) and then segues into a jaunty, lighthearted piece as the team assembles for their next mission. We’re then treated to the choral dirge heard as the list of Ba’al’s crimes is read prior to his execution; while the choir was heard in the Ark Of Truth soundtrack, it’s used more, and to better effect, here. “The Last Of The System Lords” is the first of several bold action cues that almost feel as much like Star Wars as they do Stargate – it’s big, widescreen music.

Even in its more contemplative moments – such as the very relaxing “Endless Horizons” and “Breaking The Ice” – the music is panoramic. The Arctic Circle footage is lovely, yes, but Goldsmith’s music really helps to sell the setting, especially as a pretty good chunk of that part of the movie is dialogue-free. “Endless Horizons” is a nice accompaniment to that rather bleak travelogue.

4 out of 4With the recent announcement that the faltering spinoff series Stargate Atlantis is moving out of weekly production and into movies like the SG-1 direct-to-DVD adventures, I’m actually somewhat pleased…because maybe Joel Goldsmith will get to make more music like this, and more CDs to go along with it. As a fan of his music for this particular franchise, that suits me just fine.

Order this CD

  1. A Day At SGC (3:41)
  2. The List (1:19)
  3. Murder Of Untold Millions (1:46)
  4. The Achilles Commandeered (1:21)
  5. The Last Of The System Lords (6:29)
  6. For The Good Of Others (0:47)
  7. The Sinking Of The Achilles (0:44)
  8. Endless Horizons (2:06)
  9. Breaking The Ice (2:11)
  10. New Identities (2:27)
  11. Ba’al Divided (0:54)
  12. Bring A God To Tears (1:20)
  13. Daniel’s Book (1:31)
  14. Al’Kesh Invasion (0:54)
  15. Photograph (0:50)
  16. Apophis (3:43)
  17. The Armada (1:24)
  18. Quetesh Takes Over (3:07)
  19. Battle Over The Ocean (2:19)
  20. The Machine (1:51)
  21. Fall Of The Heroes (2:35)
  22. End Of The Reign (2:25)
  23. The Extraction (2:06)
  24. O’Neill Buys Lunch / End Title (4:46)

Released by: Free Clyde Music
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 52:36

Stargate: Ark Of Truth – music by Joel Goldsmith

Stargate: Ark Of TruthThe Stargate television franchise has used a full orchestra on precisely two occasion: the 1997 pilot episode of SG-1. and the 2004 pilot movie of Stargate Atlantis. Everything that has come since has been the product of synthesizers, and in the early years of Stargate SG-1 there was even quite a diverse mix of composers whose work – dating back to the first season – was mixed-and-matched as needed, like the original Star Trek’s library approach to its music. So it’s quite a shock to the system to suddenly return to a real orchestra and a real choir with Ark Of Truth, the first of two post-cancellation direct-to-DVD movie projects for the cast and crew of SG-1.

Resident Stargate maestro Joel Goldsmith is naturally at the helm here, and as usual, he has no trouble switching from synthesized/sampled orchestral music to the real deal. The soundtrack opens with a restatement of the Stargate theme we’ve heard for years – itself adapted from David Arnold’s music from the 1994 movie – but with a different emphasis and tempo than the SG-1 main titles, letting us know immediately that things are a little bit different. (I could stop here and point out that, despite the grandiosity of the music, things aren’t that different and Ark feel like two episodes jammed together that, give or take the large scale of a couple of its setpieces, could’ve easily been done on TV, but maybe I’d better just stick to the music.)

Themes are quickly established for the multiple angles of attack of the story: the Tomin/Vala angle gets its own motif, the SG-1 team gets its own noble sound, and the Ori get to sound like big, dark trouble, which is somehow appropriate. Later in the proceedings some ominous rumbling kicks in, which then turns into something more percussive for the somewhat surprising return of the Replicators. There are also themes for the Ancients and – to a certain extent – the Ark itself . However conceptually modest Ark‘s story may have been, the music is Widescreen with a capital W. It’s the same guy writing and arranging the music, but it probably doesn’t need to be said that Goldsmith goes to town with the opportunity to have real players, real instruments and real voices playing his material. To say that there’s a generous quantity of music here is an understatement – you get pretty much the entire score here, an hour of big orchestral/choral music for a direct-to-DVD movie with a running time of under two hours.

For a tiny label release, Ark Of Truth gets relatively lavish packaging too, with a booklet that extensively discusses the movie’s genesis, the team who produced it, and the long-standing relationship between the producers and Goldsmith, all lavishly illustrated. This material might not be here making for such a thick booklet, except that this was obviously a release catered to the fanbase of the show. 100 copies were autographed for those who ordered early from Goldsmith’s website, a window of opportunity which seemed to vanish like a closing wormhole, but faster.

Ark Of Truth has some great music, with something interesting always afoot even if it’s not thundering along on the musical equivalent of a war footing. One has to appreciate Joel Goldsmith taking the chance to not do this as a “composer promo,” which usually sees the studio quietly grumbling and looking the other way as a composer quietly releases a CD which serves as a resume piece (and, in more recent years, usually earns back its own production costs as it slips out into the hands of diehard fans). Instead, Goldsmith went to MGM and licensed it for a full release through his own label, with studio-4 out of 4sanctioned artwork and all – basically, putting whatever money he’d made from doing the music back into the studio’s coffers and taking a gamble that he’d make it back by putting the CD on the market. Hopefully – despite this being the age of Downloading Absolutely Everything Whether You’re Supposed To Or Not – the loyal fans make sure that gamble pays off, because I’m much more interested in the second SG-1 DVD movie, Continuum, and I’m eager to hear its soundtrack as well.

Order this CD

  1. The Decision (Main Title) (3:53)
  2. Dakara Discovery (2:06)
  3. Tomin (3:06)
  4. The Wrong Ark (3:36)
  5. My Notebook (1:55)
  6. Our Mission Begins (1:25)
  7. The Supergate (2:19)
  8. Meeting The Resistance (2:25)
  9. Sabotage (2:19)
  10. Replicator! (2:05)
  11. Merlin (2:07)
  12. Ori Fleet (3:39)
  13. The Doci (1:57)
  14. Journey To Celestis (2:09)
  15. The Battle Begins (2:34)
  16. Maternal Moment (2:20)
  17. The Healing (1:24)
  18. Morgan Le Fay (3:45)
  19. Marrick’s Demise (3:05)
  20. The Ark Of Truth (6:04)
  21. See The Light (0:54)
  22. Carter’s Cookies (2:19)
  23. A New Adventure (0:47)

Released by: Free Clyde Music
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 58:13