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)

    Singularity

  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

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Volume 1 – music by Alan Silvestri

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Volume 1When the original Cosmos, hosted by Carl Sagan, premiered in 1980 on PBS, it was tracked with a hand-picked combination drawing from the classical orchestral repertoire and the synth-heavy works of Vangelis. It defined the show beautifully. Doing something even remotely resembling Cosmos in the 21st century, however, has a whole different list of demands. Photorealistic CGI allows actual images from space to be incorporated into beautifully choreographed and detailed simulations of space. It’s movie quality. The music should probably step up and meet that definition of epic as well.

With that in mind, it was no surprise to see veteran Hollywood composer Alan Silvestri selected to bring the new Cosmos to musical life. Silvestri’s score for the film version of Sagan’s Contact was one of the highlights of that movie, and if you understand the musical vocabulary of awe and wonder that his music brought to Contact, you’ll dig this, for that’s the same sensibility he brings to the 2014 series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Four generous albums of music from the series have been available digitally for some time, but this is their first official CD release, and the discs bring previously unreleased material with them (the music from a sequence covering the planet Venus and an alternate version of the deceptively gentle main theme).

The 21st century Cosmos has a sense of awe and wonder worthy of the original, but its more filmic sensibilities get a wide-screen musical treatment that would do any sci-fi movie proud. It’s unapologetically bold and adventurous, and very much the real thing – a real orchestra and choir are embellished, but very seldom overtaken, by electronics. Each episode featured at least one lavishly animated tale of a pioneering scientific mind, and Silvestri deftly navigated the narrow strait between “music from the part of the world that person was from” and “ethnic musical stereotypes”, usually by erring primarily on the side of scoring it like straight-up live-action drama. This volume’s suite of music from the sequence depicting the life of Giordano Bruno is really its emotional center, an island of human drama in an album of what might otherwise be considered “space music”.

4 out of 4But there’s nothing bland here – every moment of music has mystery and drama propelling it, much of it originating from that first episode in which Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us that we’re all starstuff. This soundtrack would be equally at home on the flight deck of Tyson’s “ship of the imagination”, or on the bridge of any movie or TV starship you care to name. Best of all, it accompanies a story much more grounded in reality. Just a beautiful listen, and if the existing downloads are any indication, the later volumes are even better.

Order this CD

  1. Cosmos Main Title (1:38)
  2. “Come With Me” (2:00)
  3. “The Cosmos Is Yours” (6:23)
  4. Virgo Supercluster (4:05)
  5. Multiverse (2:10)
  6. Giordano Bruno (2:39)
  7. Revelation of Immensity (3:57)
  8. The Inquisition (3:35)
  9. The Staggering Immensity of Time (2:11)
  10. Star Stuff (4:12)
  11. Chance Nature of Existence (3:27)
  12. New Years’ Eve (3:49)
  13. “Our Journey Is Just Beginning” (3:04)
  14. Venus (2:50)
  15. Cosmos Main Title – Alternate (1:54)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: June 13, 2017
Total running time: 48:31

Mars – music by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

MarsThe spare, atmospheric sound of National Geographic’s short-run series Mars fits the show’s tone like a glove – the awe and wonder of exploring another world is jettisoned in favor of claustrophobia and worse.

Nick Cave (yes, he of the Bad Seeds) and Warren Ellis can at least claim a coup with the throbbing, foreboding theme song for the show. I’m of the opinion that it’s almost a waste to have Cave score something without singing a few words, and this certainly satisfies that requirement. It may actually be the best thing on the whole album.

The rest of the selections from the Mars score aren’t musically lacking; everything’s nicely produced. But with the show’s dense sound design, almost constant narration or dialogue or documentary sound, and its pace, this is the kind of whole-note synth-pad scoring that has started to seem less in vogue in the 21st century. It can be a bit of a somnolent listen.

And yet you can’t fault the composers for that – they’re responding perfectly to the show’s perhaps-too-bleak tone, which was really my only complaint with the show as a whole. It was all beautifully photographed, the set design and the spacesuits and other hardware were very convincing, and the actors delivered the goods, interspering the fictional story with relevant present-day documentary segments. If you want the music to 3 out of 4reflect something other than the oppressive bleakness portrayed on screen, maybe…put something a little more noble and hopeful and wondrous on screen?

A good listen, but perhaps not all in one sitting. The Mars score is probably just a little too tied into the visuals of the series to be purely a listening experience.

Order this CD

  1. Mars Theme (1:42)
  2. Mars (4:00)
  3. Daedalus (3:00)
  4. Earth (2:11)
  5. Science (2:15)
  6. Voyage (4:52)
  7. Space X (2:42)
  8. Space Station (4:16)
  9. Symphony of the Dead (9:38)
  10. Planetarium (2:43)
  11. Aftermath (4:42)
  12. Towards Daedalus (3:00)
  13. Life on Mars (3:52)

Released by: Milan Records
Release date: December 30, 2016
Total running time: 49:08

Star Trek: The 50th Anniversary Collection

Star Trek: The 50th Anniversary CollectionIn the early ’90s, I was positively obsessed with Star Trek music – every new movie score released, any new television soundtracks that came along, anything was a cause for celebration, because I was in “maximum Trekkie” mode, and there never seemed to be enough of it.

Fast-forward a bit to the 21st century, in an era where we’re starving for the seemingly perpetually-delayed first new Star Trek TV series in a decade…and yet we’re positively drowning in music from the franchise’s glory days. I’ve gone from “not being to get enough Star Trek music” to “how in the hell do I organize this huge glut of music when I rip the latest box set worth of CDs to my hard drive straight out of the mail?”

Not that I’m complaining. The 50th Anniversary Collection from La-La Land Records is a fine buffet line adding to the embarrassment of riches we’ve gotten since 2009, a year during which the first J.J. Abrams movie (and yes, its soundtrack) came along, revitalized Trek as a media juggernaut, and convinced new Paramount music executive Randy Spendlove that maybe, just maybe, he should license some of the gems from the Trek music vaults to these specialty soundtrack labels that are clamoring to release it.

Rather than a laser-like focus on any one series, this four-disc set tries to patch some holes, right some wrongs, and answer some fannish prayers. The first disc consists, mostly, of remastered selections from the original series, piece of music of which better copies have been found since La-La Land’s monumental 2012 box set release of every note of music recorded for classic Trek. There are a few new 1960s gems as well: Wilbur Hatch’s “bumper” music, played over still slides of the Enterprise and the Star Trek logo as the show went to commercial during its broadcast premieres, is something I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. An alternate take of a cue from Star Trek: The Motion Picture also appears, but the big takeaway from disc one is the dialogue-free version of the end credits from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, a track which had previously only appeared on CD with the late Leonard Nimoy’s ethereal narration. Fans have been demanding this since Film Score Monthly released an otherwise complete Star Trek II score on CD in 2009, and at last, here it is.

The second disc, however, contains the box set’s biggest knock-me-over-with-a-feather surprises: virtually the entire music library from the 1973-74 Filmation animated Star Trek series, a segment of the franchise that’s often overlooked for no readily justifiable reason. These selections come courtesy not of a miraculous session tape find (stories have circulated for years about how the original tapes no longer exist), but from the box set’s restoration experts and producers painstakingly editing together all of the cues from the audio of the episodes themselves, meticulously splicing together dialogue-and-FX-free sections of music until they had the entire piece of music reconstructed. Fans have been trying to do this since the days of cassette tapes with moderate success, so to hear an expert reconstruction of this music is nothing short of amazing. (Sharp-eared Filmation fans will also recognize a lot of this music from its later reuse in the live-action series Jason Of Star Command.)

As the animated series’ music consists primarily of fairly short cues, the second disc is rounded out with Dennis McCarthy’s all-synth score from the PC game Star Trek: Borg (previously heard on a private-release CD sold by McCarthy himself) and something that I never would’ve anticipated hearing: new Ron Jones Star Trek music. Let me repeat, for emphasis: new Ron Jones Star Trek music. In 1991, Jones was effectively “let go” by the TNG producers for consistently pushing the bounds of both the show’s creative parameters and its music budget, and aside from scoring a couple of late ’90s computer games, Star Trek has been a thing that’s in Jones’ past…until he composed an original three-part concert suite that, free of having to match the timing or editing of film, simply conveys the spirit of Trek as Jones interpreted it. That music makes its debut as a recorded piece here, tacking a new coda onto Jones’ musical legacy with the franchise.

Discs three and four stay with TNG, offering highlights or nearly-complete scores from such episodes as Coming Of Age, Symbiosis, Contagion, The Bonding, The Hunted, Qpid, Tapestry, Parallels, and even the McCarthy-arranged cutdowns of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme. There’s a nice slice of unreleased tracks from Jay Chattaway’s sophomore TNG effort, Tin Man (a score which, in many ways, he never topped); combined with the tracks released on CD by GNP Crescendo in the 1990s, you now have the entire score from Tin Man. The original synth demos for the Deep Space Nine and Voyager themes are heard for the first time, as well as the premiere of Jay Chattaway’s music from the “Klingon Encounter” ride at the much-missed Star Trek: The Experience attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton. A variety of source music is also made available – Q’s mariachi band from Deja Q, the Brahms string quartet piece from Sarek, and oddball source music from Voyager and Enterprise.

4 out of 4If nothing else on this box set has convinced you what a delightful dive into Trek’s musical deep cuts it is, the last track of the last disc should do it: it’s “Comminique (C)”, the piece of 1988 library techno music that graced TNG’s “next week” trailers in the early 1990s. Were thousands of Trek fans clamoring for this? Probably not, but La-La Land identified and licensed it for this set anyway.

The Star Trek 50th Anniversary Collection probably isn’t for the casual fan of Star Trek soundtracks. It’s for the obsessives, the diehards – the people who are still in “maximum Trekkie” mode and still can’t get enough of it.

Order this CDDisc 1 – Star Trek: The Original Series

  1. Third Season Theme Music – Main Title/End Title (soprano version, stereo) (1:14)
  2. Love Scene (1:15)
  3. Ship in Orbit (Big) (0:40)
  4. Sad and Thoughtful on Captain’s Theme (2:30)
  5. Captain Playoff No. 1 (Heavy) (0:08)
  6. Smooth Neutral Ship Theme (0:41)
  7. Playoff on M.T. Theme (0:23)
  8. Fight on Captain’s Theme (1:50)
  9. Captain Playoff No. 2 (Neutral—Slightly Ominous) (0:12)
  10. Stingers (0:51)
  11. New Sexy Exotic (2:17)
  12. Captain Playoff No. 3 (Sad and Alone) (0:20)
  13. Prime Specimen (“The Cage”) (3:13)
  14. Monster Illusion (“The Cage”) (2:34)
  15. Mr. Spock (“Captain’s Wig” From “The Naked Time”) (3:27)
  16. The Big Go (“The Naked Time”) (2:30)
  17. Mudd’s Perfidy (0:33)
  18. Zap the Cap (1:34)
  19. Zap the Cap take 1 (0:08)
  20. Zap the Cap take 2 (0:06)
  21. Zap the Spaceship (1:28)
  22. Zap the Spaceship (0:34)
  23. Zap the Spaceship (0:08)
  24. Ruk Attacks (1:41)
  25. 2nd Ruth (2:35)
  26. No Mind / Tense Meeting / Tracking the Alien / The Question (2:31)
  27. Survivors (1:42)
  28. Bottled (1:52)
  29. Monster Illusion (2:46)
  30. Monster Illusion (tag) (0:10)
  31. The Kibitzers (0:41)
  32. Vina’s Punishment (1:54)
  33. Vina’s Dance (1:53)
  34. Wrong Think (0:43)
  35. Act 1 Card (0:38)
  36. Crippled Ship (0:55)
  37. Speedy Reader (1:06)
  38. End Title (0:24)
  39. First Goner take 3 (0:48)
  40. First Goner take 4 (0:49)
  41. Dressing Down (0:08)
  42. Monitor Gizzard (0:14)
  43. Monitor Gizzard (0:09)
  44. Lazer Dazer (2:44)
  45. Dodo Girl (0:09)
  46. Drugged (1:23)
  47. Mace Fight (0:59)
  48. Mace Fight (0:18)
  49. Down the Throat (1:13)
  50. Arrows (1:25)
  51. Bumper (broadcast edit) (0:06)
  52. Bumpers (alternates) (0:25)
  53. Paramount Television I.D. (0:05)
  54. Paramount Television I.D. (alternate) (0:04)
  55. Inner Workings (alternate mix) (4:03)
  56. Star Trek II Epilogue / End Title (sans narration) (8:41)

Disc 2 – Star Trek: The Animated Series

  1. Title Theme (1:01)
  2. Captain’s Log (1:19)
  3. Something Ahead (0:54)
  4. Evasive Maneuvers (1:07)
  5. Sensor Data (1:07)
  6. Intercept Course (0:14)
  7. Fire Phasers (0:50)
  8. Enterprise Attacked (1:32)
  9. Illogical (0:13)
  10. Briefing (0:43)
  11. On the Viewscreen (1:02)
  12. New Heading (0:19)
  13. Scanning (0:54)
  14. Deflector Shields (0:19)
  15. Red Alert (0:33)
  16. Battle Stations (0:41)
  17. Surprise (0:07)
  18. Supplemental Log (0:49)
  19. Kirk’s Command (1:11)
  20. Sickbay (0:28)
  21. Library Computer (0:44)
  22. Full Power (0:28)
  23. Approaching Coordinates (0:08)
  24. The Bigger Meaning (1:15)
  25. Trouble in Engineering (0:29)
  26. Spock’s Analysis (0:42)
  27. Enterprise Wins the Space Race (0:43)
  28. McCoy’s Summary (0:16)
  29. Just Another Stardate (0:39)
  30. Ongoing Mission (0:18)
  31. Title Theme (alternate mix) (1:01)
  32. Sensor Data (alternate mix) (1:02)
  33. Enterprise Attacked (alternate opening) (1:42)
  34. Scanning (alternate mix) (0:54)
  35. Turbolift Music (0:29)
  36. Mr. Arex Lends an Extra Hand (0:38)
  37. Fascinating (0:17)
  38. Don’t Mess With M’Ress (0:22)
  39. Oh My (0:17)
  40. Spock’s Quick Analysis (0:22)
  41. Yellow Alert (0:26)
  42. Off Duty (0:15)
  43. Suite: Stingers and Act-Out Music (2:03)
    Music inspired by Star Trek – Ron Jones
  44. The Ascent (7:43)
  45. Meaning (2:27)
  46. Pathway to the Stars (3:17)
    Star Trek: Borg – Dennis McCarthy
  47. Main Theme (1:02)
  48. The Legend of the Borg (1:24)
  49. Battle at Wolf 359 (2:58)
  50. The Battle Rages (0:58)
  51. Club Q (0:55)
  52. I Am Berman of Borg (1:36)
  53. Goldsmith Has Been Assimilated! (1:37)
  54. Welcome to the Collective Cadet (2:22)
  55. Searching the Borg Ship (2:20)
  56. Time Is Running Out (1:17)
  57. Escape From the Borg Collective (1:42)
  58. Borg Hell (2:03)
  59. You Will Be Assimilated, Have a Nice Day (2:21)
  60. “Resistance Is Futile, My Ass!” / Finale (7:25)
  61. End Titles (1:03)

Disc 3 – Star Trek: The Next Generation

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title (1st season, alternate take) (1:48)
    Coming Of Age
  2. Physics / Shuttle Fuss (3:35)
  3. Air Bounce (2:04)
  4. Competition (2:14)
  5. Decisions (2:04)
    Symbisos
  6. Flares (3:04)
  7. Precious Cargo (2:10)
  8. Four Out of Six (1:03)
    Unnatural Selection
  9. Searchin’ (1:10)
    The Measure Of A Man
  10. Memories (1:19)
    Contagion
  11. U.S.S. Yamato / Vaporized (1:22)
  12. Floral Tea / Otis’ Revenge (2:07)
  13. Romulan Misfire / Phasers / Escape / Goodbye Iconia (2:27)
    The Survivors
  14. Diversion (2:16)
    The Bonding
  15. Dad / Mom’s Double (2:04)
  16. Release / Ceremonial Worf / Off Into Space (4:01)
    The Enemy
  17. Into the Pit (3:01)
    The Hunted
  18. Escape Artist / Melee (3:28)
  19. Breakout (0:32)
  20. Phased / Geordi (4:14)
  21. Confronted / To the Stars (3:30)
    Sins Of The Father
  22. Condemned (1:22)
    Transfigurations
  23. Lookin’ Fine (1:44)
  24. Lazarus (3:48)
  25. Choke Hold / Explanatory / El Ascencio (5:11)
    Future Imperfect
  26. Delusionary (4:08)
    Tapestry
  27. Saint Q (2:05)
  28. It’s a Wonderful Life / Deja Vuosity / War Stories (3:18)
    Parallels
  29. Instant Family (2:42)
  30. Wolfman Riker (3:09)
    Trailer music
  31. Theme From Star Trek: The Motion Picture (30-second version) (0:33)

Disc 4

    Theme From Star Trek (“Gene Roddenberry 1921–1991” unused alternate) (0:10)
    Tin Man

  1. Soft / Student (1:04)
  2. Unique / Welcome / Data (0:48)
  3. Problems / Land of Living (1:41)
  4. Scared (broadcast version) (0:47)
  5. One Way Trip (1:08)
  6. All of It (0:57)
    Deja Q
  7. Tractor Moon / Hoisted (2:58)
  8. La Paloma (traditional) (1:13)
  9. Coffin Spike (0:45)
    Captain’s Holiday
  10. Planet Vegas (1:12)
    Qpid
  11. Hat Trick / Sir Guy / Nottingham Castle / Maid Marian (unused) / Betrayed (3:21)
  12. To the Block / Swordplay / Game’s Over (4:16)
  13. Adieu (1:04)
  14. Plucking Three (0:13)
    Elementary, Dear Data
  15. Sherlock Tones (0:55)
  16. Dead End / Turtleback (2:36)
  17. Short Goodbye (1:21)
    Ship In A Bottle
  18. Holo Tolodo! (4:02)
    Clues
  19. Peace Dividends / Gloria / Blown Away (1:39)
    Manhunt
  20. Juke Boxer (3:29)
  21. How High the Moon (3:36)
    Star Trek: First Contact
  22. Moonlight Becomes You (2:55)
    Unification II
  23. Andorian Blues (0:37)
  24. Aktuh and Maylota (0:49)
  25. Melor Famigal (0:58)
    Lessons
  26. Picard and Nella, Date #1 (Picard’s Cabin) (2:43)
  27. Picard and Nella, Date #2 (Jefferies Tube) (2:22)
    Sarek
  28. Sextet #1 in B-flat Major, Op. 18 (II, Andante) (1:53)
    Star Trek: The Experience
  29. Klingon Encounter (4:24)
  30. Borg Invasion 4D (7:22)
    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  31. Main Title Demo (1:59)
  32. Single Bridge Demo (2:24)
    Star Trek: Voyager
  33. Main Title Demo (1:51)
  34. Lookover / Maiden Voyager (1:34)
  35. Opera Alla Alienosity (1:11)
    Star Trek: Enterprise
  36. Dance-O-Matic (2:28)
    Trailer music
  37. Communique (C) (2:33)

Released by: La-La Land Record
Release date: November 25, 2016
Disc one total running time: 1:16:13
Disc two total running time: 1:17:23
Disc three total running time: 1:18:57
Disc four total running time: 1:18:57
Box set total running time: 5:16:50

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – music by Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion & Kristopher Carter

Batman: Return of the Caped CrusadersConsider, for a moment, how long it’s taken for the 1966 Batman to reach the torrent of merchandise that we’ve seen recently. We have the entire series on Blu-Ray, there are comics, there are action figures on the way, and Adam West and Burt Ward have reunited as the Dynamic Duo for some direct-to-video animated adventures. It’s glorious. Batman ’66, as we now call it, was my Batman – the Batman I watched over grilled cheese sandwiches at my grandmother’s house every day after school. I’m pleased to see it come out from under the post-Alan-Miller “received fandom wisdom” shadow of “But it isn’t, and never was, what Batman was supposed to be!” (If you’ve been reading either this site or my books long enough, you know that I live to debunk “received fan wisdom” – just about every corner of every franchise has its charms if you go in with an open mind.)

But a Batman ’66 soundtrack album? The thrice-reissued score from the movie that was released between the show’s first and second seasons is as close as we’re likely to get. Take the tangle of sometimes conflicting rightsholders that held up the show’s release on Blu-Ray, add the estates and publishers of two composers, stir, and you have a scenario where even the label that finally brought us a massive CD box set of every classic Star Trek TV score has admitted defeat.

But they can bring us this: the complete score from the first of those animated Batman ’66 adventures, Return Of The Caped Crusaders. I had very, very mixed feelings about the movie itself, but the soundtrack is just about magical. Frequent collaborators Ritmans, Carter and McCuistion have been composing music for Batman since the 1990s animated series, so they know what’s up in the Batcave – and they’re not afraid to luxuriate in the classic TV show’s jazzy-with-surf-guitar style, or quote Neal Hefti’s 4 out of 4immortal Batman theme, to make it fit in almost seamlessly alongside the three season of live action. It helps matters considerably that they were given enough of a music budget to hire real players to bring it to life: it’s a really lush score for a cartoon.

But it’s perfectly in keeping with the Batman ’66 ethos, and that alone makes the Return Of The Caped Crusaders soundtrack an absolute joy.

Order this CD

  1. Classic Batman Main Title (1:24)
  2. Batman’s New Look (0:25)
  3. Meet Our Baddies / It’s the Bat-Signal (2:22)
  4. To the Batcave (1:53)
  5. Not So Fast, Old Chum / Crosswalk Conundrum (0:30)
  6. Riddle Me This? / Atomic Lab Fight (3:13)
  7. Jokermobile Chase (1:49)
  8. Catwoman Has Batnip (1:49)
  9. TV Dinner Factory Arrival (1:24)
  10. TV Dinner Factory Kerfuffle / TV Tray Death Trap / Dessert Denouement (4:31)
  11. Establish Police HQ / The BatShadow Rises / A Moment With Aunt Harriet / You’re Dismissed (2:15)
  12. In Search of Criminal Activity (1:10)
  13. Batcave Batmobile Arrival / To the Bat-Rocket (1:20)
  14. The Right Bat Stuff / Space Joker Playon (1:29)
  15. Bat-Rocket Approaches the Station (1:21)
  16. Outer Space Rendezvous / Under the Influence (3:34)
  17. Zero-G Brawl (2:29)
  18. Like a Bat in the Night / Holy Hitchhiker, Robin (0:37)
  19. Bruce Snaps at Aunt / Back Alley Dirge (1:03)
  20. Why Won’t He Answer? (0:33)
  21. Gotham Crime Spree (0:39)
  22. Bat Dupe See / Batmen Take Over / Robin Figures It Out (3:39)
  23. Catwoman Is in Her Element / To the Catmobile (2:10)
  24. Batcave Showdown (2:24)
  25. Radioactive Silo Trap / Bat Anti-Isotope Spray / Surprise Prison Inspection (2:46)
  26. Mass Prison Break (1:32)
  27. The Show Must Go On / Bat TV Two See (2:38)
  28. Bad Batmen (2:00)
  29. One Step Ahead (2:22)
  30. Villains Plan (3:44)
  31. Airship Battle (2:18)
  32. Farewell Catwoman (1:39)
  33. Classic Batman End Title (3:22)
    Bonus Tracks
  34. Gotham Palace TV Theme (0:21)
  35. Hector and the Hoedaddies (0:21)
  36. Bedbugs TV Source (0:53)
  37. Kitkat Kave Dancing (0:35)
  38. Gotham Palace TV Source #2 (0:45)
  39. Joker Circus (0:43)
  40. Elegant Party Source (1:01)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: November 11, 2016
Total running time: 1:12:30

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

Planet Of The Apes: The TV Series (expanded)

Released as a very limited edition (2000 copies) by La-La Land Records, this two-disc collection includes and expands upon the material already presented by Intrada Records on a single-CD release early in the 2000s. Intrada’s release included Lalo Schifrin’s appropriately chaotic theme music and his music for the pilot episode, as well as a further episode score by Earle Hagen.

This 2-CD release adds more music by Schifrin and the show’s other composers, offering a classy time capsule of an era when synthesizers had yet to become routine instruments in film scoring. It’s interesting to hear Schifrin and other composers try to alternate between “normal” 1970s orchestral scoring and something more akin to the tone set by Jerry Goldsmith’s music from the first Apes movie.

3 out of 4If you’ve already invested in the Intrada set, whether or not you liked it will determine your interest here: if you did like it, here’s a whole second disc of what you liked. If it didn’t really grab your attention the first time around, it’s probably safe to let this one slide. Despite the smaller-than-usual print run, it’s still available at the time of this writing.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title (1:16)
    Music from Escape From Tomorrow
  2. Exotic Forest (1:02)
  3. Spaceship (1:41)
  4. Apes Urgency (1:31)
  5. Concealment (1:17)
  6. Apes Chase (1:02)
  7. The Warp (1:01)
  8. Urko/Galen (4:12)
  9. The Master (0:15)
  10. Prison Guard (1:58)
  11. Prison Cell/Zaius (1:27)
  12. Jail Break (2:32)
  13. Your World (1:54)
    Music from The Gladiators
  14. Wooded Area (0:45)
  15. Jason (0:27)
  16. Brutal Fight (1:03)
  17. The Disc (1:11)
  18. Barlow (1:17)
  19. Ready (0:36)
  20. Trouble With Apes (1:43)
  21. Planet of the Apes Mountains (0:44)
  22. The Arena (1:43)
  23. Wrestling in the Arena (1:03)
  24. There Will Be a Death (0:26)
  25. Alan in Jail (0:28)
  26. Dalton (1:05)
  27. Human vs. Apes (1:26)
  28. A Beginning (2:28)
    Music from The Good Seeds
  29. Riding for Urko (1:46)
  30. Travel Without Stars (3:17)
  31. Pitchfork Attack (0:30)
  32. Local Patrol (1:37)
  33. Plowing (0:25)
  34. Central City (0:16)
  35. Polar (0:36)
  36. Zanties (0:28)
  37. Virdon (1:08)
  38. I’ve Seen Him Before (0:21)
  39. Apes Neutral Suspense (0:34)
  40. We Ride (0:30)
  41. Discovered (0:40)
  42. Toll the Bell (0:12)
  43. The Riding Enemy (0:22)
  44. Hunting Bonded Humans (1:02)
  45. Twin Bulls (1:25)
  46. Apes Tension (1:33)
  47. Wind Mill (0:25)
  48. The Next String (0:54)
  49. End Credits (0:30)
  50. Riding for Urko (extension) (1:54)
    Disc Two

  1. Main Title (1:16)
    Music from The Trap
  2. Opening (1:04)
  3. Reflections (2:30)
  4. Through the Forest (1:15)
  5. The Bag (0:31)
  6. Stalk in the City (3:02)
  7. Hunted (0:55)
  8. Searching (1:00)
  9. Go to Work (0:17)
  10. The Poster (1:46)
  11. Urko Makes His Move (1:07)
  12. The Execution (2:30)
  13. One for the Road (0:49)
    Music from The Legacy
  14. Country Style (0:35)
  15. Ruined City (1:13)
  16. Apes (0:40)
  17. The Machine (0:49)
  18. The Soldiers (2:29)
  19. Ape Signals (0:50)
  20. The Kid (0:34)
  21. Virdon and the Kid (0:25)
  22. Urko (0:44)
  23. The Family (0:40)
  24. The Kid’s Toy (0:20)
  25. Kids and Apes (1:15)
  26. Farm Girl (1:12)
  27. The Reward (0:29)
  28. Apes and Kids (0:44)
  29. Knowledge Hunts (3:12)
  30. Farewell (0:35)
    Music from Tomorrow’s Tide
  31. Runners (0:41)
  32. The Raft (1:43)
  33. Fisherman’s Love (1:09)
  34. The Village (0:48)
  35. Quotas Quotas (0:18)
  36. Fire and Fish (1:02)
  37. Garcon (0:14)
  38. More Fine Divers (0:33)
  39. Peter Dives (0:31)
  40. The Sharks (0:28)
  41. Sharks (2:36)
  42. Find Him (0:31)
  43. Gato Leaves (0:50)
  44. Bandor (0:31)
  45. Bandor the M.C. (1:30)
  46. Escape (1:49)
  47. Run Off (0:18)
    Music from The Surgeon
  48. Medicine Off Center (2:43)
  49. More Sutures (1:32)
    Music from The Deception
  50. Farna Theme (0:58)
  51. Farna Theme #1 (0:44)
  52. Farna (0:36)
  53. Farna Reminisces (1:11)
  54. Leave Me Alone (0:31)
  55. Be Gentle With Her (0:29)
  56. Deception (1:40)
  57. Goodbye (0:33)
    Music from The Interrogation
  58. Again (1:33)
  59. Mish Mosh (0:23)
  60. Drums and Bells (2:04)
  61. Wind Machine (1:04)
  62. End Credits (0:30)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: January 13, 2015
Disc one total running time: 58:51
Disc two total running time: 1:08:15