Space Age – music by Jay Chattaway

Space Age soundtrackJay Chattaway is probably known best at the present for his work on various Star Trek TV episodes since 1990, when he took over from the excellent Ron Jones; Jones’ music proved to be too good for the show he was scoring and he vanished from the show’s credits less than a year after his Best Of Both Worlds soundtrack raked in more orders than virtually any other soundtrack GNP Crescendo had released on CD. Chattaway replaced Jones and proceeded to appease the producers of Star Trek with a much more subtle and generic sound; indeed, most of Chattaway’s Trek music is interchangeable. While many of the same musical phrases crop up in this soundtrack assembled by Chattaway for PBS’ 1992 documentary miniseries Space Age, the arrangements are much more varied and the music rises above the domain of background noise. About time! It allows you to hear that Chattaway is actually a fairly decent 3 out of 4composer if he’s given room to do the job. The most un-Trekkish tracks on this collection are the best, including the wonderful “Amazon Highway”, “Luna” and “Dance Of The Blue Wonder”. Be warned, if you’ve only listened to Chattway’s orchestral meanderings on Star Trek, the instrumentation is almost completely electronic aside from some lovely French horn solos.

Order this CD

  1. Theme from Space Age (3:43)
  2. Mars (2:59)
  3. Dance of the Blue Wonder (3:42)
  4. Alchemy (3:39)
  5. The High Ground (2:34)
  6. Luna (5:14)
  7. Animations (3:13)
  8. The Mission (3:01)
  9. Innerspace (1:13)
  10. Freestar (4:17)
  11. Amazon Highway (4:17)
  12. A View From Earth (4:13)
  13. Radiation Alert (2:11)
  14. Earthrise (2:14)
  15. Robotics (2:24)
  16. The Red Planet (4:08)
  17. War Games (3:12)
  18. The Quest (6:14)

Released by: Narada Cinema
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 62:28

Star Trek: The Next Generation Volume 3

Star Trek: The Next Generation soundtrackYou might not believe that the same composer created the Farpoint soundtrack and this collection of scores from the third and fifth seasons of Star Trek: TNG, but it’s true. You know, there’s a reason why there are so few soundtrack releases from the Star Trek TV shows that have been such hits for the past decade or so. If there were more soundtracks, you know as well as I do that loyal fans and music lovers like myself would have snatched all of them up. But the sad truth is that, due to some ridiculously strict guidelines that Star Trek executive producer Rick Berman has maintained from early in his reign, most of the Star Trek TV scores are forced into a corner. The music is to be unobtrusive, is forbidden to interfere with certain frequencies which are occupied by background sound effects, and is to avoid thematic material which could be too distinctive. In those restrictions, the entire point of a dramatic musical underscore has been vampirically sucked right out of the music. On the flipside, Star Trek has been blessed with amazingly inventive composers like Dennis McCarthy, who – contrary to the beliefs of some fans who sometimes don’t know of what they speak musically – can score his way out of a wet paper bag, and on Star Trek, that’s exactly what he has to do. From the Korngoldish, heraldic cues from Hollow Pursuits to the eerie and threatening Yesterday’s Enterprise, McCarthy neatly sidesteps the producers’ musical strictures, and in the latter score even manages to showcase his theme for Captain Picard (see the Farpoint review elsewhere) one more time. However, it is in the music from the two-part special Unification that things get both better and worse. The cue “Sarek Drifts Away” is probably what won McCarthy the 1992 Best Dramatic Underscore Emmy award in and of itself, but other cues 3 out of 4from the same show smack of random noise and seem to drone on forever without ever reaching a resolution. But, even with Star Trek’s producers’ silly hangups about distinctive music still in place, fans of the show will probably love this album.

Order this CD

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation main title (1:48)
  2. Duality / Enterprise C (2:55)
  3. Averted / Richard / Guinan / Back to Battle / Cmdr. Garrett (3:30)
  4. First Kiss / Not To Be / Empty Death / Reporting For Duty (3:45)
  5. Klingons / Skin of Teeth (5:02)
  6. In Case You Forgot (1:36)
  7. Sarek (1:46)
  8. Sarek Drifts Away (2:34)
  9. Another Captain / Food Fight (0:58)
  10. Victims of Holography (3:44)
  11. Sacrificed / Mind Meld (2:40)
  12. Barclay Mitty (2:24)
  13. Tissue Samples / Sad Sack / Staff Confab / Hololust (3:01)
  14. Lady Gates / Swordplay (2:13)
  15. Madame Troi / Blissful / Out of Control / Warp Nine (1:54)
  16. Warposity (3:21)
  17. Plan 9 (0:19)
  18. Star Trek: The Next Generation end credit (0:48)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 44:18

Star Trek: Shore Leave / The Naked Time

Star Trek soundtrackThe most recent collection of original Trek music from Crescendo (not counting the Trouble With Tribbles suite on the 1996 Best Of Star Trek CD) features slightly less well-known scores from less obvious episodes than popular favorites such as Amok Time and The Cage, and in that respect the choices are more interesting. Gerald Fried’s music from Shore Leave careens around recklessly from Finnegan’s Irish-themed signature tune to gentler, more classical-sounding passages for Kirk’s old flame, and appropriately heraldic fanfares for McCoy winding up on the wrong side of a joust with an imaginary knight. The Naked Time‘s similarly fantasy-4 out of 4themed music has some more mysterious themes dealing with the vague time-travel subplot introduced toward the end of the show. Both are very interesting listening, and the mastering is again outstanding, considering that this music was recorded over thirty years ago.

Order this CD

  1. Star Trek main title (0:51)

    Shore Leave music by Gerald Fried

  2. New Planet / Rabbit / School Chum (4:07)
  3. Old English (2:09)
  4. Ruth (2:37)
  5. Knight / Joust (1:28)
  6. Clue / Finnigan / Tricks / Tiger Thoughts / 2nd Samurai (4:36)
  7. Caretaker / Lazarus (2:01)
  8. 2nd Ruth (0:49)

    The Naked Time music by Alexander Courage

  9. Trailer (1:02)
  10. Brass Monkeys (1:28)
  11. Joe Berserk (3:03)
  12. Sulu Finks Out (0:43)
  13. D’artagnan / Banana Farm (3:18)
  14. Out of Control / Lurch Time / Punchy Kid (1:48)
  15. Party Time (1:34)
  16. Medicine Girl (4:29)
  17. Hot Sun / Off the Cloud (1:05)
  18. Captain’s Wig (6:43)
  19. The Big Go (1:43)
  20. Time Reverse / Future Risk (0:46)
  21. Star Trek end credit (0:48)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 47:08

ELO Part II – Live With The Moscow Symphony Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra Part Two - Greatest Hits Live with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra“Well,” I thought, “that’s nice, it’s in the bargain bin.” Then I did a slight double-take. “What? This is new, and it’s already in the bargain bin.” This meant trouble. The fading remnants of my favorite band were fading really fast if their new release, even though it is a live album, was entering the music store shelves at rock-bottom. And I found out why (that’s the great thing about bargains, eh?). This is, at best, an excessively mediocre live album. Years later, in 1996, I saw ELO Part II perform live when they made a stop in my home town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and I discovered that ELO Part II does a kick-ass live show, just not on this album. Perhaps the improvement in their live repertoire is that they’ve expanded their selection of post-ELO originals, which are better suited to their live performance needs because they know what they’re capable of on stage. This album is comprised entirely – with the singular exception of “Thousand Eyes” – of classic ELO songs which people have come to know with a full string section. The Moscow Symphony can deliver the goods most of the time, but even they have their off nights, as can be heard when somebody hits an outrageously, painfully flat note in the Rating: 1 out of 4Beethoven intro to “Roll Over Beethoven”. I think as ELO Part II expands their repertoire of original tunes, their live show will only get better and better, as the new songs are tailored to the new group’s strengths. In fact, I keep hearing about a new live album called One Night which has yet to make it to the States, and I’d love to hear it, because, even though this album fell seriously flat, ELO Part II really brings the house down live.

    Order this CD in the Store

  1. Overture (2:26)
  2. Turn To Stone (3:51)
  3. Evil Woman (4:20)
  4. Showdown (5:08)
  5. Livin’ Thing (4:04)
  6. Hold On Tight (2:58)
  7. Thousand Eyes (4:28)
  8. Can’t Get It Out Of My Head (6:46)
  9. Telephone Line (5:04)
  10. Roll Over Beethoven (6:05)

Released by: Scotti Bros.
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 45:10

Peter Gabriel – Us

Peter Gabriel - UsIt’s hard to stack any one Peter Gabriel album up against another, because each of them is born of different inspiration, and the sounds utilized on each of them are wildly different. It sounds as if Gabriel’s fascination with the regional sounds he compiled into the Passion album is still with him. This album is more percussive and less melodic than So, but the lyrics are Gabriel’s sharpest and most poignant to date. The best song on the album, however, is the solo piano simplicity of “Washing Of The Water”, a song about hurting and healing. Not far behind are “Love To Be Loved”, “Steam” and “Digging In The Dirt”. The album was inspired by Gabriel’s group therapy experiences following a painful divorce, and 3 out of 4many of the songs speak of the consequences and recovery from hurtful or otherwise less than ideal relationships. I highly recommend this album, but only to those who are capable of handling its subject matter, which is significantly darker than your average pop/rock album. But then, when has Peter Gabriel ever unleashed an average pop/rock album?

Order this CD

  1. Come Talk To Me (7:04)
  2. Love To Be Loved (5:16)
  3. Blood of Eden (6:35)
  4. Steam (6:02)
  5. Only Us (6:30)
  6. Washing of the Water (3:50)
  7. Digging In The Dirt (5:16)
  8. Fourteen Black Paintings (4:36)
  9. Kiss That Frog (5:27)
  10. Secret World (7:01)

Released by: RealWorld
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 57:37