Judge Dredd (newly expanded edition) – music by Alan Silvestri

Judge DreddIn my mind, Judge Dredd was one of a glut of ’90s genre films that abandoned optimism for the future in favor of a future as a dystopia filled with antiheroes (though to be sure, both subgenres had always existed). As a not-entirely-faithful Hollywoodization of the star character of Alan Moore’s 2000 A.D. comics from the U.K., Judge Dredd wasn’t exactly a perfect adaptation of its source material, but it was enjoyable in its own right.

The original release of the soundtrack alongside the movie’s 1995 release date was mostly devoted to songs used in the movie, with a scant few selections from Alan Silvestri’s score. Intrada’s remastered 2-CD set presents the full score to the movie, including unused alternate cuts and, after a couple of decades of fans begging for it, Jerry Goldsmith’s trailer music, which may be better remembered than Alan Silvestri’s score. In short, this expansion of the original release should make everyone happy.

While the movie uneasily mixed the comics’ gloomy violence with the bright-and-flashy millieu of still-trying-to-ape-Star-Wars Hollywood sci-fi of the late ’80s, Alan Silvestri’s music 4 out of 4is bright, brassy, and not apologizing one bit for being in your face. It’s heroic music for a character who can, in his original source material, barely be considered a hero. Hewing slightly closer to the tone of the source material is Jerry Goldsmith’s custom-scored trailer music, the original recording of which has never seen the light of day until this release.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title Revised (4:59)
  2. Block War Revised (5:01)
  3. I’ve Heard It All Revised (2:24)
  4. Aspen Revised (3:28)
  5. It Ends (0:42)
  6. The Law (1:46)
  7. Pawn Shop (1:45)
  8. Parking Penalty (0:55)
  9. Dredd’s Arrest (1:33)
  10. Say It Ain’t So (2:24)
  11. Judgement Day (4:26)
  12. Hidden Photo (0:40)
  13. Shuttle Crash (1:38)
  14. Access Denied (1:06)
  15. Angel Family Values (6:02)
  16. We Created You (3:48)
  17. New Order Montage (1:14)
  18. Hershey’s Close Call (0:17)
  19. Janus! (0:57)
  20. Council Chaos Revised (7:31)
  21. Hershey’s Apartment (1:15)
  22. Twice You Owe Me (1:18)
  23. Griffin Gets It (1:00)
  24. Send In the Clones (1:18)
  25. New World Revised (7:50)
  26. Judge Dredd: Trailer – music by Jerry Goldsmith (0:51)
    Disc Two

  1. Main Title (4:56)
  2. Block War (3:06)
  3. I’ve Heard It All (0:37)
  4. Dredd and Fargo (0:35)
  5. You’re a Legend (0:25)
  6. Aspen (2:29)
  7. Aspen – Alternate (2:29)
  8. I Judged Him (0:58)
  9. Hershey Objects (0:24)
  10. Bon Appetite (1:45)
  11. Brief Reunion (1:33)
  12. Council Chaos (5:47)
  13. Choose (5:18)
  14. Choose Alternate (4:44)
  15. Choose Revised (5:17)
  16. New World (2:27)
  17. New World Alternate (2:29)
  18. Judgement Day – Original 1995 Soundtrack Assembly (5:54)
  19. Block War – Original 1995 Soundtrack Assembly (4:42)
  20. Angel Family – Original 1995 Soundtrack Assembly (5:40)
  21. New World – Original 1995 Soundtrack Assembly (9:16)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: May 12, 2015
Disc one total running time: 68:09
Disc two total running time: 70:51

Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-VidaIt’s become one of the most recognizable rock riffs in modern history. The “dun-dun-da-da-dun-dun” is known the world over for its melody and heaviness. Although Iron Butterfly may be considered a ’60s one-hit-wonder, their influence and musical stylings paved the way for today’s heavy metal bands. But many people don’t even realize that there was an entire album to go with that one song.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the album, was released in 1968. Most of the music follows the titular track in terms of composition: Heavy, distorted guitars, clear drumming, and intricate organ melodies. The album kicks off with “Most Anything You Want”, a song which combines all of the aforementioned elements into a moderate rocker. “Flowers And Beads” probably could have been a hit had it been recorded by a band like The Monkees; a “light” (comparatively) tale about love. “My Mirage” is a moody piece set to a lead keyboard theme. “Termination” is another of the signature “hard” songs that Iron Butterfly was known for, and includes a good helping of overdrive. “Are You Happy” is another recording that prominently features the keyboards, and alternately sounds like Jimi Hendrix jamming with Emerson, Lake And Palmer.

But then there’s the track itself: “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”. And for those who haven’t heard the full, 17-minute version, it’s a beauty. It also contains an honest-to-God 2 1/2 minute drum solo (which nobody really does anymore, and certainly not for that long!). As a drummer myself, I found it very refreshing. Of course, after the solo, the guitars and keyboards kick back in to perform the now famous chorus and verse one more time.

3 out of 4The Deluxe Edition of this album released on CD contains two more versions of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”: another lengthy live version, and the much shorter single edit. Although it’s a nice way to fill out the remaining space, they certainly aren’t needed, and one wonders if other selections could have been chosen instead for the bonus material. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of rock music, psychedelia, or just someone who is interested in the origins of music history itself, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is not a bad choice to make.

Order this CD

  1. Most Anything You Want (3:48)
  2. Flowers And Beads (3:09)
  3. My Mirage (4:54)
  4. Termination (2:52)
  5. Are You Happy? (4:30)
  6. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:07)
  7. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Live) (18:52)
  8. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Single Edit) (2:54)

Released by: Atlantic
Release date: 1968 (re-released on CD in 1995)
Total running time: 58:10

Klark Kent – Kollected Works

Klark Kent - Kollected WorksEven if you were unaware that Klark Kent is, in fact, a pseudonym for Stewart Copeland, it would be difficult to listen to Kollected Works without thinking of The Police. The heavy reggae/ska influence and experimental attitude so prevalent in The Police’s early work (and almost entirely excised by the time of Synchronicity) are found in spades here. Copeland founded the Police and was responsible for most of the early songwriting, until Sting’s prolific nature (and, let’s face it, greater overall songwriting skill) took over. These recordings date from that earlier time, with most of them seeing original release around 1978/9 as an outlet for Copeland, already feeling boxed in by the band.

While the music itself has a lot in common with early Police, the lyrics really do take a different path. The more socially aware nature of the Police material gives way instead for the absurd or the downright silly. And even the production is more absurd, with voiceovers from a secretary pool and kazoos in the mix. If you’ve heard Police songs like “Any Other Day” (from Regatta de Blanc) you’ll be aware of Copeland’s, shall we say, unique vocal stylings. While I normally wouldn’t want an album full of Copeland vocals, the combination of vocals, lyrics and production on the Klark Kent material works.

If the songs have one failing in common, it’s that they lack polish. Most tend to just sort of peter out, rather than have any kind of proper ending. Just as Sting’s Police re-makes have lacked the depth of the original recordings, Copeland without Sting and Andy Summers feels somewhat shallow. But I’m a sucker for a one-man album, myself. For me, an interesting odyssey into original territory trumps careful, planned production any day.

rating: 4 out of 4Ultimately, I think it goes without saying that if you’re a fan of Stewart Copeland or The Police (especially the more obscure tracks and B-sides) you need this album. Reggae and ska fans will find plenty to enjoy here as well, perhaps more than on any Police material. Also, if you enjoy experimental music-making, you should give Kollected Works a listen.

Order this CD

  1. Too Kool To Kalypso (2:28)
  2. Strange Things (2:42)
  3. Thrills (2:23)
  4. Excesses (3:02)
  5. Love Lessons (3:30)
  6. Office Girls (2:18)
  7. Away From Home (2:57)
  8. Don’t Care (2:10)
  9. Grandelinquent (3:10)
  10. My Old School (2:45)
  11. Ritch In A Ditch (2:29)
  12. Theme For A Kinetic Ritual (4:21)
  13. Stay Ready (3:03)
  14. Office Talk (6:50)
    Guerilla (hidden track – 3:29)

Released by: I.R.S.
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 48:08

Cybertech Part II: Pharos

Cybertech Part II: Pharos soundtrackAn interesting and somewhat obscure release, Pharos is the second collection of musical atmospheres by Cybertech (a.k.a. Michael Fillis and Adrian Pack). The two Cybertech CDs share a common thread: they try to evoke the atmosphere of past eras of Doctor Who music and, at the same time, pay tribute to what was the only source of new Who in the early 90s, Virgin Publishing’s Doctor Who: The New Adventures novels. In a way, Cybertech’s works are rather like the Doctor Who equivalent of the infamous Star Wars soundtrack-to-a-book release Shadows Of The Empire. Pack and Fillis composed original scores for specific scenes of some of the books (with the relevant passages quoted with permission in the CD’s lavishly illustrated booklet), while other adventures are given a score more evocative of a general mood, and some are accompanied by original, non-novel fiction. A few pieces unrelated to any specific book are dotted throughout the disc as well.

Lending the proceedings more of a stamp of Who authenticity are brief cameo appearances by Sylvester McCoy and the late Jon Pertwee, and their respective fellow time travelers Sophie Aldred and Caroline John. McCoy and Aldred’s appearances are “in character” as the Doctor and Ace, even though they each only speak a handful of lines of dialogue in their respective tracks. On the other hand, Jon Pertwee and Caroline John don’t seem to be playing the roles of the third Doctor and Liz Shaw, but instead act as narrators delivering the overall mood in the album’s opening and closing tracks. Mark Gatiss also makes a vocal appearance for the musical theme to his own novel, “Nightshade”.

And the music itself? Pack and Fillis toy around with the Doctor Who sounds of both the 70s and 80s, and nail some of the best approximations of those eras’ moods I’ve heard. Some of the non-story-specific pieces pick up the pace a little bit with more of a dance beat, but nothing terribly incongruous. It’s all very atmospheric, 4 out of 4and right in line with where the music of Doctor Who left off when the series vacated the small screen.

So, overall, what do I think of Pharos? I think Big Finish Productions should really be talking to these guys about joining their rotating cast of composing characters. They’re that good.

Order this CD

  1. Precipice (1:45)
  2. The Pharos Project (3:12)
  3. Time’s Crucible (3:15)
  4. Prometheus Bound (6:45)
  5. Prometheus Unbound (2:50)
  6. First Frontier (3:45)
  7. Yeti (9:15)
  8. Iceberg (8:00)
  9. Nightshade TV Theme (4:20)
  10. Trevithick’s Monsters (5:55)
  11. Interstitial Time: A Static Vortex (1:20)
  12. Legacy (3:20)
  13. Type 40 (3:20)
  14. Master Mind (10:30)
  15. Cyberia (4:45)
  16. Wavelength (2:00)

Released by: Jump Cut Records
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 75:25

Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage

Space Battleship Yamato: The New VoyagePositioned between the second and third seasons of the legendary animè series, Yamato: The New Voyage was a slightly awkward full-length TV movie which offered only a little bit of expansion on the Space Battleship Yamato franchise – and not much dramatic innovation. As the second theatrical Yamato film had killed off the entire cast of characters (which, after fan outcry, was rectified in the second TV season, which retold the second film’s story without the high body count), The New Voyage had to do a bit of backpedaling, remind the audience that their heroes had not died, but had simply been banged up a bit in their fight against the Comet Empire, and get the ball rolling hastily for yet another showdown with an all-conquering alien force.

Cinematically, I’ve never thought The New Voyage was up to much – it lacks the dramatic punch of Be Forever Yamato and even the weak swan song that was Final Yamato – but its music, when heard apart from the movie itself, is a revelation.

Hiroshi Miyagawa’s music is to the Yamato franchise what John Williams’ music is to the Star Wars universe, plain and simple. And in this installment of the saga, Miyagawa brings some new elements into play, including the first major use of synths in his Yamato soundtracks. The modernization of the sound, while quite a departure from what came before it, isn’t unwelcome or out of place. Early on, most of the synth work is relegated to pads underneath a mostly orchestral score.

The real innovation isn’t technological, however, but musical. In The New Voyage, Miyagawa starts to put some of his well-established themes from two previous movies and two years of television series through very interesting permutations. Dessler’s theme (that’s Desslock for you Star Blazers fans) goes from being a strident, militaristic piece to a sweeping, wistful love theme that recurs throughout much of the score. The Yamato theme itself runs through some minor key variations, and one incredibly haunting cue (“Mystical Yamato”) which gives it a very ethereal quality.

4 out of 4One of the new themes composed specifically for this movie is introduced in the first track as a song (complete with vocals in both Japanese and English), but that motif too reappears in various places. The heraldic brass of the opening track was a huge break in tradition for the series, but it’s a break that was needed by this point. Overall, The New Voyage makes for better listening than viewing.

Order this CD

  1. Yamato: The New Voyage (1:50)
  2. Isao Sasaki (1:42)
  3. New Voyage – instrumental (2:54)
  4. Yamato Meditation / Great Love (2:12)
  5. New Cosmo Tigers (2:29)
  6. Tsunpa March – March Of The Underwear (0:45)
  7. Mystical Yamato (2:04)
  8. Wandering Iscandar (2:10)
  9. Mamoru and Starsha (2:11)
  10. Crisis On Iscandar (1:12)
  11. Desler’s Suffering (1:42)
  12. Desler In Silence (2:19)
  13. My Feelings For Starsha (1:51)
  14. Wandering (2:39)
  15. Goruba’s Theme (4:17)
  16. Goruba’s Theme – synthesizer (1:16)
  17. Goruba’s Theme – piano (1:18)
  18. Goruba’s Theme – strings (1:35)
  19. Goruba Chord (0:13)
  20. Parting – guitar and orchestra (1:54)
  21. Parting – strings (2:01)
  22. Parting – piano and orchestra (1:13)
  23. Parting – guitar solo (3:00)
  24. Sasha My Love – instrumental (3:49)
  25. Sasha My Love vocals by Chiyoko Shimakura (1:48)

Released by: Nippon Columbia
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 50:24

Fortress: The Music of Sting

Fortress: The Music of StingSome works of pop and rock music beg to be orchestrated more richly, to put their original electric or electronic sound into a classical context to see if the music, at its most basic, can survive the translation without losing too much. And occasionally, the original music is already so well arranged and thought-out, there’s no need to try to make that paradigm shift happen.

And this is the fence straddled by the London Symphony Orchestra’s Fortress, an orchestral reworking of songs by Sting and the Police arranged and conducted by Darryl Way. In some places, the new context suits the songs well, and it comes out sounding rather fun – the busy, Gershwinesque treatment of “Synchronicity II” comes to mind here. In other places, especially with Sting’s solo material, there was already a session orchestra, or a portion of one, playing on the original recording, and parroting that material (and the arrangement) comes across as more of an exercise in making a karaoke album (“Moon Over Bourbon Street” is especially guilty of this).

And then there’s the other stuff, the stuff that just seems to lumber around with unremarkable arrangements. In most cases, the original rock recordings were quite interesting, but here, songs like “Invisible Sun” and “King Of Pain” become frightfully bland, resembling a weak marching band arrangement more than anything. Maybe I’m too attached to those songs in their original form to be completely objective, but at least half of this album barely evoked a reaction of active like or dislike at all. Not something I’m used to from songs written by Sting. 2 out of 4(Thank God this album pre-dates “Desert Rose”.)

I’ve heard successful orchestral translations of songs by Led Zeppelin and Split Enz before, so I know that more could have been done with Sting’s catalogue than this. I can only give Fortress a cautious recommendation as a curiosity.

Order this CD

  1. Russians (5:25)
  2. Moon Over Bourbon Street (5:11)
  3. Synchronicity II (5:29)
  4. Fortress Around Your Heart (5:46)
  5. King Of Pain (4:50)
  6. Invisible Sun (4:09)
  7. Every Breath You Take (5:58)
  8. Why Should I Cry For You (5:22)
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger (5:19)
  10. They Dance Alone (5:52)

Released by: Angel
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 53:21

The Tripods – music by Ken Freeman

The TripodsDebuting in the 18-month gap between Doctor Who’s 22nd and 23rd seasons, The Tripods was the BBC’s adaptation of John Christopher’s trilogy of children’s novels about a group of young people joining up with rebels in the fight to rid Earth of an alien race which has enslaved humanity. In many ways, The Tripods fared little better than the show it had been intended to replace – it got cancelled after a second season, leaving the show in a permanent major cliffhanger (which itself seems to be something of a BBC science fiction tradition, just ask any Blake’s 7 fan) when the adaptation of the third book was cancelled. Still, both the books and the 25-episode television series left behind a strong cult following. One of the products of that following is this soundtrack collection, consisting of a full-length CD and two CD singles with dance-oriented remixes of the show’s theme and assorted incidental cues.

The main CD itself is a magnificent thing to hear, starting with the incredibly moody theme tune. Foreboding and spooky, the theme from The Tripods still manages to evoke a noble sense of hope, particularly with regard to the version used over the end credits which had more of a stately, march-like rhythm. The first time I ever saw The Tripods, the theme music instantly etched itself into my brain and I have never forgotten it. It’s nice to have it on CD at last, and also in remixed form, about which more in a moment.

The incidental cues that make up the bulk of the full-length CD lean heavily on some stellar synth work from Freeman (who invented his own music synthesizer while in his teens). In a way, this music can sit comfortably alongside the equally memorable analog synth scoring of Doctor Who in the early 80s – stylistically speaking. The music from The Tripods came several years later, and is one of the earliest things anyone ever heard coming out of a Synclavier. Its sweep is majestic and cinematic, and its scary moments are truly terrifying. Freeman managed to coax some disquietingly unearthly sounds out of the Synclavier, especially for the penultimate track, “Embers Of The Freemen” (which also happens to be the cue leading up to the series’ rather unfortunate cliffhanger ending). Early on, there’s some nice acoustic guitar work as well, and the music itself seems to take a journey along with its trio of youthful adventurers, from innocence to a determined but most likely doomed struggle for the freedom of the human race.

4 out of 4The two remix CDs are very short – CD-single short – but they do manage to revisit key moments of the soundtrack in interesting ways. One of the main theme remixes smacks mightily of “Flight Of The Phoenix” and wouldn’t be out of place on the dance floor. I like the remixes, but there’s nothing like that end credit music in its pure, un-messed-with form.

Order this CD

  1. Main Theme (2:53)
  2. Ozymandias (0:54)
  3. The Journey Begins (1:29)
  4. Paris, 2089 (1:33)
  5. The Storm (1:43)
  6. Chateau Ricordeau (2:55)
  7. Eloise: Queen Of The Tournament (2:13)
  8. Riding Into The Night (2:42)
  9. The Reunion (1:35)
  10. Vichots Vineyard (4:08)
  11. The Chase (4:40)
  12. Daniel (4:07)
  13. Across The Plains (1:19)
  14. Trapped In The Gulley (2:13)
  15. Capture (1:30)
  16. United With The Freemen (3:01)
  17. The White Mountain Suite (5:50)
  18. Pierre (3:28)
  19. Race For The Erlkonig (2:27)
  20. Commandant Goetz (2:19)
  21. The City Of Gold (2:41)
  22. The Power Elite (2:38)
  23. The Cognosc Departs (2:20)
  24. Escape From The City (3:38)
  25. Rescue At The River (3:53)
  26. Trapped At The Ruined House (1:58)
  27. The TripodsEmbers Of The Freemen (1:50)
  28. Closing Theme (2:42)
    Tripods: The Remix

  1. The Tripods Main Theme: Revolution (2:51)
  2. The Tripods Main Theme: Resolution (6:38)
  3. Escape From The City: Retribution (3:41)
  4. Ozymandias: Moonlight (7:46)
    The TripodsTripods: Limited Edition Remix

  1. The Tripods Main Theme: Revelation (6:11)
  2. Eloise: Symphony (4:41)
  3. Ozymandias: Sunrise (6:33)

Released by: Gerry Forrester
Release date: 1995 (remix CDs released in 1997)
Total running time: 74:47
Remix CD total running time: 20:56
Limited Edition CD total running time: 17:25