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Star Trek: Insurrection (Newly Expanded Edition)

Star Trek: Insurrection (Newly Expanded Edition)GNP Crescendo’s final remastered score from one of the TNG-era Star Trek movies, Star Trek: Insurrection is a boisterous score to a movie that was trying so hard not to be a traditional action movie. Despite that (or perhaps because of it), Jerry Goldsmith was now the default option when it came to Star Trek movie music, having scored the previous feature film (1996’s Star Trek: Final Conflict to much acclaim. Goldsmith, this time operating on his own (First Contact had included significant input from his son, Joel Goldsmith), turned out a score with pastoral elements not unlike the main theme of First Contact, as well as the brand of pulsating action music which had been one of his hallmarks throughout his career.

The expanded release covers all the ground of Crescendo’s roughly-45-minute release from 1998, and fills in the blanks by completing the score and offering a few alternates and early takes on cues that were revised at the studio’s request. The difference between early drafts and final versions isn’t huge, as it turns out, but they offer some insight into the process of creating the movie’s music. Among the unreleased material, there’s quite a bit of repetition of the movie’s main action motif as well as its more serene themes for the peaceful Ba’ku, but at this point in the saga, the previously unreleased material isn’t as revelatory as it was with, say, Star Trek: The Motion Picture or Star Trek II. Goldsmith completists and Trek completists will be happy to have the unreleased segments of the score, but other than the upgrade in sound quality, there’s not much here to compel owners of the original 1998 release to upgrade.

One thing I noticed in listening to the full score: from an audio engineering standpoint, the entire score seems to be drenched with what can be most charitably described as an obnoxious amount of reverb. The orchestra is simply too echo-ey – it’s almost as if the microphones placed over specific instrument groups 3 out of 4didn’t record a signal, leaving the recording engineers with nothing but the wide-area room mic. At about 20 minutes in, I was growing very tired of that element of this soundtrack. I don’t recall if Insurrection always sounded this way, or if the shorter length of the 1998 release didn’t give the effect time to sink in. Insurrection is music that any action film would be happy to have, but by the high standards set by his other work in the franchise, it’s probably the dimmest corner of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek constellation.

Order this CD

  1. Ba’ku Village (6:56)
  2. Out of Orbit / Take Us In (1:45)
  3. Come Out (2:36)
  4. In Custody (1:16)
  5. Warp Capability / The Planet / Children’s Story (2:27)
  6. The Holodeck (4:36)
  7. How Old Are You / New Sight (6:11)
  8. Lost Ship / Prepare the Ship (2:40)
  9. As Long As We Can (1:35)
  10. Not Functioning / Send Your Ships (2:48)
  11. Growing Up / Wild Flowers / Photon Torpedo (2:43)
  12. The Drones Attack (4:12)
  13. The Riker Maneuver (3:10)
  14. Stay With Me (1:44)
  15. The Same Race (2:52)
  16. The Collector (1:10)
  17. No Threat (4:11)
  18. Tractor Beam (0:40)
  19. The Healing Process (revised) (5:04)
  20. The Healing Process (original version) (7:15)
  21. End Credits (5:29)
  22. Ba’ku Village (alternate ending) (3:52)
  23. The Holodeck (alternate ending) (1:33)
  24. Growing Up (alternate) (1:18)
  25. Tractor Beam (alternate) (0:41)

Released by: GNP Crescendo Records
Release date: August 6, 2013
Total running time: 1:18:44

Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The SeaInspiration is a tricky thing. It can show up in all possible ways and when you very least expect it. Jeff Mangum, the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel, wrote and composed most of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea after being inspired by reading The Diary Of Anne Frank, coupled with dreams he had about the girl and a Jewish family. Although the album isn’t explicitly about Frank, her presence lingers, either through the lyrics (“Anna’s ghost all around/hear her voice as it’s rolling and ringing through me”) or song titles (“Holland, 1945”). Like his inspiration, Mangum’s musical world is dreamlike, but also by turns jarring, soft, boisterous and confusing.

The album starts off with the song “The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. One”, in which the narrator describes having an intimate relationship with an unnamed person (“The King Of Carrot Flowers” (?) ) while living under a dysfunctional family (“And your mom would drink until she was no longer speaking/and dad would dream of all the different ways to die/each one a little more than he could dare to try”). By contrast, the next track, “The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. Two” has Jeff Mangum yelling loudly, “Jesus Christ, I love you!” If you were looking for any clear interpretations, you won’t find them in this album.

In the title track, acoustic guitars are backed by horns and a musical saw, giving it that “barely waking” feel. “Holland, 1945”, arguably the album’s catchiest track and also the album’s “single” (if you can call it that), starts with Mangum counting in the song before fuzzed out guitars explode with a driving drum beat while Mangum’s obscure lyricism continues: “The only girl I’ve ever loved/was born with roses in her eyes…Now she’s a little boy in Spain/playing pianos filled with flames”. “Untitled” has been described by some as “psychedelic bagpipes” and that’s not too far off from the truth.

I’ve heard reports that upon first listening to this album, some people have broken down and cried. Although I 4 out of 4cannot admit to such happenings, it doesn’t surprise me at all. I have never more raw emotion packed into a single album before In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, and I’ll doubt if I’ll hear it again. After the release of In The Aeroplane… Mangum broke up Neutral Milk Hotel and disappeared from the public eye. Released ten years ago, it still sounds as fresh and bold as the day it was written. This album will stay with you.

Order this CD

  1. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. One (2:00)
  2. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two & Three (3:06)
  3. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (3:22)
  4. Two-Headed Boy (4:26)
  5. The Fool (1:53)
  6. Holland, 1945 (3:12)
  7. Communist Daughter (1:57)
  8. Oh Comely (8:18)
  9. Ghost (4:08)
  10. (2:16)
  11. Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two (5:13)

Released by: Merge
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 39:51

Godzilla – music by David Arnold

Finally out after nine years (just one year shy of the movie’s tenth anniversary) David Arnold’s score for Roland Emmerich’s remake (a 2-CD set, limited to 3000 copies) of Tokyo’s resident bad boy displays all of the pluses and minuses of Arnold’s previous collaborations with Emmerich.

One of the most striking things that occurred to me when listening to this set was the fact that Arnold tends to compose similar music whenever the military is on screen at any given point. In fact, “Military Command Center” is a case in point. The drum beats alone tends to signify “Ten-shun!” whenever a military type enters the scene. Ironically, and much to Arnold’s regret according to the booklet’s liner notes (one of the most illuminating I have come across, by the way), the military in Emmerich’s opus doesn’t get as much screen time as one would expect in a film with the big G.

Another puzzling thing is that about halfway through the production process was the decision on Emmerich’s part to make his CGI big G as much a thing of wonder as of a thing of terror. Perhaps the most significant result of this sudden change of direction is “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”. At first the piece emphasizes the terror, but around the halfway mark it switches to an almost Williams-style feeling of awe and wonder.

Still, what this score does right, it does very right indeed. “The Beginning” does an excellent job of setting things up and while it’s not going to dethrone Akira Ifukube’s now-iconic theme anytime soon, it manages to display a sense of dread all its own. In fact, in the alternate version of this (no choir in the latter) it almost sounds remarkably similar to Ifukube’s previous work. Also, “Nick and Audrey” has a feel to it that’s more than a little reminiscent of John Barry.

4 out of 4In all, this is an album that many people have been waiting for a long time and whether you like the movie or not, the score itself should be listened to at least once, since it seems unlikely, despite Arnold’s optimism, that he’ll do another job for Emmerich anytime soon.

Order this CD

  1. The Beginning (3:29)
  2. Tanker Gets It (1:11)
  3. Chernobyl (3:13)
  4. Footprint (0:33)
  5. Footprints / New York / Audrey (0:54)
  6. Chewing Gum Nose (0:30)
  7. Ship Reveal / Nick Discovers Fish / Flesh (1:39)
  8. The Boat Gets It* (2:09)
  9. Dawn Of The Species (1:49)
  10. Joe Gets a Bite / Godzilla Arrives (3:11)
  11. Mayor’s Speech (1:03)
  12. Caiman’s Office (0:45)
  13. Animal’s Camera (1:39)
  14. Military Command Center / New Jersey (1:55)
  15. Audrey’s Idea (0:22)
  16. Evacuation (2:41)
  17. French Coffee (0:56)
  18. Subway Damage / Command Enters City (2:50)
  19. Fish (1:48)
  20. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? (5:13)
  21. 1st Helicopter Chase / Godzilla Swats A Chopper (4:08)
  22. We Fed Him / Audrey Sees Nick (1:21)
  23. Nick And Audrey / He’s Pregnant / Audrey Takes The Tape / French Breakfast (4:46)
  24. He’s Preparing To Feed (0:34)
  25. Nick Gets Fired / Nick Gets Abducted / Frenchie’s Warehouse / Nick Joins The Foreign Legion (5:47)
    Disc two

  1. Chewing Gum (1:51)
  2. Rumble In The Tunnel (1:35)
  3. Godzilla O Park / Godzilla Takes A Dive / Godzilla Versus The Submarine / Egg Discovery (9:42)
  4. Baby ‘Zillas Hatch* (3:51)
  5. Nick Phones For Help (1:28)
  6. Eat The French (2:14)
  7. Phillip Shoots The Lock (1:39)
  8. Nick’s Big Speech / The Garden Gets It (7:07)
  9. He’s Back! / Taxi Chase & Clue (7:06)
  10. Big G Goes To Monster Heaven (4:30)
  11. The End (4:05)

    Bonus Tracks

  12. The Beginning (no choir) (3:32)
  13. Footprints / New York / Audrey (alternate) (0:50)
  14. The Boat Gets It (alternate) (1:09)
  15. Gojira (Album Version) (2:46)

* contains material not used in the film

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2007
Disc one total running time: 55:28
Disc two total running time: 53:47