Babylon 5: Falling Toward Apotheosis

Babylon 5: Falling Toward Apotheosis soundtrackAhh, yes! Sonic Images does actually listen to their buying public. The label has, for some time, had an e-mail address set up to take requests from Babylon 5 fans to determine which episode soundtracks will appear next, and Falling Toward Apotheosis – a critical early season 4 favorite of mine – has been on my want list for a long time. A fair-sized snippet of one scene appeared on the second B5 suite compilation, but ended before some of the best music in the episode, accompanying the (literally) thunderous exit of the Vorlon ship whose master is being ambushed inside the 4 out of 4station. There’s at least one cue, “The Vorlon Strikes Back”, which I don’t even recall hearing in the show – I even looked at it on tape again and couldn’t find it – so perhaps we have a first for the Babylon 5 episodics, a “we didn’t use it in the final show, but we’re putting it on CD anyway” cue of the sort which has long been a fixture on Star Trek: The Next Generation soundtracks. Exciting stuff!

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  1. Teaser (4:26)
    • Our Greatest Enemy Is Fear (1:32)
    • Main Title (1:27)
  2. Act One (6:56)
    • Garibaldi Reviews Videos (0:35)
    • Garibaldi Is Concerned (0:43)
    • Cartagia’s Madness (0:45)
  3. Act Two (4:36)
    • Garibaldi’s Physical Exam (0:29)
    • Interplanetary Emergency (1:35)
    • A Reason To Come Back (1:13)
    • Plan To Attack Kosh 2 (1:41)
  4. Act Three (5:14)
    • The Team Enters Kosh’s Quarters (1:15)
    • The Vorlon Fights Back (0:25)
    • Team Retreat (0:48)
    • Fighting Evil (3:05)
  5. Act Four (4:00)
    • Light Against Darkness (3:23)
    • G’kar’s Execution Scheduled (0:36)
  6. Act Five (4:55)
    • Gathering of the Fleet (0:56)
    • The Engagement Ring (1:05)
    • G’kar Loses His Eye (1:48)
    • End Title (0:37)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1999
Total running time: 23:03

Star Trek: The Motion Picture – 20th Anniversary Edition

Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionThank God! After years of waiting – literally years – the remastered Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack is available. Up until the 11th hour in December 1998, this 2-CD set was intended to be released at the same time as Star Trek: Insurrection‘s soundtrack and Ron Jones’ original music from the CD-ROM game Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. But Paramount’s marketing wing blanched at the thought of three simultaneous Star Trek music releases, and demanded that this collection and the Starfleet Academy album be held back indefinitely. Alas, Sonic Images’ Starfleet Academy CD has yet to see the light of day, but after hearing this digitally remastered soundtrack with its wealth of previously unreleased material, I begin to see why the Paramount brass was so worried. The power, exotic beauty and timelessness of the first Trek film’s soundtrack – even though composed by the same man who scored Star Trek: Insurrection – easily outshines damn near any other Star Trek CD that could’ve been released at the same time.

Disc one not only adds nearly half an hour of previously unreleased music from that first movie, but every cue is crisply remastered and sequenced in order of its original appearance in the movie. This places the lovely theme for the short-lived Lt. Ilia first on the disc, since it appeared in the movie as an overture over a blank screen. The second disc includes the entire contents of the hitherto hard-to-find Inside Star Trek LP released by Columbia in 1976. Inside Star Trek features several late luminaries – Gene Roddenberry, Mark Lenard, Isaac Asimov – discussing and lecturing on science fiction in general, and of course, Star Trek in particular. William Shatner and DeForest Kelley also appear on the album, which now has newly-recorded introductory and closing material by Nichelle Nichols. Inside Star Trek is seriously fannish novelty material. I have the original LP, given to me by a friend several years ago, and having heard it long ago, never expected to see an official CD release.

But back to the music from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. One quickly realizes that most of the material which is being heard on CD for the first time here makes up some of the score’s quieter moments – “Total Logic”, the cue which accompanies Spock’s rejection of Kolinahr; “Games”, a nicely understated cue which played under a scene of Decker trying to reacquaint an alien probe in the form of Lt. Ilia with her original memories, and a few others. Many of them are less otherworldly-sounding than the blaster beam laden V’Ger cues, but all of them are epic in scale and amazing to hear at full blast.

4 out of 4Though the “bonus CD” renders this a slightly more expensive purchase than usual, I cannot recommend the 20th anniversary edition of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack highly enough. Though the long wait for this release has been frustrating, to say the least, it’s definitely worth the wait.

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    Disc one

  1. Ilia’s Theme (3:01)
  2. Main Title (1:23)
  3. Klingon Attack (5:27)
  4. Total Logic (3:34)
  5. Floating Office (1:03)
  6. The Enterprise (5:59)
  7. Leaving Drydock (3:29)
  8. Spock’s Arrival (1:58)
  9. The Cloud (4:58)
  10. V’Ger Flyover (4:57)
  11. The Force Field (5:03)
  12. Games (3:41)
  13. Spock Walk (4:19)
  14. Inner Workings (3:09)
  15. V’Ger Speaks (3:50)
  16. The Meld (3:09)
  17. A Good Start (2:26)
  18. End Title (3:16)
    Disc two

  1. Star Trek Theme (1:34)
  2. Introduction – Nichelle Nichols (1:13)
  3. Inside Star Trek (1:04)
  4. William Shatner Meets Captain Kirk (9:12)
  5. Introduction to live show (0:25)
  6. About Science Fiction (0:40)
  7. The Origin of Spock (1:45)
  8. Sarek’s Son Spock – Mark Lenard (7:21)
  9. The Questor Affair (3:49)
  10. The Genesis II Pilot (2:34)
  11. Cyborg Tools and E.T. Life Forms (4:06)
  12. McCoy’s Rx for Life – DeForest Kelley (6:14)
  13. The Star Trek Philosophy – Gene Roddenberry (4:40)
  14. Asimov’s World of Science Fiction – Isaac Asimov (6:27)
  15. The Enterprise Runs Aground (1:50)
  16. A Letter from a Network Censor – Gene Roddenberry (5:03)
  17. The Star Trek Dream (Ballad I/Ballad II) (5:43)
  18. Sign-Off – Nichelle Nichols (0:50)

Released by: Columbia / Sony Legacy
Release date: 1999
Disc one total running time: 67:12
Disc two total running time:

Babylon 5: Thirdspace

Babylon 5: Thirdspace soundtrackIn the second Babylon 5 movie made for TNT (though the first produced), a gigantic alien object of unknown origin is discovered, and the crew of B5 form an uneasy alliance with an unscrupulous Earth research company to investigate. The origins and purpose of the huge device turns out to be more horrific than anyone suspects. Thirdspace, as a story, was less than original, though tremendous production values and the usual sure-fire appeal of the Babylon 5 cast kept it from seeming totally derivative.

If there was one aspect of Thirdspace I liked, it was a recurring theme for Lyta’s psychic connection with the artifact. Its strong resemblance to one of my favorite classical pieces – Holst’s “Neptune” – caught my attention on the first viewing (even if most of the movie’s storyline didn’t). There’s also another motif for the artifact, the unmistakable howl of the theremin, which works in some situations and becomes a clichè in others. This was an instance of the latter – Thirdspace‘s plot already seemed to be borrowed from countless sources, but the theremin-laden musical passages gave me flashbacks to black & white 1950s Universal horror flicks. The subliminal effect of a musical score can work against a production sometimes, and in this case, that vague pop-cultural association with cheesy horror movies stuck in my mind immediately. A somewhat more specific element borrowed from elsewhere shows up with a horn call in the “Bots Destroyed” cue – it sounds an awful lot like a motif from “The Dish” cue on the Star Trek: First Contact CD. In all fairness, I can’t honestly say that these things detracted from the show or made me think any less of it, but the similarities to other works did register on a subconscious level.

4 out of 4Overall, however, I have to give Franke credit for creating a score which borrowed only minimally from his previous Babylon 5 music, a complaint I had with the otherwise outstanding soundtrack from In The Beginning, the first of the B5 movies to air on TNT. Even with the subliminal associations to other music and other movies, Thirdspace makes for an enjoyable soundtrack.

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  1. Act One (7:13)
    • Battle To Survive (3:21)
    • Back To the Station (0:40)
    • Telepathic Mindflash (0:17)
    • Vision Of A Shade (0:20)
    • Hearing The Sound (0:33)
    • The Bizarre Object (2:00)
  2. Act Two (9:00)
    • The Monstrous Artifact Arrives (2:14)
    • Truth Is Inconvenient (3:10)
    • There Is Danger (1:51)
    • We Have A Deal (1:13)
    • Lyta’s Nightmare (1:14)
    • Bots Take Off (1:19)
  3. Act Three (13:50)
    • Bots Destroyed (0:50)
    • You Have To Stop It (1:07)
    • Lyta’s History (2:10)
    • A Distant World (2:12)
    • It Could Change Everything (1:11)
    • The Black Tower (0:40)
    • Ivanova’s Wild Dream (0:42)
    • It’s Calling All Of Us (0:42)
    • The Vision Of Thirdspace (2:34)
    • We Have Contact (1:39)
  4. Act Four (11:51)
    • Activated Artifact (1:02)
    • Under Outside Control (1:34)
    • Launch The Fighters (1:15)
    • The Vorlon Legacy (6:45)
    • Ivanova Arrests Dr. Trent (1:15)
  5. Act Five (15:09)
    • Mobilization (0:44)
    • Start The Attack (2:46)
    • Vir’s Fight (1:38)
    • Inside The Artifact (6:02)
    • Sheridan Drifting In Space (0:56)
    • One Mistake Out Of So Many (1:48)
    • End Credits (1:15)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1999
Total running time: 59:22