Invasion – music by Jon Ehrlich & Jason Derlatka

InvasionPromoted heavily going into the fall 2005 television season, Invasion seemed like the perfect stablemate for ABC’s Lost. They both had running, peel-back-the-onion-layers mystery storylines, set in relatively affordable locations for production purposes. Invasion also had Shaun Cassidy on its side – the former pop star turned writer/producer had created cult hits before, including the creepy and much-loved American Gothic. Surely, sooner or later, Cassidy’s way with plot and characters would hit one out of the park, and maybe Invasion would be the ball that went sailing over the fence. Right?

Not so fast. Mere weeks before its premiere, Invasion’s premise – strange things going on in a Florida community ravaged by a gigantic hurricane – had its thunder stolen by the real-life Hurricane Katrina, which turned the vibrant city of New Orleans into something worse than any disaster movie had ever shown us. ABC yanked the show’s promotion immediately, stealing Invasion’s thunder; a series of frequent time slot changes seemed to indicate that the network was quietly hoping that Invasion and its potentially-insensitive hurricane plotline would vanish before it caused any controversy.

The series was rather gripping stuff, and it got a fascinating musical treatment from composers Jon Erlich and Jason Derlatka – a bit of a side gig for the duo that was also scoring every episode of another new series called House M.D. Erlich and Derlatka created a web of interlocking themes and compositions that fit the show’s characters like a glove, from the solo string lament of alien-possessed Dr. Mariel Underlay (Earth: Final Conflict’s Kari Matchett) to the menacing rumble of her husband, who was somehow behind the whole plan to give an alien presence a foothold on Earth, using the mayhem of the hurricane as a cover for their operation. The seamy underbelly of the south is always present, but so too is are blasts of orchestra – all the more surprising because the show wasn’t wall-to-wall orchestra – signifying the alien presence in motion. Two conjoined tracks in particular, “Hybrids And Labor” and “Hurricane Approaching”, are truly big-screen stuff.

Curiously missing is the ten-second burst of discord that stood in for opening titles (a case of ABC pushing too hard to mold Invasion into the perfect partner for Lost, which had a similar opening title treatment). Many of the tracks are exceedingly short by the standard of commercially-released soundtrack albums, but they also fade into the next track gracefully – unless you’re watching the numbers on your CD player, you’d probably think you’re listening to longer, continuous compositions.

Invasion amassed a cult following noisy enough to request/demand a 4 out of 4soundtrack release, but not a very big one: Swedish soundtrack boutique label Moviescore Media released only 1,000 copies of Invasion worldwide, one of the only pieces of merchandise that Invasion ever spawned (and it wasn’t released until long after the series’ cancellation). The soundtrack covers most of the key moments of Invasion’s solitary season on television, and it holds up well even without the sweaty tropical visuals of the show.

Order this CD

  1. The Lights (2:02)
  2. Russ & Larkin (1:31)
  3. Mariel Swims / They’ve Lost Their Mother (2:33)
  4. Sirk’s Abduction (1:37)
  5. Szura (1:20)
  6. The Rose (2:28)
  7. Angel Mariel / Island Of Hybrid Castaways (2:55)
  8. The Locket (1:14)
  9. M.R.I. (2:10)
  10. Hybrids In Labor (0:35)
  11. Hurricane Approaching (0:38)
  12. Couldn’t Save Them (0:40)
  13. Pria’s Story (0:48)
  14. Finding Mariel (1:57)
  15. Emily’s Theme (1:17)
  16. There’s A Boat Coming (3:11)
  17. Kira & Sirk (1:38)
  18. Hybrid Experiments (1:19)
  19. Larkin Crashes (0:47)
  20. Species Transformation (2:49)
  21. The Battle (1:43)
  22. Help Arrives (1:38)
  23. Blogspeak (1:49)
  24. Baby Steps (1:32)
  25. Leon (2:20)
  26. Last Moments (1:18)
  27. Stalker (1:06)
  28. Scrub It (1:45)
  29. Larkin’s Shower (1:29)
  30. Evolution (3:25)
  31. Human Genocide (0:57)
  32. When They First Met (2:06)
  33. Do You Care Now? (2:17)
  34. Mob Rule / Moving Toward The Light (1:37)
  35. Full Circle (2:58)

Released by: MovieScore Media
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 61:29

WALL-E – music by Thomas Newman

WALL-EThis is the soundtrack of a movie whose composer was either in love with the assignment, or lived in fear of it. Most movie scores are tasked with the job of underlining the emotional intent of any given scene, but with most movies this job is occasionally obscured by dialogue or sound effects. WALL-E had sound effects aplenty, but instead of dialogue, virtually the first half hour of the movie is expressed in terms of “robotic” processed grunts and exclamations. There are visual cues to the emotions being expressed, but the bulk of the legwork falls to the music: a unique opportunity for any composer to shine, but also a daunting task for modern-day composers accustomed to dialing the music back to make room for dialogue.

Thomas Newman, who had already worked with Pixar on Finding Nemo, took on the task and delivered what may be one of the best film scores of the 2000s, hands down. There’s a lot of music on the CD – and there’s a heap of music in the movie as well. Occasionally there’s a little burst of sound effects and “robot dialogue” from the movie in between songs, but to its credit, it never overlaps the music – and to be honest, I’d buy a whole CD of Ben Burtt’s brilliant soundscapes because the former Star Wars sound guru topped himself here.

The three songs heard prominently in the movie are heard here – the Louis Armstrong version of “La Vie En Rose” and the two numbers from Hello Dolly! – as well as Peter Gabriel‘s hammer-the-theme-of-the-movie-home end credits song “Down To Earth” (which, to be honest, I liked better than either of the albums he’s foisted on us since being involved with this movie).

The bulk of the soundtrack is taken up with Newman’s intricate, well-thought-out score, though. In some ways, he does the same thing Jerry Goldsmith did with Logan’s Run, but in reverse order: the “exterior” scenes on Earth and treated orchestrally, but once WALL-E boards the Axiom and enters the woeful artificial environment now inhabited by the descendants of the human race, our glimpses into life aboard that ship and the scenes involving the Axiom robots are given an electronic (but still melodic and playful) sound. As the action centers more and more on the fate of the sample of a live plant from Earth, the music returns to the orchestral vein, because the Earth is what’s at stake.

Tracks such as “The Spaceship”, “Worry Wait”, “EVE Retrieve”, “Hyperjump” and “WALL-E’s Pod Adventure” are orchestral spectaculars befitting just about any big-screen science fiction epic you could name. The music here has the entire weight of carrying the implications to the audience, and does the job brilliantly. Newman treats these scenes as Serious Events without worrying about scaring the kids off with spooky or scary music – so much so that even my own son has been asking me what the music “means,” enabling me to kick open some interesting conversations about soundtrack music and music in general with him. At the age of four. Thank you, Mr. Newman, for not “talking down” to the audience.

That’s not to say that the soundtrack doesn’t have a sense of humor. “First Date,” accompanying a montage of WALL-E sheltering the inert EVE from the elements (scenes that director Andrew Stanton reportedly wanted set to the vapid tune of “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”), gets the kind of music you’d expect from a first date movie montage, except that most movies don’t have the girlfriend sitting comatose and unresponsive throughout the proceedings. The music is deceptively cheerful and becomes its own punch line.

Aboard the Axiom, there are some standout electronic and electronic/orchestral tracks – “Foreign Contaminant”, “Repair Ward” and “72 Degrees And Sunny” among them – which convey the robotic precision of the Axiom’s automated crew a mixture of acoustic and electronic percussion and a lot of intricate guitar progressions from George Doering (a veteran session guitarist who’s also played on numerous Star Trek soundtracks). The dreamy “Define Dancing” was rescored late in production so Newman could hint at “Down To Earth,” which he co-wrote with Peter Gabriel.

Late in the movie, as the humans have to shake off the shackles of their own mechanical support systems in order to regain some semblance of a human existence and return to Earth, tracks like “March Of The Gels”, “Tilt”, “Desperate EVE” and “Mutiny!” – the latter of which sounds in places like it could’ve been part of The Matrix, of all things – combine the two approaches.

4 out of 4It’s a brilliantly cohesive collection of music for a movie that actually has meaning, and I applaud Disney for putting an entire album of orchestral score out there for the young set. The soundtrack album from WALL-E may just have the effect on my son’s generation that the soundtrack from Star Wars had on me. And that’s not a bad thing at all. This is one of the best genre soundtracks of the past decade from one of the best genre movies of the past decade.

  1. Put On Your Sunday Clothes performed by Michael Crawford (1:17)
  2. Order this CD2815 A.D. (3:28)
  3. WALL-E (2:00)
  4. The Spaceship (1:42)
  5. EVE (1:02)
  6. Thrust (0:41)
  7. Bubble Wrap (0:50)
  8. La Vie En Rose performed by Louis Armstrong (3:24)
  9. Eye Surgery (0:40)
  10. Worry Wait (1:19)
  11. First Date (1:19)
  12. EVE Retrieve (2:19)
  13. The Axiom (2:24)
  14. BNL (0:20)
  15. Foreign Contaminant (2:06)
  16. Repair Ward (2:20)
  17. 72 Degrees and Sunny (3:12)
  18. Typing Bot (0:47)
  19. Septuacentennial (0:15)
  20. Gopher (0:40)
  21. WALL-E’s Pod Adventure (1:13)
  22. Define Dancing (2:23)
  23. No Splashing No Diving (0:47)
  24. All That Love’s About (0:37)
  25. M-O (0:47)
  26. Directive A-113 (2:05)
  27. Mutiny! (1:28)
  28. Fixing WALL-E (2:08)
  29. Rogue Robots (2:03)
  30. March of the Gels (0:54)
  31. Tilt (2:00)
  32. The Holo-Detector (1:07)
  33. Hyperjump (1:04)
  34. Desperate EVE (0:57)
  35. Static (1:43)
  36. It Only Takes a Moment performed by Michael Crawford (1:07)
  37. Down to Earth performed by Peter Gabriel (5:58)
  38. Horizon 12.2 (1:27)

Released by: Walt Disney Records
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 61:54

The John Baker Tapes, Volume 1: BBC Radiophonics

The John Baker Tapes, Volume 1As one of the early geniuses who performed, composed and experimented as the legendary (and now sadly defunct) BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the late John Baker created offbeat music and special sounds that fitted in perfectly with the Workshop’s “house style” (if indeed it can be said to have had one), and yet Baker’s pieces have something that make them uniquely his: just a little bit of soul. Which is a good trick to pull off when you’re making sounds by manipulating tape recordings of “found sounds” into music.

This volume concentrates almost exclusively on his output from the Radiophonic Workshop, much of it consisting of work for the BBC’s regional radio stations. The station IDs (or, as they’re called here, “idents”) were different for Radio London than for Radio Sheffield, for example – all giving Baker an opportunity to make music out of things like the sound of water pouring from a bottle, a ruler tapping the edge of a table and so on.

Of all the Radiophonic Workshop’s mad acoustic scientists, Baker seemed to have a distinctly jazzy sensibility; some of his tracks here turn his unusual sounds into a whole new sub-genre of “crime jazz” soundtrack music, with a dark, sinister feel to them. Unlike some of his peers, Baker was unafraid to mix “real” instruments in with his radiophonic sounds, and it’s in these darkly jazzy tracks the sound of a sax or a real bass guitar can make all the difference in mood. Many of his radio idents are bubbly and cheerful, and there are a few cues, intended as underscores for radio dramas and other programs, that have their own distinctive feel.

One of the most interesting tracks is a recording of Baker himself, appearing on one of the radio programs for which he’d created some very distinctive music, responding to listeners’ queries about how the music was made. He dissects the piece of music down to individual elements (which may or may not have been on a true multitrack tape – often in the 1950s and early 1960s, the Workshop had to “multitrack” by manually starting different tape playback machines and hoping that they’d sync up – and having to start over if they didn’t).

I’ve eagerly snapped up the various BBC Radiophonic Workshop reissues and retrospectives issued in recent years, and I’m happy to report very little material repeated from those collections; even if 4 out of 4you’ve got a fairly exhaustive Radiophonic Workshop collection, much of this material will still be new to you, so volume 1 of The John Baker Tapes isn’t a waste of money. It’s an invaluable archive offering an educational insight into early advances in electronic music, as explored by one of its unsung innovators.

Order this CD

  1. Newstime BBC (0:23)
  2. Tros Y Gareg (Main Theme) (2:50)
  3. Tros Y Gareg (Idents) (0:21)
  4. 20th Century Focus (2:24)
  5. Vendetta: The Ice Cream Man (1:19)
  6. Woman’s Hour (Reading Your Letters) (1:47)
  7. Many A Slip (0:58)
  8. Look And Read (0:36)
  9. Building The Bomb (6:26)
  10. Au Printemps (2:28)
  11. Big Ben News Theme (0:33)
  12. Codename (1:03)
  13. Decimal Currency (0:20)
  14. Barnacle Bill (0:21)
  15. Dial M For Murder (2:25)
  16. Farm Management (0:31)
  17. Radio Sheffield (News Idents) (0:45)
  18. French Science And Technology (0:40)
  19. Good Morning Wales (Idents) (0:37)
  20. Heavy Plant Crossing (0:59)
  21. COI Technology Pavilion (9:31)
  22. John Baker Interview (Radio Nottingham) (2:34)
  23. Radio Nottingham Idents (0:34)
  24. Look North: Newstime (0:50)
  25. Man Alive: UFO (1:15)
  26. PM – Computers In Business (0:40)
  27. Submarines (1:59)
  28. Oranges And Lemons (Radio London) (2:37)
  29. Orbit (0:47)
  30. Places For People (0:47)
  31. Sling Your Hook (2:28)
  32. Suivez La Piste (0:49)
  33. Scene (Never Never) (1:40)
  34. Diary Of A Madman (3:54)
  35. The Two O’Clock Spot (0:58)
  36. Radio London: News Idents (0:25)
  37. The Caves Of Steel (3:12)
  38. The Locusts (0:47)
  39. Square Two (0:30)
  40. The Tape Recorder (1:11)
  41. Tom Tom (Theme) (0:43)
  42. Tom Tom (Idents) (0:15)
  43. Trial (Opening Theme) (0:35)
  44. Trial (Closing Theme) (1:22)
  45. Vendetta The Sugar Man (2:01)
  46. Spin Off (0:21)
  47. Radiophonic FX C (0:10)
  48. Radiophonic FX A (0:54)
  49. Radiophonic FX B (0:34)

Released by: Trunk Records
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 72:09

Rubber Universe – Parliament Of Fooles

Rubber Universe - Parliament Of FoolesA few years ago, I raved at great length about L.E.O., a loose collective of (largely) indie label power-pop veterans joining forces to pay a “stylistic” tribute to Electric Light Orchestra without covering any of the band’s existing songs. I’ve always held ELO and Alan Parsons Project in a similarly high esteem – both of them routinely turning out engrossing, lush music with stellar production – so it’s good to find Rubber Universe, a band which offers up a similar “stylistic tribute” to Parsons.

Where it was easy to figure out the object of L.E.O.’s musical affections, Rubber Universe is almost like a tribute – or, better yet, a whole new entry – to prog rock in general. The band states up front that their chief inspiration was Parsons, but in a couple of places (namely on the tracks “Paint My World” and “Nine Minutes ‘Till Midnight”) they also remind one forcefully of the Moody Blues at the height of their early ’70s experimentation (i.e. when their every release was mind-blowing and not just in service of a paint-by-numbers tour), and occasionally – especially in those songs with a healthy dose of female vocals – Clannad comes to mind.

Not that Rubber Universe is slavishly imitating anyone. The admission to having sprung from a tribute/cover band may be a way to automatically grab the attention of a certain fanbase, but Parliament Of Fooles is a fresh new entry in the prog rock pantheon on its own; the whole “former cover band” line in the publicity material may end up being counterproductive. The project (no pun intended) may have started as a cover band that wanted to do something original, but while Parsons fans will appreciate it, it’s nothing that screams “Hey, they’re trying to sound like the Alan Parsons Project.”

Though in a few places, they kinda do, with a little help from their friends: Project guitar god Ian Bairnson contributes to one track, while Godfrey Townsend, Parsons’ current touring guitarist, plays on another. The real coup, however – if those two weren’t enough to lend it the seal of Parsons Project authenticity – is a spoken-word intro for “Let Me Rule Your Heart” by the Project’s most famous vocalist and co-founder, the late Eric Woolfson.

If there’s one trap that Parliament Of Fooles falls victim to, it’s a tendency for most of the songs to hover in the same mid-tempo territory. The good news is that, when a song that breaks that mold comes along (i.e. “Romance Of The Illusion”), it instantly stands out, but much of the album sticks around the same tempo; any second effort from Rubber Universe would do well to vary things a bit more.

But for a freshman outing by a new band, especially one that has one hell of a musical and production pedigree to live up to, built into its mission statement, Rubber Universe is an outfit that bears close 3 out of 4watching – and repeat listening. Though fans of the Alan Parsons Project, they’ve proven that they’re more than ready to carve their own path, and with Parsons’ own output having dropped to less-than-prodigious levels in the past 20 years, I’d welcome a new entity making music with the same expansive feel.

Order this CD

  1. Negative Spaces (4:23)
  2. Dream Catcher (6:53)
  3. Romance Of The Illusion (2:16)
  4. Madness In Slumberland (4:18)
  5. Garden Of Earthly Delights (3:54)
  6. Let Me Rule Your Heart featuring Eric Woolfson (5:36)
  7. Paint My World (3:35)
  8. We Insist (Place De Greve Mix) (5:05)
  9. Goodbye My Love (2:02)
  10. Trying To Go On (4:40)
  11. Nine Minutes ‘Till Midnight featuring Godfrey Townsend (4:04)
  12. Parliament Of Fooles featuring Ian Bairnson (5:47)

Released by: Rubber Universe
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 52:33

Read More

Reset Generation – music by 8-Bit Weapon

Reset Generation - music by 8-Bit WeaponA collection of short, punchy instrumental pieces composed for Nokia’s Reset Generation game – which itself pays tribute to numerous games of yesteryear – 8-Bit Weapon’s soundtrack has a lot in common with the old video games that I like: the tunes are addictive, make me want to come back for more, and don’t hang around long enough to get old. Not a bad combination, really.

One thing that may throw listeners off, however, is the brevity I’m talking about above: many of the tracks barely clock in at over one minute, and many of them begin and end very abruptly. The latter is no accident: the tracks are meant to “loop” repeatedly during specific scenes and levels of Reset Generation itself. Fortunately, the tracks are timed out in such a way that one tune’s end leads directly into the next track almost seamlessly. Any one track by itself might seem to be an abrupt listening experience, but the entire soundtrack is a fun listen.

Highlights include “Power Up Pumpin'”, “Micro Anthem 2a03” (named after the NES’ sound chip), “64 Rocker”, “Rock Music Entry 6581” and the Leviathan mix of the Reset Generation theme – to name just a few. Those are just my favorites, but to an extent, all of the Reset Generation tracks are earworms that will prove difficult to dislodge from your head after you’ve heard them.

Included as a bonus track is “2D Died”, a riff on Don McLean’s “American Pie” (as in “the day 2D [gaming] died”) which does a great job of updating the original song into a chiptune extravaganza with vocoder-ized vocals. My one issue with “2D Died” is the same issue I have with “American Pie” itself (or, for that matter, “Sweet Home Alabama”: the first three minutes or so are okay, and after that I start looking at track time remaining because the same melody/chord structure is just repeating. I don’t know if that’s even 4 out of 4something to dock points for: 8-Bit Weapon is only paying homage to the 7+ minute original. And in any case, I like it better than Madonna’s update of the same song, but it’s just not something I feel compelled to listen to repeatedly, though its lyrics are pretty clever. But the rest of the album – which, by the way, can be downloaded free via the link below – is 8-Bit Weapon gold: repeat listening is compulsory (and with the loop-ready nature of the tracks, it’s even repeat-button-friendly!).

Order this CD

  1. Reset Generation Anthem (3:42)
  2. Aphex Tweek (1:26)
  3. Dungeon Derivative (0:54)
  4. Blip Bwop (1:16)
  5. Little Lost Lazer Boy (1:01)
  6. Lethargic Menace (1:16)
  7. Bubble Twin Bonanza (1:04)
  8. Where Fools Tread (1:01)
  9. Chiptune Chump (1:19)
  10. Commodore Base (1:20)
  11. Micro Anthem 2a03 (1:35)
  12. 64 Rocker (1:12)
  13. Krafty Noob (1:16)
  14. Tricky Game (1:04)
  15. Reset Generation Anthem – Leviathan Mix (1:22)
  16. Nin10do Raver (0:59)
  17. Breakin’ Bits (1:20)
  18. Macro Boogie (0:57)
  19. Power Up Pumpin’ (1:20)
  20. BootySoft Inc. (0:57)
  21. Corrupt Conscript Festival (1:25)
  22. SID Vicious (1:55)
  23. Rock Music Entry 6581 (1:04)
  24. Reset Generation Anthem – Sinister Mix (1:13)
  25. 2D Died (7:43)

Released by: 8-Bit Weapon / Nokia
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 39:41

Tim Finn – The Conversation

Tim Finn - The ConversationSome concept albums try to tell a specific story, while, with some concept albums, the “concept” is built around specific musical parameters – we’re only going to use these instruments, or we’re only going to play live with no overdubs. In the case of Tim Finn’s The Conversation, it’s the latter kind of concept album: reuniting with fellow Split Enz alumni Eddie Rayner on piano and Miles Golding on violin, Tim Finn aims for nothing less than a folk-rock version of chamber music.

Now, this isn’t to say that it’s strictly lo-fi. Within that very specific combination of instruments, there are plenty of possibilities for a variety of sounds. The opening track, “Straw To Gold”, ends with a searing duet between violin and electric guitar. “Only A Dream” takes on a dreamy, almost-old-school bluegrass/country flavor with its guitar work. Out of the entire album, only “Forever Thursday” has drums at all. One guest musician brings a special touch to one particular song; “The Saw And The Tree”, which turns out to be an anti-domestic-violence song, features an actual saw solo that, against Golding’s violin work in the background, is positively haunting. The “limited range of instruments” turns out not to be much of a limit at all here.

The presence of Split Enz musicians doesn’t mean that this is a particularly Enz-y album, although it seems as though Finn’s Enz experiences inform the lyrics in many cases. Musically, the closest The Conversation gets to the Split Enz ethos is the light-hearted “Great Return”, and the Enz-iest element of that song is Rayner’s piano work. As Golding was dropped from the Enz lineup very early in the 1970s, when the band went from acoustic to electric, it’s hard to nail any of his performances down as particularly Enz in nature, and even so, there are almost 40 years of professional classical concert performance that stand a slightly better chance of being a musical influence on him. Lyrically, “Fall From Grace” references the Enz song “Maybe” and seems to be Finn’s equivalent of “All Those Years Ago”, while one wonders if “More Fool Me” isn’t a song whose words are pointed at a certain Mr. Judd.

4 out of 4In the end, though, The Conversation is not only uniquely Tim Finn, but it’s fairly unique within Tim Finn’s body of work; I’d be very surprised to hear him do another album in this style, but The Conversation – despite its sparse arrangements – is substantial enough that it’s a very worthwhile detour from Finn’s usual fare.

Order this CD

  1. Straw To Gold (3:57)
  2. Out Of This World (3:01)
  3. The Saw & The Tree (4:04)
  4. Slow Mystery (4:00)
  5. Rearview Mirror (3:43)
  6. Only A Dream (2:31)
  7. Fall From Grace (2:42)
  8. Invisible (3:51)
  9. Snowbound (2:57)
  10. Great Return (3:02)
  11. Imaginary Kingdom (3:17)
  12. Forever Thursday (2:57)
  13. More Fool Me (3:41)

Released by: Capitol
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 43:43

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – music by Bear McCreary

Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesSince making a splash in the film music scene with his distinctive music for the new Battlestar Galactica, Bear McCreary has earned not only acclaim, but a very busy schedule on the scoring stage. In addition to direct-to-DVD horror movies like the Rest Stop series, McCreary has also taken over the musical duties on Sci-Fi’s Eureka, and in each case, he’s done so in such a way that the results don’t scream “This is the guy who does the music for Battlestar Galactica” – and really, that’s a good thing. That’s the sort of diverse talent that keeps composers employed.

For those wishing that there was more music in the same vein as Galactica’s percussive moodiness, though, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fits the bill. The series itself kicked off with the same kind of world-weary hope-in-the-face-of-a-fatalistic-future tone that Galactica has carried throughout its run, but let’s face it, it’s almost certain that Galactica’s wall-of-percussion action scenes are what landed McCreary this job. The Sarah Connor Chronicles utilizes plenty of metallic percussion, though often sampled and processed heavily – appropriate for a show that deals with robotic assassins from the future.

Galactica fans will also find this show’s use of a small string ensemble familiar, appearing at several points in the soundtrack to deliver low-key, almost mournful moments in stark contrast to the pounding percussion. Both elements come together in the show’s end title theme, with an effect that’s equal parts apocalyptic and Celtic. Unlike the main title theme, which is heavy on percussion and light on melody, the end titles are based on “Sarah Connor’s Theme” (heard in full on track 3).

On the opposite end of the spectrum from that theme, there’s the busy, almost Art Of Noise-like “Motorcycle Robot Chase”, loaded with scraping metal percussion, stuttering electronic sting notes, and just plain noise. Needless to say, this track goes nuts in a way that wouldn’t fit on Galactica – it’s uniquely Sarah Connor Chronicles, and easily the busiest track on the entire album by miles.

Two songs are included, “Samson And Delilah” (performed by Shirley Manson of Garbage, who joined the cast as part of a rethink of the show’s format in season two), and the raucous “Ain’t We Famous”, performed by Brendan McCreary and his band (also responsible for some of Galactica’s more mainstream musical moments, such as “All Along The Watchtower”). “Samson And Delilah” didn’t really strike me as radically different from anything I’ve heard from Ms. Manson before, but “Ain’t We Famous” is a fun, rockin’ number that stands up to repeat listening better. An homage to Carl Stalling – about the last thing I expected to hear here – is included as well (“Atomic Al’s Merry Melody”).

4 out of 4I’m going to fess up that I’m not a huge fan of the show itself, but its music is certainly worthy of attention. Fans of Battlestar Galactica’s music will enjoy this one, whether they’ve followed the series or not, because it’s on very familiar ground (and yet slightly different) musically. This’ll tide you over until the next Galactica soundtrack quite nicely.

Order this CD

  1. Samson And Delilah (4:58)
  2. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Main Titles (0:45)
  3. Sarah Connor’s Theme (3:17)
  4. Cromartie In The Hospital (1:10)
  5. Andy Goode’s Turk (3:11)
  6. Central America (1:34)
  7. John And Riley (2:27)
  8. Derek Reese (2:53)
  9. Ain’t We Famous (3:36)
  10. Motorcycle Robot Chase (2:50)
  11. The Hand Of God (3:10)
  12. Prisoners Of War (6:26)
  13. Miles Dyson’s Grave (2:43)
  14. Atomic Al’s Merry Melody (1:23)
  15. The Reese Boys (1:41)
  16. Removing Cameron’s Chip (3:15)
  17. Ellison Spared (2:23)
  18. I Love You (2:30)
  19. Catherine Weaver (2:05)
  20. Derek’s Mission (1:47)
  21. There’s A Storm Coming (3:02)
  22. Highway Battle (3:58)
  23. Perfect Creatures (2:15)
  24. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles End Titles (0:35)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 63:54