Slipstream – music by Elmer Bernstein

SlipstreamLong coveted by soundtrack collectors, Elmer Bernstein’s Slipstream accompanies a movie that flew under nearly everyone’s radar in 1989. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine that a movie starring Mark Hamiill and Bill Paxton, and directed by Steven “creator of Tron” Lisberger, could’ve escaped the collective geek consciousness, especially when it’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi western (more Mad Max than Firefly), but admit it: you don’t remember hearing about this movie either, much less seeing it.

Obviously, however, someone recalls hearing it: the Slipstream soundtrack has been one of the most-requested (and therefore, perversely, elusive) Elmer Bernstein scores from the late composer’s catalog. Bernstein himself had even gone through the trouble of selecting and sequencing tracks for a soundtrack album, but the movie’s failure to fly at the box office nixed those plans. After the composer’s death in 2004, the Slipstream master tapes, like the rest of his work, became part of a collection donated to the University of Southern California. When Perseverance Records set out to meet the demand for a Slipstream CD, they discovered that Bernstein had done much of the work for them.

Musically, Slipstream sounds like a spiritual cousin to Bernstein’s music from Ghostbusters. Both movies’ scores lean heavily on the theremin-like sound of the Ondes Martenot, an instrument whose unusual sound Bernstein championed as something of a personal crusade. Two of the best tracks highlighting this unique sound are “Dreams” and “Lost Android”. The movie’s 3 out of 4
post-apocalyptic world shows humans rediscovering flight, and these scenes get big, soaring musical accompaniment.

I’d heard enough rave reviews of this music over the years that picking it up without having seen the movie itself was a no-brainer; fans of Bernstein’s contributions to Ghostbusters and Heavy Metal will like this one.

  1. Prologue and Pursuit (3:13)
  2. Escape (3:01)
  3. Dreams (4:07)
  4. Lost Android (3:02)
  5. Slipstream People (2:49)
  6. Avatar (4:53)
  7. Travel To Dance (5:56)
  8. Sacrifice (3:11)
  9. Museum Society (3:54)
  10. Android Love (2:54)
  11. Revenge and Resolution (12:21)

Released by: Perseverance Records
Release date: 2011
Total running time: 49:20