Doctor Who: Music from the New Audio Adventures, Volume 1Shrewd move, this. Big Finish Productions’ line of well-received radio-dramas-minus-the-radio spun off from the BBC’s much-lamented Doctor Who series has featured some above-average music. Big Finish has wisely decided to release some of the music on its own – and why not? They own the recordings, so they’re able to capitalize on them.

The proceedings kick off with the harpsichord-heavy menace of the period drama Phantasmagoria (the second Audio Adventure to hit the stores). The Fearmonger features some of the best music on the disc. Several suspenseful cues evoke memories of the best all-synth music of early 80s Doctor Who, while the more evocative “Butterflies” and “I Am Afraid” tracks remind me of Mark Ayres’ better music toward the end of the life span of the TV series. More vintage sounds are heard as The Marian Conspiracy relies heavily on recorders and pipes (or, at the very least, samples thereof). The Spectre Of Lanyon Moor, comprising the final eight tracks, has some very effective choral samples mixed in with instrumentation that evokes the tremendously effective Dudley Simpson scores of Tom Baker’s early adventures. It’s all very dark and menacing, but in an intimate way – which, in some cases, makes it all the scarier.

Alistair Lock has obviously done his homework – which consisted largely of growing up with the good Doctor’s adventures and absorbing a good deal of the series’ musical stylings. While bringing the sound into the modern day, Lock’s music stays faithful to the atmosphere of Doctor Who underscores past, and plays a big part in bringing the new adventures to life. Not to downplay the alternating musical contributions of Nicholas Briggs and Russell Stone, but Lock’s music gets it right on the money most of the time – even to the point that, having listened to all of the Audio Adventures thus far, I was hoping that Big Finish had a music CD in the wings before they even announced it.

One minor gripe: valuable time is taken by introducing each story’s music with yet another copy of its minute-or-so-long teaser (which many listeners will recognize from the “coming attractions” track at the end of most 4 out of 4of the Audio Adventures’ second discs). In a way, I suppose this CD serves as a marketing tool, but I really have to question whether anyone would buy the music CD without first having heard the audio dramas whence the music came? The result is nearly five minutes of the CD that could’ve contained music, rather than a promo most everyone will have heard already.

Order this CD

  1. Phantasmagoria trailer (1:17)
  2. Cards and Papers (1:40)
  3. Valentine’s Calling Card (4:37)
  4. Town Crier (1:53)
  5. Card Chase (5:18)
  6. House Hunting (1:53)
  7. Interlude (0:35)
  8. The Fearmonger trailer (1:07)
  9. First Shooting (2:42)
  10. Nightmare Rally (2:36)
  11. Bomb Threat (1:12)
  12. Kitchen Attack (1:11)
  13. Butterflies (3:21)
  14. I Am Afraid (2:20)
  15. A Word From Mike (0:07)
  16. The Marian Conspiracy trailer (1:10)
  17. Historic Argument (1:53)
  18. The Court Of Queen Mary (2:57)
  19. Religious Fervour (4:09)
  20. Tea With The Locals (2:37)
  21. Out Of Time (2:09)
  22. Marriage For The Doctor (1:10)
  23. Escape From The Tower (2:20)
  24. Rescued By An Angel (2:25)
  25. The Spectre Of Lanyon Moor trailer (1:15)
  26. Stranded (1:14)
  27. Ghosts Of The War (0:58)
  28. Imps On The Cliff (0:59)
  29. Recalling The Attack (1:35)
  30. Dead Soldiers (0:49)
  31. The Lab (4:07)
  32. Sancreda (4:17)
  33. Saving The World (3:11)

Released by: Big Finish Productions
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 72:41