If there were two more different episodes, music-wise, in Guy Gross’ tenure as the composer-in-residence for Farscape, I can’t think of them. This first release in a tentative series (as of this writing, only 1200 copies each of two volumes have been released) of complete episode scores jumps straight into the third season for the amusing, mostly-animated Revenging Angel and the horror-themed Eat Me. Put ’em together, and sure, maybe you have a slightly schizophrenic CD, but you also have one which demonstrates what a find Guy Gross was, and why he was handed the musical reins of the show early in season 2.
As Revenging Angel‘s animation was an unashamedly overt homage to the glory days of Warner Bros.’ Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies, Gross tips his hat to the late, great Carl Stalling for much of that episode’s score – even when the action wasn’t necessarily animated. Rather than saying that he skillfully keeps one foot planted in a cartoon mindset and one foot in the show’s usual scoring style, it’s more accurate to say that he manages to keep one entire foot, and all but the small toe of the other foot, in Stalling territory, with that one toe still anchored in what one would normally expect to hear from an episode of Farscape. Stalling isn’t the only target here either, as “Also Sprach Zarathustra” – a.k.a. the main theme from 2001 – is quoted frequently…cartoon-style, of course.
Eat Me is quite literally a completely different animal, with guttural brass samples twisted into something almost like whalesong for that episode’s diseased Leviathan. Just about every musical convention of horror filmmaking that you can think of can be found here, from slithery, dissonant string runs to eerie echo effects. The musical palette isn’t as dense as it here for Revenging Angel, but Gross manages to evoke an atmosphere of something going horribly wrong with his sparse arrangements alone. Conceptually, Eat Me wasn’t the most pleasant hour of TV ever made, so its discordant music fits perfectly.
However, the real find on this CD may be the Gross-era theme itself. Gross altered the show’s original opening title music to suit the expanding, increasingly epic storyline, taking it from exotic vocals plus tribal percussion to a sweeping orchestral/choral piece with exotic vocals and percussion. As this version of the theme hasn’t been released before – the previous Farscape album, released by GNP Crescendo, was out before Gross made his changes – it’s a great thing to have on CD at last. I loved how the music in the opening teasers and right before the end credits of Farscape would always find a way to slide into just the right key to segue into the titles.
It may not make for the most cohesive, listen-to-it-in-one-sitting soundtrack album ever heard, but this first volume of Guy Gross’ full episode scores from Farscape is a very worthwhile listen. It might just be that these CDs didn’t arrive while the show was still on the air, but I’ve found it odd that they didn’t catch on in the same way that the Babylon 5 “episodic” CDs did in the ’90s.
- Sabotage / Farscape Opening Titles (2:12)
- Method #1: Revenge (3:10)
- Method #2: Avoidance (5:34)
- Ancient Luxan (1:40)
- You Started It! / Method #3: Reasoning (4:52)
- Method #4: Be Smart (2:31)
- Crichton’s Funeral (4:23)
- I’m Going To Kill You! (4:52)
- Revenge Is Not The Answer / I Did It! (3:08)
- No Revenge / Farscape End Credits (3:20)
- Give Me Status / Farscape Opening Titles (3:37)
- Bad Mojo (2:17)
- All U Need To Know / Good Luck (3:25)
- Disarmed / Food Regeneration (3:43)
- Distress Call Response / R U Alone? (3:54)
- Death Rites (2:20)
- Twins (1:15)
- Life Juice / Life Plug / The Real Me (3:06)
- Good Things / Making Babies (2:12)
- 2 Chianas / Breeding (2:36)
- Finger Licking Good (1:55)
- Twice The Fun / Still Tied / Farscape End Credits (5:49)
Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2004
Total running time: 71:51