Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery & Imagination

Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery & Imagination: Edgar Allan PoeThis album kicks off a string of brilliantly executed studio concoctions attributed to a “band” of session musicians that have secured a place in my heart as one of my three favorite rock acts of all time. This first effort – which was originally intended to be the only one of its kind and, as such, was originally pressed on vinyl under the title of The Alan Parsons Project referring to the album and not the group performing it – sets the style for the remainder of the 1970s for the Project. A group of songs inspired by sundry poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe ranges from chilling (“The Tell Tale Heart”, though a lot of the credit for the spinal shivers still belongs to the source material) to ethereally gorgeous (“To One In Paradise”, the last track). In between there lies mystery (“A Dream Within a Dream”, an instrumental which perfectly balances rock and classical elements, a Parsons4 out of 4 trademark in later years) and a huge, entirely instrumental orchestral suite depicting The Fall of the House of Usher, among other points of interest. The CD liner notes booklet is lavish and incredibly informative, and there’s an added treat in the form of two narrations recorded for the album by Orson Welles but omitted from the original LP release. Very uneven but highly recommended.

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  1. A Dream Within A Dream (4:13)
  2. The Raven (3:57)
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart (4:38)
  4. The Cask of Amontillado (4:33)
  5. (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether (4:20)

    The Fall of the House of Usher:

  6. Prelude (7:02)
  7. Arrival (2:39)
  8. Intermezzo (1:00)
  9. Pavane (4:36)
  10. Fall (0:51)
  11. To One In Paradise (4:46)

Released by: Mercury
Release date: 1976
Total running time: 42:35

Star Trek: The Motion Picture – music by Jerry Goldsmith

Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrackThis Oscar-nominated score redefined the musical mindset of Star Trek and set a standard by which all future music for the Star Trek entity, whether in the theater or on TV, would be judged. (Need proof? What music did Star Trek: The Next Generation use for its theme?) This definitive Trek movie score has yet to be surpassed or even so much as equalled – not even by Goldsmith himself, who scored the fifth, eighth, ninth and tenth movies in the Trek saga as well as coining the theme music for the Voyager spinoff series. The unique combination of contemporary, ancient and futuristic sounds for the first Star Trek movie is indicative of the enormous scope of the story, and makes for some excellent listening away from the sound effects and dialogue. The traditional orchestral complement combines with the distinctive sound of something (!?) called the Blaster Beam (the signature sound of this movie, it sounds not unlike the combination of a distorted electric guitar and a chainsaw) and the gothic tones of the organ to produce a sweeping, awe-inspiring atmosphere. Countering that effect, this was the only Trek movie to date which required a genuine, sweeping, romantic love theme – which really says more about the nature of the later Star 4 out of 4Trek films than their successive composers. Due to the length of the movie and the length of the overbudgeted special effects sequences, Goldsmith’s score is prominent throughout the film, and there’s a lot of it. This is easily the best score ever to have graced any of the Star Trek movies.

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  1. Main Title / Klingon Battle (6:50)
  2. Leaving Drydock (3:29)
  3. The Cloud (5:00)
  4. The Enterprise (5:58)
  5. Ilia’s Theme (3:01)
  6. V’ger Flyover (4:56)
  7. The Meld (3:15)
  8. Spock Walk (4:17)
  9. End Title (3:16)

Released by: CBS
Release date: 1979
Total running time: 40:02

Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine / Amok Time

Star Trek soundtrackThis is more like it. And the choice of episodes couldn’t be better – the two acclaimed second-season episodes featured some of the most memorable music to be heard from this point on in the series. The late Sol Kaplan’s familiar, belligerent Doomsday Machine action cues often underscored tense situations for the rest of the series, and Gerald Fried’s exotic bass guitar from Amok Time became the signature theme for all things Spockish or otherwise Vulcan. The mastering on the 4 out of 4album is outstanding, and the liner notes on the composers are interesting. Highly recommended for any fans of the original Trek.

  1. Star Trek main title (1:00)

    The Doomsday Machine music by Sol Kaplan

  2. Approach of Enterprise / The Constellation (1:08)
  3. Going Aboard (1:38)
  4. Commander Matt Decker / The Crew That Was (1:56)
  5. What is Doomsday Machine / The Planet Killer (1:58)
  6. Strange Boom / Decker Takes Over (2:49)
  7. The New Commander / Light Beams / Tractor Beam (4:09)
  8. Violent Shakes (2:45)
  9. Spock Takes Command / Decker’s Foil / Sneaky Commodore (2:26)
  10. Goodbye Mr. Decker (3:10)
  11. Order this CD Condolences / Power Drain (1:09)
  12. Kirk Does It Again (3:45)
  13. One’s Enough (0:22)

    Amok Time music by Gerald Fried

  14. Vulcan Fanfare / Prying (0:46)
  15. Mr. Spock (1:22)
  16. Contrary Order (2:58)
  17. T’Pring (0:47)
  18. Marriage Council (1:51)
  19. Vulcan (1:03)
  20. The Processional (1:36)
  21. The Challenge (3:02)
  22. The Ritual / Ancient Battle / 2nd Kroykah (5:25)
  23. Remorse / Marriage Council II (1:12)
  24. Resignation / Lazarus Return / Pig’s Eye (0:42)
  25. Star Trek end title (0:47)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 41:04