Space: Above And BeyondBefore there was any talk of reviving Battlestar Galactica in a new and gritty form (well, before there was talk from anyone other than Richard Hatch, at any rate), there was the one-season 1990s wonder that was Space: Above And Beyond, created by Glen Morgan and James Wong, two of the writers who had been critical to the early success of The X-Files. In retrospect, it’s amazing the show got on the air: even in the early days of CGI special effects for TV, there was simply no way this was going to be easy or cheap. It effectively reframed World War II as a space war, complete with a brutal sneak attack in the pilot episode. With unprecedented space combat scenes and bloody ground wars bracketing multi-layered political drama (including hints of a race/class war against artificially-grown humans at home), what it was was gripping.

The short-lived show got a huge boost from composer (and Danny Elfman protegee) Shirley Walker, who had already showed off her action scoring chops with the TV iteration of The Flash (also released by La-La Land Records). Space: Above And Beyond was different, though: there was bombast, marking the more warlike scenes, with drum cadences and martial brass aplenty, but Walker also musically nailed the show’s other chief component: the wistful sound of young soldiers far away from anything they know, trying to stay both alive and sane. This isn’t a 3-CD set of unrelenting war music.

Highlights include The River Of Stars, a surprisingly bleak episode aired just before Christmas 1995, and the dark sound of Stay With The Dead. The music of The Dark Side Of The Sun, an early standout episode, is deceptively brassy, the music intentionally jarring against the tragic story of Vansen’s flashbacks to the death of her parents. The hallucinatory interludes of Who Monitors The Birds? are layered with electric guitar, a very unusual sound for this series.

4 out of 4Rounding things off are an interesting track in which Shirley Walker walks listeners through the construction of an early, all-synth demo of the main theme (then a work in progress), along with a suite of short (approx. 5 seconds) versions of the theme accompanying the “bumpers” that preceded commercial breaks during the original broadcast run. As always, the liner notes are generous, offering information about both the show and the music that were news to me. This show was long overdue an official music release, and La-La Land has done the series and the later Shirley Walker proud with this one.

Order this CD

    Disc 1
    Pilot

  1. Speech Thru Alien (3:14)
  2. Hawkes Runs From Hoods (1:06)
  3. Hoods Hang Hawkes (1:16)
  4. One Of You Must Stay (1:53)
  5. Nathan And Kylen Say Goodbye (5:01)
  6. Bus To Angry Angels (0:39)
  7. Kylen Reads Letter / Colonist Massacre / Training Exercise (3:07)
  8. Call To War (2:22)
  9. Ordered To Mars (1:36)
  10. West’s Porthole To Mars (0:43)
  11. Marines March On Mars (0:22)
  12. Alien Crash Site Battle (2:56)
  13. Marines Capture Alien / Captured Alien Dies (2:20)
  14. Laid To Rest / Advice For Leave (2:00)
  15. Hawkes Dialog At Plane (0:39)
  16. Hawkes At Pags’ Grave (2:35)
  17. Battle Preparations / Casualties (1:23)
  18. Flight To SS Saratoga (4:03)
  19. Hidden Among Asteroids (3:02)
  20. The Big Battle (4:30)
  21. West’s Prose Poem (1:15)
  22. Hawkes At Pags’ Grave / Battle Preparations / Casualties (Album Version) (3:08)
  23. Flight To SS Saratoga / Hidden Among Asteroids (Album Version) (4:08)
  24. The Big Battle (Album Version) (3:43)

    The Farthest Man From Home

  25. Farthest Man From Home (2:40)
  26. West Goes AWOL (2:35)
  27. Extraction (2:09)

    The Dark Side Of The Sun

  28. Shane’s Nightmare (2:37)
  29. Playing Blackjack (1:00)
  30. Shane Fights A.I. / Shane Subdues A.I. (1:41)
  31. Shane Kills A.I. / Shane Rappels & Attacks (2:26)
  32. Shane To The Rescue / Shane Downs Spaceship (4:12)

    Disc 2

  1. Space: Above And Beyond Main Title (Version 1) (0:33)

    Mutiny

  2. Hawkes Jogs (3:29)
  3. Hawkes Has A Sister In 46 (0:49)
  4. Mutiny Begins (0:59)
  5. Missile Attack (1:19)
  6. Hawkes Visits Sister (3:42)

    Ray Butts

  7. Mystery Hammerhead Dock (1:48)
  8. Butts Commands The 58th (1:53)
  9. From Planet To Black Hole (1:50)
  10. Into The Black Hole (1:50)
  11. Butts’ Death / Pancakes In Space (1:48)

    Eyes

  12. Orbital Opening (0:42)
  13. Neck Navel / Chaput’s Arrival (2:45)
  14. The Bomb (1:54)
  15. West And Cserko / Witch Hunters (2:08)
  16. Backup Activated (3:19)
  17. West Wants Truth (1:31)

    Hostile Visit

  18. Time To Start (1:52)
  19. 58th Kamikaze (2:01)
  20. Let’s Make It Happen (2:15)

    Stay With The Dead

  21. Space Triage (0:31)
  22. West Clings To Life (1:00)
  23. McQueen’s The Problem (2:13)
  24. The Blue Goo (1:30)
  25. Blue Goo Tank (0:43)

    The River Of Stars

  26. Dead Radio (0:39)
  27. Sitting Ducks (1:05)
  28. Gift Giving (0:37)
  29. Nathan’s Present (2:59)
  30. Message From Apollo VIII (1:40)
  31. Comet Approach (1:07)
  32. Faith (4:53)
  33. Prepare For The Burn (2:37)
  34. Hitch A Ride On A Comet (1:57)
  35. Wang Returns Necklace (1:33)

    Who Monitors The Birds?

  36. Whore Of Death / Departure / Who Monitors You? / Time To Be Erased / The Truce / Cooper’s Soul (9:15)

    Dear Earth

  37. Dear Ann (2:44)

    Disc 3

  1. Space: Above And Beyond Main Title (Version 2) (0:52)

    Never No More

  2. Classified Mission (2:47)
  3. Do The Right Thing (0:49)
  4. Mission Of The 35th (2:45)
  5. Welcome Aboard / 58th To The Rescue (1:52)
  6. Aftermath (1:45)

    The Angriest Angel

  7. Sewell’s Arrival (1:40)
  8. Sewell’s Fuel (2:14)
  9. McQueen’s Room (0:59)
  10. Schrader’s Mission / So Long, Winslow (1:18)
  11. Battle Plan (1:42)
  12. Duty Calls (1:16)
  13. Headed Home (2:28)

    Toy Soldiers

  14. Memories / Remembering The Past (1:35)
  15. Welcome To Mars (0:48)
  16. Approach Tower (2:04)
  17. Position Compromised / Jets Away / The Baptism (1:33)
  18. Coming To Get You (2:18)
  19. Men In Dark Times / Hold Our Position (1:38)
  20. The Rescue (2:18)

    Pearly

  21. Consequences (2:38)

    Sugar Dirt

  22. The Last Supper / Nineteen Hundred Hours (3:51)

    And If They Lay Us Down To Rest…

  23. Creation (2:06)
  24. Approaching Anvil, Part 1 (1:38)
  25. Approaching Anvil, Part 2 (1:41)
  26. The Hunt (2:56)
  27. Why Kill It? (1:47)
  28. Dark Hearts (1:09)
  29. Act Of Kindness (1:34)
  30. Peace / Arrival (3:12)

    …Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best

  31. Peace Talks Incident (2:17)
  32. Deal The Wild Cards (2:44)
  33. West Finds Kylen (2:00)
  34. Bring Them Home (1:25)
  35. Fatal Hit (2:03)
  36. Wang’s Choice (1:38)
  37. Nathan And Kylen, Part 1 (3:26)
  38. Nathan And Kylen, Part 2 (0:27)
  39. Space: Above And Beyond End Title (0:39)

    Bonus Tracks

  40. Shirley Demos The Main Title (2:24)
  41. Bumpers Suite (1:46)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2011
Disc one total running time: 77:15
Disc two total running time: 76:44
Disc three total running time: 77:43