Composed to accompany the 1996 CD-ROM game Star Trek: Borg, the music on this CD was recently released by Dennis McCarthy, who also composed more episodes of the various Star Trek spinoffs than anyone else. However, if you’re expecting more of that relatively sedate sound here, you may be in for a shock. Star Trek: Borg may have looked like a television episode, what with John de Lancie starring and Jonathan Frakes directing, but freed from the restrictions usually placed on the scoring of Star Trek TV episodes, the music is quite a bit more involved than you may be expecting.
While Borg lacked the restrictions of the TV series’ music, it also lacked the budget that the TV series – at least in 1996 – lavished on music. McCarthy relies on frequent-flyer collaborator Kevin Kiner to bring his orchestrated score to life, and if there’s really a weak point with the Borg soundtrack, that’s where it is, but more due to the state of synthesizer/sequencer technology than the talent involved. (McCarthy and Kiner collaborated on many future projects where their music had to be synthesized instead of played by a real orchestra, including McCarthy’s Stargate SG-1 scores and, ultimately, the reduced-budget final season of Star Trek: Enterprise.) The orchestral textures just aren’t quite “real,” though it’s no exaggeration to say that the technology to achieve this has improved by leaps and bounds since 1996.
The style is also very different from McCarthy’s usual Trek “house style,” with some of the short cues almost resembling some of Jerry Goldsmith’s “spacedock” music from the first Star Trek movie (including one cue explicitly labeled “Goldsmith Has Been Assimilated”). The synth-chorus as a signature sound for the Borg is also revived here as well. There’s a recurring “orchestral stab” sound also used in conjunction with the Borg, but without the accompanying visuals, this makes the music sound like a late ’80s/early ’90s horror movie score. There are a few hints of McCarthy’s trademark panoramic chords from his TV Treks, but overall it’s very different.
The final three tracks are comprised of music McCarthy created for the “Borg Invasion 4-D” ride at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Star Trek Experience, and there’s a huge world of difference here (then again, we’re talking about an 8-year gap). The Borg Invasion suites are some of the most invigorating music I’ve heard from Dennis McCarthy, sounding both more like his usual Trek TV music and less like it (with pulsating guitar samples and almost Matrix-y passages) at the same time. The series would’ve benefitted tremendously from allowing him to cut loose on the music like this.
One can only hope that maybe the composer can sneak out some of the better examples of his Star Trek TV music on CD in private pressings like this, though from a rights perspective, there’s probably a vast difference in doing that with this material and music composed for TV shows that are still, on DVD at least, a going concern. There are quite a few I could nominate (namely “The Homecoming” / “The Circle” / “The Siege” trilogy that opened Deep Space Nine’s second season) but only time will tell if Dennis McCarthy will keep sneaking gems from the Star Trek music archives out of the vaults for us. At the time of this writing, Star Trek: Borg is still available from the composer’s web site.
- Main Theme (1:02)
- The Legend Of The Borg (1:24)
- Battle At Wolf 359 (2:58)
- The Battle Rages (0:58)
- Club Q (0:55)
- “I Am Berman Of Borg” (1:37)
- “Goldsmith Has Been Assimilated!” (1:37)
- “Welcome To The Collective, Cadet” (2:21)
- Searching The Borg Ship (2:21)
- Time Is Running Out (1:17)
- Escape From The Borg Collective (1:44)
- Borg Hell (2:03)
- “You Will Be Assimilated, Have A Nice Day” (2:21)
- “Resistance Is Futile, My Ass!” / Finale (7:28)
- End Titles (1:02)
- Borg Invasion Suite Part 1 (6:32)
- Borg Invasion Suite Part 2 (2:51)
- Borg Invasion Suite Part 3 (7:24)
Released by: DennisMcCarthy.com
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 48:21