Ladyhawke (newly expanded edition)

Ladyhawke (newly expanded edition)Either an awkward or awesome fit for its movie, depending upon whom one asks, 1984’s Ladyhawke veered away from the usual (indeed, almost stereotypical) Korngold-inspired heraldry expected of swords-and-sorcery films and, courtesy of composer Andrew Powell and his producer/collaborator Alan Parsons (of Alan Parsons Project fame), dared to score a period piece with synthesizers and rock music.

The result is practically a lost Project album in style and execution, and not a bad one at that. La-La Land Records expands the Ladyhawke score (last issued in the 1990s by GNP Crescendo) to two discs, including every note of the score, plus goodies such as demos, unused cues, and bite-sized edits of the movie’s music intended for radio advertising. If you already like the score, this release will delight you: there’s more where it came from, including fascinating alternate cues. If you didn’t like the score to begin with, steer clear: nothing here is likely to change your mind about it unless you’re prepared to go in with an open mind and open ears.

3 out of 4The packaging is a huge improvement on the almost-generic presentation of the 1990s release, with liner notes including interviews with Powell, Parsons, and director Richard Donner. This 2-CD set balances out the synth-heavy Crescendo single CD release by revealing that Powell prepared as much “traditional” material as he did anachronistic material; it’s still a fun listen.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title (03:02)
  2. Phillipe’s Escape From Dungeon (01:51)
  3. Phillipe’s Escape Through Sewer (01:43)
  4. The Search For Philippe (03:27)
  5. Navarre At Sunset (00:22)
  6. Tavern Fight (Philippe)
  7. (02:10)

  8. Tavern Fight (Navarre)
  9. (02:43)

  10. Navarre’s Saddlebag (00:37)
  11. Navarre Dreams Of Isabeau (00:56)
  12. Pitou’s Woods (04:07)
  13. Marquet’s Return To Aquila Part 1 (01:01)
  14. Philippe Describes Isabeau (01:14)
  15. Marquet’s Return To Aqula Part 2 (01:17)
  16. Bishop’s Garden (00:45)
  17. Navarre Has Returned (00:27)
  18. Monk’s Chant In Bishop’s Garden (01:58)
  19. Isabeau Chases A Rabbit (00:25)
  20. Navarre’s Sunset / Philippe’s Capture (00:36)
  21. Navarre Is Ambushed / Hawk Injured (04:55)
  22. Philippe And Imperius Enter Abbey (01:18)
  23. Philippe Discovers Isabeau’s Secret (01:28)
  24. Imperius Removes Arrow From Isabeau (01:37)
  25. The Bishop Interviews Cezar (01:33)
  26. “You Must Save This Hawk” (01:07)
  27. Chase Up The Turret / Isabeau’s Fall Part 2 (02:49)
  28. Isabeau’s Transformation (00:39)
  29. Isabeau Flies Free (01:14)
  30. Navarre And Imperius (00:42)
  31. Navarre And Philippe Leave The Abbey (01:45)
  32. Wedding Party (01:45)
  33. Navarre’s Transformation (00:44)
  34. Wedding Dance (02:38)
  35. Cezar’s Woods (05:32)
  36. “She Was Sad At First” (02:09)
  37. Navarre Rides To Aquila (01:40)
  38. Philippe And Imperius (00:28)
  39. Wolf Trapped In Ice Pool (02:38)
  40. Navarre And Isabeau’s Dual Transformation (03:24)
    Disc Two

  1. Navarre Sees Phillipe’s Wounds (00:44)
  2. Return to Aquila (02:44)
  3. Phillipe’s Return Through Sewer (01:03)
  4. Bishop’s Procession Chant 1 (01:32)
  5. Bishop’s Procession Chant 2 (01:48)
  6. The Service Begins (Part 1) (00:50)
  7. Navarre’s Instruction to Kill Isabeau (00:50)
  8. The Service Begins (Part 2) (00:40)
  9. Navarre Enters the Cathedral (01:36)
  10. Navarre and Marquet Cathedral Fight (04:27)
  11. Marquet’s Death (02:02)
  12. Isabeau Appears (00:50)
  13. Bishop’s Death (02:30)
  14. The Final Reunion / End Titles (06:07)
  15. Chase Up the Turret / Isabeau’s Fall Part 1 (00:53)
  16. Chase / Fall / Transformation (02:10)
  17. Phillipe Discovers Isabeau’s Secret (01:44)
  18. Imperius Removes Arrow From Isabeau (01:33)
  19. Navarre and Phillipe Leave the Abbey (01:45)
  20. Navarre’s Transformation (00:46)
  21. Wolf Trapped in Ice Pool (02:36)
  22. Phillipe’s Jewel (00:51)
  23. Ent Titles (05:00)
  24. Spot 01 Radio Bed A – 30′ (00:35)
  25. Spot 02 Radio Bed A – 30′ (00:35)
  26. Spot 03 Radio Bed B – 30′ (01:05)
  27. Spot 04 Radio Bed C – 30′ (00:56)
  28. Spot 05 Radio Bed A – 60′ (01:03)
  29. Spot 06 Radio Bed B – 60′ (01:09)
  30. Spot 07 Radio Bed C – 75′ (01:16)
  31. Spot 08 Radio Bed A – 90′ (01:31)
  32. Spot 10 Radio Bed B – 90′ (01:38)
  33. Spot 09 Radio Bed A – Full (03:32)
  34. Ladyhawke Theme (Single) (03:37)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: February 10, 2015
Disc One total running time: 1:08:23
Disc One total running time: 1:01:38

The Alan Parsons Project Played By Andrew Powell

While it might be easy to dismiss this as yet another string tribute “Mantovani Mangles Mott The Hoople” train wreck, there’s something compelling about Andrew Powell Plays The Alan Parsons Project – Powell was the orchestral arranger (and in some cases composer) on many of these original songs. He’s not completely removed from the proceedings. In other words, he’s not that easy to dismiss, even though this ultra-obscure 1983 album smacks of “cash in while you can”. (It may or may not be a coincidence that the only Project album with which Powell wasn’t involved as 1984’s Vulture Culture – maybe this is what he was doing with his free time, or someone decided to give him free time as a result of this album. Take your pick.)

The proceedings open in grand style with a musical mash-up combining “Lucifer” (from the Eve album), “Mammagamma” (from Eye In The Sky) and the heraldic opening horns of “May Be A Price To Pay” (the first thing you heard on The Turn Of A Friendly Card). Long before remix maestros were mashing it up for themselves, Powell was doing an interesting job of it himself, and somehow it works. Not everything on the album is so lucky.

I Robot Suite” and “Damned If I Do” are also interesting listens, with the former in particular covering ground that I wish the instrumental backing track medley on the remastered I Robot CD had covered. My one beef with the “I Robot Suite” is that it really plays fast and loose with the tempos of the original songs, moreso than just about any of this album’s other adaptations – “Some Other Time” becomes almost jaunty, something that the song’s subject just doesn’t lend itself to. “What Goes Up…” also fares well, combined with a very cool orchestral interpretation of its lead-off instrumental, “Voyager”, and, at the very end, some surprising (and neat) musical callbacks to “The Raven” and “Genesis Ch. 1 v. 32”.

Not all of these great Alan Parsons Project classics manage to avoid losing something in the translation, though. “Time”, “Eye In The Sky” and “Old And Wise” become – and I mean this in the nicest way – vapid elevator music. “Time” and “Old And Wise”, which leaned so heavily on the orchestra in their original recordings, actually manage to lost something in the transition to purely orchestral music with no vocals. This boggles my mind – I wouldn’t have expected the person who arranged these songs in the first place to misplace the magic. Somehow he does. “Pavane” (one movement of Tales Of Mystery & Imagination‘s “Fall Of The House Of Usher” suite) takes some odd turns in its arrangement as well. “Games People Play”, a largely synthesized song that had virtually no orchestral accompaniment in its original incarnation, at least manages to be energetic like its inspiration, but kicks off with a really bizarre, horror-film-style intro.

The truth is, I’ve heard far worse “string tribute to…” albums out there, and this one at least seems to have benefitted – at least in some places – from the involvement of the musician who concocted the original songs’ orchestral arrangements. Still, where this album misfires, that very involvement is what makes the misfires so utterly baffling. Two thoughts spring to mind: I wonder why some of these tracks haven’t resurfaced as bonus tracks on the songs’ respective remastered albums (does the label that owns these recordings want too much money, or is this album a point of contention between Powell 3 out of 4and his former Project cohorts?), and despite the misfires, I could easily come up with a second album’s worth of suggestions that could do well in this format. Obviously, 25 years later is probably not a good time to suggest either one (or, for that matter, to suggest a new pressing of this album), but it’s a curiosity that serves as an interesting sidebar to the Alan Parsons Project’s legacy.

Order this CD

  1. Lucifer / Mammagamma (5:34)
  2. Time (5:07)
  3. Games People Play (4:16)
  4. I Robot Suite (8:22)
  5. Damned If I Do (3:40)
  6. Pavane (The Fall Of The House Of Usher) (4:44)
  7. What Goes Up… (5:35)
  8. Eye In The Sky (4:27)
  9. Old And Wise (5:04)

Released by: Disky
Release date: 1983 (re-released on CD in 1997)
Total running time: 46:49