Babylon 5: Walkabout

Babylon 5: Walkabout soundtrackThis episode, toward the end of Babylon 5’s third season, was notable in that it featured two songs sung by a lounge singer character (played by Erica Gimpel of TV’s Fame…fame). These songs gave the episode a very distinct feel all its own, and were often requested for a future CD release by many B5 fans. Little did the fans know what they were getting into. Walkabout was among the first five episodes to merit their own soundtrack release in the form of CDs which averaged only 30 minutes – only half the length of the two existing Babylon 5 compilation soundtracks…but at just a few dollars short of the full price. I initially decided that I would not be sucked into the collectors’ trap of trying to snag each and every B5 disc, but just those that I wanted based on how well I liked the music and the episode. I was certain, however, that I wanted Walkabout. And of the first five B5 episodic soundtracks released, it is easily the most worthwhile – none of its music was featured on either of the two compilation soundtracks previously issued by Sonic Images, and furthermore, it included those two oft-requested songs. It’s worth it.

4 out of 4Some trivia of note: the lyrics of both songs were written by Babylon 5 creator/writer J. Michael Straczynski. The music of the first song was written by Christopher Franke, and Erica Gimpel herself composed the second song. If some of the battle music sounds vaguely familiar, it is because it served as the main inspiration for the theme music for the fourth season.

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  1. Where Is The Captain (0:55)
  2. Vorlon Ship Arrival (2:07)
  3. Main Title / narration by Claudia Christian (1:29)
  4. Swedish Meatballs (0:26)
  5. G’Kar and Na’Kal (1:18)
  6. The New Vorlon (0:40)
  7. Changing Places (0:36)
  8. Conversational Developments (2:32)
  9. Sheridan and Lyta (0:20)
  10. Sheridan and the Vorlon Mystery (0:39)
  11. Goodbye – sung by Erica Gimpel (2:43)
  12. Caylin Introduced (1:06)
  13. En Route (0:39)
  14. Caylin and Franklin (0:38)
  15. Lyta and Sheridan (1:04)
  16. Begin to Attack the Shadows (1:22)
  17. Battle part one (2:35)
  18. Battle part two (3:33)
  19. Caylin Unconscious (0:16)
  20. Caylin Diagnosed (1:09)
  21. The Return (0:47)
  22. All Of Me – sung by Erica Gimpel (1:45)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 28:58

Claudia Christian – Taboo

Claudia Christian - TabooGood grief! Musically, this two-song CD distributed by the official fan club of Claudia Christian (Babylon 5‘s Ivanova) is quite good, but…whew! Those lyrics! Madonna might blush at some of this stuff. (Or, on second thought, she might join in. Doesn’t pay to think about it.) To quote Rick James, she’s a very kinky girl, the kind you don’t take home to mother. Claudia co-wrote the music and lyrics to both songs, the first of which seems to involve various out-of-the-norm activities (namely, S&M and threesomes). Claudia doesn’t actually sing most of the time – to my surprise, most of the actual singing is ably handled by the powerful voice of Julianna Raye, while Claudia chants/raps/speaks her way through the lyrics; in the case of “Taboo” itself, the lyrics shift into French and back to English numerous times, and Claudia basically moans her way through the French lyrics with her sultriest voice. Rating: 1 out of 4Occasionally, however, Claudia proves that she can, in fact, hit a specific musical pitch. Overall, though it’s a very pricey and very fannish item (face it, Taboo has the content of a CD single and the price tag of an expensive CD at retail), it’s a very tittillating listen, and wouldn’t be out of place belting out of a club’s speaker system.

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  1. Taboo (4:39)
  2. Partners in the Sublime (3:44)

Released by: Zard Productions
Release date: 1996
Total running time: 8:25

Babylon 5: Messages From Earth

Babylon 5: Messages From Earth soundtrackThis superb collection of music from Babylon 5’s second, third and fourth years could not be more different from its predecessor. Very like the show itself, Christopher Franke’s musical scores on his second B5 album grow darker, harder-hitting, more avant-garde, more epic and even a little more unnerving and disturbing. Beginning with a nicely extended version of the first season’s main title theme, the album switches gears abruptly as the first track of score music – kicking off with the first notes heard in the fourth season’s premiere episode – immediately waxes apocalyptic and much more action-oriented than volume one’s mystic passages. Still adhering to the first album’s leanings toward long orchestral suites with seldom-accurate track titles, Messages From Earth does make a concession to the more traditional discrete division of cues on soundtrack albums by including each season’s different theme song on its own track. This album’s ominously lovely choral textures will have an addictive effect on any 4 out of 4Babylon 5 fan, though I highly recommend it to anyone. Unusual juxtapositions of percussion, orchestra, electronics, and choir, along with Franke’s tendency to disregard western major and minor tonalities with reckless abandon, make this a gripping listen, especially track 4, “Z’Ha’Dum”, which is actually mostly comprised of music from an intense episode called The Long, Twilight Struggle a year earlier.

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  1. Main Title – season 1 / extended (3:16)
  2. Messages from Earth – music from Severed Dreams (10:05)
  3. Main Title – season 2 (1:30)
  4. Z’Ha’Dum – music from The Long, Twilight Struggle 12:19)
  5. Main Title – season 3 (1:31)
  6. Severed Dreams – music from Messages from Earth (15:37)
  7. Main Title – season 4 (1:29)
  8. Voices of Authority – music from A Late Delivery from Avalon (11:26)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 57:30

Babylon 5 – music by Christopher Franke

Babylon 5 soundtrackIt took me a long time to get used to the style of music Babylon 5 emlpoys, having been spoiled into expecting lush orchestral scores by years of Star Wars and Star Trek, but it finally grew on me around six or seven episodes into the series. This album’s vaguely titled suites of themes and episodic scores leap back and forth from episode to episode with no warning, and that too took some getting used to. Highlights include the themes from the first two seasons, snippets of the scores from the episodes Soul Hunter, And the Sky Full of Stars, Chrysalis, and a suite of music from the first half 3 out of 4of the second season. If there’s one problem with the early Babylon 5 music, it is that it sometimes seems to be threatening to turn into dance music at any second with its vigorous, percussive rhythms. The music from the show’s later episodes interested me much more.

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  1. Soul Hunter intro, season 1 theme, Kosh speaks (3:56)
  2. Mind War (4:47)
  3. Mind War continued, Soul Hunter ship snare (5:49)
  4. Mind War: Talia and Jason (3:48)
    Mind War
  5. And The Sky Full of Stars: The Requiem for the Line (3:39)
  6. Survivors (2:37)
    Parliament of Dreams
  7. Survivors (6:14)
  8. The Quality of Mercy (6:04)
  9. Mind War, Survivors (5:45)
    The Geometry of Shadows
  10. Season 2 theme, Signs and Portents, GROPOS (7:46)
  11. A Distant Star, The Coming of Shadows, Soul Mates, Chrysalis (3:29)
  12. Chrysalis (4:05)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 58:03