Planet Of The Apes: The Series

Planet Of The Apes: The SeriesThe most unexpected Planet Of The Apes soundtrack of all is this compilation of music from the franchise’s brief extension in live-action TV. Though the series boasted some segments worthy of the Apes brand of storytelling, it’s often ignored by more serious afficionados of the original film series because it doesn’t try very hard to adhere to the movies’ timeline. What the TV series had going for it was lavish location filming, Roddy McDowall again donning the makeup of a sympathetic ape, and what was actually a fairly effective music library.

With the rules of television scoring being different in the ’70s, not every episode of the Apes TV series got its own score; many of its installments were “tracked” from this music written for early episodes. Lalo Schifrin also composed the oppressive, guttural main theme, so his scores tended to quote that theme frequently, providing some unity. The episodes scores by Schifrin were less adventurous than, say, the same composer’s globe-style-trotting music for Mission: Impossible, but he wisely leans in favor of “aping” the brutal, occasionally dissonant sound established by the first movie’s groundbreaking Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack. With a smaller ensemble at his disposal, Schifrin makes the best use of his orchestral resources: there’s more brass than strings here, and he can’t hope to match Goldsmith’s wall of violent unconventional percussion. What he manages to pull off with that smaller orchestra is impressive.

Some of the better cues are the wrap-everything-up-on-a-less-hopeless-note final scenes from Schifrin’s scores. “Your World”, from the series pilot, is the musical epitome of “cautiously optimistic,” while “A Beginning” (the final cue of the show’s second hour, The Gladiators) is less certain in its feel-good send-off (and was used to close out many of the series’ installments). The Gladiators score also provides a showcase for what Schifrin was able to do with his more modest percussion section.

Another early episode score, The Legacy, was composed by guest musician Earle Hagen, and it’s distinctly different from Schifrin’s music. Less in-your-face pessimistic than Schifrin’s scores, Hagen’s music is more typical of mid 1970s drama scoring for American TV. Cues like The Soldiers demonstrate an attempt to mesh with the Schifrin scores, but most of the music is subtler and more mysterious, befitting the episode’s race to preserve a hologram which promises to be a storehouse of human scientific knowledge. Hagen went on to compose other scores for the series, ultimately providing almost a third of the show’s scores versus the two-thirds either scored by Schifrin or tracked from episodes previously scored by Schifrin.

The last score – incidentally closing out the first four episodes of the show – sees Schifrin return with a more robust percussion ensemble, and resuming the use of music that complements his main theme nicely. A few cues (the opening moments of “Riding For Urko” in particular) see Schifrin confidently stepping right up to the territory mapped out by Goldsmith’s score for the first Apes movie. 4 out of 4This score truly belongs in the Apes musical pantheon.

And so does the TV soundtrack as a whole. More obscure than even the later film sequels, the TV series suffered from a malady common to early ’70s TV science fiction – namely having well-worn plots from westerns or The Fugitive grafted onto the Planet Of The Apes backstory – but the music is one of the better things about the show, consistently reminding the audience of the stakes in play, even if the scripts didn’t make this quite so clear.

Order this CD

  1. Main Title (1:15)

    Escape From Tomorrow by Lalo Schifrin

  2. The Spaceship (2:38)
  3. Apes (2:48)
  4. The Warp (2:03)
  5. Urko and Galen (4:05)
  6. Prison Guard (1:58)
  7. Jail Break (3:32)
  8. Your World (1:58)

    The Gladiators by Lalo Schifrin

  9. Jason (1:11)
  10. Fighting (2:14)
  11. Barlow (1:50)
  12. Trouble (2:25)
  13. Into the Arena (2:47)
  14. There Will Be Death (0:53)
  15. Humans versus Apes (2:34)
  16. A Beginning (2:32)

    The Legacy by Earle Hagen

  17. Into the Ruined City (2:28)
  18. The Machine (0:50)
  19. The Soldiers (2:30)
  20. The Key (1:25)
  21. Verdon and the Kid (1:10)
  22. The Family (1:56)
  23. The Reward (2:25)
  24. Knowledge Hunts (3:13)
  25. Farewell (0:38)

    The Good Seed by Lalo Schifrin

  26. Riding for Urko (1:48)
  27. Travel Without Stars (3:18)
  28. Attack (3:18)
  29. Bonded Humans (2:26)
  30. Next String (2:27)
  31. End Credits (1:59)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 68:34

Mike Oldfield – Hergest Ridge

Mike Oldfield - Hergest RidgeHis first album after the seminal Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield’s Hergest Ridge dips into decidedly Celtic waters. The best thing about this epic two-part composition is that it really does take one on a journey – the main themes and motifs are developed, come to a climax, and then put on the back burner while other themes come to the fore, and everything reappears toward the end for a surprisingly laid-back summation. Despite the classical structure, it’s very much a modern work. Oldfield’s guitar work is nothing short of phenomenal, ranging from bucolic, Celtic-style strumming to full-blast heavy metal, and there are several thematic previews of his next album, Ommadawn, to be heard. (In fact, if you’ve got the hour or so to burn, I strongly suggest listening to Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn back to back.) There is also an abundance of orchestral instrumentation here, as well as a full choral version of one theme.

4 out of 4There really aren’t any drawbacks; this kind of longform composition has fallen into disuse these days, so those looking for convenient places to take a break may be a little put off by the length of the tracks. To them, I can only say that it’s worth it to sit and listen to this one (and indeed, to any of Oldfield’s longform works). Very highly recommended for those who want to hear an ambient instrumental piece that isn’t steeped in electronica, and lasts longer than five or six minutes.

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  1. Part One (21:28)
  2. Part Two (18:45)

Released by: Caroline
Release date: 1974
Total running time: 40:13

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On BroadwayPeter Gabriel’s last outing with Genesis is something I’ve heard since I was kid, barely able to comprehend the bizarre quasi-mythological story being told in the songs. Now I’m an equally perplexed adult, still barely able to “get” The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, despite the nice new remastered CD edition which has the complete original libretto and lyrics. And yeah, this is one rock opera which demands a thorough reading of its rhyming, sometimes humorous libretto.

Lamb is ostensibly the story of a Puerto Rican-born street kid named Rael, lurking in the streets of the Big Apple and announcing his name to the world with his can of spray paint. A series of misadventures leads him to an underworld beneath the streets of Manhattan, which in turn becomes a bizarre mixture of seemingly-familiar mythological archetypes and far-fetched ideas from Gabriel’s own imagination.

In short, this makes OVO look tame by comparison.

3 out of 4I like Gabriel’s way with words and the music here, particularly “Carpet Crawlers” and “The Chamber Of 32 Doors”. On their own, several of the songs stand up well. I really only get baffled trying to take in the larger canvas of Lamb‘s surreal storyline – but hey, if the music hits you in the right mood, this double-album is way ahead of its time. And even at its most cryptic, I find Gabriel-era Genesis far more stimulating and thought-provoking than, say, Invisible Touch-era Genesis.

Order this CD

    Disc one

  1. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (4:52)
  2. Fly On A Windshield (4:22)
  3. Broadway Melody Of 1974 (0:33)
  4. Cuckoo Cocoon (2:11)
  5. In The Cage (8:13)
  6. The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging (2:47)
  7. Back In N.Y.C. (5:43)
  8. Hairless Heart (2:13)
  9. Counting Out Time (3:40)
  10. Carpet Crawlers (5:17)
  11. The Chamber Of 32 Doors (5:14)
    Disc two

  1. Lilywhite Lilith (2:44)
  2. The Waiting Room (5:24)
  3. Anyway (3:07)
  4. Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist (2:58)
  5. The Lamia (6:56)
  6. Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats (3:06)
  7. The Colony Of Slippermen (8:16)
  8. Ravine (2:04)
  9. The Light Dies Down On Broadway (3:32)
  10. Riding The Scree (3:55)
  11. In The Rapids (2:28)
  12. it. (4:15)

Released by: Atlantic
Release date: 1974
Disc one total running time: 45:28
Disc two total running time: 48:41

Electric Light Orchestra – The Night The Light Went On…

Electric Light Orchestra - The Night The Light Went On In Long BeachSomewhere between obscurity and fame – i.e. between their third and fourth albums – ELO recorded this California gig which is one of the most energetic and unusual performances the band ever put on. If the track list for this album looks unusual, that’s because, aside from “Roll Over Beethoven”, it’s the only evidence on record that ELO was a decent cover band prior to their ascension to superstardom. Jeff Lynne’s influences – the Beatles and Jerry Lee Lewis (what a combo!) – receive an homage from the respective (and, I might add, very good) covers of “Daytripper” and “Great Balls Of Fire”. Not used to the thought of him singing other people’s material, I was surprised at how well Lynne could carry off Jerry Lee Lewis’ vocal style. And there are three outstanding instrumentals – one, “Daybreaker”, is an ELO original from On The Third Day; another, “Mik’s Solo / Orange Blossom Special”, runs the gamut from classical to hoedown in a matter of a few hilarious minutes (courtesy of ELO’s resident virtuoso 3 out of 4Mik Kaminski); and the third, a heavy metal cover of Grieg’s “In The Hall of the Mountain King” (also recorded on Third Day), segues abruptly into the aforementioned Jerry Lee Lewis rocker. This ranks up there with the Winterland CD and ELO Part II’s One Night as yet another example that, at least some of the time, ELO was a damn fine live band.

Order this CD

  1. Daybreaker (5:36)
  2. Showdown (6:54)
  3. Daytripper (6:40)
  4. 10538 Overture (5:44)
  5. Mik’s Solo / Orange Blossom Special (2:28)
  6. In the Halls of the Mountain King / Great Balls of Fire (8:35)
  7. Roll Over Beethoven (4:25)

Released by: Epic / Sony UK
Release date: 1974 (reissued on CD in 1997)
Total running time: 40:25

Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado

Electric Light Orchestra - EldoradoThis is the first ELO album which achieves a true orchestral sound by using session musicians. It also contains “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head”, one of the very few ELO singles I rate as highly as I do the band’s non-single album tracks; on this song, Jeff Lynne is almost a vocal dead ringer for John Lennon, and though this album was released six years before Lennon’s death, it’s still eerie to hear. It also contains “Laredo Tornado”, a spooky song driven by a mournful guitar phrase and one of my all-time favorites, “Illusions In G Major”, a song which is actually the most rock-oriented piece on the whole album 4 out of 4 starsdespite its fancy title, and the mournful Eldorado itself in which Lynne strives for other extremes and almost achieves an operatic sound with his singing. Not only is the album on my Damn Near Perfect Album List, but it’s the point at which ELO caught on like wildfire – and not without reason. Highest recommendations.

    Order this CD in the Store

  1. Eldorado Overture (2:13)
  2. Can’t Get It Out Of My Head (4:21)
  3. Boy Blue (5:19)
  4. Laredo Tornado (5:30)
  5. Poorboy (The Greenwood) (2:56)
  6. Mister Kingdom (5:30)
  7. Nobody’s Child (3:57)
  8. Illusions In G Major (2:38)
  9. Eldorado (5:18)
  10. Eldorado Finale (1:39)

Released by: Jet
Release date: 1974
Total running time: 39:21