BBC Essential Science Fiction Sound FX Volume 1

BBC Essential Science Fiction Sound FX Volume 1Very much a specialty item – and almost absolutely unobtainable in the States – this CD contains the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s numerous distinctive sound effects mainly from science fiction programs other than Doctor Who, whose FX library is well represented by 30 Years in the Radiophonic Workshop, though there are some Who effects here – such as the Master’s TARDIS and others – which are not available elsewhere. Sounds from radio productions of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Earth Search are included, along with a wonderful 30-track selection of effects from Blake’s Seven, the late 70s/ early 80s science fiction series which occupies a place in my heart as my all time favorite of that genre. If you wax nostalgic at the sound of Orac computing, the Liberator’s teleports or weapons powering up, the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal eating a Vogon’s grandmother, or the Hitchhiker’s Guide itself coming online, this U.K. rarity is right up your alley. No, not something I’d recommend for everyone’s music collection – since it’s hardly music – but it’s a must for any truly rabid fans of vintage BBC sci-fi productions.

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    Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (BBC Radio, 1979)

  1. The Book’s activating code (0:04)
  2. Slartibartfast’s aircar – takeoff (0:18)
  3. Slartibartfast’s aircar – constant run (0:38)
  4. Slartibartfast’s aircar – landing (0:27)
  5. Magrathea alarm (0:22)
  6. Magrathea police guns (0:36)
  7. Space car park outside Restaurant at the End of the Universe(0:49)
  8. The end of the Universe (0:32)
  9. Black spaceship oscillates (0:43)
  10. Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal – eating (0:07)
  11. Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal – walking (0:32)
  12. Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal – roaring (0:40)
  13. Penargilian Kangaroo Relocation drive engaged (0:05)
  14. Panargilian Kangaroo Relocation drive engaged (0:12)
  15. Golgafrincham Ark ship bridge background (1:07)

    Doctor Who

  16. Earth shuttle arriving on Argolis (1:09)
  17. Planet exterior atmosphere on Argolis – Leisure Hive (1:39)
  18. Flock of bats – State of Decay (1:04)
  19. Laboratory descends, Gaztak spaceship takes off – Meglos (0:25)
  20. Marshmen – Full Circle (0:24)
  21. Respirator room background in spaceship (0:46)
  22. Time winds – Warrior’s Gate (0:37)
  23. Alarm (0:20)
  24. Electric storm – Keeper of Traken (1:14)
  25. Cloister bell in the TARDIS (0:24)
  26. The Master’s TARDIS lands (0:21)
  27. The Master’s TARDIS takes off (0:15)
  28. TARDIS slips out of time – Logopolis (0:09)
  29. TARDIS slips into time (0:10)

    Blake’s Seven (series D, 1981)

  30. Dawn of emptiness (1:55)
  31. Space bells of ceremonial room (1:22)
  32. Scorpio spaceship lands (0:35)
  33. Scorpio teleport dematerialisation (0:09)
  34. Scorpio teleport rematerialisation (0:06)
  35. Scorpio handgun (0:07)

    Blake’s Seven (series A-C, 1978-80)

  36. Orac switch-on (0:02)
  37. Orac working (0:31)
  38. Orac switch-off (0:04)
  39. Liberator computer malfunction – Redemption (0:33)
  40. Liberator plasma bolt explosions (0:10)
  41. Liberator laser (0:25)
  42. Federation ship laser explosions (0:26)
  43. Liberator life capsule ready to be launched – Aftermath (0:39)
  44. Liberator ship background (1:35)
  45. Liberator handgun – three shots (0:13)
  46. Avon’s communicator bracelet, hail and transport sounds (0:09)
  47. Liberator teleport disappearance (0:11)
  48. Liberator teleport reappearance (0:11)
  49. Mysterious being disappears in a flame – Sarcophagus (0:05)
  50. Alien gun (0:06)
  51. Appearance of the Ovoid (0:35)
  52. Heavy voltage force (0:09)
  53. Glow from a mysterious ghost who haunts the Liberator (0:25)
  54. The core, a huge ever-growing pulsating brain – Ultraworld(0:32)
  55. Interior of Federation patrol ship (1:14)
  56. Going through a black hole in the Liberator – Dawn of the Gods(1:19)
  57. Space centre medical unit hum (0:43)
  58. Machine monster with a black sense of humour (0:37)
  59. Breakdown of machine monster (0:09)
  60. Extraterrestrial heavenly choir (1:24)

    Earth Search (BBC Radio 4, 1980)

  61. UFO landing (0:11)
  62. Computer touch panel bleeps (0:43)
  63. Warbles (0:25)
  64. Alarm (0:06)
  65. Meteorite alert station (0:32)
  66. Rumbling gurgle (0:35)
  67. Handheld ray gun (0:14)
  68. Space bombs (0:19)
  69. Space police (0:15)
  70. Outer airlock door open and close (0:11)
  71. Inner airlock door open and close (0:10)
  72. Plasma discharge weapons (0:09)
  73. Underworld animation chamber (0:39)
  74. Bleeps for suspended animation chamber (0:30)
  75. Electric warning gong (0:20)
  76. Three harmonic strings followed by explosion (0:07)
  77. Sharp hum with trail out (0:21)
  78. Rapid Fire

Released by: BBC Records
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 44:21

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI soundtrackI’m always happy when a Star Trek movie comes along and breaks free of traditional or overused treatments. James Horner, in two Trek movie outings, recycled the same handful of themes over and over (somewhat excusable, since the second and third films in the Trek catalogue were very closely intertwined); Jerry Goldsmith reiterated his famous Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme in no less than three movie projects (and we won’t get into how tired that theme got after seven years on TV with Star Trek: The Next Generation). So when someone comes along and completely sheds all nods to previous Trekkie fare – though Eidelman and later Dennis McCarthy made brief quotes of Alexander Courage’s themes in their respective scores – I’m all for it. The sixth Trek movie is graced by a dark, rumbling, near-operatic reminder of menace, extremely appropriate for the movie’s events which threaten to break down into certain doom for all involved. Some listeners and 4 out of 4moviegoers – particularly those fans who are far too set in their ways – couldn’t grasp this very different musical treatment of what seems to be everyone’s favorite fictional universe at the time, but I still encourage anyone interested to go and give this one a second listen.

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  1. Overture (2:57)
  2. An Incident (0:53)
  3. Clear All Moorings (1:39)
  4. Assassination (4:45)
  5. Surrender for Peace (2:46)
  6. Death of Gorkon (1:10)
  7. Rura Penthe (4:22)
  8. Revealed (2:38)
  9. Escape From Rura Penthe (5:34)
  10. Dining on Ashes (1:00)
  11. The Battle for Peace (8:03)
  12. Sign Off (3:13)
  13. Star Trek VI Suite (6:18)

Released by: MCA
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 45:18

Eurythmics – Greatest Hits

Eurythmics - Greatest HitsIf there was ever a bigger switch in a group’s sound in the 1980s, I must’ve missed it. From the folks who brought you “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and “Here Comes The Rain Again” comes a chronicle of the band’s hits and oddities (my all-time Eurythmics favorite remains, to this day, the very weird “Love Is A Stranger,” and that’s here too). Included are such personal favorites “Who’s That Girl?” (not the Madonna song, thank you very much), the hard-rocking “Would I Lie To You?”, and my two favorites from their last album, “There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)” and “Don’t Ask Me 4 out of 4Why”. If you liked the Eurythmics but aren’t up for tracking down their original catalog, chances are you can save a lot of searching and find the song(s) you liked here.

  1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (4:50)
  2. When Tomorrow Comes (4:25)
  3. Here Comes The Rain Again (3:03)
  4. Who’s That Girl? (3:44)
  5. Order this CD Would I Lie To You? (4:22)
  6. Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves (5:54)
  7. There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) (5:19)
  8. Missionary Man (3:45)
  9. Don’t Ask Me Why (4:13)
  10. I Need A Man (4:21)
  11. Love Is A Stranger (3:40)
  12. Thorn In My Side (4:11)
  13. The King & Queen Of America (4:31)
  14. Angel (4:58)

Released by: Arista
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 64:02

Sharkbait – Blowtorch Facelift

Sharkbait - Blowtorch FaceliftA friend of mine played me some of this album once and I then went about trying to find my own copy of it for quite a few years. When I did find it, though, it seemed to that my memory of this obscure disc had embellished how good it was. In a lot of ways, it’s just a little too outlandish for my tastes. The thing I remembered so fondly was this San Francisco band’s affinity for lambasting wrecked cars, oil drums, and other large items of metal for their percussion sounds – a really interesting sound, to be sure! But what I forgot was that the band’s usual style seems to fall somewhere between industrial and thrash metal – not my type at all. One particularly weird track – actually two weird tracks, part one and part two of “God Devil Head” – consists entirely of two distorted voices screaming “God!” and “Devil!” I’m quite reluctant to even attempt to figure out what they were thinking at the time. I do know, however, that I really don’t want to listen to a grand total of nearly three minutes of two guys shouting the same two words at each other over and over again. There’s also the very unusual “Queer Boy Behind An Iron Gate”, on whose 2 out of 4meaning I’m even more reluctant to speculate. But there are some great rhythm pieces in between the very oddly titled nonsense, my favorite being “Song For Trees”, a pounding, native-flavored track with a flute squealing aimlessly and primitively amid a hail of metallic impacts. Really, I can’t recommend this to too many, and it’s probably the furthest outside of my usual music tastes that my collection has ever wandered.

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  1. Vertical Assault (2:02)
  2. Oh My Brothers! (2:56)
  3. And Crush (3:58)
  4. God Devil Head (1:52)
  5. Song for Trees (2:41)
  6. SHO (Peace I) (1:42)
  7. Queer Boy Behind an Iron Gate (4:18)
  8. Praise God (4:04)
  9. Arabia Deserta (2:41)
  10. Peace II (1:50)
  11. Lost at Sea (3:57)
  12. I Am So Close (0:39)
  13. Metal (4:53)
  14. God Devil Head – conclusion (0:52)
  15. War Crush (14:40)

Released by: Primitech
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 53:05

Doctor Who: The Curse Of Fenric

Doctor Who: The Curse Of Fenric soundtrackMark Ayres’ synth-symphonic score to the penultimate Doctor Who story shot in Britain was the first complete score of a single Doctor Who story to be released in its entirety, and with good reason. Many people associate the music of Doctor Who with the abstract Dudley Simpson music of the 70s, and the slightly less abstract electronic music of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 80s. In the twilight years of the show as it was originally broadcast, the music became somewhat more straightforward, owing a lot to the contemporary neo-classical treatment which science fiction is so fond of. However, unlike Star Trek, Doctor Who could only afford a boy and his synthesizer. In this case, the composer was Mark Ayres, a Doctor Who fan who had persistently bugged producer John Nathan-Turner into allowing him to work on the show. The first story Ayres scored was The Greatest Show In The Galaxy, which was released later (see below); the second – though it was the last of his scores to be broadcast – was 1989’s very sinister Curse Of Fenric, a four-part story which was a bit ambiguous on the point of whether the Doctor’s (Sylvester McCoy) means to his end in the eternal fight against evil were as bad as, or worse than, his enemies’ approach to the battle. It was an excellent show and got a lot of wonderful music which perfectly combined an 4 out of 4orchestral feel – very well achieved even on synths – with the electronic atmosphere which is typical of the series. I have but a singular complaint about the soundtrack from Fenric – the overuse of a cymbal crash sample which, after about the 100th time, grates on the nerves. This is one of two Who CDs on my Damn Near Perfect album list.

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  1. introduction – Doctor Who theme (0:40)
  2. The Boats (0:47)
  3. Beach-Head and Rat-Trap (2:06)
  4. Sealed Orders (1:21)
  5. Eyes Watching (1:03)
  6. Commander Millington (0:47)
  7. Viking Graves (0:54)
  8. Maidens’ Point (1:17)
  9. The Translations (3:23)
  10. Audrey and Millington’s Office (2:13)
  11. The Curse of Fenric (2:32)
  12. High Stakes (0:34)
  13. The Crypt (1:21)
  14. The Ambush (0:42)
  15. The Well of Vergelmir (1:16)
  16. The Ultima Machine (2:00)
  17. Dangerous Undercurrents (1:02)
  18. The Seduction of Prozorov (1:54)
  19. Halftime Score (0:40)
  20. Exit Miss Hardaker / The Vicar and the Vampires (2:25)
  21. Stop the Machine! (2:25)
  22. The Haemovores (1:49)
  23. The Battle for St. Jude’s (4:27)
  24. The Mineshaft (1:51)
  25. Sealing the Hatch (1:55)
  26. House Guests (1:35)
  27. The Telegram (0:50)
  28. Evil from the Dawn of Time (1:10)
  29. The Storm Breaks (3:33)
  30. Ancient Enemies (3:46)
  31. Shadow Dimensions (1:10)
  32. Chemical Grenade (1:00)
  33. The Great Serpent (0:40)
  34. Pawns in the Game (3:16)
  35. Kathleen’s Escape (2:08)
  36. The Wolves of Fenric (3:08)
  37. Black Wins, Time Lord! (2:22)
  38. The Final Battle (2:48)
  39. epilogue – Doctor Who theme (2:12)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 71:02

The Move – The Best Of The Move

The Move - The Best Of The MoveFor those interested in the Move’s single releases, there’s no better introduction than this. It features such classics – trust me, even if you’ve never heard of the Move before now, they were classics – as “Blackberry Way” (an atypically Beatle-ish tune from Roy Wood, which also turned out to be the Move’s first and only U.K. #1 single), the trippy “I Can Hear The Grass Grow”, the raunchy (and badly-mixed) “Fire Brigade”, and the first song ever played on BBC Radio 1, “Flowers In The Rain”. It’d be hard for me 3 out of 4to pick a favorite out of all these. Some of the sound quality and mixing – again singling out “Fire Brigade” – are less than spectacular, but these songs do come from the late 60s and early 70s, and not everybody had access to Abbey Road Studios.

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  1. Blackberry Way (3:36)
  2. Curly (2:45)
  3. Yellow Rainbow (2:37)
  4. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (3:00)
  5. Fire Brigade (2:25)
  6. Hey Grandma (3:14)
  7. Kilroy Was Here (2:45)
  8. Night of Fear (2:12)
  9. Feel Too Good (9:33)
  10. Brontosaurus (4:26)
  11. Flowers in the Rain (2:24)
  12. Walk Upon The Water (3:12)
  13. Stephanie Knows Who (3:06)
  14. Turkish Tram Conductor Blues (4:42)
  15. Useless Information (2:51)
  16. Weekend (1:46)
  17. Cherry Blossom Clinic (7:42)
  18. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (3:01)

Released by: Music Collection International
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 65:17

Crowded House – Woodface

Crowded House - WoodfaceThere really aren’t enough words with which to praise this band’s third album. It was really the best of all possible worlds – Tim and Neil Finn, formerly the front men of Split Enz, united again and lavishing their quirky one-of-a-kind vocal harmonies on a number of marvelously concocted (and some decidedly strange) songs. There’s little about this album not to like. Specific cuts to listen to: “Weather With You”, “Whispers and Moans”, “She Goes On”, “As Sure As I Am”, and my favorites, “Fall At Your Feet” and the Tim-tries-to-be-Sinatra tune with the orchestral backing, “All I Ask”. Quite simply a solid and highly enjoyable rating: 4 out of 4collection, and one of my favorite albums of all time! Sadly, Tim and Neil had a falling-out during the tour for this album, and did not collaborate again until 1995, after Crowded House broke up. This is unfortunate, because the two Finn brothers harmonizing tend to out-Everly the Everly Brothers, and then some.

Order this CD

  1. Chocolate Cake (4:02)
  2. It’s Only Natural (3:32)
  3. Fall At Your Feet (3:19)
  4. Tall Trees (2:20)
  5. Weather With You (3:44)
  6. Whispers and Moans (3:40)
  7. Four Seasons In One Day (2:50)
  8. There Goes God (3:50)
  9. Fame Is (2:23)
  10. All I Ask (3:56)
  11. As Sure As I Am (2:54)
  12. Italian Plastic (3:40)
  13. She Goes On (3:15)
  14. How Will You Go / We’re Still Here (4:46)

Released by: Capitol
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 48:11