Star Trek: Insurrection (Newly Expanded Edition)

Star Trek: Insurrection (Newly Expanded Edition)GNP Crescendo’s final remastered score from one of the TNG-era Star Trek movies, Star Trek: Insurrection is a boisterous score to a movie that was trying so hard not to be a traditional action movie. Despite that (or perhaps because of it), Jerry Goldsmith was now the default option when it came to Star Trek movie music, having scored the previous feature film (1996’s Star Trek: Final Conflict to much acclaim. Goldsmith, this time operating on his own (First Contact had included significant input from his son, Joel Goldsmith), turned out a score with pastoral elements not unlike the main theme of First Contact, as well as the brand of pulsating action music which had been one of his hallmarks throughout his career.

The expanded release covers all the ground of Crescendo’s roughly-45-minute release from 1998, and fills in the blanks by completing the score and offering a few alternates and early takes on cues that were revised at the studio’s request. The difference between early drafts and final versions isn’t huge, as it turns out, but they offer some insight into the process of creating the movie’s music. Among the unreleased material, there’s quite a bit of repetition of the movie’s main action motif as well as its more serene themes for the peaceful Ba’ku, but at this point in the saga, the previously unreleased material isn’t as revelatory as it was with, say, Star Trek: The Motion Picture or Star Trek II. Goldsmith completists and Trek completists will be happy to have the unreleased segments of the score, but other than the upgrade in sound quality, there’s not much here to compel owners of the original 1998 release to upgrade.

One thing I noticed in listening to the full score: from an audio engineering standpoint, the entire score seems to be drenched with what can be most charitably described as an obnoxious amount of reverb. The orchestra is simply too echo-ey – it’s almost as if the microphones placed over specific instrument groups 3 out of 4didn’t record a signal, leaving the recording engineers with nothing but the wide-area room mic. At about 20 minutes in, I was growing very tired of that element of this soundtrack. I don’t recall if Insurrection always sounded this way, or if the shorter length of the 1998 release didn’t give the effect time to sink in. Insurrection is music that any action film would be happy to have, but by the high standards set by his other work in the franchise, it’s probably the dimmest corner of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek constellation.

Order this CD

  1. Ba’ku Village (6:56)
  2. Out of Orbit / Take Us In (1:45)
  3. Come Out (2:36)
  4. In Custody (1:16)
  5. Warp Capability / The Planet / Children’s Story (2:27)
  6. The Holodeck (4:36)
  7. How Old Are You / New Sight (6:11)
  8. Lost Ship / Prepare the Ship (2:40)
  9. As Long As We Can (1:35)
  10. Not Functioning / Send Your Ships (2:48)
  11. Growing Up / Wild Flowers / Photon Torpedo (2:43)
  12. The Drones Attack (4:12)
  13. The Riker Maneuver (3:10)
  14. Stay With Me (1:44)
  15. The Same Race (2:52)
  16. The Collector (1:10)
  17. No Threat (4:11)
  18. Tractor Beam (0:40)
  19. The Healing Process (revised) (5:04)
  20. The Healing Process (original version) (7:15)
  21. End Credits (5:29)
  22. Ba’ku Village (alternate ending) (3:52)
  23. The Holodeck (alternate ending) (1:33)
  24. Growing Up (alternate) (1:18)
  25. Tractor Beam (alternate) (0:41)

Released by: GNP Crescendo Records
Release date: August 6, 2013
Total running time: 1:18:44

Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The SeaInspiration is a tricky thing. It can show up in all possible ways and when you very least expect it. Jeff Mangum, the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel, wrote and composed most of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea after being inspired by reading The Diary Of Anne Frank, coupled with dreams he had about the girl and a Jewish family. Although the album isn’t explicitly about Frank, her presence lingers, either through the lyrics (“Anna’s ghost all around/hear her voice as it’s rolling and ringing through me”) or song titles (“Holland, 1945”). Like his inspiration, Mangum’s musical world is dreamlike, but also by turns jarring, soft, boisterous and confusing.

The album starts off with the song “The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. One”, in which the narrator describes having an intimate relationship with an unnamed person (“The King Of Carrot Flowers” (?) ) while living under a dysfunctional family (“And your mom would drink until she was no longer speaking/and dad would dream of all the different ways to die/each one a little more than he could dare to try”). By contrast, the next track, “The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. Two” has Jeff Mangum yelling loudly, “Jesus Christ, I love you!” If you were looking for any clear interpretations, you won’t find them in this album.

In the title track, acoustic guitars are backed by horns and a musical saw, giving it that “barely waking” feel. “Holland, 1945”, arguably the album’s catchiest track and also the album’s “single” (if you can call it that), starts with Mangum counting in the song before fuzzed out guitars explode with a driving drum beat while Mangum’s obscure lyricism continues: “The only girl I’ve ever loved/was born with roses in her eyes…Now she’s a little boy in Spain/playing pianos filled with flames”. “Untitled” has been described by some as “psychedelic bagpipes” and that’s not too far off from the truth.

I’ve heard reports that upon first listening to this album, some people have broken down and cried. Although I 4 out of 4cannot admit to such happenings, it doesn’t surprise me at all. I have never more raw emotion packed into a single album before In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, and I’ll doubt if I’ll hear it again. After the release of In The Aeroplane… Mangum broke up Neutral Milk Hotel and disappeared from the public eye. Released ten years ago, it still sounds as fresh and bold as the day it was written. This album will stay with you.

Order this CD

  1. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. One (2:00)
  2. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two & Three (3:06)
  3. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (3:22)
  4. Two-Headed Boy (4:26)
  5. The Fool (1:53)
  6. Holland, 1945 (3:12)
  7. Communist Daughter (1:57)
  8. Oh Comely (8:18)
  9. Ghost (4:08)
  10. (2:16)
  11. Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two (5:13)

Released by: Merge
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 39:51

Godzilla – music by David Arnold

Finally out after nine years (just one year shy of the movie’s tenth anniversary) David Arnold’s score for Roland Emmerich’s remake (a 2-CD set, limited to 3000 copies) of Tokyo’s resident bad boy displays all of the pluses and minuses of Arnold’s previous collaborations with Emmerich.

One of the most striking things that occurred to me when listening to this set was the fact that Arnold tends to compose similar music whenever the military is on screen at any given point. In fact, “Military Command Center” is a case in point. The drum beats alone tends to signify “Ten-shun!” whenever a military type enters the scene. Ironically, and much to Arnold’s regret according to the booklet’s liner notes (one of the most illuminating I have come across, by the way), the military in Emmerich’s opus doesn’t get as much screen time as one would expect in a film with the big G.

Another puzzling thing is that about halfway through the production process was the decision on Emmerich’s part to make his CGI big G as much a thing of wonder as of a thing of terror. Perhaps the most significant result of this sudden change of direction is “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”. At first the piece emphasizes the terror, but around the halfway mark it switches to an almost Williams-style feeling of awe and wonder.

Still, what this score does right, it does very right indeed. “The Beginning” does an excellent job of setting things up and while it’s not going to dethrone Akira Ifukube’s now-iconic theme anytime soon, it manages to display a sense of dread all its own. In fact, in the alternate version of this (no choir in the latter) it almost sounds remarkably similar to Ifukube’s previous work. Also, “Nick and Audrey” has a feel to it that’s more than a little reminiscent of John Barry.

4 out of 4In all, this is an album that many people have been waiting for a long time and whether you like the movie or not, the score itself should be listened to at least once, since it seems unlikely, despite Arnold’s optimism, that he’ll do another job for Emmerich anytime soon.

Order this CD

  1. The Beginning (3:29)
  2. Tanker Gets It (1:11)
  3. Chernobyl (3:13)
  4. Footprint (0:33)
  5. Footprints / New York / Audrey (0:54)
  6. Chewing Gum Nose (0:30)
  7. Ship Reveal / Nick Discovers Fish / Flesh (1:39)
  8. The Boat Gets It* (2:09)
  9. Dawn Of The Species (1:49)
  10. Joe Gets a Bite / Godzilla Arrives (3:11)
  11. Mayor’s Speech (1:03)
  12. Caiman’s Office (0:45)
  13. Animal’s Camera (1:39)
  14. Military Command Center / New Jersey (1:55)
  15. Audrey’s Idea (0:22)
  16. Evacuation (2:41)
  17. French Coffee (0:56)
  18. Subway Damage / Command Enters City (2:50)
  19. Fish (1:48)
  20. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? (5:13)
  21. 1st Helicopter Chase / Godzilla Swats A Chopper (4:08)
  22. We Fed Him / Audrey Sees Nick (1:21)
  23. Nick And Audrey / He’s Pregnant / Audrey Takes The Tape / French Breakfast (4:46)
  24. He’s Preparing To Feed (0:34)
  25. Nick Gets Fired / Nick Gets Abducted / Frenchie’s Warehouse / Nick Joins The Foreign Legion (5:47)
    Disc two

  1. Chewing Gum (1:51)
  2. Rumble In The Tunnel (1:35)
  3. Godzilla O Park / Godzilla Takes A Dive / Godzilla Versus The Submarine / Egg Discovery (9:42)
  4. Baby ‘Zillas Hatch* (3:51)
  5. Nick Phones For Help (1:28)
  6. Eat The French (2:14)
  7. Phillip Shoots The Lock (1:39)
  8. Nick’s Big Speech / The Garden Gets It (7:07)
  9. He’s Back! / Taxi Chase & Clue (7:06)
  10. Big G Goes To Monster Heaven (4:30)
  11. The End (4:05)

    Bonus Tracks

  12. The Beginning (no choir) (3:32)
  13. Footprints / New York / Audrey (alternate) (0:50)
  14. The Boat Gets It (alternate) (1:09)
  15. Gojira (Album Version) (2:46)

* contains material not used in the film

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2007
Disc one total running time: 55:28
Disc two total running time: 53:47

The Best Of Godzilla: 1984-1995

The Best Of Godzilla: 1984-1995 is the second disc in a two-part set of the music of Godzilla (the first disc covered the years 1954-1975). This album contains selections from the films The Return Of Godzilla to Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, which also serves as the second “era” of Godzilla movies. Astute readers may notice a gap of 9 years between discs: This wasn’t a decision on GNP Crescendo’s part not to include those years, there just simply weren’t any movies being made then.

This compliation starts off with The Return Of Godzilla, which (as the name implies) marked the return of Godzilla to the big screen after a 9 year break. The first thing you will notice about the music is that, even though it was composed in the mid-80’s, it doesn’t contain the slick production style that marked so much of the music that came from this decade. The composer, Reijiro Koroku, also decided to keep the musical style of the earlier Godzilla films intact. This is a welcome change from the ’70s pop/disco-infused music that marred such films as Godzilla vs. Megalon.

This would not last, however. In the next film, Godzilla vs. Biollante, composer Koichi Sugiyama uses electric guitars and a heavy rock beat on the song “Bio Wars”, which makes it feel more like Cheap Trick than Godzilla. Needless to say, it’s sorely out of place, considering also that the other two songs that were taken from this film are more of a standard orchestrated style. Video game buffs will also recognize Sugiyama’s name — he’s the principal composer of the Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior series.

Out of the remaning five films represented on this disc, four of them contain a nice surprise: original composer Akira Ifukube is back on board, and it’s easy to see why. His music is so quintessentially “Godzilla”, it’s hard to think that anybody would try to take his place. This stuff is easily the best on the disc, although he does occasionally lapse into a case of “of the times” and uses synths and other modern sounds and techniques (his remake of “Mothra’s Song” from Godzilla vs. Mothra sounds like it could have easily been performed by Todd Rundgren). Of particular interest is the song “Requiem” from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: after a dissonant piano/string part, a lone instrument slowly builds up with a few strings until an entire string section plays while a female vocalization sings over it. That description really doesn’t do it any justice — it’s very beautiful, and shows how Ifukube was capable of putting not only suspense and action into his music, but also emotion as well.

This disc is a bit different than its precedessor. Since this compilation only covers 9 years of Godzilla movies, more selections from each movie were included, giving the disc a better overall feel. One wishes that GNP Crescendo could have split the first disc into two parts and not had to include 21 years worth of music on just one disc. Another thing I thought was strange, but welcome — the SFX that were liberally peppered on the first disc are nowhere to be heard here. Maybe it’s because the SFX from these movies weren’t as memorable, but I was glad they decided to focus on the music this time around. One thing, however, that I wish they would have gotten rid of: The closing track, a remake of “Monster Zero March”, once again performed by Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra. Like the first disc, its addition seems wholly arbitrary, and adds no real value (especially on a compilation of the original soundtrack).

3 out of 4So, if you could only buy one of these discs, which one would it be? I would have to give the nod to 1954-1975 because it contains the original Godzilla music, but listening to that disc alone paints an incomplete picture. Both discs are essential to each other to give a complete overview of the music of Godzilla, and both casual Godzilla enthusiasts and hardcore kaiju fans will find this collection enjoyable. One wonders if GNP Crescendo will be onboard to give us a 1999- compliation sometime in the near future…

Order this CD

  1. Main Theme (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (3:18)
  2. Main Title (Return Of Godzilla) (1:49)
  3. Take Shelter/Godzilla vs. Super X (Return Of Godzilla) (2:15)
  4. Japanese Army March (Return Of Godzilla) (0:47)
  5. Godzilla’s Exit (Return Of Godzilla) (1:51)
  6. Ending (Return Of Godzilla) (1:47)
  7. Scramble March (Godzilla vs. Biollante) (4:27)
  8. Bio Wars (Godzilla vs. Biollante) (4:36)
  9. Ending (Godzilla vs. Biollante) (5:00)
  10. Main Title/UFO Invasion (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (2:57)
  11. King Ghidorah Attacks Fukuoka (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (0:37)
  12. Get King Ghidorah (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (1:41)
  13. Main Title (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (1:25)
  14. Mahara Mothra (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (0:55)
  15. Mesa March (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (1:55)
  16. Rolling Title Ending (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (3:40)
  17. Mothra’s Song (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (3:47)
  18. Main Title (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II) (1:35)
  19. G-Force March #1 (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II) (2:50)
  20. Prologue/Main Title (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (2:35)
  21. Bass Island (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (1:21)
  22. MOGERA vs. Space Godzilla #1 (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (1:28)
  23. MOGERA vs. Space Godzilla #2 (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (2:37)
  24. Crystal (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (5:33)
  25. Main Title/Hong Kong’s Destruction (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (3:09)
  26. Attack Of Super X-3 (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (3:00)
  27. Mesa Tank Super Freeze Attack (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (1:55)
  28. Requiem (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (3:49)
  29. Ending Title (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (2:48)
  30. Monster Zero March – Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra (3:04)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 78:31

The Best Of Godzilla: 1954-1975

It’s no large secret that Godzilla’s popularity has helped him wreak havoc and chaos on Japan for over 50+ years. But while all the action and mayhem is displayed on the screen, one thing tends to get lost on moviegoers: the music. Fortunently, this disc helps rectify that. Containing the best selections from Godzilla’s tenure on the big screen, The Best Of Godzilla: 1954-1975 is the first part of a two disc set (a companion CD was released as well that covers the years 1984-1995).

Like the name implies, this disc covers the years 1954-1975, which ranges from the original Godzilla movie to Terror of MechaGodzilla, and also serves as the first “era” of Godzilla films. The songs here are listed in chronological order, which means that the disc starts off with selections from the original Godzilla, composed by Akira Ifukube. Ifukube’s music lays the groundwork for the film scores to follow: Here, we hear the string-and-horn driven main theme for the first time, as well as the “Japanese Army March” which would later be reused as a continuing theme in the Godzilla universe. “Godzilla’s Rampage” is another fine example of the early soundtrack: its dissonant piano and low, growling horns accentuate the sobering aspect of the giant lizard’s destruction perfectly.

The next major movie to be represented is King Kong vs. Godzilla, which music most Americans never got to hear, since it was replaced in the US with a re-used score from a different film. Akira Ifukube composed the music for this film as well, and keeps the theme that he employed for the previous movies, making the music tense and dramatic.

Mothra vs. Godzilla is next up, and it’s interesting to hear how the film scores have evolved from movie to movie. Ifukube is still onboard, but the music has taken a dramatic leap from the original Godzilla. For example, “Mothra’s Song” sounds like a cross between traditional Japanese music, and the 60’s pop that was so prevalent at the time. It also includes sung lyrics, which was only attemped once before in the “Main Theme” of King Kong vs. Godzilla, but even that didn’t sound nearly as polished as it does here. In fact, out the 3 pieces from Mothra that were selected for this disc, 2 of them have female vocals. This is the film where, I believe, Ifukube really comes into his own style.

Some other top tracks on this disc include the “Main Theme” from Son Of Godzilla, which was composed by Masaru Sato. The shift in musical styles is eminently discernible; instead of the tense, dark mood that Ifukube set with his score, this “Main Theme” sounds more suited to whimsy to gloomy — I can’t help but think this could also double as the theme for The Dick Van Dyke Show! Even though it’s not what you would think of when you think Godzilla, given the subject matter, it works. Another interesting track is the “Godzilla March”, a song specially made for the original LP of the soundtrack to Godzilla vs. Gigan, and composed by Kunio Miyauchi. The song is steeped in 70’s pop/faux-disco that the Japanese seemed to be so found of (see: Lupin ’78 theme song).

As another sign that the times were changing, compare the soundtrack of Godzilla vs. Megalon (composed by Riichiro Manabe) to any of Ifukuda’s original score. The rock beat that accompanies Manabe’s score may cause purists to turn up their noses. Indeed, while Manabe’s compositions may have worked under any different guise, being a part of the Godzilla canon gives it a weaker feel, and lacks the “punch” needed to add emotion to the Godzilla movie.

There are some other shortfalls on the disc as well. Obviously, to dedicate a complete overview of the Godzilla filmography would require nothing short of a box set, but yet it still feels incomplete in the fact that films like Godzilla Raids Again and Godzilla vs. Hedorah (and several others) only being represented by the obligatory “Main Theme” and nothing more. Another qualm I had was the fact that the disc was peppered with tracks of just SFX — classic movie buffs may dig it, but I felt they were included just to pad the disc’s length. Also included on the disc was a version of the “Godzilla Theme” performed by Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra. It’s inclusion seems wholly arbitrary (why place a “modernized” version of a theme song on an album comprised of original music?), and it’s nothing really outstanding, either.

3 out of 4Your feelings on the disc may be skewed towards which Godzilla era you prefer. But as a primer on the not-so-humble beginnings of Godzilla, it serves as a wonderful introduction, and a nice jumping point for those who may want to explore further into their favorite film’s music, and maybe even try to locate the full soundtrack.

Order this CD

  1. Footsteps FX (Godzilla) (0:36)
  2. Godzilla Main Theme (Godzilla) (1:31)
  3. Ootojima Temple Festival (Godzilla) (1:19)
  4. Japanese Army March (Godzilla) (0:38)
  5. Godzilla Comes Ashore (Godzilla) (1:51)
  6. Godzilla’s Rampage (Godzilla) (2:25)
  7. Ending (Godzilla) (1:42)
  8. Main Title (Godzilla Rides Again) (1:24)
  9. Helicopter/Man Screams/SOS FX (King Kong vs. Godzilla) (0:23)
  10. Main Title (King Kong vs. Godzilla) (1:57)
  11. King Kong Roars FX (King Kong vs. Godzilla) (0:13)
  12. Planning King Kong’s Transport (King Kong vs. Godzilla) (2:13)
  13. Mothra’s Song (Mothra vs. Godzilla) (2:23)
  14. Mothra FX (Mothra vs. Godzilla) (0:09)
  15. Main Title (Mothra vs. Godzilla) (1:52)
  16. Sacred Springs (Mothra vs. Godzilla) (3:49)
  17. Main Title/Monsters Appear In Yokohama (Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster) (2:33)
  18. UFO Approaches/Monsters Fight FX/Monster Battle March (Main Title) (Invasion Of The Astro-Monster) (2:56)
  19. Main Title (Son Of Godzilla) (2:07)
  20. Godzilla vs. Kumonga (Son Of Godzilla) (2:16)
  21. Ending (Son Of Godzilla) (2:46)
  22. Godzilla FX/Toho Logo/Main Title (Destroy All Monsters) (1:35)
  23. Title Credits (Destroy All Monsters) (1:23)
  24. Four Monsters Attack Tokyo (Destroy All Monsters) (1:46)
  25. Destroying The Remote Control (Destroy All Monsters) (0:40)
  26. Showdown On Mt. Fuji (Destroy All Monsters) (2:47)
  27. Ending (Destroy All Monsters) (1:26)
  28. Cute Kid Theme/Monster Fight (All Monsters Attack) (2:43)
  29. Godzilla’s Fight (Godzilla vs. Hedorah) (1:09)
  30. Main Title (Godzilla vs. Gigan) (2:11)
  31. Main Title Repeat (Godzilla vs. Gigan) (1:26)
  32. Godzilla March (Record Version) (Godzilla vs. Gigan) (3:09)
  33. Jet Jaguar/Megalon FX (Godzilla vs. Megalon) (0:15)
  34. Main Title (Godzilla vs. Megalon) (1:27)
  35. Godzilla Of Monster Island (Godzilla vs. Megalon) (2:13)
  36. MechaGodzilla FX (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla) (0:30)
  37. Godzilla vs. Anguiras (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla) (2:27)
  38. Miyarabi’s Prayer (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla) (4:03)
  39. Main Title (Terror Of MechaGodzilla) (4:31)
  40. MechaGodzilla II (Terror Of MechaGodzilla) (1:44)
  41. Godzilla’s Entrance (Terror Of MechaGodzilla) (1:14)
  42. Ending (Terror Of MechaGodzilla) (1:15)
  43. Theme From Godzilla – Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra (1:33)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 78:30

Who’s Serious: The Symphonic Music of the Who

Who's Serious: The Symphonic Music of the Who It’s been a concept as old as the music industry itself. Whenever you need to need to squeeze out a few more dollars from a songwriter’s catalog of hits, simply hire an in-house orchestra to record those same songs in a more “classical” setting. It started with 101 Strings in 1957, and continues to this day with the “String Tribute To…” albums that seem to get churned out more and more each week. But what if the orchestra that offers the tribute is worthy of tribute themselves?

Who’s Serious is one item from a line of rock-meets-symphony albums by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, etc.), with The Who being the band toasted. But just one listen and you can tell that this is a cut above your average “tribute” album. The album kicks off with “Overture”, a medley of Who hits performed by Roger Daltrey’s touring band. The next track starts the album off proper, with “I Can See For Miles” being performed by the Orchestra. They continue with a string (sorry, bad pun) of The Who’s songs until the last track, “Listening To You,” is again recorded by Roger Daltrey’s band.

One thing I noticed while listening to the album: the arrangements are top-notch. The melody, in particular, captures Roger Daltrey’s inflections perfectly (for example, the “hiccup” on “Who Are You”). But there are still some qualms present. First, only a handful of The Who’s most well-known songs were chosen, meaning that this probably won’t appeal to casual Who fans. Who purists, on the other hand, may also find fault with the fact that the Orchestra may have taken liberties with the arrangements (“Baba O’Riley”, for instance, repeats the first verse and chorus before going into the second verse). Thirdly, even though Roger Daltrey’s touring band performs on the bookends of the album, there is little mention of them in the liner notes besides listing each member of “The Band”. Maybe it’s just because I obessively catalog my music collection, but I would have prefered a little more than that to go on. And lastly, despite all the good intentions and professionalism Rating - 3 out of 4brought to this project, one gets the feeling that the only reason this came about was to, yes, line someone’s coffers.

It probably goes without saying that if you’re new to The Who, then you should pick up the original recordings first. But for Who fans looking for a new twist on some old favorites, this may well be the album for you.

Order this CD

  1. Overture(6:18)
  2. I Can See For Miles(3:21)
  3. Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me(5:13)
  4. My Generation(5:51)
  5. Dr. Jimmy(12:30)
  6. Baba O’Riley(5:34)
  7. 5:15(7:44)
  8. Love Reign O’er Me(6:41)
  9. Who Are You(4:37)
  10. Listening To You (from We’re Not Going To Take It)(4:48)

Released by: BMG
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 63:03

Space Adventures: Music from Doctor Who, 1963-1971

Space Adventures: Music From Doctor Who, 1963-1971Compiled by Julian Knott, Space Adventures was a very limited-edition release (packaged first as a cassette and later, with bonus tracks, as a CD) compiling stock library music tracks from various sources that were used in the early years of Doctor Who. For a variety of reasons – budget being a frequent one – library music was often used in the show’s black & white days, simply because it was cheaper to pay for a needle drop on a stock music record than it was to have an original score composed. And while this may sound like a cheap way out today, several of these cues are now as indelibly associated with the Doctor’s journeys as any piece of specially composed incidental music that was ever created for the show.

Some time back, I reviewed a CD released to coincide with The Tenth Planet, containing several stock music cues that became a sonic signature for the sinister Cybermen. Space Adventures (which actually takes its title from the very same piece of music that accompanied the Cybermen’s early appearances) was the first public premiere of that work, and apparently it was no easy task. Music libraries, if they want to stay in business where paying clients are concerned, have to evolve with the times, creating newer, more modern pieces of music to offer and retiring older ones whose styles have fallen out of use. Such was the case with the various music libraries from which theese tracks were culled: with no demand for their more distinctly 60s-flavored tunes, the companies put the master tapes away in a vault with very little in the way of protection or preservation taking place. To make a long story short, it was up to an amateur soundtrack producer (with the benefit of expert advice) to restore the damaged tapes; if not for Knott, there would’ve been no Tenth Planet CD, because those library master tapes would have all but disintegrated.

The material archived here covers the first eight years of Doctor Who on TV, going all the way back to a piece of source music (that is, music that the characters in a scene can hear) used in part one of the first story, An Unearthly Child. The library tracks included feature both electronic and more traditional instrumentation, and while it’s nice stuff and lovingly restored, there’s a “diehards only” vibe about it all: it’s background music, with a capital “back” and capital “ground.” There are few real standout tracks, and it’s highly likely that a listener’s enjoyment of those tracks would be dependent on his familiarity with the episodes in which the music was used.

3 out of 4That aside, though, it’s a pity that the BBC has never relicensed this material, paid Knott for his hard work and re-released this collection as an official Doctor Who branded product, rather than as the fan-made CD that it is. The niche nature of the material does explain that a bit, but on a purely selfish level, copies of this CD are outrageously expensive on the collectors’ market, and listeners who don’t feel like having to choose between Space Adventures and paying their bills for a month would probably be forever grateful.

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  1. Three Guitars Mood 2 (2:04)
  2. Machine Room (3:01)
  3. Illustrations No. 4 – Little Prelude (1:28)
  4. Asyndeton (0:29)
  5. Illustrations No. 4 – Hunted Man (2:58)
  6. Palpitations (0:36)
  7. Telergic (0:45)
  8. Lunar People – Andromeda (2:42)
  9. Music For Technology Part One (1:36)
  10. Electronic Music: Bathysphere (3:01)
  11. Spine Chillers (1:25)
  12. Space Adventure (2:17)
  13. Power Drill (1:15)
  14. Universe Sidereal (2:28)
  15. Illustrations No. 4 – Frightened Man (4:44)
  16. Electronic Music: Meteoroids (1:26)
  17. Space Time Music Part One (1:25)
  18. Space Time Music Part Two (1:21)
  19. Musique Concrete II (2:22)
  20. Impending Danger (2:13)
  21. World Of Plants (2:32)
  22. Desert Storm (1:54)
  23. Musique Concrete (0:57)
  24. Blast Off! (2:24)
  25. Astronautics Suite (2:40)
  26. Youngbeat (2:54)
  27. Spotlight Sequins No. 1 (1:58)
  28. Mutations (0:44)

Released by: Julian Knott
Release date: 1998 (original version released on cassette in 1987)
Total running time: 55:39