I had a bit of time today to hit the record store for the first time in a while. I was looking for Raw Power, a song from which suitboyskin put on his Voids mix that I've been listening to since he came to visit. He's putting together a Voids 2, which I'm looking forward to as well.
Interestingly, I ran into Frankie at the store, and it turns out that the same guy who mastered Lester Swing's The Music Album at Sony worked on the remaster of Raw Power. He told me that he kept getting into fights with Iggy Pop, and listening to the album I can kind of hear why. "Gimme Danger," the track off Voids, is certainly the best sounding song here, and I can definitely hear how this album more than most would suffer from improper equalization when brought to the CD medium. The sounds quality of the original recording wasn't very good to begin with, and the original CD no doubt had no low end at all. Not having heard either the LP or the original CD (although the former is something that I might keep an eye out for), I can't say much about whether or not this remaster is as good as it'll ever get or not, but either way I can't imagine that it was a pleasant experience to do.
Anyway, the songs kick ass.
I also picked up the CD of the Revenge of the Sith score, which comes with a bonus DVD of music videos of tracks from the soundtrack albums with shots from the films cut together (some with more abandon than others), and rather unnecessary optional introductions by Ian McDiarmid. The disc is... nice, I guess. The videos have dialogue bites over the music, which is somewhat annoying. The tendency towards the concert arrangments makes for a very formal listening experience, little different from any of the other compilations out there save for the inclusion of material from the prequel trilogy. I'm not terribly fond of these types of compilations, even (and perhaps especially) Williams' own Skywalker Symphony album, and that's exactly why I attempted very much the opposite with my Star Wars mix. However, that said, the only track from ROTS that is represented is "Battle of the Heroes," and the edit is very, very similar to the current theatrical trailer. It is slightly tighter and since it is rearranged somewhat to fit "Battle of the Heroes," I'll actually go so far as to say that I think that it is much superior to the trailer I saw before The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Speaking of Hitchhiker's, I also picked up Joby Talbot's score from that film, as I thought it was quite entertaining. It's all fluff, to be sure, but it's very attractive fluff. The orchestral score is rousing and at time very lyrical, and the synth cues for the guide itself are pretty interesting. It's pretty enjoyable.
I also got Rolfe Kent's score from Sideways as it was on sale, and I must say that I enjoyed it immensely. The music doesn't follow the action in the film, but rather sets a tone with slick and very pleasant jazz (similar in method to David Baerwald's music for Hurlyburly). My favorite track is the very sweet "Los Olivos," but the whole album is a lot of fun to listen to.
I really like Rolfe Kent, actually. I think that it is a complete fallacy that comedies don't give composers much of a showing. Some of my favorite Elmer Bernstein scores are for comedies. It is impossible to watch It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and not fall in love with Ernest Gold's amiable accompaniment. I think that Kent has a gift for making music that is playful but not condescending. The first film I'd seen that he had scored was The Slums of Beverly Hills, and I really liked the way he combined innocence and world-weariness; his collaborations with Alexander Payne (of which Sideways was the most recent) have had a similar feel. My favorite of these (both film and score) is the sublimely evil Election, the soundtrack album for which has a grand total of one Kent cue.
Kent has issued promos of Citizen Ruth, Election and The Slums of Beverly Hills (which did have a few tracks on the soundtrack album, but the promo is LP length and only the score), so I'm going to check those out soon.