A bit of time ago, I caught back up to RoboCop on Blu-ray, a film I was expecting to be good, trashy fun but found to have been a fascinating and audacious bit of science fiction cinema (while actually still being good, trashy fun at the same time ― see that review and the subsequent discussions for more details). I commented that I was engaged by the score more than usual, which isn't exactly true. What happened there is what always happened whenever I'd watch my old Criterion laserdisc of RoboCop: I'd get all juiced up by the music in the movie, run over and put on the soundtrack album ready for some explosive overload… and it was okay. Good, even, except for the fact that it trailed off at the end. But, that awful finale aside, there was always something missing from that album that I couldn't quite define.
I'm still not sure what it is, but it sure as hell ain't missing from Intrada's new issue of the complete score. While I do not always find that a complete score in chronological order is always the best way to listen to a score, this is a case where it most certainly is. Even the source music works better balancing out the listening experience in context of the score rather than isolated at the end (something this album has in common with Film Score Monthly's release of Michael Small's Klute). The new edition restores several powerful statements of the main RoboCop theme (including its clanking first appearance), which was always a deficiency on the original album, and restores the architecture of the original thematic development. Sound on the new album is also somewhat improved, but I never had much of an issue with it on the original release beyond a sharpness that was common to all Varèse Sarabande releases of that general era.
Roger Fiegelson and friend discuss fan relations at Intrada Records
In a move that was somewhat controversial, Roger and Doug decided to reconstruct Poledouris' intended end credit sequence rather than just leave the final cue "Across the Board" by itself, as it was always supposed to dovetail into the end credits suite. I happen to love the fact that they did this because it solves the other major problem with previous versions of RoboCop on CD, which is that they all trailed off. This disc has a definitive conclusion, and it gives the score some much-needed closure.
Once again, the proof of the pudding is in the taste, and while I would rarely ever listen to the Varèse RoboCop (which was why I never bothered picking up their own reissue of the title), I have listened to Intrada's CD several times already. It's prime Poledouris in a prime presentation, and this particular release has raised my evaluation of RoboCop several notches.
When I first watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was dismayed that Christophe Beck left the show after the fourth season. He always found a way to get to the heart of the story, and his themes were always very good at illustrating characters. His love theme for Riley and Buffy was, in fact, one of the few elements of their relationship that didn't make me want to bang my head against a brick or cement wall.
I do wonder if my initial negative reaction to Thomas Wanker's music was because it was clearly not Beck's voice on the show anymore. I think that my reaction to his premiere score for "Buffy Vs. Dracula" may have been a bit colored by this. Wanker's scores for the show are actually quite good. He makes great use of Beck's Riley/Buffy love theme for the deterioration of their relationship, but he also comes up with some interesting figures of his own. Unfortunately, aside from Walter Murphy, Wanker is the only regularly contributing composer to the series whose music hasn't seen the light of day in any form.
Beck's recent Buffy score record was probably the last word on Buffy score music, which is unfortunate because that release was somewhat compromised (it couldn't include "Close Your Eyes," "Dead Guys With Bombs" or any of the music from "Hush" or "Restless" that appeared on previous releases) there is actually quite a lot of his own material that could stand to be released. The finale of "Passions," with its impassioned readings of the Giles/Jenny theme (a sample of which featuring vocals by Tony Head is on Beck's Season 2 promo and the official Buffy score album) would make a great Babylon 5-style episode score disc.