Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Internecivus Raptus


I had been toying with the idea of putting together a mix of the music from the Alien series for a few weeks. I hadn't decided whether I wanted to include Harold Kloser's music from Alien Vs. Predator, which I wasn't particularly taken with. I ended up electing to concentrate solely on the four films that dealt with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). I had put together a tape, then a MiniDisc edition of this concept many years ago, and updated the MiniDisc program to a CD, but I hadn't revisited the idea in quite some time. Furthermore, all previous incarnations were chronological with separate suites for each of the four films. I had since altered the way that I put together my mixes and have access to much better technology at the moment, not to mention that I have access to more music from Aliens and Alien Resurrection than I did for any of the previous incarnations. I originally had tried discarding the chronological idea, thinking that I would find a lot more freedom both in terms of structure and in choices that were possible. I found, however, that the tracks from the four different films didn't fit together all that well, so I returned to the more chronological format, which plays much better.


Music by


1. Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare with CinemaScope Extension (0:22)
From Alien³ (Alfred Newman, Arranged by Elliot Goldenthal)

ALIEN (1979)
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith

The Nostromo (3:26)
Hypersleep (2:37)
The Landing (4:18)
The Derelict (2:47)
Last Supper (1:10)
Attack on Brett (1:27)
The Shaft (1:14)
The Droid (2:25)
Parker and Lambert (1:35)
The Narcissus (4:57)

Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Lionel Newman
Orchestrated by Arthur Morton
Produced by Jerry Goldsmith
Engineered by Eric Tomlinson

ALIENS (1986)
Composed and Conducted by James Horner

Dark Discovery (1:46)
Ripley's Rescue (3:13)
Futile Escape (8:01)
Going After Newt (3:16)
Bishop's Countdown (2:43)
Resolution (0:52)

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
Ian Underwood, Robert Garret, Randall Frakes, Synthesizers
Orchestrated by Grieg McRitchie
Produced by James Horner
Engineered by Eric Tomlinson

ALIEN³ (1992)
Composed by Elliot Goldenthal

Lento (a. Agnus Dei; b. Death and Birth) (5:04)
Lullabye Elegy (1:10)
Wreckage and Rape (2:38)
Visit to the Wreckage (1:56)
The Beast Within (2:48)
The Entrapment (3:36)
Adagio (4:09)

Orchestra Conducted by Jonathan Sheffer
Nick Nackley, Boy Soprano
Orchestrated by Elliot Goldenthal and Robert Elhai
Produced by Matthias Gohl
Engineered by Tim Boyle

Composed by John Frizzell

Post-Op (1:15)
Docking the Betty (1:09)
The Aliens Escape (1:08)
Ripley Meets Her Clones (2:11)
They Swim... (4:29)
I'm A Stranger Here Myself (1:27)
Ripley Reborn (1:17)
(Jerry Goldsmith; Arranged by John Frizzell)

Orchestra Conducted by Artie Kane
Orchestrations by Pete Anthony, Jeff Atmajian, Frank Bennett, Brad Dechter, Robert Elhai and Don Nemitz
Produced by John Frizzel and Mark Cross
Engineered by Sue MacLean

ALIEN (1979)
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith

Walking Distance (0:10)

In putting this album together, it was interesting to hear how the different composers approached similar scenes. While all of the Alien features are semantically science fiction, but only Alien³'s syntax is also sci-fi; otherwise, the syntactic genres change from film to film; Alien is a horror film, Aliens is a war picture, Alien Resurrection is an off-kilter action movie. Nevertheless, each film has enough elements in common to find associations that I could exploit.

  1. Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare with CinemaScope Extension Alien³ (Newman, Arr. Goldenthal)
    I opened with the distortion of the familiar Fox fanfare that Elliot Goldenthal created for Alien³.

    ALIEN (Jerry Goldsmith)

  2. The Nostromo
    While there were many changes that Ridley Scott requested of Jerry Goldsmith in Alien that I thought were ridiculous, the alteration of the main title was not one of them. Goldsmith's original cue presented his Romantic styled main theme, but the re-write instead concentrates on the unsettling strings and woodwinds essaying the music for alien planet. I included the film version of the titles, the album version of the piece heard as the camera enters the Nostromo, which features Goldsmith's ticking "time" motif.

    The very same time motif leads up to a crescendo as the Nostromo begins to awaken the crew, in one of the film's two primary "birth" images. This is the film version of the cue, which presents the Romantic theme that Goldsmith had intended for the titles.

  4. The Landing
    This is one of the main set-pieces from Alien, appearing twice (albeit in truncated form both times) when the Nostromo lands and when it takes off, presenting Goldsmith's main Romantic theme.

  5. The Derelict
    The scratching strings and woodwinds from "The Nostromo" return as Dallas, Kane and Lambert explore the the derelict and the Space Jockey. This cue is one of those mentioned by Scott in his original 1999 Alien commentary track as being one of the most effective. The tail end of this track also incorporates an interesting use of steel drums.

  6. Attack on Brett
    In Alien, the titular creature is characterized with brass supplemented by strange primitive sounds that illustrate its slimy, slavering jaws of death. I'm not exaggeratting either, watch the film and listen to what the score is doing at any given point. As with "The Droid" (track 8), this track is a perfect example of Goldsmith painting with music.

  7. Last Supper
    This mournful track is heard twice in Alien, once for Kane's funeral and once again as Dallas queries Mother about his chances of survival.

  8. The Shaft
    Dallas goes into the ventilation ducts in order to flush the alien out, accompanied by this evocation of his terror. This track was replaced in the film by a cue from Goldsmith's own music from Freud.

  9. The Droid
    This is one of the best examples of Goldsmith's talent for creating aural accompaniment to image. While the cue was dialed down in the film, which instead emphasizes Jimmy Shields' eerie sound design, the scoring can be heard synched up to the scene on the isolated score track of the 1999 DVD, and shows how every tailored the track is to every move, every image.

  10. Parker and Lambert
    This brutal piece incorporating the disturbing sound of the serpent (a duckbill platypus kind of instrument that can't decide if it's brass or woodwind) scores the attack on two of the last survivors of the Nostromo as they prepare to the shuttle to evacuate the ship. This cue was also tracked into the climax of Aliens.

  11. The Narcissus
    A brief quotation of Goldsmith's Romantic theme is heard as Ripley thinks she has destroyed the alien, but a repeating brass figure forms the basis for a spectacular action sequence that was written for the shuttle sequence, which is followed on this album by the film version of the same cue. A subdued iteration of the main Romantic theme is then heard as Ripley prepares herself for hypersleep, bringing this suite to a close.

    ALIENS (James Horner)

  12. Dark Discovery
    James Horner took over the reigns from Goldsmith on the first sequel and brought with him Goldsmith's ticking time concept. This track, while it appeared on the original 1986 soundtrack album, is heard towards the beginning of the extended version of the film as Newt's parents discover the derelict from Alien.

  13. Ripley's Rescue
    More of the action oriented material that Horner composed for Aliens that ended up being used as trailer music. This cue is heard in the film, albeit in edited form, and is highly reminiscent of Horner's own music for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Brainstorm (I made a concious effort to avoid using Horner's adaptation (?) of the Adagio from Aram Khachaturian's Gayaneh as I felt that it was the weakest element of the score).

  14. Futile Escape
    This piece, along with "Bishop's Countdown" and "Ripley's Rescue", is endlessly tracked into trailers. The reason is easy enough to hear; this is an extremely effective example of action scoring for angry brass and hammer on anvil effects. This track actually opens with a part of "Face Huggers" before proceeding into the tense Goldsmithian brass figures that lead up to the action sequence.

  15. Going After Newt
    This tense cue relies on repeating figures. Its mounting tension accompanies a montage in which Ripley prepares to go back into the alien hive. After the final crescendo, a brief section of "The Queen" has been incorporated into this track to lead more smoothly into...

  16. Bishop's Countdown
    As indicated earlier, this track has been in many trailers. It is one of the few triumphant moments in the Alien series. There is then a quiet interlude as the dust settles and the characters (prematurely) breathe a sigh of relief.

  17. Resolution
    This rousing cue does not actually appear in Aliens, but it was tracked into the climax of Die Hard. It was written for the scene in which Ripley blows the Queen out of the airlock, bringing this suite to a triumphant conclusion.

    Alien³ (Elliot Goldenthal)

  18. Lento a. Agnus Dei; b. Death and Birth
    The inmates of the prison planet Fiorina 161 have ostensibly reformed through an extreme form of Christianity. Goldenthal illustrates this through the use of a boy soprano singing the "Agnus Dei," a traditional Catholic Mass. For "Death and Birth," Newt and Hicks' funerals take place above a reactor. As Dillon takes over the service, elsewhere in the prison compound a perversion of a birth occurs as a chestburster erupts from a dog. The music is both ominous and wrenching as befits both situations. Part of this cue was used in the end credits as well. There is an index marker at the juncture point between the two subtracks.
    Agnus dei
    Agnus dei
    Qui tollis peccata mundi
    Agnus dei
    Agnus dei
    Qui tollis peccata mundi
    Dona nobis pacem
    Dona nobis pacem
    Dona nobis pacem

    Lamb of God
    You who take away the sins of the world
    Lamb of God
    You who take away the sins of the world

    Give Us Peace
    Give Us Peace
    Give Us Peace.

  19. Lullabye Elegy
    Ripley observes the autopsy of Newt. This is one of the most quiet and painful moments in Alien³, and the music reflects this with a plaintive solo piano playing a broken tune.

  20. Wreckage and Rape
    Ellusive strings and dirge-like readings of Goldenthal's thematic material erupt into a vulgar soundscape (including Goldenthal's own voice) as some inmates attempt to take advantage of Ripley.

  21. Visit to the Wreckage
    This is an intense, operatic cue featuring an ascending section. Goldenthal's forbidding soundscape for Alien³ reflects Ripley's isolation, both in terms of her experiences and the fact that she is the only woman on the planet.

  22. The Beast Within
    The accumulating passage from "Visit to the Wreckage" is reprised, but now given a more dramtic reading as Ripley realizes that she has been impregnated.

  23. The Entrapment
    Goldenthal's command of orchestration and electronics both come to the fore in this climactic track. Of particular interest are the swirling violin figures that close the track.

  24. Adagio
    All of Goldenthal's thematic material comes together at the conclusion of Alien³ for Ripley's moment of self-sacrifice. This Bruckner-inspired cue contains some ideas that Goldenthal would revisit in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

    Alien Resurrection (John Frizzell)

  25. Post-Op
    This eerie cue displays the influence of Goldsmith's and Goldenthal's scores, and presents John Frizzell's theme for Ripley. Heard here is also the bed of various electronic sounds Frizzell concieved to play under the orchestra.

  26. Docking the Betty
    This track features mysterioso textures and oscillating strings. Fragments of thematic material first hinted at in the previous track are developed slightly, but are still in mostly nascent form.

  27. The Aliens Escape
    A nine-note motif represents the Xenomorphs in Alien Resurrection. This powerhouse section is the purest form of their theme heard in the film.

  28. Ripley Meets Her Clones
    Ripley's theme and harsh electronics return in this dramatic cue that illustrates not only the visual horror of the failed Ripley clones, but also her feeling of violation.

  29. They Swim...
    The crew of the Betty, along with Ripley and Call, find themselves having to travel a portion of their journey through the Auriga underwater. Frizzell exercizes on his alien motif, which develops interestingly over the course of the cue (check out the sequence from 2:37 to 2:47), alternating with various fanfares. This track bears the most amount of Horner's influence, but there's a little bit of Goldenthal's textures as well.

  30. I'm A Stranger Here Myself
    After a victorious passage in the vein of one of Frizzell's mentors, James Newton Howard, the Ripley theme is given a much more positive (one might almost say John Barry-esque) spin. This track is previously unreleased.

  31. Ripley Reborn
    This is the actual "Resurrection" part of Alien Resurrection; Frizzell uses a piece directly from Goldsmith's Alien; the arrangement is identical to the second part of "The Nostromo" (track 2), which allows me to give the album a certain amount of symmetry.

    Alien (Jerry Goldsmith)

  32. Walking Distance
    The ominous scratching strings from Alien return to finish the track (and album) on an unresolved note.

* * *

Damn, it's cold out there today!
Tags: alien, elliot goldenthal, film music, jerry goldsmith, john frizzell, my mixes
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