Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Return of the Vinyl (formerly known as "Revenge of the Vinyl")

I found the Beatles' White Album with the original fold-out poster and 8x10 portraits, The Rolling Stones Some Girls with the cut-out jacket and a two platter set in which Edward R. Murrow discusses World War II (the latter for two bucks... I also found a complete performance of John Gielgud's Hamlet starring Richard Burton and Hume Cronyn for three dollars one time... vinyl shopping is so much fun).

I've never liked how the CD of Jerry Goldsmith's Alien sounded, nor do I like how it sounded on the isolated score track on the 20th anniversary DVD. The vinyl sounds much better, not because the sound quality is in any way superior, but because the natural sonic properties of an LP tend to supplement the recording's shortcomings. The LP configuration is very different from how I normally listen to this score, but it is a viable presentation of the score Goldsmith originally intended and a great album on its own. And the way that it sounds on vinyl is reason enough to listen to it this way... those sounds that represent the alien itself have never sounded so disgustingly alive before.

I am not a big fan of how John Williams edits his scores for album presentation, but I am always impressed by his re-recordings. One of the most significant of these was done for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which was also one of MCA's first CD releases. As such, it was taken from the album masters, which were equalized for LP cutting and playback, and it sounded like absolute crap. Although there were several different versions of the artwork for this disc, there was no remaster or anything until the disc was replaced in the mid-90s by an expanded album of the original soundtrack recording; this has since been superceded by another, even longer release, which I have as a fantastic sounding 5.1 SACD, but the simple fact is that the album that Williams recorded is a better listening experience than the complete or near-complete score. Several concert arrangements are concise musical works on their own that never appear in the film as such, like one of my favorites, "The E.T. and Me." On album, E.T. is firmly in Williams' 19th Century Romantic style, even directly quoting from big Romantic-era fan Howard Hanson, while in the film these elements are offset by moments of very spare modernity. While I am definitely interested in the score as it appears in the film, the album was a very different entity, similar to the film and album presentations of Jerry Goldsmith's Capricorn One... and so I found it very annoying that I had to settle for such horrible sound. I must say that this is the first time I've actually heard this album ever sounding this good; I used to have it on tape, it was one of those MCA white shell tapes with no Dolby and super lousy audio. This is not the best sounding LP in my collection, but it definitely sounds a damn sight better than the CD.*

I also found a copy of a Henry Mancini score for a film called Visions of Eight, eight segments about the 1972 Olympiad, each one by a different director... those directors being Milos Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Yuri Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, Mai Zetterling. It's Mancini doing that Mancini thing. The electric organ is particularly amusing. There is a gorgeous piece called "Ludmilla's Theme" which crops up twice on the album that is very nice and there is a very expressive "Theme for the Losers," but overall it isn't exactly going to be inspirational to a modern listener. Interestingly enough, this is not one of Mancini's re-recordings, but is in fact the original soundtrack. There is actually one track that is mentioned as having been made for the album, so I'm assuming from the music that the film consisted mostly of images of the subjects practicing or something.

* Yes, Dave. I still have that CD.

The most inane meme I've ever taken, yoinked from jenvargas:
The Obnoxiously Orange Turkish Spork!

What oddly colored spork are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tags: alien, audio, film music, henry mancini, jerry goldsmith, john williams, vinyl
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