I had a very clear idea as to what I wanted to put on this disc, and it came out pretty much how I planned it... except that I found that it was a much more dramatic experience than I was expecting it to be. Yes, there are some pop-flavored sounds on this disc, but the tone ended up being darker than I thought it would. I listened to it several times and decided two things. The first was that it was on the whole a much more serious album than I intended, but there are moments of levity and so I was fine with that. The second was that while this is a fairly short album for me, I realized that anything I did would make it longer, but not necessarily better, so I left it alone, running just under an hour.
20 Tracks - 55:05
- THE FIFTH ELEMENT
- Aria from “Lucia Di Lammermoor” (3:17)
Written by Gaetano Donizetti and Salvatore Cammarano
Inva Mulla Tchako and the London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Frederic Chasin
- The Diva Dance (1:21)
Composed and Conducted by Eric Serra
Inva Mulla Tchako and the London Session Orchestra
- Once Around Altair (0:59)
Electronic Tonalities by Louis and Bebe Barron
- The Emperor Ming (1:20)
Written and Performed by Queen
National Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Howard Blake
THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE EIGHTH DIMENSION
- End Credits (4:05)
Composed and Performed by Michael Boddicker
THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE
- Transformation (4:19)
Composed and Performed by Vince DiCola
PLANET OF THE APES
- Main Titles (3:41)
Composed by Danny Elfman
Orchestra Conducted by Pete Anthony
- The Birth of Zammis (6:10)
Composed and Conducted by Maurice Jarre
- She Likes Me (2:34)
Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith
ALIEN NATION: THE SERIES
- Cathy’s Story (2:31)
Composed and Directed by David Kurtz
CHILDREN OF DUNE
- Leto’s Transfiguration (3:51)
Composed by Brian Tyler
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Adam Klemens
- Main Theme (2:01)
Composed and Performed by SubVision
- Paul’s Vision (1:31)
Composed by Graeme Revell
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir Conducted by Mario Klemens
- Rebuilding Serenity (1:48)
Composed and Conducted by David Newman
- Mau’dib (2:50)
Composed and Performed by Toto
Vienna Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Marty Paich
- Escape from the City (3:35)
Composed and Performed by Ken Freeman
- The Funeral (2:31)
Composed and Directed by Greg Edmonson
- Robby Arranges Flowers (0:49)
Electronic Tonalities by Louis and Bebe Barron
- Heeding the Call (2:06)
Composed and Directed by Bear McCreary
- All Along the Watchtower (3:33)
Written by Bob Dylan, Arranged by Bear McCreary
BT4 with Steve Bartek and John Avila
From the get-go, the opening of this album (which is reflected in the cover art) was going to be the Plavalaguna sequence from The Fifth Element, starting with the Donizetti aria and continuing into Eric Serra's original "The Diva Dance," the techno and trip-hop influences announcing that this album will be going in some non-traditional directions. Non-traditional indeed: another part of the framing device was the use of the "electronic tonalities" that Louis and Bebe Barron created for Forbidden Planet that walk the line between score and sound effects... in this case the C-57D orbiting Altair IV.
"The Emperor Ming" is an edit of Queen's theme for the Merciless One from the 1980 version of Flash Gordon. The Queen album condenses the film to an audio presentation and so I had to edit around the dialogue in order to fit this theme onto the album, but it was one of the ones I knew had to be there. This segues into the jaunty theme for the Hong Kong Cavaliers that Michael Boddicker closed out The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension with.
This is followed by the much more ominous "Tranformation" from Vince DiCola's The Transformers: The Movie score, which centers around his relentless theme for the planet-eater Unicron (voiced partially by Orson Welles, making it his last screen role). The forbidding tone continues with the title music from Tim Burton's disastrous remake of Planet of the Apes by the director's regular composer Danny Elfman, who eschewed the exotic sounds that Jerry Goldsmith set the standard for with the original film series (which was the subject of my compilation No Escape: Music from the Planet of the Apes) in favor of a more technothriller oriented approach.
"The Birth of Zammis" is a pivotal scene in Enemy Mine; it features the fully developed versions of Maurice Jarre's themes that were heard in orchestral form in the selections featured on Space Opera, here they are realized by his electronic ensemble. This leads into the pretty, goofy "She Likes Me" from Explorers; as with many of Jerry Goldsmith's scores in the 80s, this one featured heavy electronics, but it fit the dreamy wish-fulfillment flavor of Joe Dante's film. "Cathy's Story" opens with the harp theme David Kurtz created for with Matt (Gary Graham) and Cathy (Terri Treas) for Alien Nation: The Series, but eventually gives way to a frightening passage for orchestra, electronics and choir as she describes life on her slave ship.
"Leto's Transfiguration" is a suite from Brian Tyler's Children of Dune (comprised of elements of "My Skin is Not My Own," "Leto and Ghanima" and "Desert Journey") that features exotic instrumentation, which leads directly into the album edit of SubVision's energetic title theme from FarScape. The mood darkens with the textural "Paul's Vision" from the mini-series of Dune, scored by Graeme Revell. An introspective cue from David Newman's Serenity then appears and introduces a ray of familiarity.
"Mau'Dib" is a conflation of "Riding the Sandworm" and "Reunion with Gurney" from Toto's score for the the David Lynch version of Dune. While most of this score is orchestral, here Toto's characteristic sound is more apparent, particularly Jeff Porcaro's percussion sound design for the film. This is followed by "Escape from the City," Ken Freeman's cue for the exciting chase from the second series of The Tripods (another track from which was featured on Space Invaders). I use this as the action climax of this album, and begin the denouement with the last cue that Greg Edmonson composed and recorded for Firefly; fittingly "The Funeral" is his sad goodbye to the series (and while I think Newman's score for Serenity is okay, I was sad not to see Edmonson be among those who returned for the big-screen outing).
The closing of the album begins with a reprise from the Barron's Forbidden Planet, "Robby Arranges Flowers," which features the iconic robot's characteristic bubbly motif. This is followed by an exotic piece that gradually becomes more familiar - mirroring the opening of the album in which a familiar piece leads us someplace different - in this case a major revelation at the conclusion of season three of Battlestar Galactica that is heralded with a harsh version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" as arranged by the series composer Bear McCreary, and vocalized by his brother Brendan (as Bt4) and featuring Oingo Boingo's Steve Bartek and John Avila.
MINGEvery thousand years, I test each life system in the universe. I visit it with mysteries: Earthquakes, unpredicted eclipses, strange craters in the wilderness. If these are taken as natural, I judge that system ignorant and harmless; I spare it. But if the hand of Ming is recognized in these events, I judge that system dangerous to us. I call upon the great God, Dyzan, and for his greater glory - and our mutual pleasure - I destroy it, utterly. ZARKOVYou're saying... it's my fault the Earth is being destroyed? MINGPrecisely... Doctor! I thought it would amuse you to know this.