Prequels can be dangerous territory – there’s great skill required to make a story compelling when everyone knows how it will end. It remains to be seen whether the makers of Caprica, a prequel to the highly-successful Battlestar Galactica reboot, will succeed – but the pilot episode was promising enough. It’s the score to that pilot – by Galactica composer Bear McCreary – which is available on this CD from La-La Land Records. McCreary would also face quite a challenge here – his music for this universe is well-established and rather distinctive, but Caprica is a very different show, so he was faced with taking the music off in a very different direction. And that’s what he did – there are a couple of nods to his previous music, through occasional taiko drums and a theme from the previous series – but this is, by-and-large, a new sound for the composer.
The director Jeff Reiner mentions Philip Glass in his liner notes, and there are certainly hints of him here – but this music is generally lusher than that, “greener”. It’s largely orchestral, and there are some very strong memories, particularly in the beautiful “Lacey and Zoe-A”. Now, it’s true that you’re unlikely to find yourself walking around the shops whistling the themes from Caprica, but it’s quite rare to hear much real melody in tv music these days, much less real melody performed by an orchestra. And the music works very well in the show – sometimes cleverly playing against the images (some of the less-than-human characters get very human music). This is a very nice album, nothing earth-shattering, but an impressive extension of the Battlestar Galactica sound world into new territory. ***