- Composed by Alan Silvestri
- Cosmos Studios Music / 2014 / 42m
Episode 2 of the landmark new science show Cosmos, with Neil deGrasse Tyson taking over where Carl Sagan left off, concerned itself with evolution – how life on earth constantly adapted to its surroundings to become what we are today. This second volume of Alan Silvestri’s music from the series features his score for that second episode, and continues very much where the first volume left off with the majestic main theme making an early appearance in “SOTI”. Of course, were it literally just more of the same then there would be little point in releasing it separately, so fortunately that isn’t the case. Even within that first track there comes an electronic passage that gives things a new feel. And throughout the album, while there is still that sense of grandeur that was heard in the earlier volume, there is generally a more intimate feel. Take “Artificial Selection” – a lovely track, teeming with life. But then contrast that with the appropriately chilling “Living in an Ice Age”, stark and harsh.
The first album featured some electronics particularly towards the end and they were not amongst its many fine attributes; and there’s a bit more focus on that side of things second time round. Somehow though it just seems to sit a little more comfortably this time – perhaps in keeping with the slightly smaller feel of the whole thing. To say something completely facile (nothing new there!) there’s just something somehow “scientific” about the sound of “Genetic Alphabet” and “Natural Selection” – and when the latter develops into a lovely warm orchestral piece it’s interesting to note how smooth the transition feels; there’s nothing jarring. It’s not all lightness and intimacy though – at times there is certainly a darker feel, whether orchestral or electronic (“The Eye” in particular takes the listener on a dark journey). It’s interesting, not to mention unusual, for television music to be released in this way – while it remains to be seen how long it will continue (there has so far been no announcement about a third volume, though initially four were promised) it is to Silvestri’s credit that the first two volumes – while having the consistency you might expect – are easily distinctive enough to warrant getting them both. The first was undoubtedly more impressive on the whole thanks to its grander scale, but Volume 2 is impressive too and well worth a purchase for anyone who enjoyed the earlier album.