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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Volume 3
  • Composed by Alan Silvestri
  • Cosmos Studios Music / 2014 / 43m

The third volume in the series of releases of Alan Silvestri’s music from Cosmos includes music from episodes 3-7.  Whereas the first two focussed on just one episode each, I suspect (though haven’t seen it confirmed) that after that Silvestri no longer wrote entire original scores for each episode, focusing instead on providing a handful of original cues and then combining them with music from elsewhere in the series (which is entirely understandable – there are only so many ways he could skin a cat, after all).  This album opens with the now-familiar, beautiful main theme in “All That Is Or Was Or Ever Will Be”, with heavenly choir adding a welcome extra colour.  Then “Halley’s Efforts” is a lovely little piece of drama featuring a gently inspirational melody.

After that, electronics come more to the fore.  I’m in the school that thinks in general Alan Silvestri and electronics do not mix (with occasional exceptions) and, while I understand what a piece like “The Speed of Light” is trying to do, and there’s nothing objectionable about it, it’s just not as interesting as his orchestral music.  Fortunately there is still a reasonable amount of that here too, though by this stage not surprisingly some of it is variations on what has been heard on the earlier albums.  Of the genuinely new material, the ethnic touches that accompany a couple of tracks provide the freshest feel (Arabic in “Ibn Al-Haytham”, Oriental in “Mo Tze”) and there’s a lovely pop instrumental, “He Broke Through the Walls of Heaven”.  While the law of diminishing returns does apply here – not because of a drop in quality, more because some of the best parts of this album are very similar to pieces on the previous two – this is still an enjoyable listen and there’s just about enough new material to make it worthwhile.  I suspect that by the time the fourth and final volume is released, it will be possible to make an extremely satisfying playlist from the collection.

Rating: ***

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  1. spielboy on Saturday 10 May, 2014 at 12:09

    “”I suspect that by the time the fourth and final volume is released, it will be possible to make an extremely satisfying playlist from the collection.””

    and I presume that’s what they should have done (too much of a good thing….)

    maybe a mix CD??

  2. ghostof82 on Saturday 10 May, 2014 at 12:53

    I’m sure once I have all four digital releases I’ll put together a compilation CD of highlights that will make a good album. As far as its use in the show is concerned, I really miss the Vangelis music and the source music. It just doesn’t feel like Cosmos with its own score, no matter how good it is. Admirable effort that it is, it just seems ‘off’ somehow.