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LLLCD 1032

Artwork copyright (c) 2005 USA Cable Entertainment LLC; review copyright (c) 2005 James Southall



Percussive music from popular tv show


TV music has come a long way since its heydey.  Its heydey was pretty much when having original scores for weekly tv series was first invented, back in the early 1960s - back then, you had the likes of Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Lalo Schifrin writing scores for weekly shows.  It's inconceivable to think of today's top film composers working in episodic television - some may score the occasional tv movie if the money's right, but that's about it.  Despite this, there is still sometimes some good music written, but it's rarely anything memorable - several shows have excellent functional scoring (like 24, Desperate Housewives, Lost etc) but none of it particularly sticks in the memory.  The only particular exception I can think of is the now-defunct Star Trek Enterprise, which for all its flaws featured easily the best music of any of the modern Star Trek series and it's a great pity there haven't been some CD releases (and I don't suppose there ever will be).

Of course, science fiction shows tend to have more rabid fans than most, and the kind of fans who like to buy merchandise, so most tv scores which do get released seem to come from sci-fi shows.  The latest example is Battlestar Galactica, whose first season was scored by Bear McCreary.  The pilot episode / miniseries received a horrible mess of a score by Richard Gibbs and I was disturbed to learn that McCreary had taken the same approach for the episodes, but fortunately the results are far more successful.  The individual elements are all there - the heavy reliance on synth percussion, wailing ethnic voices, peculiar celtic influences which seem to have escaped from Titanic - but everything blends together so much better.

It is true that at 78 minutes long, the album is a tough one to sit through, and there are times when the temptation to skip past another extended drum loop is impossible to resist, but nevertheless this is far more impressive music than Gibbs's for the pilot.  It is mostly synth, but there are a few passages for real strings and there are usually one or two acoustic instruments hanging around at any one time.  The highlights include the faux opera "Battlestar Operatica", touching "A Good Lighter" and orchestral "Passacaglia", all of which are genuinely attractive.  The album includes both the US and UK versions of the main theme; and features decent liner notes from the composer and the executive producer.  As with every release of episodic tv music I can think of for shows of the last few years, the album is likely to appeal far more to fans of the show than fans of film music, but at least here there is a definable base sound and the show has a musical identity of its own.  I'm sure fans of Galactica will lap it up.

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  1. Prologue (:38)
  2. Main Title (US Version) (1:02)
  3. Helo Chase (1:29)
  4. The Olympic Carrier (5:29)
  5. Helo Rescued (:59)
  6. A Good Lighter (1:52)
  7. The Thousandth Landing (3:04)
  8. Two Funerals (3:22)
  9. Starbuck Takes on All Eight (3:44)
  10. Forgiven (1:28)
  11. The Card Game (3:01)
  12. Starbuck on the Red Moon (1:58)
  13. Helo in the Warehouse (1:59)
  14. Baltar Speaks with Adama (1:52)
  15. Two Boomers (1:46)
  16. Battlestar Operatica (2:33)
  17. The Dinner Party (3:12)
  18. Battlestar Muzaktica (1:41)
  19. Baltar Panics (1:44)
  20. Boomer Flees (1:14)
  21. Flesh and Bone (4:04)
  22. Battle on the Asteroid (6:50)
  23. Wander My Friends (2:55)
  24. Passacaglia (5:13)
  25. Kobol's Last Gleaming (2:47)
  26. Destiny (4:42)
  27. The Shape of Things to Come (2:53)
  28. Bloodshed (1:46)
  29. Re-Cap (:34)
  30. Main Title (UK Version) (1:06)