Movie Wave Home
Reviews by Title | Reviews by Composer

Composed by


Album running time

Performed by
Conducted by

Engineered by
Produced by

Released by
Serial number

Artwork copyright (c) 2002 Go East Records; review copyright (c) 2003 James Southall


Crouching Basil, Hidden Composer; he's back!

Reports of his demise were clearly premature - after seemingly years in the wilderness, Basil Poledouris has finally delivered the kind of full-blooded symphonic score his fans have been craving ever since Starship Troopers in 1997.  A string of low-key, mostly disappointing efforts followed suit, culminating in the pretty awful Crocodile Dundee in LA; the days of Conan and Farewell to the King seemed to have all-but-disappeared.  

The Touch is pretty obviously an attempt at some kind of Crouching Tiger cash-in, directed by that film's cinematographer Peter Pau, but Poledouris's score has managed to take on a life of its own.  Hints of Tan Dun obviously appear, but that is a somewhat inevitable consequence of writing Chinese-type music in a western symphonic idiom.  Anyway, the album opens with a pleasant song, in Mandarin, "The Touch", sung by Kelly Chen.  The score proper gets going with "Legend of the Touch" which introduces the strong main theme and then really catches fire with the brief, but exhilarating, "The Monkey King Enthrals" (who came up with that title!?).

As attractive as the more low-key music is, what will have people cheering from the rafters is the action music.  Poledouris is one of the best in the business at writing it, and combined with the exotic flavours he infuses the material on offer here is top-notch.  He includes various electronics, which on paper doesn't seem like too good an idea, but actually works very well.  I especially like the percussion-driven "Trouble Under Blue Skies", which Poledouris manages to keep impressively far away from Crouching Tiger, even if it's obviously based on the same idea.  I must admit that when the brass is added it begins to sound a bit like Lalo Schifrin's Rush Hour scores (and so would seem to be rather out of place here), but it's fantastic fun nonetheless.  The piano theme in "Healing of Hearts" is really touching (forgive the pun); and "Through the Forest", which follows, is also very beautiful - first-class stuff.  The thirteen-minute showpiece "Destiny Awaits" is the clear highlight of the album (and arguably, the composer's entire career) - a brilliant mix of the Chinese influences, the orchestra and a choir, it's genuinely thrilling stuff.

The Touch is a great score, not (yet) widely available in the West, but available from the usual mail order outlets.  It's been far too long since Poledouris blessed us with a score like this, and I hope it won't be too long until he does so again.


  1. The Touch Kelly Chen (3:58)

  2. Legend of the Touch (2:15)

  3. The Monkey King Enthrals (1:47)

  4. In the Heart of Dun Huang (1:38)

  5. In the Heart of the Night (2:45)

  6. Memories of Days Gone (3:42)

  7. Trouble Under Blue Skies (5:31)

  8. Glimpses Down the Path (2:13)

  9. A Light Dimmed (2:29)

  10. Farewell Kind Soul (1:48)

  11. Healing of Hearts (3:19)

  12. Through the Forest (3:19)

  13. Secret Revealed (4:23)

  14. I'll Never Leave You (4:39)

  15. Destiny Awaits (12:52)

  16. I Believe (4:31)

  17. Time to Choose (3:30)