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LEC 9000

Album cover copyright (c) 1993 Windswept Pacific Entertainment; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall



Poledouris on inspired form for Carroll Ballard movie 


Film composers are, of course, mostly ultimate professionals.  Sometimes they must sign on to do a film because they like the screenplay, or know the director, and end up viewing the rough cut a few weeks or months later and wonder what on earth they've let themselves in for, scoring something that has turned out to be completely different from what they expected, a real piece of junk perhaps.  I'm sure all film composers have been in this situation on many occasions, and of course they all still do their best, and frequently produce results far greater than the films deserve.  But there's a flip side to that coin, which is sometimes, the composer connects on such a personal level with the film that he is inspired way beyond the usual level to create something extra special.  Such was the case with Basil Poledouris and Wind.

Poledouris is well-known to be a keen sailor and sailing is a passion for him as much as composing, as he demonstrates here with his liner notes to this album.  The film, directed by Carroll Ballard, is about a man's determination to form a winning team in the Americas Cup.  Critical reaction was unkind; sailing enthusiasts' reaction, the opposite.  Whatever, it inspired Poledouris to create a somewhat unusual, but highly-effective score, which is not amongst his best-known, but should be.  It is a score best listened to not by selecting individual highlight tracks to pick out and enjoy, but by going from start to end and treating it as one long piece of music; and it's a score best-reviewed that way, too!

The reason is that there is an organic quality to the music which means that once it gets going, Poledouris paints a wonderfully free-flowing, continuous musical portrait of the travails of the characters.  He utilises unconventional elements that work far better than they should - there's an orchestra, but it's almost dominated by electronic keyboards, which certainly sound dated but are rousingly impassioned; there's synthesised pan flutes, percussion, and some passages for solo piano.  It all sounds like a dreadful mess when written down, but works extremely well.  (It reminds me a bit of the best qualities of Vangelis's writing - regular readers of this website may be surprised to discover that I think Vangelis's writing has any good qualities at all - by which I mean the raw intensity - but fortunately Poledouris is an accomplished composer and dramatist to make it far more interesting musically, and work far better with the film, than Vangelis ever could.)  For sure, it doesn't have the big theme that some of the composer's scores do, but it's one of his most impressive works, and certainly one of the highest-quality examples of the positive benefits of combining orchestra and electronics.  Highly recommended.  The album is a 1,500 copy limited edition from Citadel, a reissue of a previous (long out-of-print) CD from Japan, with a new running order and improved sonics; copies are still available at the time of writing from the Amazon link below.

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  1. Sail Locker (1:00)
  2. Winning (2:59)
  3. Windward Work (3:36)
  4. Downwind (5:18)
  5. The Break-Up (3:15)
  6. To Australia (2:25)
  7. The Dinghy Race (3:10)
  8. Windshadow (1:11)
  9. The Petroglyph (1:18)
  10. The Bike Ride (2:27)
  11. Dead Air (4:38)
  12. Love in the Sewers (1:43)
  13. The Contest (3:10)
  14. The Glider (1:28)
  15. Wind Song (3:27)
  16. Whomper Trials (1:15)
  17. Defeat (5:13)
  18. Irolita (1:30)