October 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Collection: Various ARTISTS
Sonic Images: Prime Time
  SONIC IMAGES SID 8922   [53:41]

1. 'Outer Limits: Remix' by John Van Tongeren
2. 'Pacific Blue: Main Theme (Just Another Day in LA.)' by Christopher Franke
3. 'As Good as She' (from The Sentinel) by Teal Thompson
4. 'Raven Theme' by Christopher Franke
5. 'See the Light' (from Raven) by Christopher Franke
6. 'Poltergeist: Techno Legacy' by John Van Tongeren and Ryeland Allison
7. 'Lois & Clark (Extended Remix)' by Jay Gruska
8. 'Chicago Hope: Main Title (Second Season)' by Mark Isham
9. 'New Hope' (from Chicago Hope) by Jeff Rona
10. 'Lois & Clark: Main Title Theme' by Jay Gruska
11. 'Lonesome Dove: Main Title' by Basil Poledouris
12. 'The Magic Wind' (From Conan) by Charles Fox
13. 'Crusade: Main Title' by Even H. Chen
14. 'Babylon 5: Main Title (Second Season)' by Christopher Franke
15. 'Babylon 5: Main Title (Fifth Season)' by Christopher Franke
16. 'Spirit Thief' (From Poltergeist-The Legacy) by Steven M. Stern
17. 'The Sentinel Theme' by James Newton Howard
18. 'Bus Chase' (From The Sentinel) by Steve Porcaro
19. 'Legacy II (Rest in Peace) (From Poltergeist-The Legacy) by John Van Tongeren
20. 'Clark in the Country' (From Lois & Clark-The New Adventures of Superman) by Jay Gruska
21. 'Volunteers/End Credits' (From Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict) by Micky Erbe and Maribeth Solomon

At first glance you would think this was a sci-fi/fantasy collection (the inclusion of the western Lonesome Dove and medical drama Chicago Hope seem almost incongruous). The vast majority of the tracks certainly fall into that category and as I'm a big fan of those genres I approached this in an optimistic frame of mind. Sadly though, for the most part, what's on offer is so devoid of inspiration that I soon became disillusioned.

At its lowest points the themes here are reminiscent of those thankfully forgettable, barely melodic ditties that so often frequented production line American television in the 80's. Such is the case with the bland rock of Pacific Blue and the awful wailing guitar of the theme from Raven. Indeed, that particular series fares very badly here with 'See the Light', while at least more melodic than the title theme, still painfully retro and dreary.

In other places we are 'treated' to hip remixes of main themes like Poltergeist and Lois & Clark. The first is a horrible techno interpretation, with the latter an awful would-be funky adaptation that makes the original (which in truth I'm not all that fond of anyway) seem masterful in comparison. Admittedly the techno version of The Outer Limits theme fairs much better and proves that it's not necessarily the concept that's at fault.

Fortunately the second half of the CD is somewhat better with the orchestral shadings of Basil Poledouris' western theme from Lonesome Dove a step up in terms of quality. The irony is that in my opinion this not the best of Poledouris, who happens to be one of my very favourite composers. Even so, it's a breath of fresh air in this company.

Other more worthwhile pieces are the atmospheric 'The Magic Wind' from Conan by the dependable Charles Fox and 'Bus Chase' from The Sentinel, which is a solid enough example of action/suspense scoring and certainly one of the better tracks. James Newton Howard's theme for the same series though is so brief at 38 seconds, there's no time for it to make any impression at all.

Best of all are the season five theme from Babylon 5, which is quite stirring and dramatic (the season two theme also features but is far less potent). Oddly the theme from the Babylon 5 spin-off Crusade is so low-key and unmemorable that I can't help wondering why it wasn't instantly rejected.

Also worthy of praise is 'Volunteers/End Credits' from Earth: Final Conflict. With its interesting mixture of violin, synth and voice this may well be the best track on the CD, although it would have benefited from a longer running time (but then this is TV we're talking about!).

Overall, a big disappointment. This will do nothing to promote the idea that TV music has reached a level beyond the merely competent.

Mark Hockley



Mark Hockley


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