May 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Matthew McCALEY
  GNP CRESCENDO GNPD 8077   [64:47]


A TV sci-fi score with the usual stylings and soundscapes. Sadly this kind of background music is pretty much what we have come to expect from this genre and it rarely rises above the level of merely satisfactory. When will someone take a chance and try something just a little different!?

The 'Season 1 Main Title (March of the High Guard)' was written by Alex Lifeson, guitarist from the rock band Rush and it's frenetic, instantly forgettable and thankfully very brief. A pity because Lifeson's work with Rush is excellent and I would have hoped for better things from him.

And so on to the main body of work from composer Matthew McCauley. His 'High Guard Theme (season 2 Main Title)' is a fairly generic, would-be rousing, dramatic synth piece that lacks any real distinction. After this there are a range of tracks that make little headway, from the quieter, sympathetic work of 'Earthly Emotions' and 'Rommie's Love' to the action/suspense fare of 'Nietzschean Attack' and 'The Magog', but it's all steadfastly adequate and we've heard it all before. If there is any real quality to be found on the CD, it's fleeting, but the engaging 'The Rev Bem Wayist Theme' at least shows some melodic invention.

This is yet another example of American television music continuing to stick to tried and tested formulas. With so many sci-fi and fantasy series being produced in the US at the moment (a good thing) it would be wonderful to hear a composer given an opportunity by a producer to write something that really stands out amongst the dross. To be fair, McCauley's music isn't that bad overall, but it's still too conventional and overly familiar. No doubt the problem is that I just expect too much!

Mark Hockley


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