As far as TV mythological heroes, are concerned, our household has split
loyalties. The ladies swoon over Hercules' biceps while the feisty Xena can
throw her discus, or any other part of herself, in my direction any time!
What a woman!
Joseph LoDuca's busy and versatile pen greatly assists in enhancing the thrills,
building the atmosphere and lifting the credibility of this TV fantasy hokum.
His richly textured scores and inventive orchestrations impress too. At over
70 minutes duration, this is a very generous helping from Varèse.
The booklet notes are sparse almost non-existent with only track titles to
guide the listener. It appears that music for four stories is included plus
two bonus cues.
Chin: The Debt, comprises seven cues of exotic oriental music with, in the
first exciting 'Caesar's Mark' cue, a choir in virile Carl Orff mode. 'Flying
Ninjas' is a rhythmically stimulating cue featuring an array of percussion
and woods. 'Execution of Xena' has a woman's chorus chanting over menacing
brushed cymbals and bells. The score for this episode also contains music
that is more sympathetic and compassionate with elegiac strings for 'Visit
to the Damned.' Extraordinarily, 'The Bath' with its soprano solo, again
wordless, sounds as much Gaelic as oriental with a nice evocative wash of
harp strings. In 'Taking Flight' the music does just that; again, with the
soprano against feathery upper strings - it's as though we are about to embark
on a magic carpet ride à la Miklos Rozsa/Thief of Baghdad.
The Destruction of Hope:Family Affair music is less interesting. 'Lambikin's
Missing' is an exercise in sub-Herrmann menace with heavy snarling brass
and 'Who's Who' is a creepy cue with some interesting writing for snare drum
and strongly accented hand drum figures. 'Hello Beautiful' has chill winds
and menace lurking behind the high strings' sweet pleasantries and the soprano's
The most substantial part of the album is devoted to India: Devi/Between
the Lines/The Way. LoDuca has clearly done his homework for he uses the Indian
ethnic intruments: the sitar etc to impressive effect through the twelve
cues. The music ranges from the ethereal and elegiac to the usual menacing
and combative. There is plenty of dance music with sinuous, seductive rhythms.
A male chorus is prominent.
Turangi: Adventures in the Sin Trade seems to evoke the heat of Africa. Voodoo
ceremonies can be imagined too. I was impressed by LoDuca's multi-part choral
writing for women's voices in 'Released/Spirit Dance' opening over serenely
cool woods and strings, and opposing the mystical with ethnic dance figures.
Of the two bonus tracks, 'Everybody Dance Now' is a mix of country and western
and Riverdance; while 'I'm in Heaven' is an incongruous crooning-style song
for soprano and tenor in the style of the 1920s or '30s.
A fascinating, fun album