Sonic Images (SID-8901)
Release Date: 1999
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra / The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra / Orchestra Of The Americas / The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra
|1.||Prelude (from The Day The Earth Stood Still)||1:46|
|2.||Introduction / Main Title (from Mars Attacks)||3:58|
|3.||End Title (from Species)||7:45|
|4.||Medley (from E.T.)||4:13|
|5.||End Title (from Contact)||3:48|
|6.||Main Title (from They Live)||3:33|
|7.||Main Title (from Men In Black)||2:59|
|8.||Main Title (from Predator)||3:20|
|9.||Aliens - The Ride||6:29|
|10.||End Title (from Alien)||2:47|
|11.||Main Title (from Invasion of The Body Snatchers)||4:13|
|12.||Main Title (from Roswell)||3:12|
|13.||Suite (from The Tommyknockers)||7:54|
|14.||Epilogue (from Dark Skies)||3:20|
|15.||Theme (from The X-Files)||4:24|
|16.||End Credits (from Independence Day)||8:59|
|Total Album Time:||72:40|
|by David A. Koran
January 19, 1999
Now, I have to admit, I'm not exactly a fan of compilation albums, since most provide inconsistency between tracks, more often than not with sub-par performances and recording quality. However, Sonic Images releases a surprise under the title of "Watch The Skies". This album is a rather varied and hefty (clocking in at almost 74 minutes) selection of popular Sci-Fi music. Ranging from the classics of Benny Hermann's The Day The Earth Stood Still and Denny Zeitlin's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers to the more modern Roswell from Elliot Goldenthal and Independence Day by David Arnold.
As a self professed Alien(s) junkie, my favorite piece overall would be the previously unreleased "Aliens - The Ride" done by the all time "B" movie king, Richard Band. I have a bunch of his albums in my collection, only to try to seem somewhat acquainted to his music, however, this original piece has me giddy with excitement. It, of course, integrates the good parts of James Horner's score for Aliens (which by default inherits Goldsmith's work on the original film) while maintaining a keen sensibility and originality for a piece destined to become a soundtrack to a theme park ride. Overall, more than what you'd come to expect, and a real joy to come across. It's nicely followed by Jerry Goldsmith's "End Titles" from Alien, which, if you don't pay attention, extends the previous track into a nine-minute suite without skipping a beat.
The next few tracks of note come from veteran composer, John Beal, who's mostly known for his work writing exciting pieces for movie trailers. My first reaction to the two pieces he performs on this album, the main titles to Men In Black and Predator, was along Jack Nicholson's line in Batman: "Where does he get such wonderful toys?" I'd have to say that not only is John's performance of the pieces close to dead on accurate to the originals, but being totally synthesized, has me in serious envy of what is probably the best sample library in Hollywood, and most likely, the world. My only fault with the piece would be the strings in Men In Black, but nit pickers like me would probably attribute that to sheer interpretation.
My next pick on this bountiful album for noticeable and generally cool pieces would be Contact, performed by Silva's own standby players, the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Being able to catch my ear even after listening to the original soundtrack, and my sort of unfounded animosity towards eastern European orchestras, I'd have to say I'd probably be up for more of their recordings in the future regardless of what label they come out on.
The final piece to highlight on the album is, remarkably enough, They Live, a collaboration between director-composer John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. I caught this film recently on television, and had the story fresh in my mind, as well as realizing that this type of film and it's music has roots in Carpenter's work on Escape from New York, and most recently, Vampires. If there is one individual who can write music that can be played along to stress a character being a total "bad-ass", Carpenter and Howarth are definitely the masters. I would only hope to see a re-release of the entire score by somebody in the near future.
This is a good compilation album by Sonic Images, and hopefully won't be over looked by the casual listener or even die hard fan.. They'd be missing a real gem.
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