Track Listing

Disc 1: Movie Themes
1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show 4:30
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey 1:52
3. Forbidden Planet 2:20
4. The Day The Earth Stood Still 3:45
5. It Came From Outer Space 1:42
6. Creature From The Black Lagoon 1:09
7. The Incredible Shrinking Man 2:54
8. The Time Machine 1:55
9. Them! 0:50
10. The Thing 1:40
11. First Men In The Moon 2:35
12. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms 1:13
13. Fantastic Voyage - Radio Spot Announcement 0:50
14. Fantastic Voyage - Main Title Sound Effects Suite 1:41
15. Planet of the Apes 2:13
16. The Andromeda Strain 4:10
17. Close Encounters of the Third Kind 2:19
18. Aliens 3:13
19. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 2:57
20. Robocop - Robo vs. ED-209 2:00
21. Robocop - Main Title 0:32
22. Terminator 2: Judgement Day 1:37
23. Outland 3:51
24. War of the Worlds 1:31
25. Predator 3:35
26. The Fly 1:52
27. Mars Attacks! 2:22
28. The Matrix 8:08
  Disc Time: 69:16

Disc 2: TV Themes
1. The Twilight Zone 2:07
2. Lost in Space 1:59
3. My Favorite Martian 1:05
4. Dr. Who 2:39
5. The Jetsons 0:58
6. The Time Tunnel 0:39
7. One Step Beyond 5:23
8. The Outer Limits - Control Voice Introduction 1:07
9. The Outer Limits - Main Title 1:23
10. Men Into Space 2:40
11. The Thunderbirds 2:30
12. Stingray 1:57
13. Astro Boy 1:11
14. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 0:29
15. Land of the Giants 1:02
16. Star Trek 1:19
17. Star Trek: The Next Generation 2:55
18. V (The Series) 1:46
19. Babylon 5 1:29
20. The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror I 1:43
21. The X-Files 3:24
22. Changing Channels 4:55
  Disc Time: 44:40

Disc 3: Pop
1. "Telestar" - The Tornadoes 3:14
2. "Blast Off" - Jimmie Haskell and His Orchestra 1:48
3. "Out of Limits" - The Marketts 2:30
4. "Have You Seen The Saucers" - Jefferson Airplane 3:38
5. "Waiting For The UFO's" - Graham Parker & The Rumour 3:08
6. "Spaceman" - Nilsson 3:32
7. "Space Child" - Spirit 3:25
8. "Flying Saucer Safari" - Suburban Lawns 2:12
9. "UFO" - Soul, Inc. 2:41
10. "Rocket" - Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones 2:07
11. "Rocket to Nowehere" - Webb Wilder 4:00
12. "For Science" - They Might Be Giants 1:17
13. "Machines" - Lothar & The Hand People 2:30
14. "Beyond Tomorrow" - Stan Ridgway 6:44
15. "Theme for The Creature From Under The Sea" - Milton Delugg 2:32
16. "Humans From Earth" - T-Bone Burnett 2:48
17. "Fear (Main Title from "One Step Beyond")" - The Ventures 2:22
18. "Rocket Ship" - Vernon Green & The Medallions 2:51
19. "Radar Blues" - Chris Conner 2:36
20. "Creature With The Atom Brain" - Roky Erickson 4:11
21. "Rocket Ship" - Kathy McCarty 4:09
22. "After the Gold Rush" - Prelude 2:07
  Disc Time: 66:22

Disc 4: Incidental / Lounge
1. "Frozen Neptune" - Russ Garcia & His Orchestra 5:40
2. "Lunar Rhapsody" - Les Baxter 3:00
3. "Man From Mars" - Ferrante & Teicher 2:23
4. "On The Dark Side of the Moon" - Frank Comstock 2:15
5. "Saturday Night on Saturn" - Les Baxter 1:41
6. "Welcome to Tomorrow" - Attilio Mineo 3:05
7. "Space Reflex (Blues in 5/4)" - Dick Hyman 3:20
8. "Mars, Bringer of War" from "The Planets" - The City of Prague Philharmonic / Nic Raine 8:07
9. "Theremin Solo" - Dr. Samuel Hoffman 1:33
10. "Guitars in Space" - Billy Mure 1:59
11. "Nova (Exploding Star)" - Russ Garcia & His Orchestra 2:25
12. "Space is the Place" - Sun Ra 4:23
13. "Twilight Zone" - Raymond Scott & His Orchestra 2:45
14. "Cosmic Ballad" - Perrey-Kingsley 3:24
15. "Moon Gas" - Dick Hyman 2:13
16. "Monsters of Jupiter" - Russ Garcia & His Orchestra 3:05
17. "She Likes Me" - Jerry Goldsmith 2:28
18. "Tone Tales From Tomorrow" - Frank Coe 5:00
19. "Alien" - Leonard Nimoy 1:57
20. "On Planet X" - David Garland with John Zorn 5:59
  Disc Time: 66:42

Disc 5: Novelty
1. "The Flying Saucer (Parts 1 & 2)" - Buchanan & Goodman 4:18
2. "Beep Beep!" - Louis Prima 3:14
3. "The Blob" - The Five Blobs 2:38
4. "Martian Hop" - The Ran-Dells 2:13
5. "Music To Watch Space Girls By" - Leonard Nimoy 2:17
6. "Planet Claire" - The B-52's 4:35
7. "Gigantor" - The Dickies 2:27
8. "Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer" - Ella Fitzgerald 3:18
9. "Flying Saucer Attack" - The Rezillos 2:47
10. "Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll" - Billy Riley & His Little Green Men 2:00
11. "UFOs, Big Rigs & BBQ" - Mojo Nixon & World Famous Blue Jays 3:38
12. "We're Going UFO'ing" - Jimmy Durante 2:23
13. "Surf Trek" - The Rubinoos 2:39
14. "Mister Spaceman" - The Holy Modal Rounders 1:53
15. "Meet Space Pilot Jones" - The Satellite Singers 1:19
16. "The Purple People Eater" - Sheb Wooley 2:11
17. "Knocked Out Joint on Mars" - Buck Trail 2:27
18. "Tiny Space Man" - Bill Carlisle 1:50
19. "(When You See) Those Flying Saucers" - Buchanan Brothers & The Georgia Catamounts 2:15
20. "Unfunky UFO" - Parliament 4:23
21. "You Came From Outer Space" - The Kirby Stone Four 3:25
  Disc Time: 58:10
  Total Album Time: 305:10


by Dan Goldwasser
January 2, 2001
[4.5 / 5]

Science fiction probably struck one of its peaks in the 1950's and 1960's.  With the beginnings of the cold war, and plenty of nuclear testing going on, it's no wonder the ideas of Atomic Mutant Men from Mars, UFO invasions, killer robots and other creatures from beyond this earth became so popular.  Comic books, television shows, films and memorabilia (oh, the memorabilia!) helped contribute to this mindset.  Science fiction might have tapered off a bit since then, but it still runs strong as evident in the popularity of television shows such as "The X-Files" and "Babylon 5".  There now exists a cable channel devoted to this genre, The Sci-Fi Channel.  And so, at the end of the year 2000, Rhino Records put out the ultimate merger of science fiction and music: Brain in a Box.  This five CD set contains over 5 hours of music, and includes a colorful 200-page hardcover "mini" book (it's the height and width of a CD).

Disc 1: Movie Themes

This disc contains a selection of themes from 26 sci-fi films.  From the expected (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Aliens, Predator) to the unexpected (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fantastic Voyage, The Matrix), all of the themes here are from films that are definitely in the real of science fiction.  Most of the music comes from the original recordings.  As such, much of the earlier work is mixed in quality, with the tracks ranging from slightly muted mono, to high fidelity stereo.  A few of the tracks (War of the Worlds, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Matrix) are rerecordings, but generally hold up the style and intent of the original recordings that couldn't be licensed for use.  Highlights are Them!, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Robocop, The Fly, and the main title from Predator.  This is definitely a solid collection of sci-fi movie themes, and from there, we move from the big screen, to the small screen.

Disc 2: TV Themes

Television played a large part in sci-fi back in the 1950s with "Buck Rogers", and continues to do so to this very day, with new shows such as "Lexx" and "Farscape".  Of course, the ultimate in sci-fi television has to be "The Twilight Zone", which is the first track on the album.  From there we get the two John Williams themes from "Lost in Space", "Dr. Who", "The Jetsons", "The Outer Limits" (with Control Voice Introduction), and "The Thunderbirds".  The last third of the album is has many shows from the 1990s - "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Babylon 5", "The X-Files" and (my favorite track on the album) "The Simpsons".  This unreleased cue is the "Kang and Kodos Medley" from Alf Clausen's Emmy-nominated score to "Treehouse of Horror I".  Ah, bliss.  This track alone makes the whole box set worthwhile.  (But don't worry - there are more goodies to come!)

Disc 3: Pop

This disc contains a rather varied selection of pop songs with a sci-fi theme.  What makes it differ from many of the songs on the "Novelty" disc is questionable - I think some of these songs are just as silly as the ones on that other disc, but seem to be performed by more "recognizable" artists.  In fact, with songs by Jefferson Airplane, They Might Be Giants, T-Bone Burnett, Jimmie Haskell and His Orchestra and others, it's a rather impressive lineup.  The songs range in topic from space invasion (lots of those) and just plain old space travel.  I don't think I'll ever forget "Creature With The Atomic Brain" by Roky Erickson, or "After The Gold Rush" by Prelude.

Disc 4: Incidental / Lounge

Here we get a chance to enjoy some of the instrumental music that science fiction has inspired.  As one would expect, the theremin is used in many of these tracks, and Dr. Samuel Hoffman's performances in "Lunar Rhapsody" and "Theremin Solo" is quite detailed and expertly done.  "Mars, Bringer of War" from Holst's "The Planets" serves as a cold reminder of how unoriginal Hans Zimmer's score to Gladiator is.  "Twilight Zone" by Raymond Scott & His Orchestra isn't from the television show, but it's interesting to hear what this pioneer of electronic music does with his debut of the Scott Clavivox.  The ultimate in "cheese" comes along in the form of "Alien" by Leonard Nimoy.  Part of the "Leonard Nimoy Present Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space" Star Trek tie-in album, it provides an insightful look into the mind of Mr. Spock, while at the same time allowing Nimoy to catch up to William Shatner in the "cheesy album release" department.

Disc 5: Novelty

In this final and fifth disc of "Brain in a Box", we are exposed to all of the fun and zany songs that Dr. Demento tended to feature on his syndicated radio show.  Beginning with a very funny "radio broadcast" of an alien invasion (using select phrases from pop songs from the '60s to accentuate the points), this disc isn't a full-on laugh riot, but it is very funny.  Louis Prima's "Beep! Beep!" is an amusing little ditty, as are "Martian Hop", "Gigantor", Jimmy Durante's "We're Going UFO'ing", "Knocked Out Joint on Mars" and others.  The instrumental tunes "Music to Watch Space Girls By" and "Surf Trek" take the whole "Star Trek" world a step further (or is it a step backwards?).  Some of the classic novelty songs are here as well, including "The Blob" and "The Purple People Eater".  The religiously heavy 1947 tune "(When You See) Those Flying Saucers" is immediately followed by the completely different 1970's "Unfunky UFO" James Brown-esque tune, by Parliament.  This is definitely an eclectic album, if ever there was one!

Wrap Up: Brain in a Book

The sixth item in "Brain in a Box" is "Brain in a Book".  This CD-sized 200-page hardcover book contains photographs from films, television shows, memorabilia, historical archives, and more, all the while providing insight and liner notes for the music.  With comments by Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman, Joe Dante, Arthur C. Clarke, Matt Groening and Dr. Dememento (among many many others), there' is plenty of information here about science fiction.  The packaging for the box itself is a metal-colored cardboard cube with a 3D lenticular on 3 sides, showing (as expected) a brain inside the box.  When you open it up, the metal lid on top reveals a lot of foam padding, embedded in which are the five CDs and the book.  It's a striking package, not only for it's waste of space, but because of its sheer coolness.  This is one item that will not only have guests pointing to it and asking questions, but you'll have no choice but to leave it in plain sight since it's just so big! (That was very clever, Rhino!)  Although there is an incredible amount of music presented here, it is in no way complete.  I doubt that would ever happen.  But in this case, this is definitely one of the most comprehensive overviews of science fiction music that I have ever seen.  If you even slightly enjoyed an episode of "The Twilight Zone", or happened to catch a song on the radio that was just a little bit out of this world, then this collection is definitely a must have.


Go to Disc 2: TV Themes
Go to Disc 3: Pop
Go to Disc 4: Incidental / Lounge
Go to Disc 5: Novelty


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