Review: Fred Karlin Collection Volume 3: Electronic Chronicle, The
2 / 5 Stars
Fred Karlin is best know for the score to the Michael Crichton thriller Westworld (1970), which people seem to be remaking for no good reason. Since that film, Karlin has kept extraordinarily busy, scoring over 100 television movies and specials in twenty-five years, including the trash classic, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978). I'd like to see Jerry Goldsmith compete with that. It takes a lot of craftsman skill to produce such an output, and Electronic Chronicle is devoted to four of his scores from 1985 to 1990 (Hostage Flight, Murder C.O.D., Dadah is Death, Final Jeopardy).
But listening to this music, it is a situation of quantity over quality. One thing tricky about review is not writing about something that is good or bad, but describing something that is the same. Something that sounds the same. The entire album is the same. Every score was written in on a synthesizer with that repetitive 80's beat machine tone. Karlin's work reminds me a lot of Tangerine Dream (a group I have never been a huge fan of) or say an 80's Jackie Chan movie and you could trade their work out without noticing any difference.
Now I can't go into too much detail on the individual tracks, because they all blurred together. Of all the scores, Dadah is Dead is the best, only for the use of more exotic instrumentation in tracks like "Kuala Lampur." Each score has slightly different "instrumentation" with Murder C.O.D. using trumpets effects and Hostage Flight using French horn effects, but with that generation of MIDI software, I simply couldn't tell the difference. Now there have been some great 80's synthesizer scores by Thomas Newman, Wendy Carlos and David Shire. But this collection simply as no spark to it.
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