Retroist Scoreboard: Back Through The Stargate

That week that I’ve dreaded – a week with really thin new releases – has finally happened, but it has brought with it a release that lets me talk about some of my favorite past releases and one of my all-time favorite composers (who, sadly, is no longer with us).

First off, meat and potatoes: Intrada has opened the iris and reactivated the Stargate for the first time, musically speaking, in many years.  The label’s latest release is a 2-CD compilation of the Stargate SG-1 scores composed by Richard Band.  Now, there’s a name that has come up a lot in the Scoreboard, because he’s done the music for a great many beloved B-movie favorites.  He’s also the brother of prolific producer Charles Band, so you see their names together a lot on Full Moon Productions’ library of horror movies.

Intrada has, thankfully, graced this release with a “flipper cover” – meaning that you can put the booklet into the CD case backwards and show completely different cover art much more in line with past SG-1 soundtrack releases.

Don’t blame Intrada for the “trying too hard to be ultra-modern” cover you see above, by the way – it was almost certainly mandated by MGM, which has rebranded the most recent DVD re-releases of the Stargate TV franchise with a very similar design.  Breathe easy and flip your booklet over when it arrives – after reading it, of course, because Intrada promises some seriously informative liner notes by soundtrack journalist Jeff Bond.  For those interested, the SG-1 episodes represented here are all from the show’s first two seasons, and they’re some good ones – Cold Lazarus, In The Line Of Duty, In The Serpent’s Lair, and Singularity.

The composer most often associated with SG-1, however, and who single-handedly took on its spin-offs, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, was partly responsible for getting Richard Band access to Cheyenne Mountain in the first place: the late, great, Joel Goldsmith.  As you almost certainly guessed from the name, Joel was the son of Jerry Goldsmith, and alas, neither of them are with us any longer – Joel died in 2012 after a brief but intense battle with cancer, robbing us of a musical talent that could easily have gone mainstream.

Joel Goldsmith was also responsible for one of my all-time favorite television soundtracks, the music from the troubled early 2000s TNT live action series based on Top Cow’s Witchblade comic.  Troubled because of it’s star’s addiction issues, the series suffered setback after setback until the network saw no other choice but to cancel it.  Goldsmith later released a fantastic CD of highlights from the series through his own label, Free Clyde (named after his dog).  Unlike a great many “private labels”, Free Clyde actually licensed its material through the studios in question, as it would also do for the scores to the two direct-to-DVD Stargate movies, Stargate Continuum and Stargate: Ark Of Truth.

The Witchblade soundtrack was formulated on a psychedelic bed of prog rock, and Goldsmith had no problem occasionally breaking into song, allowing the background music to comment on the characters and the action.

The highlight of this soundtrack was easily the Gauntlet Suite, which wore its prog rock inspiration on its sleeve with its sheer length and mind-blowing variety of styles and sounds within a single track.

The Witchblade soundtrack is still available from its original publisher, BSX Records, and can be streamed or downloaded via Amazon.  Not to brag too much, but I got my copy when it was first released…back when Mr. Goldsmith was still around to sign them for admiring fans like myself.


(Cyberman not included)
So how did Goldsmith and Band come to know each other?  They had gotten their start at the same time – and literally on the same project, though the movie in question has, perhaps, a less than stellar reputation?


I am also not ready for some football.
 

Yes…Band and Goldsmith got their first professional composing credit on the low-budget ’70s sci-fi horror flick Laserblast.  Saddled with a tiny budget that afforded them little more than the synths and equipment they already had, the two friends made the best of it…and yes, they shamelessly released Laserblast on CD as well, so we can finally hear the movie’s opening music without Tom Servo singing “There’s a place in France where the ladies have no pants…” over it!

 

Well, maybe you liked that part of Laserblast‘s return to the spotlight as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The Laserblast soundtrack is an interesting listen if you’re okay with its very ’70s tendency to go almost atonal.  Best of all…you can still buy the Laserblast soundtrack or download it via Amazon.

Fast-forwarding back to the age of Stargate, I’m hoping that this new Intrada release sells well enough that the label might consider revisiting the franchise musically, possibly featuring more of Goldsmith’s work.  There are so many incredible musical moments, like this one from a Stargate Atlantis episode that questioned the wisdom of “enhanced” interrogation techniques and anonymous intel, that need to be on CD.

And, of course, we never got an official Stargate Universe soundtrack at all, a gap in the Stargate musical library that needs to be filled.

So really, this new release of Richard Band music from Stargate SG-1…is the culmination of a partnership and friendship that lasted decades.  Surely the SG-1 team themselves would approve of those kind of squad goals.

Earl Green

Podcaster-in-Chief at theLogBook.com
As the writer of the Retroist’s weekly Scoreboard column, Earl Green is keeping score on soundtrack releases old and new, a topic he’s written and podcasted about extensively at his own site, theLogBook.com.He’s also written entire books about Doctor Who (VWORP!1 and VWORP!2), Star Trek (WARP!1), and growing up geeky, and hosts theLogBook.com’s Escape Pod, Select Game and Don’t Give This Tape To Earl podcasts.He is large, he contains multitudes.

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