Retroist Scoreboard fans, we’ve hit one of those lulls in releases that happens during the summer, but fear not, there’s some classic movie music on CD to get you through the end of summer vacation.
Intrada has reached into its back catalog to reissue a title that sold out quickly upon its original release in 2009 – Jerry Goldsmith‘s score from Ten Little Indians (1973). The contents are the same as the 2009 release, so this is just an instance of a label giving collectors who missed out on the first limited release a second chance.
If you’re looking for something a bit further afield, there are also swingin’ sixties superspy sounds aplenty on the live concert recording The Jazz From U.N.CL.E., performed by the Summit Six Sextet to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Man From U.N.CL.E. Music from the classic series is rearranged for a six-piece jazz group. This title is also available from Intrada.
Dragon’s Domain has put Tangerine Dream‘s score from 1989’s Miracle Mile back in print for the first time in nearly 30 years, now as a 2-CD set: the first CD presents the complete score for the first time ever, as well as some isolated “music effects”, while the second CD duplicates (and remasters) the original 1989 album.
BSX Records is releasing, on CD, an album that was previously a digital-only release, Music From The Star Trek Saga. The album consists of new re-recordings of music spanning the entire history of the franchise, from classic TV Trek through the ’80s and ’90s spinoffs, and up to the first of the new movies.
Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for a late-September deluxe expanded release of the music from the cult classic 1980 live-action Popeye movie starring Robin Williams. Though scored (and featuring songs) by Harry Nilsson, Popeye was originally set to be scored by composer Thomas Pierson, and his never-before-heard rejected score will be heard on this release for the first time, along with two Nilsson-composed songs written for, but not used in, the film.
Is that all? No, that is not all – both Intrada and La-La Land Records are having end-of-summer blowout sales, with Intrada knocking 25% off the price of such titles as 48 Hrs., Cocoon, Edward Scissorhands, Red Dawn, Silent Running, SpaceCamp, and Jason And The Argonauts. La-La Land is offering discounts on the soundtracks from the first three seasons of the 21st century Battlestar Galactica series (which are about to be out-of-print), as well as markdowns on such titles as The Shawshank Redemption, Krull, and Creepshow. With many of these titles officially in low quantities, these sales are excellent chances for you to get those classic soundtracks you’ve been holding out on.
Happy listening, soundtrack fans – the Retroist Scoreboard will be back in a couple of weeks with a whole new batch of releases.
School may be out for summer, but soundtrack school is never closed. This week’s releases are a crash course in the classics, both old and modern.
La-La Land Records is very much “in the now” with its latest and future releases. Though opinions seem to be, shall we say, widely varied as to whether the big-screen comedy rehash of ’90s syndicated super-hit Baywatch was worth committing to film, La-La Land is still giving the movie’s score a chance on CD. Composed by Christopher Lennertz, the Baywatch score may well be one of the better things about the movie, and there’ll be 3,000 copies pressed so fans of either the movie or the composer can give it a spin.
Coming next month from La-La Land is an even bigger release – a deluxe, 2-CD limited edition of Steve Jablonsky‘s score from Transformers: The Last Knight. That will be released on July 11th, and is also likely to be an edition of only 3,000 copies. The label will start taking orders closer to the release date.
Dragon’s Domain Records has a pair of new releases that’ll begin shipping on July 10th: Brian May‘s score from the 1986 movie Sky Pirates (bear in mind that this is the Australian film composer Brian May of Mad Max fame, not the Queen guitarist), and a CD containing a pair of lesser-known TV movie scores by the late, great Basil Poledouris, Prison For Children and Single Bars, Single Women. Sky Pirates is a limited edition of 1,000 copies, while there will be 2,000 copies of the Poledouris scores made available.
Buysoundtrax.com’s in-house label BSX Records has some digital-only releases that’ll delight fans of ’80s movies – they’ve made Jerrold Immel‘s score from Mega Force available for download, which includes music Immel composed for the movie that was later dropped, such as the original, never-before-heard end credit music that was left on the cutting room floor in favor of a song.
Also on tap is Richard Band‘s original score from 1986’s Troll – you know, back when movies about trolls were creepy, and didn’t drown their audience in covers of 1980s hits.
Quartet Records is targeting the end of June for a remastered release of Jerry Goldsmith‘s score for the 1973 prison break drama Papillon. The original multi-track studio tapes of the original record sessions were recently recovered in Italy and have been remastered by Mike Matessino; among the material that these tapes brought to light were “source music” (music which characters in the movie can hear from an on-screen source) composed by longtime Goldsmith collaborator Alexander Courage (also composer of the original Star Trek theme). Only 1,000 copies of this CD are being pressed.
Kritzerland Records‘ blurb for their latest release makes it very clear that they know this movie’s place in cinematic history. Is it a golden age delight uncovered and remastered for the first time? No, friends…it’s the Chuck Cirino score from the Syfy original movie Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre. That awareness of the movie’s unique stature extends to its print run: Kritzerland is only pressing 500 copies of this new classic for the ages, and then, as it says at the end of many a shark movie (or as it should say), fin.
Nothing new from Intrada this week, but the scuttlebutt on their release for next week involves gate addresses, chevrons, dial-home devices, and probably some zat guns. Watch this space.
Two Retroist Scoreboards in one week? Well…I thought these two releases might be worthy of note for you retro-fixated collectors and listeners out there.
Dragon’s Domain Records is giving us a 2-CD set of music from an early ‘90s TV series whose scores have never seen the light of day before: the syndicated revival of The Untouchables, a series that followed Eliot Ness, a federal agent who has to push the boundaries of the law to try to bring down Al Capone’s gang operation in the era of Prohibition. Obviously the success of the then-recent 1987 film had a lot to do with The Untouchables’ return to our screens, and a big-screen musical treatment was sought, courtesy of Joel Goldsmith, who composed music for the show’s entire run after the studio was swayed by the quality of his score for the pilot episode. For the recording session involving the series’ main theme, Joel’s dad, Jerry Goldsmith, dropped by to conduct the orchestra. The younger Goldsmith would go on to score Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, the live-action Witchblade TV series, and would collaborate with his father on the music for Star Trek: First Contact. Joel Goldsmith died in 2012. There will be only 1000 copies of The Untouchables TV music pressed, which is a good reason to do a special Scoreboard column – you’d better snap this up before Capone and his gang snatch them all.
Amazon.Com is taking pre-orders for the May 12th vinyl re-release of the soundtrack from Labyrinth, scored by Trevor Jones and featuring David Bowie. This is the first vinyl pressing of Labyrinth since the LP was released alongside the movie itself, and the contents of the album are exactly the same. If your attempts to get Labyrinth on vinyl have been stymied by the steady increase in the price of the original pressing on the secondary market, the arrival of a new pressing that can be had for under $20 will be a welcome development.
Okay, now I think we’ve covered all of this week’s releases and pre-orders. Tune in next time to see how the soundtrack labels decide to make my life interesting in the weeks ahead!
P.S. Mr. Nitti is waiting in the car.
Soundtrack fans, we’re in yet another unexpectedly meaty week of wonders, so let’s waste no time in diving right in.
La-La Land Records, as previously announced, is now taking orders for their limited edition (1500 copies) double LP vinyl pressing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, returning Jerry Goldsmith’s magnum opus to turntables for the first time in nearly 40 years, this time with the complete score spread across four sides. (The CD box set has even more music, if you’re after music instead of a display piece: Goldsmith scored half the movie before coming up with the iconic Enterprise theme, which was later repurposed as the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the CD edition presents the complete score as heard in the movie plus what basically amounts to an unused alternate soundtrack.)
While the first Star Trek movie is returning to vinyl, another classic movie is, incredibly, only just now making its way to CD thanks to Varese Sarabande, which is presenting Dave Grusin’s music from On Golden Pond, interspersed with dialogue from the movie (in some cases, quite lengthy chunks of dialogue).
Varese also has a trio of limited editions now available: an “encore” re-pressing of Elmer Bernstein’s score from Disney’s The Black Cauldron, limited to just 1000 copies for those who missed out on the last limited edition issue of this title.
For fans of high-octane action movies (and their music), there’s a new edition of Basil Poledouris’ music from the Steven Segal flick Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, more than doubling the running time of the original 1995 CD release. Even the movie’s source music is included as bonus tracks. What’s source music? Ask me that again in a minute.
And finally, John Williams’ score from the 1990’s Stanley & Iris gets a limited edition CD release of 3,000 copies, but that’s not all: tucked into the open space left by that movie’s score is a second Williams score hitting CD for the first time, 1972’s Pete ‘n’ Tillie. The two movies’ music are a good fit to share a CD: both are heartfelt relationship movies, and hey, it’s John Williams.
So…about source music: it’s a wonderful thing when original source music winds up as a bonus track on a CD…of course, that’s assuming that the director isn’t married to his temp track. Confused yet? That’s why we have another slice of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary this week.
The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: How The Sausage Gets Made Additional Music – you’ll see this in movie and especially TV credits these days…often in small print. Particularly with the breakneck production timetable of television, but also with movies, composers must hire extra help to ghost-write the sheer amount of music needed within that timetable. Some of today’s biggest names were yesterday’s up-and-coming “additional music” composers: the ubiquitous Bear McCreary (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Walking Dead, Agents Of SHIELD, Outlander, Black Sails, Da Vinci’s Demons) got his break composing “additional music” for the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries, whose primary composer moved on, leaving McCreary to take over the hourly series, making his career in the process. Due to the structure of CD release contracts with the primary composer, this additional music may or may not appear on an official release, leaving music from memorable scenes off the table. (Thus was the fate of the pivotal, Joel Goldsmith-composed “Flight Of The Phoenix” scene from Star Trek: First Contact, which was left off of the original 1996 soundtrack release at the label’s demand, simply because it wasn’t by primary composer Jerry Goldsmith.) In a few cases, the assistant composers may release their material as a composer promo.
Music+FX Track or Stem – a special mix of a movie or TV show’s music score and sound effects, prepared so that local voice artists in various parts of the world can do a language dub without the original actors’ voices in the background. Particularly with older films, this may be the closest we come to having a film’s original music tapes; it’s exceedingly rare to see a CD release of a Music+FX mix, but not unheard of (i.e. La-La Land’s “archival” release of Jerry Goldsmith’s rare score from The Satan Bug). Music+FX mixes are more often the domain of bootleggers.
Source Music – composers may be called upon to create “source music” for a scene in which a movie’s characters can hear that song in question from some on-screen source – a radio, a jukebox, a band on stage, to name a few examples. (Contrast this against the movie’s score, which the characters do not hear.) Some reissue producers go out of their way to include specially composed source music, particularly if it’s been the subject of “what was that song…?” debates for years and years. In some cases, source music is a piece of music from a movie’s songtrack.
Spotting – a process during pre-production of a movie or TV show in which the composer sits in on a screening of a rough edit to discuss the timing, placement and emotional thrust of the music with the director and/or editor(s), sometimes using temp tracks as a guide. (These meetings are called spotting sessions.) Once spotting is complete, the process of composing actually begins, though some composers may discover at a very late stage that the director’s ideas on spotting has changed, and their music has been tracked over a completely different scene…or has been replaced with a piece of the temp track.
Temp Track – a “temporary track” is often assembled, during a movie’s editing process, by the director and/or the film editor to track scenes in a movie that has no score yet. Temp tracks are often cobbled together from classical pieces or other movie soundtracks, and a composer hired to score a movie will often be asked to compose music with a similar feel…without actually duplicating it note-for-note, of course. The history of film music is rife with instances of directors falling in love with their temp tracks to the point that they either don’t hire a composer, or reject a specially commissioned score when it doesn’t live up to the director’s expectations (perhaps the most famous specimen of this category being Alex North’s unused original score for 2001: a space odyssey). Temp tracks are controversial in film music, whether for the perception that they limit a composer’s creativity, or for the not-limited-to-Kubrick phenomenon which plagues composers to this day (just this year, Johann Johannson’s score for Arrival was disqualified from Oscar contention because of the prominence of Max Richter’s composition, “On The Nature Of Daylight”, in key scenes of the movie – a holdover from the temp track that the director felt couldn’t be improved upon, costing his composer a nomination).
Tracking – once a composer has turned in a completed score, that music is at the mercy of the film’s director and/or editor(s), and may not appear where it was originally spotted. The music may be chopped up, edited and tracked in a different place entirely, such as >em>Star Wars Episode IStar Wars Episode III. Additionally, licensed or specially commissioned songs may be tracked into scenes, replacing sections of more traditional scoring (Ray Parker Jr.’s memorable song was tracked into as many scenes of Ghostbusters as possible late in editing, leaving significant portions of Elmer Bernstein’s score on the cutting room floor).
It’s a slow news week here at the Retroist Scoreboard – this week’s only new release is La-La Land Records’ CD of the soundtrack from the DC Animated Universe movie Justice League Dark, scored by Robert J. Kral (Angel, Jake 2.0, Superman: Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Assault on Arkham).
Perhaps even more exciting is La-La Land closing the books on the last few copies of some of its past releases, and when I say “last few” I mean “maybe a dozen or so”, which translates roughly to “they may be gone by the time you read this and go looking for them”. Not only will these titles be going out of print, but they’re being sold off at what the Firesign Theatre once called “unhealable deep-cut discounts!”. Titles include the late Shirley Walker’s masterful score from the 1990 TV iteration of The Flash, Haunted Honeymoon, Days Of Our Lives (yes, there was a soundtrack for that), and Les Baxter’s vintage soundtrack from “X”: The Man With X-Ray Eyes. Get ’em while they’re still there. Some of the low-quantity titles I mentioned in the last Retroist Scoreboard…some of those are already out of print. Life comes at you fast when you’re a soundtrack collector.
Since there’s a lull in the action, let’s talk about Holy Grails.
The two big fish in the boutique soundtrack label pond, La-La Land Records and Intrada, have something of a gentlemen’s agreement: this week, La-La Land releases something. Next week, Intrada releases something else. (It’s actually a pretty friendly unspoken rule: if you check the credits in the back of the liner notes booklets of any given recent vintage soundtrack releases, you’ll find the same producers, restoration experts, mastering engineers and liner notes writers are happily working for both labels.) You’ll notice this ebb-and-flow as the Retroist Scoreboard continues chronicling their releases this year.
Both labels tend to hit the pause button around Christmas and New Year, as well as other holidays during the year. So let’s assume that each label will be dropping one or two new items – or one big one, if it’s a box set – 20 weeks out of the year. The labels strive to find a mix of “crowd pleasers” (i.e. last year’s 30-years-overdue release of the complete score plus songs from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), “golden age” material from Hollywood’s postwar heyday, and more recent “silver age” material. Not all of them sell in huge numbers; La-La Land boss M.V. Gerhard has openly stated that the “crowd pleasers” foot the bill for some of the more obscure releases whose scores deserve preservation, remastering, and their own releases.
In short: you’re looking at 40 weeks out of the year with something dropping, not all of which you’ll like, but that’s okay. The late, great Jerry Goldsmith criticized soundtrack collectors who were less interested in music than in “collecting bottle caps”…point taken, Maestro Goldsmith. No one can afford to get all of them.
So…is your favorite out there? If it isn’t yet, someone’s probably working on it. One of the most surprising releases last year was the four-disc La-La Land Star Trek 50th anniversary compilation, one disc of which presented – for the first time ever – the incidental music from Filmation’s early 1970s Star Trek cartoon. (Sharp-eared Filmation fans will also know that this is, essentially, the soundtrack from Jason Of Star Command.) It wasn’t that new tapes had been found and remastered; it happened because two recording engineers who happened to be fans of animated Star Trek managed to piece together every instrumental piece from segments of the show where no one was talking! (These guys work hard for your money.)
Other grails have already seen release – the complete scores from all three Back To The Future films, the now-legendary restoration of John Barry’s complete score from The Black Hole (recorded on a no-longer-used digital tape format, which could be played back only on the same kind of tape deck that recorded it…of which there was only one left in the United States, and it fell victim to flooding just before engineers went to transfer those tapes to a hard drive for remastering), and the massive 15-disc box set of every note of music recorded for the original Star Trek.
Others that are high on people’s lists are lost to the mists of time: one frequently requested title is Disney’s The Rescuers, whose master music tapes seem to be lost forever. Intrada’s late 2016 CD release of the soundtrack from Silent Running suffered a similar problem; the CD was mastered from a pristine copy of the long-out-of-print original LP (!).
You’ll notice that there are some genres that get a little more love than others, but that’s often because their very nature lent itself to more epic music: westerns, historical dramas (especially epics like Ben-Hur and Spartacus), and sci-fi are, perhaps, over-represented. But there’s also a healthy selection of ’70s thrillers and a growing category of ’80s cinema (i.e. recent relases of Beverly Hills Cop I & II, Less Than Zero, the aforementioned Ferris Bueller) and ’90s material (i.e. Jurassic Park, Twister, DuckTales: The Movie, Galaxy Quest) that are on the rise. As the audience age range shifts, collectors are “into” the soundtracks from the movies they enjoyed in their youth, and the labels are obliging those changing tastes.
Be patient: someone is almost certainly working on that one soundtrack you’re waiting for, if they haven’t already made it available. (I’ll bring this up again in a more personal context in a couple of weeks.)
When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at theLogBook.om, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. You can catch him lining up carefully curated excerpts from TV, movie and game scores most months on the Log Book’s soundtrack mixtape podcast, In The Grand Theme Of Things.