Pitch Black / Bride Of Chucky - Graeme Revell

Graeme Revell's ambient-electronic score for Pitch Black remained unreleased until Super Tracks coupled it with the composer's Bride Of Chucky, a satirical riff influenced by Marco Beltrami's Scream 2 by way of Hans Zimmer's Broken Arrow.

Pitch Black was inexplicably desired by the film music collector market. I say that because the score is a series of anonymous electronic hums and pulses, rarely rising to more than that. As a listening experience it fails miserably, but perhaps the legions of Pitch Black cult fans will appreciate it.

Bride Of Chucky doesn't work much better. Unlike Child's Play 2, which featured at least a sprinkle of live orchestral content, Bride is entirely peformed on synths. Not scary, and not really meant to be, Bride Of Chucky is more a leering winkfest, and Revell's score is more playful than frightful.

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The Adventures of Conan - Basil Poledouris

Here's a quick addition to the blog -- Basil Poledouris' The Adventures of Conan: Sword And Sorcery Spectacular, music the composer wrote for a live-action stage show at Universal Studios, Hollywood in the early 1980s.

Running just over sixteen-and-a-half minutes, Poledouris evokes the spirit of his Conan The Barbarian score without (sadly) explicitly quoting any themes from that score. Recorded in London with the "London Studio Symphony Orchestra and Voices", the results are a little less epic than Barbarian, but worth a download/listen, considering how little we hear from Poledouris these days.

Also included on the promotional disc, released by Supertracks in 2000, is the cheese y stage show audio track. Total time of the disc is 24:35.

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Big Trouble In Little China - John Carpenter

Indeed! It's Big Trouble In Little China, John Carpenter's cult-classic Asian-American-Adventure. No fan of '80s classics collection is complete without the synth-rock rythms of Carpenter's (with associate Alan Howarth) driving "Porkchop Express", or the power-chords in "The Great Arcade". Carpenter dips his American cheese deep into the dimsum, mixing his rock idiom with plenty of Asian flair.

Also included on the disc as bonuses: Alan Howarth's Backstabbed and a single cue -- the deleted "Atlanta Bank Robbery" -- from Carpenter's Escape From New York.

Originally issued on CD by Demon Records in 1987, this re-issue from Super Tracks was released as a promotional disc (surely to skirt proper licensing fees) in 1999, with about 1:30 additional minutes of Big Trouble score.

"Son of a bitch must pay!" But not you!

See comments for newly-ripped/fixed Big Trouble tracks!

Swordfish - Christopher Young

Continuing with Chris Young titles... Here's Swordfish, a spiritual brother to Virtuosity, only this time the contemporary elements were handled by an expert -- D.J. Paul Oakenfold. The results are significantly slicker, albeit no less dated as the "techno" sound Oakenfold was spinning at the time is now more suited to rallying fans at sporting events then it is dancing.

Thankfully the idea of "remixing" a film score died a quick death. Unfortunately we'll never get to hear the crackling contributions of Young minus the merciless loops from Oakenfold.

The action/adventure/thriller genre is really where Young excels. His often over-the-top theatrical style works best when the onscreen antics are completely ludicrous ("Music for Violence and Orchestra", "Wrapped In C4", "Black Ops"). Think of Swordfish as the James Bond score that Christopher Young has never written.

Certainly a step up from Virtuosity, and at this price, how can you complain?

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Call of Duty - Michael Giacchino

Michael Giacchino at this point is now a fully fledged film composer, but he got his start in videogames. Honing his craft with the first entries in the Medal of Honor series, writing fully symphonic orchestral scores for the WW games, it's no surprise then that Activision and Infinity Ward lured Giacchino to kick off their similiarly themed Call of Duty. The musical results are in the Medal of Honor vein, though with an agitated streak (witness the unison agressive string and pounding drums that open the disc in "Call of Duty"). A firestorm of brass follows, before the brass and strings compete with Giacchino's soaring main theme. It's this cacophony of the patriot tropes and sinister undercurrents that so effectively evoke rambling forces in battle. Call of Duty is a rollicking ride.

Call of Duty was released as an "official soundtrack sampler" via the EB Games (aka Electronics Boutique) chain in the U.S. Recorded in Los Angeles with union musicians, releasing the music commercially at the time was probably too pricey a proposition for the developer.

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