Next up are a pair of soundtrack reviews:

- Clinton Shorter’s District 9 (Sony), which can be pre-ordered via iTunes and as a MP3 album

- Trevor Jones’ Runaway Train (La-La Land Records), beautifully mastered in an expanded CD

Both scores are worth snapping up, but I’m compelled to focus here on Runaway Train simply because it’s part of some vintage eighties synth scores that deserve premieres, reissues, or expansions.

A lot of material from the eighties hasn’t aged too well, and that’s partially due to film producers who hired composers to write and perform scores using synthesizers and sequencers – one person, and easy budget expense.

As with any gear, there are limitations, and a score’s success lay in the composer’s ability to meet a film’s demands, and frankly, be innovative (a highpoint being something like Michael Convertino’s soothing/aggressive 1987 score for The Hidden). That’s why much of Jones’ mid- eighties to mid-nineties output is so interesting – his sound was distinct (he was the king of dour bass drones and pulsing beats of doom) and his scores served their films extremely well.

When I originally picked up Runaway Train on LP (that olde Enigma platter), I wasn’t impressed, because I was expecting the sound of Bad Influence (1990) or Sea of Love (1989) or Angel Heart (1987), not an electro-rock fusion. Flash to 2009, and it’s surprising how the score hasn’t aged so badly, and one can appreciate the decisive creative choices the composer made in ensuring his electronica blended with the pivotal classical piece that closed the film.

Check out the review for further details, and hopefully La-La Land’s relationship with Jones might yield the release of further Jones scores, many of which consisted of one or two measly tracks on already short music-from-and-inspired-by song album, or as part of a music, sound effects and dialogue montage mess.

I want the complete Angel Heart, dammit. Twenty-two years, and still no golden egg.



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