Monday, November 15, 2010

A Better Kind Of Star Trek Soundtrack: "Volume 2" Is Menacing Incidental Music!

The Good: Excellent instrumentals, Mood evoked
The Bad: Often out of context, Occasionally simplistic
The Basics: Good, somber tracks foster a surprisingly cohesive album considering it's a soundtrack album. Mood evoking.

If you're into instrumental music, Star Trek was a fairly good show to watch for it. The soundtracks to the episodes, at times, were quite noticeable. Feel free to go to my review of Volume 1 of this collection to see what I think went wrong to the soundtrack to "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before."

Fortunately, the soundtrack to "The Doomsday Machine" and "Amok Time" does not fall into the same traps. For one, most of the individual tracks are longer. This is a benefit in that it makes the album - which is being evaluated independent of the film it is connected to! - seem less choppy, less clumsy, and, in short, less like a soundtrack album and more like a separate body of work.

Second, the music here is saying something. The album is good mood music. The deep bass and dark tones, heavy drums and somber stomps of the music on the first half of the album evokes images dreary and destructive. The latter half goes from sensual strings inspiring a mood of contemplation to the tambourines and woodwinds forcing confrontation.

The album has a sense of cohesion that is very strong. It sounds like a story being told and it works on that level. As well, it utilizes musical instruments that are atypical in most forums, including soundtracks; instruments like tambourines, bassoons and some I wasn't able to identify (the liner notes for the album were no help on this front).

Occasionally some of the songs are too short to be anything other than filler on a television show, but the majority of the tracks are well-sustained and meaningful in and of themselves.

In conclusion, even if you've never seen these episodes of Star Trek, if you are feeling grumpy and want to stay that way (or go pick a fight), this is an ideal album to foster those moods. If you enjoy listening to instrumental music, this is also a good investment. If you're looking to make up or make out, this is not ideal. :)

My personal favorite track is "Kirk Does It Again." Weakest link is "One's Enough" which feels like a snippet and, surprise!, it is.

For other music without lyrics or soundtracks, please check out my reviews of:
Chopin's Greatest Hits
The Last Of The Mohicans Soundtrack
Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack


For other music reviews, please visit my index page to see an organized listing of all I have reviewed!

© 2010, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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