Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've just today recieved my copy of the Two-Dic Collector's Edition Batman: The Animated Series score and having only yet listened to snipets thus far, I've got to say... if you have yet to purchase this set, do so, right now. I don't care about the economy, or the holidays, or how strapped for cash you are. This is worth it. I've got more or less all of the score tracks from this series that are available to have, in any manner. Trade, bought, shared, what have you. All of it combined does not live up to how truly fantastic in quality and selection the material on this set is. I'm blown away, especially considering how often I'm disappointed in such things.

I'll be writing a more detailed opinion, and (somehow) offering this material to you, though it's going to be problematic what with the volume of material when it comes to uploading... for now... go to LaLaLandRecords.com and buy it. You'll thank me later.

Also, I'm aware this has fairly well become the "Batman Music" blog of late, but... it's just been a phenomenal year for the dark knight, what can I say? Starting in the new year I'll try to focus back on Sci-Fi. Likely to begin with the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles score by prolific composer, Bear McCreary.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Out of Exile: Dark Knight Score Re-Qualified for Oscar Consideration!

Last month, the Academy (as in, 'I'd like to thank the Academy'?) ruled that the score for The Dark Knight was disqualified from Oscar consideration, because composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard had listed five other individuals who helped them create the unique sounds for the score on the cue sheets. In other words, Zimmer and Howard did the stand-up nice thing of giving credit where credit was due, but not required to be given. For their good deed, the Academy screwed them over and disqualified the score for an Oscar because of some old rules on the books. They had done this before with 2005's Batman Begins and it seemed history was doomed to repeat itself.

Thankfully, it seems that WB has it's Oscar battle brigade out in full force to support their tent-pole and the years highest grossing film. New information submitted by all effected parties - Zimmer, Howard, and the other five folks who helped them make the unique sounds they used - has convinced the Academy board in charge of such things to reverse it's decision. Thus, TDK's score is back in contention for an Oscar. The nominations are still 6 weeks away, and the actual awards ceramony 6 weeks after that, but this is one more step forward in the TDK Oscar crusade. For all of us score fans, it's a big feather in our cap.

Also, in case you've been under a rock for a while and missed it, the 2-disc limited edition expanded score for TDK has been released. Head over to Amazon or anywhere else you might buy such from and snatch it up while you can. It's -- as you know -- exceedingly rare that a studio pays the fees required to put out an extended edition of a motion picture score. If not for TDK's box office revenue, it's likely this would not have occurred. It's one of the few commercial available expanded scores though, and it's financial success could convince studios of the viability of such releases. So buy, buy, buy!

This is the time to put our money where our ears are, folks. We beg, plead, and cry for commercial expanded scores, and 99.9% of the time no one listens. So now that WB has, we have to put up or shut up. Amazon has it going for $47. Yeah, I know, a pretty penny for a score. If we buy it up though, we may open the flood gates and get more such releases in the future. So skimp, save, pinch pennies, and buy!

Same for the article below, for Batman: The Animated Series 2-disc score. Put your money where your mouth is!

UPDATE: I received my copy of the Limited Edition 2-Disc Expanded Score today (well, I didn't get the mail until tonight) and this is the first chance I've had to listen. The presentation of the set is exemplary. The outer box and the interior CD-holding inlays are of a material I can only describe as "leather-like" in feel. The CDs are presented within a 40-page color hard-bound book full of photographs from The Dark Knight. Sadly, no new information of interviews, comments, et cetera. Still, I'm quite pleased. I only wish my computer sound system was better (on an older system these days) so I could enjoy the music fully! Damn technology...

As to why you don't have a link to listen yourself... honestly, I don't know when or if I'll upload it. I know it's hyper-hypocritical of me, but I want people to actually put their money out and buy this one. Why? Because it just might make an iota of a difference in whether or not we get future expanded score releases. So... I'll mull it over. I'm sure everyone has other sites they can locate it from. For me, for now, I just want to encourage everyone to actually pony up the dough for this occasion. It doesn't happen often enough.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Batman: The Animated Series - Limited Edition 2-Disc Set

Hurry up and get over to LaLaLand Records where they have just released for order a 2-disc limited edition score of Batman: The Animated Series. I've known of this release for some time, back when it was just a rumor, and waited here at my computer an hour before it's exact release time - 3 PM EST/12 PM PST - so that I could place my order as soon as possible. By 3:46 PM EST, sources from LaLaLand say the autographed (by composers Lolita Ritmanos and Michael McCuistion) had already sold out. Hopefully, my 3:21 PM EST order will be signed.

The important thing, though, is the music itself. This is the first time, ever, in the 16 years since the series premiered that any of the musical score has been made commercially available. The 2-disc set is limited to only 3,000 copies, and it's expected to sell out within 12-24 hours, if previous rare releases by LaLaLand are any indications. So get your lazy asses over there, now, and order while you still can!

You may also want to grab a copy of prolific composer Bear McCreary's score from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as I did. Bear's work is astounding, and I guarantee we'll be hearing his name during the Oscar ceremonies at some future point. His ground-breaking work on Battlestar Galactica has helped to re-define music scores across the industry, from the subtle to the overt.

I'll have a few review with details, track listing, and images, of both scores at some point post-December 16 (date of shipping for delivery). So stay tuned!

UPDATE: Amazingly, LaLaLand still has copies available for purchase. I'm also told by a source -- webmaster of the linked-to The Scores of Batman: The Animated Series -- that a second volume of B:TAS material is also ready to go, and that a third is in the works. So to get them, Volume 1 needs to sell, folks! Make it happen! I know so many people who have salivated over B:TAS scores for years... here is the chance! Take advantage!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Superman's Doomsday...

If you've been spending too much time in your Fortress of Solitude, you may not have heard that Warner Bros. recently announced it's plans for the future of the Superman franchise. Indeed, it's ambitions for the multitude of DC Comics properties in various stages of development by them. If you really want all of the details, you'll have to google them, but the highlights include the fact that the planned sequel to 2006's iffy Superman Returns is officially dead. Instead, WB and DC are concentrating on a complete 'reintroduction' of the character, in the same way that Marvel recently re-vamped the Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton this summer only a few years after the iffy Ang Lee/Eric Bana film from a few years ago. Likewise, the first effect of the box office mega-hit The Dark Knight (which just passed the $500 million mark this weekend, and has broken more box office records than any other film in history) is that WB and DC are going to try to adapt the "dark, real tone" of TDK to it's other properties.

What in the hell does that mean for Superman, an alien who can fly and shoot heat lasers from his eyes, and is indestructible unless you have a glowing green hunk or radioactive rock that's actually a chunk of his smashed home world? Who the hell knows. I just like the sound of it. What Christopher Nolan has done for comic book films is akin to what Frank Miller did for the character of Batman in the 1980's with his re-invention of the character in 'The Dark Knight Returns' - the ground-breaking graphic novel that 'gave Batman his balls back' after years stuck in Adam West and 50's comic book camp mode. Realism and darkness (likely of the villains) will now be a focus rather than wild fantasy without any explanation. Another important item is that the on-again, off-again Justice League live-action film has been likewise killed. Though it is planned to eventually do such a film, just how, when, and in what form is now in question.

So in lieu of the 'death' of one branch of the Superman franchise, and it's pending return in another form, I thought it might be appropriate to share the score from the fantastic recent animated feature Superman: Doomsday. The story for the direct-to-DVD film is, of course, Superman's apparent death at the hands of the creature known as Doomsday. What happens beyond that I'll not say, as, even though it's obvious Superman could never truly be perma-killed, it's more fun to watch the film than to hear me spell out the plot. It's out now, so go buy it, and give a listen to it's great original score.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why So Spurious?

Ever since the digital release of the commercial score to the box office mega-hit 'The Dark Knight' two weeks prior to it's release, I've been waiting and wondering when an extended edition would find it's way to light. To be honest, I've only been into the blogosphere so briefly, I've never been witness to how long it usually takes. That said, the other night while on a now exclusive and closed to the public blog of soundtrack afficiandos, there it was: the extended edition. Or at least, that's what it might seem like to the less obsessive-compulsive. You see, for weeks now, I have been listening to the entire commercial release of 'The Dark Knight' on a near continous basis. Multiple times a day as I sit here, typing away, every day, for the better part of 5 or 6 weeks now. So it took me little more than 45 seconds of listening to the so-called 'exteded edition' to realize what it was; or rather what it wasn't.

I can't say why anyone would make a bogus extended edition. It seems to me a lot of work for nothing. Then again, if someone where making a profit from such a thing on the street, now then it might be worth the effort. You take the commercial release of 'The Dark Knight' and you mix it with the score from the films predecessor through a program such as NGWave, and there you go. Slap on a bogus label into a jewel case and set up shop somewhere, and you might make a few hundred dollars if you're really lucky and can avoid the authorities. The unsuspecting fool who purchased such spurious item from you goes home, pops it into his or her stereo, and hears what he or she believes is an authentic extended edition score.

Of 23 tracks, I found one of value. Just one. The end titles track, which was likely acquired through other means. If a theater where quiet enough at the end of the film, the right equipment could record such as the end titles played on screen. So I'm making that sole worthwhile track available now for all of you to download and add to your commercial edition. In the mean time, I'd advise everyone to avoid spreading around the false extended edition. It's faux cover image features Batman riding the Batpod. It's 23 tracks in length, roughly 100 minutes in duration. I found it split into two CDs. It's not the real thing, folks. Trust me, and pass on the warning.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Batman Begins, Extended Score...

In honor of this weeks pending release of The Dark Knight, the sequel to the critically-acclaimed 2005 Batman Begins, I've decided to share with everyone the expanded score from that original film. Unlike the commercial release, it's tracks are titled appropriate to scenes, and it - of course - contains all of the additional musical material left out on the CD. Why, oh why, do studios punish us by only releasing portions - often less than half - of the beautiful musical scores that acompany our favorite films and shows? I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be a composer for the industry, and see your work chopped up into bits that fit well for a 45 minute commercial offering.

That said, enjoy this much more complete compilation...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Dark Knight...

I have just obtained a copy of the original score to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight which opens in theatres July 18th. I have been waiting for this film all of my life, in one way or another. The early reviews of the film itself have compared it with "The Godfather, Part II" and other such highly regarded films. The Oscar buzz surrounding the late great Heath Ledger is massive, and began well prior to his untimely demise earlier this year. The film, from everything I have heard, read, seen, experienced, and been privy to, is surely to be an epic unlike anything we have seen before. I believe it will redefine the "comicbook" film from what it has been, to what it will be in it's wake. Serious drama, serious actors, and serious story-telling will take the place of the more "comic" aspects of things. I am dyeing of anticipation to see it at 12:01 AM on Friday the 18th of this month. All of this said, to be able to hear the musical counterpart to the film now, two weeks prior, is a privilege. A privilege I am pleased to share with all of you.

A friend of mine wrote his detailed review of the scores tracks, and I can not improve upon such, so I will simply share it with you as a commentary to accompany it. It has been included in the ZIP file archive as an RTF (text) file. I urge you to read it.

UPDATE: OK folks, third times a charm! The first copy I uploaded was lower-than-I-like quality, and corrupted the final track at 6 minutes. The second copy had better quality, but the final track was corrupt once more, this time at 12 minutes. Well hot off of a torrent, I've acquired a full and functional copy for you all. So... again... enjoy.

  • Why So Serious? (9:14)
  • I'm Not a Hero (6:35)
  • Harvey Two-Face (6:17)
  • Aggresive Expansion (4:36)
  • Always a Catch (1:40)
  • Blood on My Hands (2:17)
  • A Little Push (2:43)
  • Like a Dog Chasing Cars (5:03)
  • I Am The Batman (2:00)
  • And I Thought My Jokes Where Bad (2:29)
  • Agent of Chaos (6:55)
  • Introduce a Little Anarchy (3:43)
  • Watch the World Burn (3:48)
  • A Dark Knight (16:15)


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Something Small...

Composer Mike Verta, after a visit to ILM (Industrial Light & Magic - the SFX house) where he saw Star Trek XI being worked on, was inspired by the premise of the film, it's youthful and re-energized characters, to create his own take on the classic 1960's series original theme song. He has made it available for download for all, as it was done purely in fun and is in no way linked to Star Trek XI or any other venture. I think it's utterly fantastic. I'm sure you will too.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Something Small to Share...

Just something small I thought I would share with everyone. Since the second season Battlestar Galactica episode "Valley of Darkness" first aired a few years ago, I've been intrigued by a piece of music Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace played when she and Karl 'Helo' Agathon stopped by her apartment on the desolate and abandoned Caprica. The music was a solo piano piece, played apparently by Starbuck's father, and wasn't included on the season 2 soundtrack much to my disappointment. Normally, my research skills are second to none; I recently found out a plethora of personal information about an online friend of mine on a dare, much to his surprise (and mild horror at what you could do with only a name and single other personal detail). Yet I never knew until now that this piece of music was not originated by nBSG's prolific genius composer, Bear McCreary. In fact, it was a piece by an artist named Philip Glass, and was available if only I'd known of such. Now that I've found it, though, I feel compelled to share it. It's an unofficial addendum to the official soundtrack fo Battlestar Galactica season 2. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Have Obtained My Holy Grail...

Batman: The Animated Series. Since I was a school boy when it debuted in 1992, I have loved this show. Though the reasons changed as I grew older, it has remained one of my favorite programs of all time. It has stood the test of time and come to be considered by the majority of Batman fans as perhaps the best incarnation of the dark knight ever created; beyond even the comics from which he originated. It shook the foundations of animation and changed the way people view "kids cartoons" forever. Part of how it did so was through it's beautiful original score, composed in large part by the late great talent of Shirley Walker.

For years, obtaining any unadulterated excerpt of the score has been a near impossibility. What little has been released was done for publicity purposes, and has become primarily lost through the years. Even with the abundance of peer-to-peer programs, and the massive expanse that is the internet... some things simply remain out of reach. Or at least... they used to. Tonight... this morning, actually... I am beyond pleased to present to everyone, what has been my holy grail of entertainment scores. The largest portion of scores from Batman: The Animated Series that I have ever seen, heard, or obtained.

  • Gotham Trouble (1:50)
  • Joker Theme (0:54)
  • Bad Joke (0:17)
  • Night Search (1:31)
  • Over the City (0:51)
  • Mad Love (0:35)
  • Big Trouble (3:50)
  • Sad Romance (1:15)
  • New Power (1:42)
  • The Plan (1:40)
  • Observation (1:59)
  • Rescue (3:13)
  • Trapped (2:28)
  • Fight (2:43)
  • Hero Again? (2:44)
  • Sadness (0:32)
  • Gotham Night (0:17)
  • Ready for Action (2:09)
  • Bad Guys (0:15)
  • Robbery (0:48)
  • Needing Help (2:49)
  • Police (0:20)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Lead on Batman Animated Score!

I'm so very excited that I just had to post about this! I've got an honest-to-god lead on the score from Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)! No joke, no DVD-rips! Pure Shirley Walker gold from a very limited release of various parts of the shows score; an actual CD they did back in the day that was (of course) never sold in stores, but rather given to various media outlets. I've obtained track one of thirty so far, and by god... this might just be the ultimate auditory orgasm giver. Especially for a fan of BTAS and Shirley's fantastic score from the show. Once I obtain the entire thing, I will be posting it here pronto-post-haste for everyone, as I know how truly awesome and rare such a thing is and I simply must ensure as many people obtain a copy of it as possible so that it stops being a rarity of the likes of the holy grail. I'll also make sure larger outlets like La Leyenda have it as well. Screw 'exclusive' to my blog... I want this out there in the world so that everyone can enjoy it!

Everyone cross your fingers, dot your I's and cross your T's, and pray to whatever deity you believe in that I get my hands on this!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Return of the Procrastinator...

If I have one flaw (in truth, I have many) it is that I procrastinate. I put stuff off. I do tomorrow what I should have done last year. It's often mistaken for being lazy, some people try to pass it off as being 'too busy' but the cold hard truth is... it's a lack of motivation. I would simply rather do something else, I'm afraid. Still, I enjoy this, I truly do. It's just, I enjoy other things more. It's like sex and food. Who here, honestly, doesn't enjoy sex more than food? You certainly enjoy both, I'm sure. But if you're going to do one over the other... well, it's obvious what most people would choose. Same situation here. Only, no sex or food. But you get my point...

Now, normally, I'd 'return' and share something big and rare with you. Some fantastic, out-of-this-world, super-rare score. I'm afraid that isn't going to happen today. I haven't obtained much new, and what I do have can mostly be found elsewhere. So I thought instead of re-posting things others have done, I would post something small that few have. In this particular case, that would be a small collection of - I believe 5 - variations on the Terminator 2: Judgment Day theme.

I'm sure those of us who are Terminator fans have all seen Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is a new action-drama on FOX (worst. network. ever.) You may also have heard that Terminator 4 (better known as it's official title: Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins) is soon to start pre-production, with casting currently under way (Batman Begins' Christian Bale is confirmed as John Connor; James Brolin is rumored to be favored for the new Terminator). So with such revitalizations going on throughout the franchise, I thought it a good time to share these rare variations. One or two are techno, two I know are brilliant re-writes.