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Excellent early electronica...and some other stuff
on 25 October 2002
This is a fairly commercial representation of the soundtrack to the film, featuring a selection of well known classical (e.g. Pomp & Circumstance) and easy-listening (Gene Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain”) music interspersed with pieces by the pioneering electronic music artist Walter (Wendy) Carlos.
It is the music by Carlos that is the most challenging on the ear, and all the more interesting for it. Most has stood the test of time, and still manages to convey the atmosphere of futuristic bleakness that the film portrayed so very well. Other tracks, in particular those with early examples of voice synthesis, now seem horribly dated however, and serve to amuse rather than amaze, although their significance in the development of synthesised music is no less great. In fact it is easy to trace the influence of Carlos’ music on later work by Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre and the instrumentals of David Bowie’s Low/Heroes period, especially in the opening track and in “Timesteps”, an original composition by Carlos.
Unfortunately, in order to fit in the classical tracks, much of the Carlos music appears here as abridged versions, and as such you can often be left wanting more (the high-tempo e-version of the William Tell Overture is only a shade over 1 minute long!).
There is an alternative soundtrack album available that ditches the classical/easy listening tracks and focuses purely on the Carlos music. Full versions of many of the tracks on the above soundtrack are present (including “Timesteps”), as well as other tracks that did not make it onto the above album. If I were to make the purchase over again, it is this album that would get my money.