STARGATE: ATLANTIS (2004)
Music composed and produced by Joel Goldsmith.
16 Tracks (Playing Time = 42:20)
Orchestra conducted by Nicolas Dodd. Orchestrated by Nicolas Dodd. Music edited by Rick Chadock. Engineered by Tim Boyle.
Varese Sarabande 302 066 700 2
Joel Goldsmith has slowly been building a steady stream of fine scores for television and an occasional film. He has been providing some great scoring for the SCI-FI Channel’s STARGATE for some time and last year provided music for this new adventure to Atlantis. The main title music was nominated for an Emmy this year, losing out to the popular DEPERATE HOUSEWIVES theme composed by Danny Elfman.
One can see why the music is being recognized. At times sounding like an extension of STAR TREK film writing, the music never lets on that it is being composed for a small screen. This is television scoring writ large. “Rogue Drone” is a wonderful action cue that could have come from the pen of another Goldsmith but would be equally at home in the composer’s early score for MOON 44 or KULL THE CONQUEROR. Whether there are great action cues or cues of a more patriotic exhuberance in tracks like “Weir Speaks,” one is constantly reminded that this Goldsmith is a fine composer deserving of even greater projects. The music works well on its own and those who miss the father may find it is time to pay more attention to the son. Even the more dissonant “Wraith Abductions” will notice the blend and extension of musical styles inherited for this genre. The wraith music is genuinely creepy stuff and towards the end of “Wraith Lair” builds to an exciting conclusion blending a little Bartok and Stravinsky along the way. Goldsmith blends both his dissonant sounds with brief snippets of his themes and action writing for one of the more satisfying cues of the disc.
Joel Goldsmith’s style maintains some of the rich harmonic language one hears in other science fiction film writing like his father’s, but the little extra orchestral touches are reminiscent of those used by his father. Rhythmical complexity gives way to orchestral crescendos and unique blends of ambient sounds and electronics used quite differently than in other Sci-Fi Channel programming. In “Atlantis Wakes,” thematic ideas pulsate around a gorgeous electronic choral sound. The track is very reminiscent of Jerry’s final STAR TREK scores and that is intended as a compliment. The voice is still very much in keeping with Joel’s style. Compared to many other television scores for Sci-Fi Channel productions this one practically wipes them off the map with engaging thematic writing, exciting action cues, and moments of repose that allow for an excellent ebb and flow throughout the disc’s running time. The electronic synthetic orchestral sounds are used masterfully so that the acoustic instruments are blended better than any similar score that this reviewer has heard to date from the many Sci-Fi Channel score releases. This disc is definitely worth your time. And if there ever is another STAR TREK outing, let’s hope there is a Goldsmith attached to it!
--Steven A. Kennedy, 9 January 2006
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