In a late ’80s episode of Red Dwarf, memory-addled ship’s computer Holly once indicated that a miscalculation at light speed meant “Brown Trousers time” – no further explanation needed. That’s why I’ve designated this Brown Trousers Thursday – because Black Friday is imminent, and yet there are already so many soundtrack releases demanding our attention (and our beskar).
There are a lot of great digital releases hitting us right now. Whereas the first season of The Mandalorian saw a full score release accompanying every episode, this season seems to be following the soundtrack release scheme of the final Clone Wars season, gathering highlights from four episode scores in one digital release at a time. So the new volume of Mando music now available contains Ludwig Goransson’s “best of” from chapters 9 through 12 of the series.
Still in a Star Wars mood? A deluxe expanded edition of John Powell’s score from Solo: A Star Wars Story is now available, and it’s a much more cohesive listening experience than the “edited highlights” release that accompanied that film’s release; it offers much more of a chance to hear Powell put some of John Williams’ classic original trilogy themes into play. (And yes, it includes the major-keys rendition of the Imperial March from the Imperial recruiting film Han sees on a screen on Corellia.)
Also from the Disney stable is Adam Taylor’s music from the first season of the reimagined series version of The Right Stuff, which aired on Disney Plus and National Geographic Channel (now owned by Disney since its acquisition of 20th Century Fox).
But let’s face it, for soundtrack fans of a Certain Age, nothing – nothing – is going to beat the sheer nostalgic power of Hasbro’s digital release of the music from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, part of the “Hasbro Presents ’80s TV Classics” brand that I think we all assumed had gone completely dormant. If you didn’t already know about this release, well…now you know. And you know what they say knowing is.
Silva Screen has, also as a digital download, The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials: Season Two by Lorne Balfe, collecting the musical highlights of that show’s second season.
Intrada draws from both past and present for its latest pair of releases – another streaming TV soundtrack, the Newton Brothers’ music from Netflix’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor, is on offer, as is a newly expanded edition of Edward Shearmur’s score from 1998’s big-screen sequel, Species II, finally presenting the full score (which the oddly-judged songs-and-bits-of-the-score album released in 1998 seemed to go out of its way to avoid doing).
Over at BSX Records and Dragon’s Domain Records, a bunch of new releases are on top: the score from 1978’s Patrick by Brian May (as in the late Australian composer behind the soundtracks of Mad Max, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, and Cloak & Dagger, not the astronomically talented Queen guitarist) and William Ross’ score from T-Rex: Back To The Cretaceous (1998) are the “solo” scores taking up their own releases; each of these will be released in a CD pressing of only 500 copies.
But as always, some of BSX’s most interesting releases are “compilation” releases: legendary composer Gerald Fried (he who scored Spock’s pon farr unease with echoing bass guitar in 1960s Star Trek) is the subject of The Gerald Fried Collection, Volume 1, featuring his original scores from the 1978 TV movie Cruise Into Terror and the 1976 movie Survive!, released primarily in the Mexican market, which inspired a later big-budget remake, Alive, directed by Frank Marshall. Only 500 CD copies will be pressed.
And for fans of golden-age silver-screen sci-fi, Dragon’s Domain has an early Christmas present for you: The Golden Age Of Science Fiction, Volume 1, featuring the original recordings of Martin Skiles’ score from 1958’s Queen Of Outer Space and Leith Stevens’ music from the 1956 classic World Without End, neither of which have been commercially available on CD or any other medium. If you’re wondering which of the releases covered in this column are most likely to include a theremin somewhere in the mix, I think you need look no further. Only 500 copies of this will be made available on CD. As always, the BSX and Dragon’s Domain releases let you download a digital copy the moment you make your purchase, so you can listen even before the CD shows up in the mail.
And just think, all this has dropped before Black Friday. Look at what’s left in your wallet. Is it brown trousers time yet?