3 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: Jerry Goldsmith (?)
Always interesting, but maybe not always compelling.
I am often missing context for a lot of soundtracks. In this world of digital releases and vinyl re-releases, it’s very common – at least for me – to wind up with a score in my collection, for various reasons, to which I have no attachment. I think this is actually pretty cool, as I get to hear it with truly fresh ears, and not question if nostalgia or some other factor (beyond my tastes…) is majorly affecting the listen. That makes nostalgia sound like a bad thing, but I admit it doesn’t have to be: memories of some 80s or 90s experience can end up guiding me to appreciate something that those “fresh ears” might otherwise have bypassed. But, in general, I like being able to hear things on their own terms.
Something I can’t logic my way around, though, are those parenthetically mentioned ‘tastes.’ I never quite fell into a “classic” music period that I often saw friends go through; I have no Beatles or Led Zeppelin in my collection. The same applies to scores: I’ve never quite been able to get into the heavy hitters like Jerry Goldsmith. Here and there, I can appreciate what he (and others) have done, and certainly respect the craft, it just doesn’t appeal. I’d swing back around to the nostalgia factor a bit there, because I have no memory of being assaulted with these swelling scores in a theater. When I was a kid, actively going to and remembering movies, I’d say we were in the last decade of movie “events” – the 90s – and a lot of these vinyl rereleased scores are from the decades prior to that. So I might’ve missed something legit that would make scores like Logan’s Run land.
Logan’s Run is a movie I really only know through cultural osmosis and images. It’s dystopic premise and themes of youth and individualism are familiar enough, and film posters and clips I’ve seen have given me a sense of its aesthetic. So I get where Goldsmith was going with his starting point for the score, rooting it in a lot of electronics (sci-fi!) and interestingly – for the composer – outre moments of atmospherics, interspersed with some really wonderfully moody string-led compositions. Those latter tracks – mostly heard on this 2 LP set’s B-side, are phenomenal: driving, with an undercurrent of menace and an offbeat tone that sets the score’s vibe on to a unique plane. The electronics that burble throughout, when blended with the strings, are a really fascinating component, but when made the focus of the music – such as the A-side – it’s intriguing, but not really something that makes me want to spin it up again. (This is where hearing this as a score, separate from experiencing the movie, might affect my take.) The C-side goes a little weird for my tastes, ditching the focus on strings for brighter and bolder orchestration – more along the lines of what I’d “expect” from Jerry. It’s rich stuff, but seems to contrast with the more unique themes and moods with which the score starts, and rather breaks the immersiveness that the B-side starts to work on. We get some more strong additions on the D-side, although it also trails off into some more minimalist work that’s neither experimental enough or thematic enough to make much impact.
Waxwork’s pressing of this sounds good to my ears – both the electronics and organic stuff coming across well – and while we’re lacking liner notes (which unfortunately always makes me question the quality of the work – like, no one wanted to weigh in on it?), Martin Ansin’s artwork is super cool, and really modernizes the rather dated look of the movie.
While there are great moments here and there across Logan’s Run, it’s more a collection of interesting concepts and ideas than a cohesive score.