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 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 3:10 AM   
 By:   Simon Morris   (Member)

I haven't seen the '88/'89 episodes for at least a couple of years but even so, I pretty much knew what I'd be getting.

The La La Land M:I boxset of scores from the 60's and 70's episodes is one of my favourite sets of recent years, not least because of the heavy jazz feel to the music, which gave even the most static suspense cue quite a considerable lift.

Listening to the first CD (Schifrin), I was taken by surprise at how 'orchestral' they were, with occasional synth embellishment. My memory was of scores that were far more electronic in nature and clearly that really applies only to later scores rather than the initial ones.

Unfortunately, the cues do tend to be very heavily suspense orientated and Lalo has toned down the jazz quite considerably, at least to my ear. There does tend to be a 'sameyness' in the cues with far less of interest in terms of the hooks that Lalo could come up with at the drop of a hat in years gone by. Maybe he wanted a different sound and not just repeat what he'd one before, or perhaps that's what the producers started out wanting.

Oddly, the cues which have a bit of a 'beat' - usually with the addition of electronic sweeteners - are my favourites. One piece reminds me of one of the titles on his Gypsies album and just stands out a bit from the rest of the music. I found on the whole that there was far less memorable music here on the whole.

Though predominantly electronic, I must say I rather enjoyed the Ron Jones scoring, though inevitably I suppose it was written and recorded probably very quickly and references the original theme and 'Plot' music. There just seemed to be more energy to the scoring and corny though it may be, it was a lot more toe-tapping in nature.

I think this was a sort of transitional time for these sort of scores as the jazz of the sixties and seventies was disappearing (along with a lot of the live musicians playing the music). The closest TV scores in the action TV genre that I can think of going through the same sort of change was the short-lived Simon Dutton series of The Saint. (I recommend the Music Box set of music from this series).

Serge Franklin used a lot more electronics and keyboard orientated stuff but still had a decent sized orchestra too and so the scores used a certain amount of 'eighties drum machine rhythms but also a proper kit drummer too and plenty of brass, so you had a kind of 80's pop/rock sensibility allied to some jazzy and brassy orchestral playing that harks back to the sort of scores that we were hearing in the 60's and 70's. This resulted in some very catchy and varied music, especially in the action sequences. Franklin's music was far better than the series it was written for and is surprisingly listenable away from the visual images.

This tends to be missing in the scores from the M:I series revival. Still, I'm glad the M:I '88 scores have got a release; it was an immediate purchase and not one I regret.

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