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|CD Review: Alias Season 2|
|Posted By: David Coscina on April 24, 2005 - 9:00 PM|
CD Review: Alias Season 2
Alias: Season 2 ****
Varèse Sarabande 302 066 622 2
23 tracks- 61:48
Varèse's recent release of Michael Giacchino's music for the
second season of Alias is a
real treat. As with the first season, the disc opens with creator J.J.
Abrams' title theme. Then it's off into Giacchino's heart-racing music.
If anything, the music for Season 2 leans more toward filmic symphonic
underscore than its predecessor. This is in keeping with the dramatic
events that take place in the show. As an avid watcher of the series, I
found Season 2 to be the most intriguing mostly due to the addition of
Lena Olin's stoic portrayal of Sydney's thought-to-be dead KGB mother
who turns herself into the custody of the C.I.A. in the season premier.
With family dysfunction woven into the fabric of the elaborate plot
lines, Giacchino's underscore moved from supporting action packed
situations to evoking the high emotions. In essence, it became a
character unto itself.
One has but to listen to "Mother of a Mother," with its somber cello
solo over Middle Eastern female vocals to understand the anguish and
mixed feelings of Sydney's character toward her estranged parent.
Giacchino wisely plays the drama in the show like an opera, assigning
motives and themes, even instruments, to characters that will resurface
throughout the genesis of the season's overall storyline. For example,
on "Emily's Eulogy," another somber piece that accompanies Sydney's
recollections on the passing of a Sloane's wife Emily, the cello is
re-introduced in a solo passage amidst the elegy. Even though Sydney is
speaking about Emily, the music reveals her to be reflecting on her own
mother. This kind of attention to overall plot and character
development is part of the reason why Giacchino's talents were
exploited for Brad Bird's Incredibles.
The tenor of this album, while still containing plenty of staples of
the "Alias sound" including
tight beats, agitato strings and pulsating synths, leans more toward
the dramatic side. Tracks like "Post A-Mortem" marry the gravity of
dramatic events with a hyper beat. Season 2 also offers a little more
insight into Giacchino's abilities in modernist scoring tendencies.
"Sloane's Revelation" features amazing textures including quarter tone
choral utterances, string portamentos and glissandi, all leading up to
a massive brass crescendo.
One doesn't necessarily have to watch the show to enjoy listening to
this disc. The musicality and dynamism found in Giacchino's music,
along with the thematic cohesion and continuity tells its own story.
Varèse's disc includes liner notes from the composer and a very
healthy running time. I've heard complaints about the Russian choral
music not being included, but perhaps re-use fees governed its omission
or else the fact that other more integral cues were required to lend
cohesion to the soundtrack. I believe the latter was true as the disc
plays out quite well -- in fact, better than Season 1.
Regardless, it's a treat to hear this kind of high quality orchestral
writing in a television series and even more enjoyable to listen to
this great writing on its own. This is required listening for any Alias or Giacchino fan, and anyone
who likes good old fashioned dynamic music. --