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 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   jwb1   (Member)



May the 4th be with you! In celebration of Star Wars Day, Varèse Sarabande Records is thrilled to announce the upcoming special release of the Original Video Game Soundtrack for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire by GRAMMY®-nominated composer Joel McNeely. The soundtrack will be released for the first time on LP and reissued on CD on August 7, 2020, exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records and is now available for pre-order.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was developed and published by LucasArts for Nintendo 64 on December 3, 1996, and sold one million copies in its first year. A version for Microsoft Windows followed in 1997, and sold out reissues have kept the game alive amongst the Star Wars fan base since its release over 20 years ago.
As part of the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project, a full soundtrack was composed by Joel McNeely and recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Samples of the soundtrack were used in both versions of the game, with the Windows version containing many of the full tracks. The album art features the main Star Wars characters and was created by legendary illustrator Drew Struzan (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future).

UPC: 888072173637
Release Date: 8/7/20


No info if there is a new mastering, but for new owners, this is a must.

 
 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:19 AM   
 By:   Nathan Erickson   (Member)



May the 4th be with you! In celebration of Star Wars Day, Varèse Sarabande Records is thrilled to announce the upcoming special release of the Original Video Game Soundtrack for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire by GRAMMY®-nominated composer Joel McNeely. The soundtrack will be released for the first time on LP and reissued on CD on August 7, 2020, exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records and is now available for pre-order.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was developed and published by LucasArts for Nintendo 64 on December 3, 1996, and sold one million copies in its first year. A version for Microsoft Windows followed in 1997, and sold out reissues have kept the game alive amongst the Star Wars fan base since its release over 20 years ago.
As part of the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project, a full soundtrack was composed by Joel McNeely and recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Samples of the soundtrack were used in both versions of the game, with the Windows version containing many of the full tracks. The album art features the main Star Wars characters and was created by legendary illustrator Drew Struzan (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future).

UPC: 888072173637
Release Date: 8/7/20


No info if there is a new mastering, but for new owners, this is a must.


Yes!! I was just listening to this the other day and added it to my eBay list to buy someday. Now I don't have to. Thanks for sharing!

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:19 AM   
 By:   mstrox   (Member)

That's a really excellent album. Outside of the opening titles and the few brief quotes of themes (Han Solo and the Princess here, Imperial March there), it doesn't really scream Star Wars, but every track is really lovely!

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:26 AM   
 By:   thx99   (Member)

May the 4th be with you! In celebration of Star Wars Day, Varèse Sarabande Records is thrilled to announce the upcoming special release of the Original Video Game Soundtrack for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire by GRAMMY®-nominated composer Joel McNeely.

It was based on a novel, and not written for a video game as I recall.

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:32 AM   
 By:   JGouse0498   (Member)

You're correct. It was indeed written for the novel, which was the nexus of the whole multimedia project.

 
 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:49 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Loved this ever since I got it in the 90s. I wouldn't be opposed to McNeely doing a STAR WARS film, but that's, like, zero chance.

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   mstrox   (Member)

It was used heavily in the video game - Into the Sewers, Xizor's Theme, the swoop chase - maybe more! Of course a lot of classic Williams score was tracked in as well.

 
 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 10:51 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Hey Thor,
Unless Disney give a film or trilogy to Seth MacFarlane, and let's be honest, they're giving them to anybody these days.

wink

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

You're correct. It was indeed written for the novel, which was the nexus of the whole multimedia project.

SOTE literally existed as a multimedia blitz so Lucasfilm could test the waters for licensing for the prequels.

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

Yeah, I'd buy this if there were a way to time machine it back and record the score from the same room as the orchestra. Lots of pastiche on display here, but it's a lot of fun. Not recommended for car listening, as you can't hear SHIT.

 
 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 12:26 PM   
 By:   Spymaster   (Member)

Sensational score. But...

NO REMASTERING according to Varese. The original has AWFUL sound :-(

And yes, it was written for the novel, not the videogame - unlike what Varese is saying in their blurb.

Perhaps they should read Robert Townson's old notes ;-)

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 1:52 PM   
 By:   johnonymous86   (Member)

Yes the original sound is--very distant. I remember riding that volume control when I used to listen to this CD on the regular. Haven't gave it a spin in years though--I remember it being very good music. The tracks are long like a Horner score but the orchestrations are right out of Williams' playbook. McNeely did a fine job on this album but the performance feels a little...sluggish? Otherwise, it's definitely a cool artifact for the SW fans.



Sidebar: It always bugged me that the N64 game, which was one of the first games on the system iirc, had the original orchestral recordings but later SW games on N64 had awful cheesy sounding synth scores like something off a 16-bit system.

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 2:26 PM   
 By:   JGouse0498   (Member)

SOTE literally existed as a multimedia blitz so Lucasfilm could test the waters for licensing for the prequels.

Regardless of the intentions, it was an exciting time to be a SW fan in the mid-90s. The Special Editions were coming soon, and the Expanded Universe was...well...expanding. It was no masterpiece, but the novel was a fun read. SOTE was a solid "Episode 5.5"

 
 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 2:27 PM   
 By:   henry   (Member)

Sensational score. But...

NO REMASTERING according to Varese. The original has AWFUL sound :-(

And yes, it was written for the novel, not the videogame - unlike what Varese is saying in their blurb.

Perhaps they should read Robert Townson's old notes ;-)


I really enjoy the score, but agree about the sound quality. BTW Spymaster, have you gotten the cds you've been waiting for yet?

 
 Posted:   May 4, 2020 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   Manakin Skywalker   (Member)

Very surprised to see this today! Just last year I finally decided I'd get the physical set from Varese, only to find out it had recently sold out. Now I can finally get it, and the LP is a nice added bonus!

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2020 - 10:33 AM   
 By:   SpaceMind   (Member)

This released today on CD and Vinyl. I totally would purchase it again but it appears no remastering was done.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2020 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

Sensational score. But...

NO REMASTERING according to Varese. The original has AWFUL sound :-(

And yes, it was written for the novel, not the videogame - unlike what Varese is saying in their blurb.

Perhaps they should read Robert Townson's old notes ;-)


And precisely what is your source for this information?

Is it something that’s posted in public?

did you get an email from Varese directly?

or is this something you magically heard in your head?

The reason I’m being snarky is I believe album was remastered because if you look at the credits Chas Ferry is listed as a mastering engineer and he wasn’t working at Varese when they did this album back in the 90s.

You did look at the credits before posting this right?

Ford A. Thaxton

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2020 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

I've had the cd since it (and the novel) first came out and it has the same "concert" ambience that a lot of music recorded with the RSNO has. It's no worse. The music was recorded straight to two-track digital I recall.

The project came together with extreme speed (McNeely barely had time to write the music) so I tend to focus on the positives. He really caught the spirit of the Williams scores but wrote longer freeform pieces. I really like the album.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2020 - 11:43 AM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

I've had the cd since it (and the novel) first came out and it has the same "concert" ambience that a lot of music recorded with the RSNO has. It's no worse. The music was recorded straight to two-track digital I recall.

The project came together with extreme speed (McNeely barely had time to write the music) so I tend to focus on the positives. He really caught the spirit of the Williams scores but wrote longer freeform pieces. I really like the album.


I completely agree for a project that came together so quickly the album itself is really rather good.

In my humble opinion of course

Ford A. Thaxton

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2020 - 11:50 AM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

From an interview with Joel McNeely:
http://www.bsospirit.com/entrevistas/joelmcneely_e.php

BS: After the enormous success of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' series you then ventured into another one of those George Lucas' project; namely Star Wars: The Shadow of the Empire (1996). This was, once again, one of those scores that most significantly helped you gain exposure early in your career. Would you say that there was more freedom for you to compose given that there was no picture dictating the musical approach?

JM: Certainly… I do have to say that I do have very mixed feelings about that work. I think it was a very cool project, a very interesting idea which was promoted by Bob Townson and the people at Lucas Arts and which, furthermore, George felt to be very thrilling. And so they called me and told me what it was all about and, in the end, someone asked me whether I might like to join in and write an hour of music with no picture for a huge orchestra and choir.

I thought: "Yeah, that sounds like fun!" But then my schedule changed, and two movies I was doing at the time fell on top of Shadows of the Empire. Given that circumstance, I called at Varèse and told them that I was sorry but that I couldn't do it. And then the two movies moved just a tiny little bit and this gave me a two-week window to write; so I wrote one of the movies in a hotel room in Scotland while I was recording Shadow of the Empire.

In many ways I feel it's an opportunity that I kind of lost because I didn't give adequate time to write the music. I listen to it now and I'm not particularly fond of it because everything sounds hurried and I can hear the fact that I wrote it in two weeks. It was a great opportunity and fun to do, but I guess I would have liked to have had a month or even several months to do it in a way that I would be pleased three years after. Now, I only hear the faults.

BS: Well, it's funny to hear you say this as this is a score that has received very good reviews, indeed!

JM: Hmm…. I don't read reviews! (laughs)

BS: Did you ever come to think that you might end up working in the prequels to the classic Star Wars saga after this experience?

JM: No, I didn't. That is such a icon! I mean there's very few other people other than George Lucas that are better identified with Star Wars than John Williams. In other words, if you think about the movies you think of George Lucas first and then, immediately the next person that comes up to your mind is John Williams… that would be more than any movie star!

At least that's what I would say. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong or maybe I'm saying this because I'm a composer, but he is such an integral part to those movies that it was presumptuous of me to even do the Shadows of the Empire thing. And I always felt very strange about that. Indeed I only went ahead with it because this whole thing was with George Lucas' full endorsement and approval.

That being said, as to working in any of the movies this was never something that I thought of or even something that I would have wanted to do. How could you do anything other than being something less than what the original movies are? Or, alternatively, I could have taken a completely different approach that would have been more identifiable with me but then, this wouldn't have really been Star Wars!

BS: Interestingly your approach is, so-to-say, half-way between Williams well-known style and your very own sensibilities. As was the case with Williams, you also seemed to draw upon the compositions of Shostakovich and other Russian composers of the late 19th and early- to mid-20th century. At the same time, you did also break away from those influences in order to write a score that is more dissonant, hence turning quite unique in its own way. How come that?

JM: Well, in the pieces that were not specifically by John I think there was an attempt on my part to not have them being just a simple imitation of the music he had done for Star Wars. Why do that if I was never going to do it as well as he does it? So I'd say I was trying to inject some of myself and my personal tastes into the rest of it. As to how successful this was, I can't say.

BS: According to the liner notes of the CD, for the vocal parts of the score you chose to develop a language of your own. Was it your idea? Was this the way to mark a departure from the music that had been written for the original saga?

JM: I didn't develop this language. I went to Ben Burt, the great sound designer and editor who has worked in all the Star Wars movies. He is a friend and he pretty much developed all the languages through Star Wars. So, I called him up and said: "Hey, I need some text". I told him what I was thinking and he sent me some stuff which was again based on all of the languages of Star Wars that he had developed.

I added some of the words I have to say, because they didn't necessarily fit the phrases that I wanted. So, if there's anybody who speaks Jabbar or anything it might not make any sense to them! (laughs).

We had fun doing it, though. A lot of the words are just English words spelled backwards. We were really trying to work with a choral text which is, essentially, nonsense because they are very free, you don't have to worry about syllables. If you want to change a phrase, you simply change a word. (laughs).

 
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