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 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 6:38 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I just listened a film score CD released by one of the boutique labels.

This particular CD included the original LP version, with maybe 8 or 10 minutes' worth of extras.

As ususal, we get a well-produced 35-minute album, by someone who was not afraid to make musical and editorial decisions, followed by the extras, tacked on at the end. This results in an unsatisfying listening experience, requiring the listener to either integrate the bonus tracks in a meaningful fashion, or omit them entirely.

Record producers at one time were not afraid to make musical and editorial decisions - cutting tracks, combining short cues, re-ordering cues, creating a musical narrative that worked on its own terms.

Boutique labels now seem to just dump everything onto a CD, with far too much space between tracks, supplying what is in effect a reference disc for a would-be record producer.

On the one hand, listeners can produce their own albums, but listeners should not be tasked with finishing someone else's album.

What is the issue?

Are contemporary producers not musically trained?

Are they afraid to take artistic liberties?

Do licensing agreements prevent artful sequencing of tracks?

Why were album producers in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s able to do things that contemporary producers are either unable or unwilling to do?

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 8:21 PM   
 By:   David Ferstat   (Member)

For a start, there's an sweeping, and incorrect, implied statement in your question.

Some releases are, in fact, presented as "real albums". For example, the 2-disc release of "Dances with Wolves" features the complete score in chronological order, with a selection of alternate takes after.

Sometimes, of course, this doesn't happen. Where it doesn't happen, there are a variety of possible reasons. I recall Lukas Kendal observing that he'd prepared a chronological album for the expanded "Thunderball", only to get legal advice that the original album sequence had to be preserved.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 8:39 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

It's a very Thor-type question. big grin

I don't have a problem with things such as combined tracks, shuffled sequencing and so forth--as long as it was the original composer/performer that made those editorial decisions.

But when a new presentation of a score is compiled, particularly when the original artists have only minimal input (or none at all), I would prefer the music be presented as recorded and sequenced as in the film.
I have no issue with extraneous material put at the end of the program.

The best scenario is when the boutique labels give both to us in multi-disc sets--the original presentation and then the C&C version (not necessarily in that order).
That way the fans have nothing to complain about.

If the boutique labels only give us one or the other, then sure as shiite some fans will feel slighted in some way.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 8:59 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The Thors of the world notwithstanding, the boutique labels are responding to the expressed desires of their fan base over the years for "complete and chronological" presentations. That is best for some scores, not so good for others, which may have short cues, jarring source cues mixed in, etc.

So, to remedy some of these deficiencies, Intrada for one, started creating "albums" (still C&C though) and relegating source cues, short cues, stingers, alternate takes etc. to a section following the album. But you can't please everyone. Sometimes the C&C "album" part would be a better listening experience if it were re-ordered, for example, by breaking up too many similar-sounding tracks in a row. But that would disturb the C&C crowd. Others would have included a few of the "additional" tracks into the main "album" program. But which ones to add in? Others would drop out a lot of the "album" tracks to pare it down to a crisp 30-45 minute listening experience. But which tracks to drop out?

Tastes will differ. That's why we are usually given a "create your own album" disc.

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 9:06 PM   
 By:   Saul Pincus   (Member)

That way the fans have nothing to complain about.

And yet, as sure as the sun rises, they still do! wink

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 9:07 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Tastes will differ. That's why we are usually given a "create your own album" disc.

It should not be the listener's job to finish someone else's album. IMO.

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 9:40 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)


Why were album producers in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s able to do things that contemporary producers are either unable or unwilling to do?



They had two 20-minute sides of an LP to fill.
They had to sequence/chop/segue the music to form two separate programs of music of virtually the same length, regardless of the length of the original cues.
Both sides of an LP presentation had to be satisfying in their own right, or critics would say "Side A is brilliant but Side B is a bore" or suchlike. So music was presented out of film sequence not necessarily for artistic purposes, but to "balance" the two sides with equal amounts on each side of (say) love themes and action music or loud music versus soft music, or whatever.
Many albums that chopped up the music to specifically fit two LP sides would never have been put together that way if the producer in those days had an hour of CD continuous play, with no side changes, to work with.

Unless the composers themselves were producing, perhaps people overestimate the musical or even technical abilities of some of the producers of such soundtrack albums back then. They would be working on some of the lowest-selling projects in the record company. Stuff that might even be passed along to a junior in the department. They might have little understanding of the composer's works. These could be producers who had no empathy with the project because they had played no part in planning, recording, producing any of it... except for chopping it up to fit those LPs. No wonder so many tapes got lost.
The best producers were working on marvelous rock and jazz LPs and stuff that sold and made big money. They were involved in the creation of the music from A-Z, not just making it fit on two LP sides.

That's why it came as such a revelation when a marvelous producer like George Korngold (with Charles Gerhardt) came along and REALLY produced great film music LPs that stood out from the rest. A label had actually taken film scores seriously by providing some top-notch, specialist production operators.
I am sure our esteemed soundtrack producers of today are infinitely more knowledgeable and artistically aware and dedicated to film music than the majority of LP production-line producers were back then. The format of our current soundtrack presentations is the way I like it.

 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 10:34 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Tastes will differ. That's why we are usually given a "create your own album" disc.

It should not be the listener's job to finish someone else's album. IMO.


Editorial and artistic decisions are made. The album is finished. What you're really asking is why don't producers create "best of albums". Because that's not the business they're in. Though I think Intada did an extra "OST" style presentation recently. And when the specially labels do make creative decisions from time to time like cross-fades and such its often met with much disdain. Like Oct said album pretensions are best left to the composer and these are usually released first as OST's.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 6:19 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Most of those classic album programmes were made, as noted above, due to either budget and/or LP time restrictions.
Yes, we got some classic play sets as a result, but 9 times out of 10, I've seen the film and heard the full score the composer wrote. And there was usually music I heard in the film that I liked/wanted, that didn't show up on the OST album.
I have no problem, with todays available techniques, listening to the full score a few times, and then fashioning my own album presentation for future replays.
It's a win/win for me.

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 6:33 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Actually, the way many albums are currently released is a dream come true and should satisfy just about everyone.

If there was a prior soundtrack LP, very often it is included, which is nice if it contained specifically created cuts for the LP that one cannot easily replicate at home. Then often you get the entire film score as intended by the composer. And then sometimes even outtakes or alternates. Usually for more or less the same price what just regular soundtrack albums used to cost back in the day.
It's hard to please everybody, but I think the Boutique labels are as close to it as anyone.
You get to please those who want the original album cut, you get to please those who want the complete film score, you get to please those who would like to tinker with the scores and produce their own listening experience with all the material, so I cannot really imagine a better way to release soundtrack albums as they are released nowadays. Should just about please everyone.

Personally, the last think I would want a producer do is to think of himself as an "artist". If a composer reassembles his film score for a CD release, like Christopher Young for KILLING SEASON, great, well done. But too many soundtrack albums of yore were ruined or severely impaired by the need to reduce a score to LP length and to cater to the sensibilities of the pop market rather than allow film scores to play as classical compositions. Older soundtracks often (not always) had no actual musical flow, or put the most easy to listen to themes and tunes on an LP first, then maybe one or two more challenging cues and much of the best and most interesting compositions were not on the album. (Heck, even on an album for PLANET OF THE APES they left off "The Hunt" for cryin' out loud!)

The way boutique albums have released soundtracks is pretty much the best way I can think of how they should be released, and probably the reason why they are still bought at a day and age where hardly anyone still buys CDs.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 7:16 AM   
 By:   fmfan1   (Member)

I support multi-disc collections of every soundtrack release:

Disc 1: originally released album sequence based on ideal listening experience.
Disc 2: same as above, but now including some great tracks mysteriously left off of original.
Artistically sequenced by new producer
Disc 3 and 4: same as above, but this time using the OST performances and not the less urgent re-recordings.
Disc 5: complete but aristically sequenced
Disc 6: complete and chronological, but allowing for cross fades
Disc 7: complete, chronological, no cross fades even if cue is 8 seconds long
Disc 8-10: same as 5-7 but with all marching band cues and the like removed
Disc 11-16: same as 5-10, but matching the director's cut. (e.g. Close Encounters)
Disc 17: alternates, orchestra warm-ups, conductor screaming
Disc 18: separately sold for $399, as it contains pop songs the label initially couldn't afford to license

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 7:28 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

I support multi-disc collections of every soundtrack release:

Disc 1: originally released album sequence based on ideal listening experience.
Disc 2: same as above, but now including some great tracks mysteriously left off of original.
Artistically sequenced by new producer
Disc 3 and 4: same as above, but this time using the OST performances and not the less urgent re-recordings.
Disc 5: complete but aristically sequenced
Disc 6: complete and chronological, but allowing for cross fades
Disc 7: complete, chronological, no cross fades even if cue is 8 seconds long
Disc 8-10: same as 5-7 but with all marching band cues and the like removed
Disc 11-16: same as 5-10, but matching the director's cut. (e.g. Close Encounters)
Disc 17: alternates, orchestra warm-ups, conductor screaming
Disc 18: separately sold for $399, as it contains pop songs the label initially couldn't afford to license


Perfection. big grin

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 7:29 AM   
 By:   danbeck   (Member)

Actually, the way many albums are currently released is a dream come true and should satisfy just about everyone.

If there was a prior soundtrack LP, very often it is included, which is nice if it contained specifically created cuts for the LP that one cannot easily replicate at home. Then often you get the entire film score as intended by the composer. And then sometimes even outtakes or alternates. Usually for more or less the same price what just regular soundtrack albums used to cost back in the day.
It's hard to please everybody, but I think the Boutique labels are as close to it as anyone.
You get to please those who want the original album cut, you get to please those who want the complete film score, you get to please those who would like to tinker with the scores and produce their own listening experience with all the material, so I cannot really imagine a better way to release soundtrack albums as they are released nowadays. Should just about please everyone.

Personally, the last think I would want a producer do is to think of himself as an "artist". If a composer reassembles his film score for a CD release, like Christopher Young for KILLING SEASON, great, well done. But too many soundtrack albums of yore were ruined or severely impaired by the need to reduce a score to LP length and to cater to the sensibilities of the pop market rather than allow film scores to play as classical compositions. Older soundtracks often (not always) had no actual musical flow, or put the most easy to listen to themes and tunes on an LP first, then maybe one or two more challenging cues and much of the best and most interesting compositions were not on the album. (Heck, even on an album for PLANET OF THE APES they left off "The Hunt" for cryin' out loud!)

The way boutique albums have released soundtracks is pretty much the best way I can think of how they should be released, and probably the reason why they are still bought at a day and age where hardly anyone still buys CDs.


I think the same way.
When I started purchasing soundtracks in the 80s I was oftenly dissapointed by the albums usually missing some of the tracks I was most wanting (some big dissapointments with LPs to Moonraker, Poltergeist II, Temple of Doom, Psycho III and Return of the Jedi) or having programs that only vaguely resembled what was in fact in the movie (The Spy Who Loved Me, Lethal Weapon II, Die Hard With A Vengeance).

C&C on some scores can somethimes be too much, specially since the 2000's when movies returned to be scored almost wall-to-wall but with a less thematic approach, but it is still much better than what we used to get in the days of the LP when there was no alternative to listen to some of the music you liked when watching the movie - and scores from the 70s-80s (that are my favorite era as it was the time I discovered soundtracks and was watching a lot of movies) usually are not overlong and hold well C&C.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 7:29 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Chronological order, for me, is overrated as a separate listening experience, so, for you album producers out there, anytime you want to dispense with that, go for it. The freedom will inspire.

Speaking of Basil's comments regarding the two 20-minute presentations, Goldsmith once said that he liked to put the best track at the end of side A, presumably to get listeners to play the second side.

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 8:06 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

This particular CD included the original LP version, with maybe 8 or 10 minutes' worth of extras.

As ususal, we get a well-produced 35-minute album, by someone who was not afraid to make musical and editorial decisions, followed by the extras, tacked on at the end. This results in an unsatisfying listening experience, requiring the listener to either integrate the bonus tracks in a meaningful fashion, or omit them entirely.

Record producers at one time were not afraid to make musical and editorial decisions - cutting tracks, combining short cues, re-ordering cues, creating a musical narrative that worked on its own terms.

Boutique labels now seem to just dump everything onto a CD, with far too much space between tracks, supplying what is in effect a reference disc for a would-be record producer.


Maybe I'm taking the original post too literally, but it doesn't even make sense. It's both a complaint and praise about the LP arrangement on CD, in both cases by people "unafraid" to make editorial decisions. I don't get it.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

The Thors of the world notwithstanding, the boutique labels are responding to the expressed desires of their fan base over the years for "complete and chronological" presentations.

That is the gist of it. The boutique labels are answering to market demand, because ultimately they need to move product. It also helps, of course, that the people who run these labels often happen to share this particular preference (thankfully, there are exceptions -- like Caldera Records).

There was a time these C&C releases were the exlusive domain of specialty labels, whereas the 'normal' soundtracks -- i.e. those that were more widely available -- were arranged for listening. However, in the last decade or so, even commercial titles are starting to appear more or less C&C, simply because new technologies allow it. There is in theory no upper limit for digital releases, for example. This, of course, is a big shame, IMO, as you're losing the artform of album creation in the process. It's becoming extinct, or at the very least an endangered species. I aim to write a long article about this soon (for my website, not here -- so don't worry!).

I've never considered C&C releases "proper" soundtrack albums. They're something else -- archeological artifacts or an archive, perhaps. Which is very important in terms of preserving our cultural heritage, but - alas - that is not the reason for why I listen to soundtracks. They hold no value to me in terms of listening experience; they're unfulfilled raw material.

But it's comforting to me that we see eye to eye on this subject, Onya. We're a dying breed; a minority group. Which means we need to stick to our guns even more! smile

 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 8:26 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Distractors overlook the fact many C&C releases are the perfect listening experience.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 8:42 AM   
 By:   jkannry   (Member)

To me, what this debate about is one group that wants to capture the experience of the movie by C&C ‘ing the complete movie. You can then play the movie in your head by just listening to the music. I can sympathize with that. The other group wants to create a music experience that can be separate from the movie and be enjoyed as music. I got the merits of it and at times Like this as well. There is no right answer. I’m just glad the boutique labels release albums.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 9:09 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Yes, it's the best of both worlds for me.
One day, I will feel like playing the Capricorn One LP presentation from when the score was first released.
Then, on another, I will play the full film score presentation of it.
Same with Dracula, The Fury, Damien Omen II, The Wind & The Lion...
We live in privileged times.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 24, 2020 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)


IMO, as you're losing the artform of album creation in the process.


Getting film music to work on disc is undeniably an artform. On the other hand, unlike "absolute music" film music is not written to be a standalone experience, so an expanded the program -- if sequenced well -- is no-less valid a presentation, just a different interpretation.

Is the Intrada CD of Clash of the Titans inferior to the LP sequence? I'd say each flows well as a listening experience. The CD gets a higher rating from me -- both for its additional (and highly listenable) content, as well as for excising the narration which marred the end title on the original album.

Many scores were poorly represented on album the first time out, and badly needed expansion -- Return of the Jedi, Temple of Doom, Goldsmith's Legend (and, more obviously, Ghostbusters) come to mind.

That said, I do agree that indiscriminately troweling the whole thing onto a disc (and sequencing the original version of a cue back-to-back with several "alternate versions") does not make for good listening.


They hold no value to me in terms of listening experience; they're unfulfilled raw material.


They are definitely "raw material" but in these days of mp3s and customizable iTunes playlists, it is easy to fashion one's own sequence from the raw material.

To me it's like one of those sushi places with the conveyor belt. Eat what you want, leave what you don't!

 
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