Episode 5

Broken Chair Scores Episode 5 is as short as we wanted it to be. We're basically zeroing in on 1:30h. As always we review our favorite tracks from one film and one game soundtrack. In this episode we talk about the soundtrack to the 1998 LucasArts game "Grim Fandango" written by Peter McConnell as well as the soundtrack to the second season of the TV show "Battlestar Galactica" written by Bear McCreary.

currently awaiting resubmission, please bare with us


Every now and then I like to write stuff down about the music I love. So In this case you can also read the mince I produced on the show concerning Battlestar. It's not word for word but the gist of it should be the same. Thus you can avoid listening to the whiny nasal caw that is my voice. You should still listen to the show since the parts about Grim Fandango are not written down and this stuff is totally worth listening to.

This is not going to be a regular feature though, it just happens whenever I am in the mood. Don't rely on it!

Here you go:

BSG, Season 2

Obviously there is way too much on this disc let alone the whole season 2 to cover it in it’s entirety in one article so I’ll just pick out some select pieces which represent best the overall greatness of Bear McCreary’s music according to my opinion.

Track 1, Colonial Anthem (“Theme from Battlestar GalacticaTM”), From “FINAL CUT” (4:02)

So it all starts nice and easy on the season 2 album as you would expect from a sci-fi score. There’s strings and a brass section going slowly at it like they usually do when there’s stuff happening in space. Already kinda melodic and themey (themy?), not at all your average Zimmer in Batmode or ambient background brooding accompanying some bald guy ordering tea, looking at his 80’s iPad. (I’m totally into TNG, don’t get me wrong here. Even the score. But, you know what I mean.) Then: some build up and we hear the original Battlestar theme. Like from the fifties or whatever. Pulling your leg here, I know it’s from ’78. Googled it. That’s how much I care about you! So this old-school material is nicely incorporated into the modern-ish soundtrack piece. After the first round of the classic theme we get a sackload of the big ass drums (Hellooo Season 4) Mr. Bear is totally into during this period of his life which I shall call How the Bear sacked the Hoff. (Get it? Me neither.) The two flavors do really work brilliantly in combination. After like minute 3:30 the mood calms down and we arrive at some more somber material, including oriental sounding woodwinds played in non-cauca-scales and modes (I guess?) which sound like there’s more exotic stuff to come.

Track 4, A Promise to Return, From “THE FARM” (3:03)

Almost eerily and completely like made out of fog and mist and the late Baltar’s messianic beard do the notes of this track wind themselves into existence. Everything in this track seems to flow into each other seamlessly. Like in Bach’s Air or the Pachelbel Canon thingy (you know it when you hear it) the endlessly repeating circular chord progressions just make total sense and also make me totally happy. The album’s liner notes tell me that this piece was performed by the Supernova String Quartet and man, this really shows. It’s like a supernova in my groinal area. The way those folks convey a sense of longing and sadness (and Sackhoff?) is just beyond me.

Track 8, Pegasus, From “PEGASUS” (2:46)

So this is in the list due to the reason that it just stands out so much when it is used in the show. Here is what happens in the episode when this song is playing (as far as I can remember. Don’t send me hatemail when my description sucks.): Another battlestar shows up. The girl-captain of this “Pegasus” ship is kinda badass and wants to mess with Adama. Shenanigans ensue. This song plays. I know, right? This whole song is like one huge built up and the fact that it uses guitar and bass instead of space synths makes the moment totally special. You would expect some militaristic kind of full orchestra thrashing but instead you get some riffs, some licks, a pretty steady bass drum. Towards the end it get’s more intense with the introduction of synths again. Some final kicks. Drama baby. I guess it’s just the fact that again no one would expect this kind of thing in this situation which makes the song cool for me. The Bear has balls. Like super heavy duty hairy balls. Putting stuff like that in there? Man!

Track 13, Roslin and Adama, From “RESURRECTION SHIP Parts One and Two” (2:49)

I guess I tend to like the calm and melodic stuff in the album more than the exploding Taiko kinda action scoring, so here is another slow tune with a cool theme. Basically the love theme. Maybe the make out theme. I’m not sure about that. It starts slow and grinding like Adama’s teeth blended with Roslin’s more lofty attitude and in the end there is some twist towards more light hearted guitar action (the make out part of the piece). Good stuff.

17 Prelude to war, From “PEGASUS” and “RESURRECTION SHIP Parts One and Two” (8:22)

The fan favourite is, surprise, my favourite as well. Check Youtube for the coolest interpretations of this song including one of mister The Bear himself playing the whole thing on the accordion while looking like a madman/wild animal with artsy hair and a tight beard game. Seriously, this track is so energizing and powerful that they should put a sticker on the CD not to listen to it while driving or operating heavy machinery (like the balls of The Bear). Loads of folks hitting animal skin with sticks obviously but there are also powerful string ostinati in there as well as some striking themes and Middle Eastern-ish sounding flute injections. Most of the fan love is probably due to the sheer grandeur of the track (not unlike the “Prophet’s Ascension” one from last month’s C&C review) and the sweeping speed it maintains through the whole 8+ minutes. The rousing snare drums don’t hurt either to make this an iconic piece of BSG history. (There is even some ticking kind of sound at 4:30 to emphasize the urgency of the matter, take that, Hans!)

As I said, there is so much more on this disk which is great but you’re not here for thorough reviews (see the blogroll on the side for this sort of thing). You’re here for the gist. And the Sackhoff. I guess.

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