Mondo Records edited a 2x LP version of Jerry Goldsmith seminal score to 1968 Sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes.
The first instalment of the Arthur P. Jacobs franchise, based on the source novel by Pierre Boule, was to be helm by J. Lee Thompson who stepped down because of a schedule conflict (It was also, at one point, a Blake Edwards project). Star Charlton Heston suggested Franklin J. Schaffner should direct relying on the work they did together with the under rated The Warlord (1965). Schaffner, who only directed the first film, provided strong and efficient direction in creating an overall ambiance for a strange new world that lifted the picture to critical and box office success spanning several sequels.
To achieve the full experience, a substantial supplement was needed. Enter Jerry Goldsmith. Already a rising voice in film and TV music, earning Academy Awards nods for elegant but more conventional work, the composer took the opportunity to explore undisclosed territories. He delivered an atypical, for its time, Avant-garde sounding score, earning one of the two Oscar nominations for Planet, the other being for the equally memorable make-up design by John Chambers.
An early user of electronic devices (1965 The Satan’s Bug is a fine example) to incorporate into his writing, Goldsmith, while faithful to analog, created an unsettling non melodic dissonant work. He augmented the grunting produced by is use of traditional instruments with an Echoplex (a then State of the Art tape delay effect) by looping drums into it. Its use would become prominent for future scoring duties by Goldsmith as in 1970’s Patton (the echoing trumpets) and Ridley Scott’s Alien. Ram horns introduced the apes during the hunt sequence achieving amazing bone chilling effect. And in order to create unique percussive sound, Goldsmith also used steel mixing bowls (from his kitchen) among other objects.
At the time of original 1960’s LP release, on Project 3 records, only ten cues were available to the listener, even omitting the Hunt sequence music. The Intrada Label did something about that dramatic situation in 1992 by introducing the cue into an 11 tracks CD, with enhanced sound, followed five years later by a full CD release of 17 tracks on the Varese Label, sequenced in the order they appear in the film. This later release also included a suite from Goldsmith’s music to the third episode, Escape from the Planet of the Apes. An LP following basically the same program, but omitting about ten minutes of music due to the vinyl format limited running time, was edited on Japan’s Volcano Records in 1999.
The new Mondo album, produced by Nick Redman, offers double 180G LP’s cut at 45 rpm for optimal sound with great new mastering by James Plotkin. While there is still some limitation inherent to the original recording it simply never sounded better.
Excerpt from 2009: