for Cinetalk.net

The Gods of film soundtracks challenged those guys of the glorious Intrada Label into finding the Grail. So the Fake-Feigelson-Redman knighthood trio dig out, from a dusty corner of Fox studios vault, Jerry Goldsmith’s rumbling score to 1977’s cheesy Sci-fi flick, Damnation Alley. They just released it in a proper and complete form for the first time. You can hide away your bootlegs, now.

There were a few problems along the way. Things like bad storing conditions for the tapes. And, yes, the original electronic overdubs are lost (Goldsmith recorded them separately in his studio). But the very essence of Intrada is about solving problems. The Knighthood turned to their own Merlin guy, he runs by the street name Mike Matessino, to perform his magic of restoring mixing and mastering using the original elements with carefully (and we mean careful!) added vintage synthesizer recreation by Leigh Phillips.

Because of his well known abilities with a full orchestra, I’ve noticed, at times, that many people with an interest for OST’S do not fully acknowledge how good Mr. Goldsmith was with the electronic tools. One of the best. And this is one of the reasons to exult about this amazing release. For the overdubs of good old ARPs and Moog synths, sounds to be re-created, Phillips did his homework. It sounds crystal clear, but with that vintage feel, just like it should. It’s a winner.

From the opening trumpet fanfare, orchestra meets synth effects in some swarming, thrilling action music. It’s a precursor of things like the composer’s own, The Swarm (1978), First Blood (1982) or Capricorn One (the way he gave a voice, like birds of prey, to the helicopters). Highlights include the track ‘Don’t Bug me’ (scoring for the infamous giant roaches sequence) an effective piece in which Goldsmith takes the lead of the narrative and, as it was often the case during his long career, tries to save bits of a doomed project by distracting the spectator from the cheap effects. A great release, a chilling listening experience.

As if it wasn’t enough, the Damnation Alley CD comes with a nice booklet, full of captivating texts and anecdotes explaining the whole process, by Julie Kirgo.

Jerry rules!

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