STARMAN

JACK NITZSCHE

Rating:

Original Review: Starman is a rather unusual score: not because it employs particularly innovative techniques, although it is mostly synthesised, apart from the percussion. It's not that it is completely dissonant either, because there are two good themes in there. It's just odd. The two main themes I mentioned appear and reappear throughout the score: the first is a three-note motif which is constantly repeated in higher, then lower, then higher, then lower key; the second is a 'proper' theme, with an attractive synth melody. The rest of it, however, when these themes are not in evidence, is not particularly nice. The opening cue, 'Jenny Shot' introduces the synth melody, but then goes on to 'Here Come the Helicopters' which consists of a grinding, groaning chord overlaid with dissonant thumping. The effect is obviously to unsettle the listener, as it does in the film, but the only effect here was to make my grandmother to come bursting in to the living room saying "What on earth is that horrible noise!?" In fact, the whole album alternates between whining dissonance and bursts of melodic themes: 'Honeymoon' is a short, but attractive, synth piano melody, while 'Road Block' features a sustained chord with harsh, pounding sound effects and short snips of the main theme; 'Do You Have Somebody' features one of the secondary themes overlaid with haphazard chords, while 'Pickup Truck' introduces a new, playful theme. This to-ing and fro-ing continues right until the last track, 'Starman Leaves/End Title', a lovely 7-minute finale in which the main themes are played in their entirety, with the emotional levels heightened by the use of some strategically placed percussion. The music worked wonderfully well in the film, with its other-worldly sound creating the perfect feeling, especially at the end, and it even got the composer Jack Nitzsche a Golden Globe nomination for Best Score in 1984, but to listen to the whole thing all the way through is a bit of a chore. Oh, by the way: Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen actually sing 'All I Have To Do Is Dream' quite well and it comes as a welcome diversion half way through.

Track Listing: Running Time: 32 minutes 05 seconds

TER (1982/1990)

Music composed, conducted and performed by Jack Nitzsche. Recorded and mixed by Joe Gastwirt. Album produced by Tom Null and Chris Kuchler.



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These web pages were designed and maintained by Jonathan Broxton copyright 1997. All opinions and views expressed on these pages are my own and are in no way intended to reflect those of my employer, the Trent Institute for Health Services Research, or those of the University of Sheffield.