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Music Review: Various Artists – Science Fiction’s Finest: Volume 1

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What do you think of when you think of Science Fiction music?

For the most part, it may not be what you get on Science Fiction’s Finest: Volume 1. With some exceptions, such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show Theme,” this is mostly very new age, low-key music that is considerably less dramatic than the soundtrack I had in my head.

Science Fiction's Finest: Volume One

This is not to say that the CD is not often great fun and often brings on fits of nostalgia—the various Star Trek series themes, the theme from Buckaroo Bonzai, “The Twilight Zone Season 2 End Title,” “Thunderbirds – Main Title March”—or fond familiarity (“Dr Who – Season 5 Main Title,” “Torchwood – Main Theme,” and “Eureka On My Mind”).

On the other hand, there are many tunes here that you will not recognize unless you are a real science fiction theme fanatic. I never heard of “The Devil Girl From Mars,” for instance, and I would not have expected her theme to be so extremely mellow. “Starlost” is another one I did not recognize. That theme sounds more as though it would belong to a late ’60s or early ’70s spy show on television, like The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

A few songs, such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Red Dwarf,” and “Enterprise (Where My Heart Will Take Me)” have vocal lyrics, and some have different arrangers and composers. But most of the pieces are all instrumental and are arranged and performed by Dominic Hauser.

With 36 tracks on the CD, certainly there is a lot of variety, but many of these songs are quite forgettable. Did you, for instance, remember the end theme from Communion, even though it was written by Eric Clapton? I didn’t.

Nevertheless, the CD is quite pleasant and would make an interesting party background choice, as some songs would be bound to catch the attention of guests—”Hey, I know that! Isn’t that…?”—and be conversation starters. Others will simply be nice, unobtrusive music to talk over. I would also recommend this selection as music for work listening or driving. It is probably not the sort of recording you want to listen to all in one setting, unless you have a very strong liking for instrumental soundtracks as a rule.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.