Wednesday, January 20, 2010

THX 1138 - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - (1971)

That (then) unknown director George Lucas managed to secure legendary composer Lalo Schifrin for the cerebral, brooding soundtrack to his bleak (pre-Star Wars) science fiction tale THX 1138 is a testament to his legendary industry tenacity. Far removed from his collaborations with John Williams, THX bristles with dissonant choral sections, bursts of Latin-tinged percussion, and a whole lot of mid-'70s echo-laden flute solos. A great deal of the soundtrack's tone resembles Stanley Kubrick's chilly, classically cultivated score for 2001: A Space Odyssey — Schifrin uses Bach's St. Matthew Passion over the end credits — and while it's occasionally ironic and lighthearted (the spaghetti Western-themed "Source #4/Third Escape/Morgue Sequence/The Temple/Disruption/LUH's Death"), the bulk of it is just plain disjointed and disturbing — "Torture Sequence/Prison Talk Sequence," with its cacophony of thumb pianos, bells, and hand drums, wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Wicker Man soundtrack. THX 1138 is a challenging and difficult listen, but fans will be pleased with Film Score Monthly's attention to detail and lovingly penned liner notes, and soundtrack buffs will finally fill a crucial hole in their sci-fi collections. (

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