Thursday, November 25, 2010
The Andromeda Strain Soundtrack [1971-2010]
Based on author Michael Crichton's novel, the 1971 Universal film The Andromeda Strain tells a documentary-style tale of a military probe that returns to Earth bearing an instantly lethal microscopic virus. After nearly wiping out a small New Mexico town, the code-named “Andromeda Strain” is brought to an underground desert research facility where a team of scientists try to destroy the ever-mutating organism. Directed by Robert Wise, the film offered a gripping tone of near-clinical realism reinforced by his “non-star” casting of such theater veterans as Arthur Hill and Kate Reid, the graphic “deaths” of Andromeda’s animal victims, and the
enormous, cylindrical sets for “Project Wildfire.”
While The Andromeda Strain also broke new technical ground with the computer assisted effects by 2001’s Douglas Trumbull, perhaps the film’s most dazzling achievement would be Gil Mellé’s electronic score, the first of its kind truly composed to picture. Pushing boundaries was always in the bloodstream of Mellé. The Andromeda Strain was made even more challenging by Robert Wise’s desire to have electronics deliver the emotional impact of a traditional score without ever sounding like one. Mellé rose to the challenge by creating such new electronic instruments as the Percussotron, the world’s first percussion synthesizer. He also recorded a wealth of organic sounds, from pins being knocked down at a bowling alley to buzz saws in a lumber mill. Such seemingly normal instruments as pianos, string basses and percussion were electronically mutated into new musical forms as Mellé performed live in his temporary studio at Universal.The result of Mellé’s unique synthesis of sound effects and music was a Golden Globe-nominated score, one that not only captured the haunting, suspenseful sterility of Wise’s vision, but also the throbbing, sinister evolution of something truly alien amidst the “sci-fi” scoring that had come before it.
Intrada's premiere release of Gil Mellé's score features the original LP program, remastered from the original LP master tapes in pristine condition and is limited to 1500 units.
1. Wildfire (2:45)
2. Hex (4:00)
3. Andromeda (2:24)
4. Desert Trip (4:14)
5. The Piedmont Elegy (2:23)
6. Op (2:45)
7. Xenogenesis (2:40)
8. Strobe Crystal Green (4:58)
Total duration: 26 minutes