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Sunday, June 17, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Satan Bug

The Satan Bug
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Film Score Monthly Vol.10 No.6 (US)
28 Tracks 61:21 mins

Goldsmith fans can now throw away that old tape dub of The Satan Bug, as we finally have this 1965 sci-fi thriller score on CD, albeit with sound effects on a number of the cues, but at least there's no dialogue.
In fact, better still, about 40% of the score has been recovered, effects free and in stereo, from a private individual, who didn't even know what he had, after the studio had dumped the masters long ago. Incidentally, the cues with effects are in mono, but blend well enough.
For those of you not familiar with the score, don't come here looking for melody. It's one of the composer's most intense and suspenseful scores, in which he also shows a glimmer of what is to come, particularly in the 1980s, by utilising early electronic instruments prominently in the score, joining forces with more conventional instruments, to achieve some pretty otherwordly sounds.
The "Main Title" gets the score off to a fascinating start. The music is described in the cue-by-cue guide as "slithering" and I can't think of a better description, with xylophone taking the lead. The Satan Bug theme itself is quite exotic and is introduced later in the track, cropping up throughout the score, mainly voiced by piccolo. The other main motif is for the villains of the piece and is a motion suspense piece, voiced by the solovox.
Much of the music is pretty tense and suspenseful, with just occasional bursts of action, some quite cacophanous, some exciting. Unfortunately, these cues are most often accompanied by the effects but, save for gunshots and helicopter blades, they are not too intrusive and, concentrating on the score, I found I hardly noticed them.
The disc is, as always, accompanied by a splendid illustrated booklet, with plenty of colour stills from the film, plus Jeff Bond's detailed notes.
For further info and sound samples, go to


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