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Friday, July 18, 2008


The Outer Limits
Music by Dominic Frontiere
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1070 (US)
Disc 1 - 25 Tracks 55:26 mins Disc 2 - 24 Tracks 63:40 mins Disc 3 - 21 Tracks 62:31 mins

With all the fuss that's made over the Twlight Zone series (1959-64), it is sometimes forgotten that there was another classic sci-fi series on air during the early '60s. The Outer Limits was the creation of Leslie Stevens, playwright and screenwriter. Unlike the more wide-ranging TZ, the show was purely science fiction oriented but, like its older cousin, became famous for its opening mix of music and narration.
The music created for TZ has received much praise over the years and was composed by a number of composers, some better known than others, including Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith; but The classic first season of The Outer Limits only had one composer however, Dominic Frontiere (Harry Lubin was brought in for the second season after Stevens and co. had a falling out with the ABC management), and his music is of an equally high standard, easily meeting the challenges of the many very different scenarios presented by the show, whilst having to be brought in on a TV showbudget, largely utilising the standard orchestra of around 30, but also integrating music and sound effects to create the highly distinctive, often otherwordly, soundscape that featured overall.
Suites from ten of the best remembered episodes are presented here in this fabulous 3-disc compilation from La-La Land Records, together with various versions of the main and end credits, which include Vic Perrin's classic narration.
There are far too many tracks for me to go into individual detail, but the music, whilst having that overall atmosphere, mentioned above, also contains its share of standout highlights, including a versatile love theme, heartbreakingly beautiful at times, which dominates the opening suite from "The Architects of Fear;" the dreamy harp runs and atmospheres of "Controlled Experiment;" the use of a home-made oscillator, along with harp again, to provide the required out-of-space feel and alien menace to "Nightmare;" the imaginitive manipulation of romantic elements in "Don't Open Till Doomsday" to provide an overall suspenseful feel; the gentle woodwind melody that permeates all the dominant menace of "The Man Who Was Never Born;" the wonderful Oriental colours of "The Hundred Days of the Dragon;" the re-working of otherwordly material , featuring the aforementioned oscillator, from "Nightmare," into exciting, almost martial progressions and action; the use of elements from the show's main theme, along with violent crescendos in "The Human Factor," for which the composer used a larger orchestra of 44, together with its soaring love theme; the whirling, relentless string theme, representing bees set to conquer the Earth in "ZZZZZ;" and the building power and menace of "The Borderland."
Frontiere asked one of his former teachers, Robert Van Eps, who also provided some source music to episodes, to score the "Tourist Attraction "episode," and the man, largely known for his work as an orchestrator, gave a suitably South American feel to the story of the discovery of a prehistoric seas creature off an island in that region, as well as providing some exciting action writing.
I really can't praise this limited edition release enough. Not only does it feature great music, but the accompanying 16-page booklet features extensive notes by Randall D. Larson, including a guide to each episode presented and its music, together with rare behind-the-scenes photos.
I can't imagine there will be many better screen music releases this year.
Visit to order your copy and to keep up to date with all the label's fine releases.


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