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Monday, January 12, 2009


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Music by Bear McCreary
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1081 (US)
24 Tracks 64:04 mins

This spin-off from the popular Terminator films has developed into one of the best sci-fi shows on air these days. Composer of the show's music, Bear McCreary, can usually be depended upon to provide offbeat and unusual music for his projects and he followed up Brad Fiedel's Terminator scores in particular with a sound that, whilst quite different in its own way (though it does briefly nod towards Fiedel's theme at the conclusion of the "Opening Title"), fits right in to that world. Of course the electronics are still there and are much in evidence in the action scenes. McCreary turned to Jonathan Snipes of the band Captain Ahab to assist with these. Another important element is the composer's use of percussion and the disc's booklet notes also reveal that McCreary and percussionist M.B. Gordy spent much time creating a sample library of the sounds of many metallic objects being struck, from the more conventional anvil to the less so garbage cans. When these elements are welded together they make for some powerful and exciting action music, perfect for accompanying the bad terminator Cromartie,which has its own distinctive and terrifying theme, as it seeks to assassinate the teenage John Connor. Examples can be found in the likes of "Cromartie in the Hospital;" "Andy Goode's Turk;" "Highway Battle;" and the wild "Motorcycle Robot Chase," for which Captain Ahab get a performance credit.
For the tortured Sarah Connor, McCreary utilises a quartet of string players, which can be warm and hopeful at times, but there is always a current of danger and readiness to move on underlying. Examples of this approach can be found in "Sarah Connor's Theme," where percussive elements eventually overwhelm the strings; "The Hand of God;" "There's a Storm Coming:" "Perfect Creatures;" and the uptempo, percussive arrangement over the "End Credits."
"Central America" introduces ethnic flutes and guitars to the mix; "John and Riley" offers a touch of bittersweet romance; there's martial defiance in "Prisoners of War" and the more urgent "Derek's Mission;" poignancy in "Miles Dyson's Grave;" a nod to good old-fashioned cartoon-style music for "Atomic Al's Merry Melody;" flute-lead nostalgia in "The Reese Boys;" genuine hope in "I Love You;" and a threatening coldness for "Catherine Weaver."
McCreary's arrangement of Shirley Manson's cover of Reverend Gary Davis' "Samson and Delilah" opens the album (Manson herself plays a mysterious type of terminator in the show), and another needless inclusion is from BrEndan's Band.
The aforementioned accompanying booklet is filled with colour stills from the show and character portraits, together with notes from Executive Producer Josh Friedman, John Connor himself, Thomas Dekker, Shirley Manson, and of course Composer Bear McCreary, as well as full music credits. Go to


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