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Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Battlestar Galactica: The Plan and Razor
Music by Bear McCreary
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1125 (US)
19 Tracks 68:39 mins

With La-La Land's release of his music for the special event TV movies The Plan and Razor, Bear McCreary's musical journey on the show is now complete.
Razor was a story very much worth telling, relating the events on board the Battlestar Pegasus from its initial survival of the big Cylon attack, up to when it joined up with Galactica. Michelle Forbes (once of the Star Trek universe) was able to reprise her character, the ruthless Admiral Cain, though the story was told through the eyes of a junior officer, played by Stephanie Jacobsen, of another sci-fi show of the time, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but who first came to my attention as a tragic doctor on Aussie soap Home & Away.
By contrast, The Plan appeared as something of an afterthought when we thought the show had reached its final curtain. It told a lot of the early events of the show through the eyes of the Cylons, and some writers likened it, perhaps unfairly, although I could at times see their point, to a compilation of outtakes.
This compilation of Bear's music for the two specials strangely does not present the music as two separate scores, but instead the tracks are interspersed. However, try as he might, the album has few real highlights, which is not his fault, as both productions are rather talky, and his music cannot, for the most part, possibly match up to those for Season 4, or even Season 3, for that matter.
For the purposes of this review I am going to group together the tracks from each individual production, starting with the earlier release of the two, Razor.
The Razor score is largely built around a mournful main theme, representing the Kendra character, through whose eyes we see the events of the story; with "Main Title" beginning very quietly before building into something of a proud, processional. "Arriving at Pegasus" expands further on the main theme, with "Attack on the Scorpion Shipyards" again flirting with the theme, whilst building percussively all the time to a powerful conclusion. "Pegasus Aftermath" is a mournful affair, as one would expect, but underlined by a grim determination sounded by the drums. "Kendra's Memories" becomes quite haunting, before taking a more nostalgic turn. There's increasing tension in "Civilian Standoff on the Scylla," with the main theme returning mournfully at the conclusion. At last we are treated to something with a bit of life, albeit far too briefly, with "Husker in Combat," which includes interesting variations on the original Phillips/Larson Battlestar theme, amidst the usual drum-driven action writing. The Razor main theme returns, initially with militaristic colouring for "Major Kendra Shaw," but becoming more fateful as it continues. "The Hybrid Awaits" is initially expectant, but gains import as it proceeds to a conclusion. "Kendra and the Hybrid" has its moments, but has an underlying feeling of doom, though also a powerful conclusion. The Razor cues end rather limply on the brief erhu solo of "Starbuck's Destiny."
The Plan's tracks commence with a pretty powerful piece, the opening cue on the disc, "Apocalypse," which opens with Raya Yarbrough's mournful a Capella vocal. She is soon joined by choir and then McCreary's electric guitar-lead forces arrive to propel it to its conclusion. The desolate opening of "Main Title" leads to more familiar and recognisable material from the show, and is followed by the two-part "Apocalypse," which is obviously based on the opening theme, and moves tensely, and often quite excitingly, through its 9-minute playing time, though the second part is much more ethereal. With a title like "Mayhem on the Colonies," one might reasonably expect plenty of action, but it takes a long time to get going, and even then fails to really impact. "Cavil Kills and Cavil Spares" presents MsYarborough and ensemble in fateful mode; whilst the final cue from The Plan, "Princes of the Universe," builds expectantly to a big crescendo, before ending on a mournful woodwind solo.
As a special bonus, the final album track presents a fan-pleasing, kick-ass, live concert performance of "Apocalypse."
I am sure fans of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica will delight in now having music from all the various phases and spin-offs of the show, but this particular disc largely comes as something of an anti-climax after the excellent double-disc presentation of music from Season 4.
The colourful accompanying booklet features plenty of stills from the two specials, plus extensive notes by the composer, full music credits, and the cool bonus of the lyrics, both in Sanskrit and English, from "Apocalypse."
To complete your Battlestar soundtrack collection, go to for samples and to order your copy of the album.


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