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Thursday, June 24, 2010


Sorry for the lack of activity on the blog these past few days, only a) I was short of CDs to review yet again, and b) much of my time has been taken up with the three Ws: Work, Wimbledon and the World Cup. This situation is unlikely to change for the next week or two, but I will endeavour to cover anything I receive in the meantime, albeit maybe not in such detail as usual, starting with:-

Dead Like Me
Music by Stewart Copeland
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1132 (US)
23 Tracks 71:09 mins

When the quirky TV series Pushing Daisies was cancelled, it left a lot of disappointed and disillusioned fans out there. I'm afraid it didn't quite catch on with me, so it didn't shake my universe. Prior to this, the show's producer, Bryan Fuller had created the equally short-lived, and equally quirky, Dead Like Me. I'm not at all familiar with this one as, to the best of my knowledge, it never aired on UK terrestrial TV, but it was another show with a fantastical premise, following a team of recently diseased mortals, detailed to help souls make the transition to the afterlife.
The music for the show was provided by Stewart Copeland, who had clocked up many a TV and film score by this time, following his pop career, principally as drummer for The Police. I'm not overly familiar with his work, but was expecting his score to be something along the lines of The Equalizer (electronic, percussive). Well, in fact, this is a very different animal - still percussive, of course, but a fun, bubbly and quirky little effort, utilising a small band of musicians - really just Charlie Bisharat on violins, Judd Miller on horns and woodwinds, and Copeland on "everything else."
I haven't unfortunately the time to go into a track to track analysis, but you can find this in the accompanying booklet anyway, which is the usual first class affair, with Randall D. Larson's informative notes, and plenty of full-colour character portraits.
The title theme of the show was co-composed with Emilio Kauderer, currently receiving acclaim for his Secret in their Eyes film score, so the timing of this release could not have been better. It's a breezy little Latin-infused piece, which immediately lifts the spirits before each show (not a bad idea with each episode dealing with death, after all). This theme of course opens the disc and then follow selected suites from both seasons of the show. For fans among you, the episodes covered are The Pilot, Reaping Havoc, A Cook, Rest in Peace, The Ledger, Ghost Story, The Escape Artist, Be Still My Heart, Always and Haunted.
The tracks largely flow easily into one another, keeping mainly a positive, progressive and, at times, quite whimsical vibe, utilising all manner of percussion to move them along, together with the aforementioned instruments, human voice, and even sampled bagpipes (Reaping Havoic Suite). There are of course suitable moments of poignancy and tenderness, but overall this is ultimately a pretty uplifting listening experience.
Tacked on at the end of the score is Pink Martini's dream-like rendering of the old Doris Day standard "Que Sera Sera," taken from the conclusion of the pilot episode. It's not bad, but give me Doris' version any day!
Limited to just 1000 units, you'd best get along to if you want a copy. There you can first listen to samples, if you wish.


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