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Monday, August 23, 2010


Music by Danny Elfman
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1140 (US)
Disc 1 - 30 Tracks 75:40 mins
Disc 2 - 29 Tracks 68:20 mins

La- La Land Records have released this wonderful expanded edition of Danny Elfman's classic 1989 score for Tim Burton's reimagining of the comic book hero Batman. Limited to 5000 units, which are selling fast, this is a double-disc set, with the premiere of Elfman's complete score on Disc 1, and the remastered original score album, plus bonus cues on Disc 2.
For those of you more familiar with the recent Batman films, you should definitely check out the Burton duo, Batman and Batman Returns, not only for their music, but the films are actually very good, before the series sadly went off the rails when Burton stood down as director, the character disappearing from our screens until Batman Begins.
As for Elfman's score for Batman, well, critics had their doubts whether Burton and his regular musical collaborator could come up with the goods, having mostly been known for the Pee Wee comedies, but they were made to eat their words - and how. Even Warner Bros. must have had their doubts regarding the music, at least, with a number of popular artists originally intended to contribute songs to the project. In the event, only Prince did so, and the first soundtrack album released was of his material. However, fans of Elfman's terrific score were rewarded when a generous (for LPs) score album later followed. So successful was his music, that he became the go-to guy for adapations of comic book characters, with Darkman and Dick Tracy following, being still in demand for Spider-Man and Hulk year later.
Accompanying the music is the usual high-quality booklet from La-La Land, with Jeff Bond's introductory notes and cue-by-cue guide, all illustrated with colour stills from the film.
I'll leave it to Mr. Bond, who does a far better job than I ever could of summing up the Batman score: "What Elfman produced was remarkable: thd dark underbelly of superheroism, as epic and thundering as John Williams' 1978 Superman score, yet full of foreboding, bristling with kinetic energy and violence, coloured by shadings of both Bernard Herrman's portentous, crushing orchestral chords (including a pipe organ right out of Journey to the Center of the Earth) and Carl Orff." I should add that Elfman is a self-confessed Bernard Herrmann fan and the homage paid was quite deliberate.
In closing, the bonus tracks featured at the end of Disc 2 include cues written by the composer as source music, some used, others not, plus alternate cues and a "film edit" for "Charge of the Batmobile."
Hurry along to to grab your copy of this splendid release before they're all gone.


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