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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Human Target - Season 1
Music by Bear McCreary
WaterTower Music download or
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1150 (US)
Disc 1 - 21 Tracks 78:16 mins
Disc 2 - 22 Tracks 79:23 mins
Disc 3 - 20 Tracks 47:11 mins

There are plenty of soundtrack albums released on both CD and as a digital download these days, but I can't recall two different sources making available an album before, like Bear McCreary's music for the first season of tongue-in-cheek adventure-thriller TV show Human Target. First up were WaterTower Music with their digital release, which basically presents the main material from the album, discs 1 & 2. La-La Land Records' limited edition /3-CD release presents the same material, but with the addition of a third disc, featuring "Bonus tracks," which include more cues from the 12-episode series, as well as an alternate version of the show's prominent "Main Title" theme, and demos and sketches, including an abandoned concept for the theme, which go together to provide a fascinating look into the composer's creative process. Publicity also states that the disc includes a conversation between McCreary and Executive Producer/Writer Jonathan E. Steinberg, but I have been unable to access this.
For those of you not familiar with the show, it follow the adventures of the enigmatic Christopher Chance (played by the charismatic Mark Valley), who each episode hires himself out to protect some innocent target. The show is very fast-paced, with plenty of action, as one would expect, and not a little sly humour. At times, it reminded me of the popular '60s show The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Coming off the back of successful and very different scores for the Battlestar Galactica and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles shows, McCreary and Steinberg sought a symphonic approach to the show, and the composer benefited from the "unprecedented creative freedom" he was given, with each show featuring as much as 30 minutes of orchestral music played by as many as 60 musicians (94 on the season finale). In these days of largely synthetic scoring for TV, this was quite unheard of, and presented the composer with a punishing schedule, but he delivered in spades. Unfortunately, its like may not ever be heard again, because Bear recently revealed that he is no longer on board for Season 2, which starts this week, and I fear it will be back to synth land for the music.
So, make the most of what you have here, which is simply a delight - especially if you enjoy exciting symphonic action scoring, of which there is a huge amount to be found here. But, for those of you who worship the composer's scores for Battlestar Galactica, have no fear - there are still ethnic solos to be found where appropriate (the show's scenarios offer a variety fo exotic locations), and the action is often driven by Battlestar's trademark Taiko drums. This is not to say that there aren't quieter moments to be heard, particularly where a little romance is injected into proceedings. Throughout, McCreary integrates his Emmy-nominated main theme, a simple, straightforward and versatile composition that will soon lodge in your memory. It will be interesting to see how the new composer(s) utilise it, assuming the new creative team have the rights.
Going back to the album presentation, I suppose the only criticisms that can be levelled against it are firstly, that the music is not presented in episode order and secondly, that La-La Land's otherwise excellent booklet, with notes by the composer and Steinberg, as well as a little tribute from Valley, is for once missing the cue-by-cue guide that we are used to from the label. Otherwise, I have no hesitation in recommending this outstanding music to you but, if you still need convincing, head over to the to hear samples and ultimately order your copy; or if you prefer to download the album, visit


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