Tracksounds Rating = 2/10
Evan H. Chen
Isn't Always Better
by Christopher Coleman
What a wild ride Evan H. Chen’s music for the television
mini-series, Crusade, is. The
first and last tracks are the most traditional…and it is a stretch to
say that. The rest of the
score might be summed up by saying that it is really out there.
A baptism of electronic rhythms and synths await the listener, so
take heed. One might not
anticipate such music for another space epic, but as an offshoot of the
Babylon 5 series, one shouldn’t be too surprised at its unique approach. Christopher Franke, composer of the sibling-series, Babylon
5, was bypassed in order to bring a fresh approach to the musical
component of the new series. Evan
H. Chen, a classically instructed pianist from Shanghai, certainly brings
a unique sound to the digital canvas.
At least on the surface of the music, there is little to reflect
that “classical” training he received.
Chen was given full license to experiment.
The end result is, to say the least, different.
Unfortunately, different does always equal listenable.
Of all the tracks the first and last are the most enjoyable,
as they are the closest things to distinguishable themes. The Main Title, like the rest of the tracks, seems to be built
layer upon layer of synthesized instruments, drum machines, and sound
effects. This track has
somewhat of a nice rhythm, but the actual theme is not easily discerned
unless one listens to it at least two times.
The music builds and builds but then ends very abruptly. The
Main Title earns the highest rating of the CD with 3 stars
(***). Rather than a heroic atmosphere being established though the theme,
one of other-worldly-schizophrenia is constructed instead.
Hyperspace, track 2, seems to tip its hat to Alexander
Courage’s theme for Star Trek in the first couple of notes.
Intentional or not, I say, “Nice touch!”
However from there it falls into the dark regions of electronic
pulses, sizzles, and warped instrumentation.
At times there seems be some sort of chanting in the background.
If there were sound in space, I suppose this is what most people
would think they might hear. At
about two minutes things change with a little more cohesion as established
by more electronic rhythms.
Future Pleasure, track 3, certainly reminds one of Serra’s
work for The Fifth Element. This
is a rather aggressive rhythm with tons of electronic clicks, crashes, and
diddies- sort of like Pee Wee’s Playhouse goes to Warp 9.
One of the more identifiable tracks comes in track 4, Elizabeth. A simple piano
comprises the majority of this piece, with synths fading in and out from
time to time. As the
track progresses, the flute returns.
This track would qualify as the subtlest.
This is a difficult score to rate.
While immensely different and creative, most of the tracks
are not easy to
listen to. There is little in
the human experience that score reflects- maybe such music will reflect
the human experience in centuries
As techno, not to mention chaotic, as our society
is and is becoming, only a small selection would find this sort of
music easy to identify with. The
score for Crusade was a huge opportunity for Chen and hopefully
will open further doors for him to demonstrate his talent.
He may have even more to offer in a more traditional setting.
The producers decided to roll the dice on this one.
sake, going with Christopher Franke might not have been such a bad idea;
afterall, the Jerry Goldsmith-Star Trek relationship has seemed to work.
The producers decided to roll the dice on this one. For continuity's sake, going with Christopher Franke might not have been such a bad idea; afterall, the Jerry Goldsmith-Star Trek relationship has seemed to work.
|8||Patterns of Soul||6:41||none|
|Total Playing Time||68:08|
It's not unknown for a score to work brilliantly in its film or show, but fail miserably as a listening experience on album. The failure of Chen's music for Crusade, however, spans both realms. One of the reasons the scores for Crusade did not function was because Chen seems to disobey one of the very first rules of film/TV scoring: respecting the scene...Overall, this music is a disaster. It assisted in the sinking of the show, and the massive 68+ minutes of it here will tell you why. In and of itself, it simply is not interesting or functional music; compared to Franke's contribution, it's a total mess. FRISBEE
Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks
If the listening experience
is divorced from the any relationship with the story, the music sounds
like an avant-garde New Age piece that combines outer-space imaginations
with Chinese accents and unusual sound effects (like babies laughing in
"My Way"). It can be seen as a creative work of pure
individual expression which defies conventional boundaries of music, which
could be of interest to people who like the unorthodox. It is just
too bad it has nothing to do with the story for which it is named. *
Helen San - Cinemusic
|All artwork from Crusade is exclusive property of Sonic Images (c) 1999. Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.|
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