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Star Trek: Music from the Video Games by Dominik Hauser

Star Trek: Music from the Video Games

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Star Trek: Music from the Video Games (Soundtrack) by Dominik Hauser
Star Trek: Music from the Video Games (Soundtrack) by Dominik Hauser
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek: Music from the Video Games (Soundtrack) by Dominik Hauser

Star Trek: Music from the Video Games
Composed by Dominik Hauser
BSX Records (2013)

Rating: 5/10

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“...as painful as it is to dismiss such a lovingly put together product with such good intentions..., it simply isn’t possible to recommend this album to anyone but hardcore STAR TREK completists.”

Games: The Final Frontier
Review by Edmund Meinerts

 

When the music of STAR TREK is discussed, generally speaking, chances are that the film scores are the subject of that discussion – either that or ALEXANDER COURAGE’s legendary theme for the Original Series. Occasionally the music for the TV episodes proper gets a mention too, though usually only by the truly hardcore fanatics, those who shell out on those lavish Film Score Monthly box sets. Even less discussed are the scores to the series’ innumerable video game adaptations and spinoffs, which date back as early as 1971. Now, obviously, a text-based game from the 70s wasn’t exactly equipped with such modern features as a score, but as early as the mid-90s, composers were being hired to provide proper orchestral (in composition, not necessarily rendering) scores for STAR TREK games, often composers with considerable experience in the universe such as RON JONES and DENNIS MCCARTHY. Thanks to this release from BSX, some of this obscure music has now finally seen the light of day.

One thing that should be mentioned up front is that these cues are not the originals from the game, but rather synthetic recreations by Swiss composer and former GRAEME REVELL orchestrator DOMINIK HAUSER. This is largely a disappointment; on the one hand, today’s samples are a lot better than those of the late 90s and some of the older entries, such as ROLAND RIZZO’s cue from KLINGON HONOR GUARD (11), sound considerably closer to a real orchestra than the originals. Hearing the same samples throughout also lends the album a certain sense of cohesion. On the other hand, the original performance of the main theme from STAR TREK ONLINE by KEVIN MANTHEI (1) actually sounds better than the version heard here. All in all, you have to wonder who exactly this album was made for; the cheap sound will likely turn off casual listeners, and the die-hard Trekkies buying this album for reasons of nostalgia would probably prefer the originals no matter what.

As far as references to more famous and established Trek music go, the COURAGE fanfare is sprinkled throughout many of the entries as expected (the opening cue gives it the fullest workout, a nice sequencing touch). And JERRY GOLDSMITH’s theme is heard in full as the theme for BRIDGE COMMANDER (13) – despite being easily the best music on the album, it’s a redundant inclusion; after all, why listen to a synth mockup (and performed at far too slow a tempo) of music that you likely own several times over performed by a full orchestra on GOLDSMITH’s various feature Trek scores? A rather more amusing “reference” is DANNY PELFREY’S theme for VOYAGER: ELITE FORCE (9), which is a blatant reworking of GOLDSMITH’s theme for that show (which the game likely wasn’t allowed to use), right down to the fluttering rhythmic flute and glockenspiel over the top. Being based on such a strong musical foundation ironically helps it to become one of the more memorable cues on the album, but again, it’ll inevitably send you back to the original.

Among the highlights of the compilation are the two entries by RON JONES (2, 3), proving that if there’s one thing the TNG veteran can do, it’s produce solid, conservative, comfortingly familiar Trek music at the drop of a hat. The main title from LEGACY (5) by ROD ABERNETHY is rather forgettable, but his “Kirk’s Theme” (6) is a pleasant, warm melody with a hint of BACK TO THE FUTURE to it. The aforementioned “Kelshar” (11) from KLINGON HONOR GUARD by ROLAND RIZZO is an energetic and dynamic action cue. On the other hand, the theme for BIRTH OF THE FEDERATION by STEVEN SCHERER (8) is almost amateurishly simplistic.

The second half of the album is entirely devoted to STAR TREK BORG, cowritten by DENNIS MCCARTHY and KEVIN KINER (fun fact: KINER is, to my knowledge, the only composer to have ever contributed to both the STAR TREK and STAR WARS universes…and he’s written music for STARGATE too!). Unfortunately, other than a strong, underutilized main theme and the occasional burst of decent action – and a cute little piece of Caribbean source music in “Club Q” (18) – the bulk of the score is dull suspense music, with brute metallic strikes and low male faux-chorus representing the Borg collective in a completely predictable way.

All in all, this collection is a rather mixed bag, with a lot of the themes I haven’t mentioned serviceable and/or forgettable. And there’s simply no avoiding the biggest issue here: the rendering. Some of this music is quite impressive on paper, but loses much of its energy and appeal when presented as essentially synth demos. Had this album been an orchestral rerecording of these video game themes, this review would be singing quite a different tune, but unfortunately it would seem the budget didn’t stretch that far. As things are, and as painful as it is to dismiss such a lovingly put together product with such good intentions (the liner notes are quite extensive), it simply isn’t possible to recommend this album to anyone but hardcore STAR TREK completists.


Rating: 5/10


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Star Trek Online Main Title Theme (Kevin Manthei) 2:41  ***
2 Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Main Title (Ron Jones) 4:08  ****
3 Star Trek:  Starfleet Command Main Title (Ron Jones) 3:53  ****
4 Star Trek: Starfleet Command III Main Title (Danny Pelfrey) 1:11  ***
5 Star Trek: Legacy Main Title (Rod Abernethy) 2:24  ***
6 Star Trek: Legacy - Kirk's Theme (Rod Abernethy) 2:34  ****
7 Star Trek: Armada II Main Title (Danny Pelfrey) 2:03  ***
8 Star Trek TNG: Birth of the Federation Main Title (Steven Scherer) 1:19  **
9 Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Main Title (Danny Pelfrey) 1:50  ***
10 Star Trek: Away Team - Introduction (Danny Pelfrey) 1:47  ***
11 Star Trek: Klingon Honor Guard - Kelshar (Roland Rizzo) 2:44  ***
12 Star Trek: Klingon - Warrior's Poem (Gregory Smith) 2:19  ***
13 Star Trek: Bridge Commander Main Title (Jerry Goldsmith) 4:07  **
14 Star Trek Borg Main Title (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:05  ****
15 Legend of the Borg (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:25  *
16 Battle at Wolf 359 2:57  ***
17 The Battle Rages (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:25  ***
18 Club Q (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:00  ***
19 I Am Berman of Borg  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:39  ***
20 Goldsmith is Assimilated  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:38  **
21 Welcome to the Collective, Cadet  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 2:25  ***
22 ISearching the Borg Ship  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 2:23  ***
23 Time is Running Out  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:19  **
24 Escape from the Borg Collective  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:45  ***
25 Borg Hell  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 2:02  ***
26 You Will Be Assimiliated. Have a Nice Day  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 2:24  **
27 Resistance is Futile, My Ass!  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 2:57  ***
28 Star Trek Borg Finale  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 4:33  ***
29 Star Trek Borg End Title  (Dennis McCarthy/ Kevin Kiner) 1:04  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 65 minutes  

 

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