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Africa
(1968)
Album Cover Art
Composed and Conducted, and Produced by:
Alex North

Orchestrated by:
Henry Brant

Album Produced by:
Ford A. Thaxton
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Prometheus Records
(February, 2001)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Limited and numbered release of 2,000 copies, available only through specialty outlets.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... only if you are an avid collector of Alex North's scores and appreciate the distinct style of atonal, instrumental experimentation that often defined his career in the Silver Age.

Avoid it... if a combination of shallow archival sound and atonality that verges on noisy dissonance in parts simply does not compute with your love of the massively lush and romantic music of more modern documentaries for the region.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,249
WRITTEN 2/10/01, REVISED 11/2/08
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North
North
Africa: (Alex North) In an age when there are high definition programs about the planet that exhibit breathtaking beauty in a dazzling format once possible only with special effects, it is perhaps impossible to go back and witness programs like ABC's four-hour documentary about Africa from 1968. The documentary covers the entire history of the continent, with some of the world's best producers and cinematographers sent to the region for a year to collect countess hours of raw footage of every kind of animal and human life. Ultimately, "Africa" was a cross between a National Geographic expedition and an evolutionary science film, and although the depth of the show was impressive for its time, it is the type of television programming that is now mocked by the younger generation of digital viewers. One the reasons archival shows such as "Africa" have aged badly is because of the change in music that has accompanied such productions through the years. The evolution of documentary music in the Digital Age led to scores of extraordinary tonal, massively lush romance by George Fenton and others, leaving music like Alex North's for "Africa" in a difficult and largely unappreciated position. In the late 1960's, North was already facing the challenge of a changing compositional landscape. Even with his distinct record of producing Academy recognized scores for major films, his atonal style of composing was being abandoned by an industry on the verge of another age of orchestral romanticism. In the immediate period, young composers such as Jerry Goldsmith were producing similar music with a more modern edge, and North's career was beginning to spin its wheels. Today, North's unconventional style for "Africa" is a sound easy to appreciate, but extremely difficult to enjoy on its own. Even in context, it feeds stereotypes about old nature documentaries with its inaccessibility. That trait, ironically, is exactly what North was attempting to create.



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VIEWER RATINGS
352 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.51 Stars
***** 59 5 Stars
**** 47 4 Stars
*** 38 3 Stars
** 81 2 Stars
* 127 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
1 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Reply to the review.
Peter Price - May 11, 2005, at 4:09 a.m.
1 comment  (2459 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 50:04
Symphony for a New Continent:
• 1. Movement 1 (7:14)
• 2. Movement 2 (5:10)
• 3. Movement 3 (9:36)
• 4. Movement 4 (8:19)
Suite from Africa:
• 5. Main Title Theme (Long Version)* (2:54)
• 6. Man in Africa (4:06)
• 7. The Joyful Days (3:39)
• 8. Victoria Falls/Progress* (3:38)
• 9. Kilimanjaro (3:15)
• 10. Main Title Theme (Short Version) (2:09)
* not previously released on the LP album

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert contains notes about the movie, score, and composer by Ford A. Thaxton.
Copyright © 2001-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Africa are Copyright © 2001, Prometheus Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/10/01 and last updated 11/2/08.
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