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Switchback
(1997)
Album Cover Art
2000 Intrada
2014 Intrada
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:

Co-Produced by:
Douglass Fake
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Intrada Records
(September, 2000)

Intrada Records
(September 15th, 2014)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
The 2000 album was a limited release of unknown quantity, available only through soundtrack specialty outlets. It sold out and became a moderate collectible on the secondary market. The 2014 re-issue is a standard commercial release offered at an initial price of $20, but that product went out of print as of 2016 as well.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciate Basil Poledouris' predictably muscular action material for synthesizer and orchestra, even if it doesn't contain the composer's typical melodic statements.

Avoid it... if just four or five cues of bold orchestral adventure cannot compensate for several lengthy passages of far less interesting ambient sound design.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,090
WRITTEN 10/12/00, REVISED 12/23/14
Poledouris
Poledouris
Switchback: (Basil Poledouris) After a successful screenplay for The Fugitive, Jeb Stuart wrote and directed for the first time in 1997 for Switchback, a taut serial killer and chase thriller that weaves its way through the picturesque Rocky Mountains. Unlike many films in its genre, Switchback uses lengthy screen time setting up its primary four characters for their ultimate showdown, a conclusion perhaps not as intelligent as its setup. At least actor Danny Glover was given the opportunity to shed his usual, affable police persona and strike up a villain as best he can. After a relentless series of negative reviews, the film only managed to gross $6 million at the box office in its attempt to recover its $38 million, one of Paramount's more embarrassing percentage write-offs. The ultimately forgettable film featured a score by veteran composer Basil Poledouris, who was in the last flurry of superior mainstream activity before his career slowly descended into obscurity due to illness and his disenchantment with Hollywood. The year of 1997 was particularly fruitful for Poledouris, with both Breakdown and Switchback providing the vast expanses of America's disparate but equally impressive landscapes with suspenseful and occasionally explosive scores, and the composer topped off the year with Starship Troopers, which commanded a larger, sci-fi oriented audience. None of the three scores, interestingly, was initially treated with an album that satisfied Poledouris' fans, though the 2000 release of Switchback by Intrada Records proved both definitive and, for the label, historically significant. The contents of Poledouris' score are predictable and won't break any new ground for the vast majority of the composer's collectors. The style of the music is at the upper end of your run of the mill, stock action variety, utilizing elements all very familiar to Poledouris' career.



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VIEWER RATINGS
545 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.22 Stars
***** 112 5 Stars
**** 127 4 Stars
*** 143 3 Stars
** 98 2 Stars
* 65 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
All Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 54:01
• 1. Going West (1:45)
• 2. Captured Creepo (2:45)
• 3. The Morgue (4:59)
• 4. Buck's Sendoff (1:16)
• 5. Cliffside Rescue (0:36)
• 6. Rude Awakening (2:00)
• 7. The "218" (5:35)
• 8. Get Shorty (2:52)
• 9. Intercept Decision (1:33)
• 10. Photo Tie (1:55)
• 11. FBI Request (1:18)
• 12. Jail Toast (1:08)
• 13. Spreader Fight (10:53)
• 14. Andy's Return (4:08)

Bonus Material:
• 15. Outtake Suite (11:01)
  (Electronic Textures & Unused Cues:
  Serious Discussion/We Know It's Bob/
  Lane Cuts/ Departing Train/Bathroom Confrontation)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The inserts of both albums contain notes about the composer, album, and film. Below is an excerpt from producer Douglass Fake's notes:

    "Basil Poledouris had tough choices to make. The movie had mystery, suspense, and closely-kept secrets. There were tough, violent action scenes. Central characters were cold, methodical, driven. To complicate things, the story unfolded amidst spectacular outdoor locations, including the awesome Rocky Mountains. And there was another character, the "218" -- a powerful, speeding train.

    He chose to anchor the score around a tiny 3-note motif, heard at the very beginning of the score on solo flute. Extremely flexible, this motif worked alone, sometimes expanded into longer ideas, blended with more abstract material and played as a muscular line for the action music. As the emotional centerpiece to his music, Poledouris chose the Rockies, letting the motif act as a signature for the snow-covered peaks.

    For outdoor settings Poledouris used a full symphony orchestra and a rich harmonic palette. For suspenseful segments he utilized electronic timbres and more abstract sounds. The violent scenes received some of the composer's fiercest orchestral writing. But it was the speeding "218" that inspired a scoring highlight: energetic rhythms for low brass and percussion under fortissimo quotes of the primary motif.

    Keeping everything on track is the musical interval of a major second. It's part of the 3-note motif. It's present in subtler parts, in action sequences, even becoming a color in the harmonies. No matter what direction the music takes, the interval is close at hand, opening the score, following characters in and out, boarding the "218," and finishing it all.

    In preparing this album for Switchback we had access to digital master tapes for the entire score. Many cues appeared briefly in the movie. Others were buried under sound effects and are now ostensibly heard for the first time. The movie divides roughly into thirds, with the score matching each part. The initial crimes, and introduction of seemingly unrelated characters, required music meshing with the sound design as a whole. Poledouris managed this with an array of electronic sounds. The middle segment developed the two separate storylines. Music for these scenes remained neutral, giving the plots equal weight, so as not to tip off the twists ahead. The last part emphasized action, tied the stories together, and spotlighted the speeding train with full orchestral music.

    We elected to present the entire score, including brief pieces not used in the finished film. Because of the previously-mentioned story requirements, an imbalance of musical color exists when listening in exact picture order. While retaining the basic narrative, we've assembled shorter cues into longer ones and added contrast by including a few cues out of strict picture sequence.

    A few cues designed solely for texture or mood, including alternates, necessarily became outtakes. We chose to include them as well, fashioning a bonus "suite of outtakes" at the conclusion of the dramatic score. A longer pause exists between the last two tracks, allowing listeners to enjoy the orchestral music alone or follow it with the additional sound textures."
Copyright © 2000-2017, 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 Switchback are Copyright © 2000, 2014, Intrada Records, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/12/00 and last updated 12/23/14.
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