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Comments about the soundtrack for Babylon 5: Messages from Earth (Christopher Franke)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: John Dunham   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, September 7, 2008, at 6:07 p.m.
• IP Address:

(The following donated review by John Dunham was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in September, 2008)

Babylon 5: Volume 2: Messages from Earth: (Christopher Franke) I'm not a big fan of Babylon 5, and I haven't seen the episodes from which this music originates, so I had only bought one other Babylon 5 CD before this one. But I was so impressed with Franke's music that I had to post a review. The CD has four episode suites, as well as the first, second, third, and forth season Main Titles. It also has a lot of synth, so those of you who like CDs like Crimson Tide will probably enjoy it.

Track 1, the First Season Main Title is actually an extended version of the original, containing several nice renditions of the Babylon 5 theme after the introduction. The extra versions of the theme more than double the track length; this track is 3:17, while all the other main titles are about a minute and a half. Track 3, the second season main title has a short, quiet redition of the theme, followed by a diferent introduction, then the full theme. This version isn't as good as the first, mainly because it's shorter, and puts more emphasis on the precussion than any of the others. Track 5 is the Third Season main title. It seems to be missing the Babylon 5 theme altogether, and as a whole, it's darker than it's predecessors. I'm guessing Franke composed the darker version for season three because of the Shadow War. Track 7 contains the fourth season main title. It seems to be a merging of of the first three, and, as a whole, it's better than 2 and 3, and probably on par with 1.

The rest of the music on the CD is in the form of episode suites. The first suite is in track 2, from the episode "Messages From Earth". It starts out with a buildup that combines live orchestra and synthisized additions, mainly precussion, then moves on to a fast tempo. The real treat comes about halfway through the track, when the music switches to an relaxing, yet inspiring melody, complete with both male and female chorus. I especially like the use of birdcalls in this portion of the track. It gives the music a nice, open feel. Track 4 is the suite from "Z'ha'dum". This is mostly dark, yet thematic, music. It has heavy precussion near the beginning, and the ominous, somehow tragic theme for Z'ha'dum makes it's first appearence about a minute into the track, mixing to create a truly dark sound. As this dies out, the track gets spooky, mixing piano, guitar, wind chimes, drums, and synth. There are several minutes of this, then the heavy tempo from the beginning returns, giving one more rendition of the Z'ha'dum theme before the track ends.

Track 6 contains the 15-minute suite from "Severed Dreams". This is an odd track, hard to describe. It's a bit darker than "Z'ha'dum," but not less enjoyable. On the whole, "Severed Dreams" is much like the third season theme, and it has a nice ending. (On a side note, there's a piece in the middle that reminds me of the track "Betrayal" on the Mission: Impossible soundtrack.) Track 8 has the last suite, "Voices Of Authority," and it is possibly the best, with "Messages From Earth" a close second. The main "Voices Of Authority" theme sounds a little bit like the main title from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, mostly because it uses many of the same instruments. The precussion that is so prominent throughout the rest of the CD is not as heavy in this track, and the "Voices Of Authority" theme is used generously, but not so often as to become repetitive. On the whole, tracks 1, 2, and 8 are the highlights of the CD, with the only downside being that the long suites aren't split into seperate tracks. Deserving of a place in anyone's collection. *****

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