Alien Nation [Music from the Original Television Scores]

Alien Nation [Music from the Original Television Scores]

by Steve Dorff

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Overview

The soundtrack album to the Alien Nation television series takes selections by composers Steve Dorff, Larry Herbstritt and David Kurtz from several episodes, including the remarkable "Real Men" and the pilot (the latter tackeld by the independent-minded Kenneth Johnson), blending them together in such a way that, even as separate cues, they interweave beautifully. There are moments that stand above others, certainly -- the opening title music, the sweetly melodic "Howdy, Pod" with its beautiful and beatific vocal harmonies built on African patterns and almost-familiar vocal sounds (with alien Iyrics by Kenneth Johnson based on a language created by his daughter). There are moments that approach the best new age music, moving and hypnotic without being dull, boring, or pretentious -- not an easy task when faced with television production deadlines, as well as an insistence on doing something out of the ordinary with the musical background. Part of the philosophy behind the show was that music was an important societal factor for the aliens, and therefore should be accented in the show. Rather than being overwhelmingly cute and attempting to come up with something definably alien, Johnson and his music team rang changes on familiar themes -- African music, Cuban, even baroque harp music and plainchant, mixing influences, instrumentation and time signatures to get the effect they wanted. The end result manages to leave the soundtrack arena easily behind, working simply as excellent music. It's a good indication that Johnson succeeded in his goals for Alien Nation: this music documents that.

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