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CD Feature/ Vangelis: "Blade Runner Trilogy 25th Anniversary Box"

img  Tobias

Is this never going to end? Released as a Christmas present and as a consiliatory gesture to the fans of one of the more influential soundtracks of all times, this 3CD Box has already been showered with as many insults and curses as the equally ill-fated “Complete Twin Peaks” set. Over at Warner, the executives must be shaking their head in disbelief, but they only have themselves to blame.

Needless to say, the controvery surrounding the “Bladerunner Soundtrack” is as old as the movie itself. When Ridley Scott issued his visually blinding vision in 1982, it was accompanied by a hurriedly realised semi-orchestral version by a group of studio musicians operating under the fantasy-banner of the “New American Orchestra”. 

Even though few people actually thought this acoustic approximation was any good, it took until 1994 and the release of Scott’s “Director’s Cut” for the original music to be published. Either hideously or naively, Vangelis had however ommitted some of the finest moments and included slightly intrusive fragments of diaolgue on top of some of the tracks. The record was a hit, but again it left much to be desired.

Since then, not all too much has happened to alievate the situation – unless you want to call the influx of severely overpriced bootlegs an improvement. So it does come as a sensation of sorts to see 45 minutes of previously unreleased music, bonus material from the sessions as well as a complete new studio album by the Greek hermit, again inspired by the movie, suddenly appear on record shelves. So what’s the fuss all about?

It seems to be about two things: The lack of knowledge abut the world of soundtracks from the side of the fans – and a lack of knowledge of the psychological implication when dealing with “Bladerunner”-fans on the part of record company bigwigs.

With the second disc of material now officially available, the “Bladerunner”-soundtrack is actually a paradigm. Almost all of the cues are included, with maybe just a couple of minutes lacking. The Box set delivers on some of the most precious passages, including the majestic arrival of Deckard and JF Sebastian at the towers of the Tyrell company, and its second disc is a coherent, lustrous and seemless collection of soundscapes no less inspiring than the first version of the soundtrack.

On the other hand, fans of Vangelis’ work have – rightly – argued that this case is different. “Bladerunner” is one of the few occasions where almost every second of sound works without the imagery and transcends the confinements of what a score can usually achieve. Their demand of a full soundtrack album is not driven by the impulse of a collector, but by that of a devotee, who longs to finally be able to listen to his favourite piece of music without being distracted by visuals and a story line.

Unfortunately, those few minutes of missing music are now oblitterating sight of what fans have been given with this, by the way economically priced, release. Especially the additional studio album would certainly be regarded in a much more friendly light without the bickering at the sidelines. With the underlying motivations for the endless delays still unknown and some wounds possibly still not healed, there is every reason to believe this feud could well go on for a long time.

By Tobias Fischer

A longer feature on the „Bladerunner Trilogy 25th Anniversary Box“ has been published in the February edition of German Magazine „Beat“ (

Homepage: Warner Records

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