Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I got this double-CD for Christmas, but I only really wanted it for one track.

The opening theme. Hoyt Curtin's deafening 90-second fanfare embodies all that is great about… well, arguably everything.

As a kid, I used to follow the first US version of Battle Of The Planets on the BBC here in England, in the same room where I'm scribbling this now. The weekly saga of Mark, Jason, Princess, Tiny and Keyop's ongoing struggle against Zoltar and that flaming grey head (black-and-white telly) that was always berating him for failure, was one that I rarely missed.

Thanks to post-modernism, now for me it's all about the amount of repackaging that the series went through to get onto English-speaking screens in the first place. It's great to read the loving sleeve-notes that come with this and learn at last just how many of the rumours are true. I remember trying to figure out at the time why 7-Zark-7's scenes just seemed so… remote. On the rare occasions when two of the main cast actually did manage to drop in on him, their paralysis of movement was haunting.

However, back to the actual music on this two-disc set.

Well, the opening theme is still every bit as awesome as ever. (for years now I've watched these credits just to pick myself up when feeling down) However it's Bob Sakuma's scores from the original Japanese Gatchaman cartoon that most evoke the content of the show. In fact, every track in this collection is a hit, some of them reminding me of various other genre shows, such as Lost In Space (CD1#19), Sledge Hammer! (CD1#13) and ITV Nightscreen (CD2#28). (the funky stylings of Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra are evoked in places on here too!)

The second CD rounds off with a couple of modern club remixes of some of this material, which is never quite what I'm after in an original soundtrack album, but what the hey. After reading so much about the old familiar characters, and seeing their images speckled throughout the booklet, it is nice to hear their voices again, however repetitively they've been sampled.

The sung closing French theme of La Bataille Des Planetes is mentioned in the notes, but sadly not included on the discs. Nothing else on here quite betters or indeed even equals that epic opening anthem though.

Thank you, Sandy Frank. I will always remember your name, whoever you were.

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