Very spooky and atmospheric electronic score to a criminally underlooked film. Hearing it outside of the movie reveals a lot of detail in the compositions that are drowned out by dialogue mixing and sound effects; the Earth/Space track had a lot more layers than you heard during the film. The tense reality of the hostilities back on Earth, and the increasingly dangerous mission to reactivate the Discovery and leave Jupiter orbit before 'something wonderful' happens, are impressively supported by the music. There is a good deal of organic emotion and drama going on, and the music is calibrated to parallel and enhance both. Props to David Shire for making it well balanced too; its never too minimalistic to be emotional, or too cluttered to be coherent. The orchestral ending is a very nice touch, sending things off in a triumphant burst. Shire is as talented with traditional scoring as he is with the electronic variety, and its welcome to hear the now familiar themes backed by a big studio orchestra.
There was a great piece of music at the opening of 2010, while they show us the text/picture montage about the fate of USS Discovery via a main character's report...it's mysterious at first, builds to an intense pulsating crescendo as the report ends, and turns into the Also Sprach Zarathustra theme for the credits. It's tense and dramatic, a good hook for the audience...it is also nowhere to be found on the CD! I'm taking a star off the rating for two reasons. First, the CD itself runs about 36 minutes. Even in the 80's, CDs could handle more than that, so the omission of a 2-3 minute track is mystifying (and its digital music. It didn't need to be digitized again to release. It would have cost nothing). Not only could the track have easily fit onto the CD, the song that does start the CD is just not very good. This is the second reason. The CD opens with a chincy-sounding, synth-pop version of Also Sprach Zarathustra courtesy of Andy Summers. It isn't in the movie, and aside from using a familiar theme, is otherwise unrelated to anything. I can see re-interpreting Zarathustra, no problem, it's just that this version is not distinctive or even interesting, and inappropriate for the album because it's at the expense of perfectly good soundtrack material. I'll admit, it's kinda fun to listen to, but c'mon...you can open the CD with a cheap Zarathustra riff by a former member of The Police, or with the intense stuff Daivd Shire wrote that is actually in the movie... this decision was apparently a LOT harder than it should have been, and I guess it never crossed their minds to include both.
Still, I can only take one star off. The rest of the CD is great and as complete as nessesary. It's just missing one track it should really have, and includes one it really shouldn't. Small complaint. Great Score. Buy it if yer so inclined! But hurry, as things stand its been OOP for some time now, is hard to track down, and will only get more expensive :)