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Every once in a while, there comes a sci-fi movie that breaks down all the cliches of the genre, transcending into a worldwide cultural phenomenon. The Matrix was one of these. Star Wars was one of these. Logan's Run was not one of these. Today it looks like a long, hideous disco dance sequence, a trait which is thankfully not carried over to Goldsmith's score, one of his best works. Blending a huge orchestra with cacophonous electronics that foreshadow 1979's ST:TMP, this huge work stands near the top of the maestro's considerable filmography. Goldsmith was in the final stages of his atonal period in 1976, and this demonstrates that fact perfectly with a combination of his most exciting dissonant writing, one of his most moving love themes, and frequent lush string/woodwind passages, as in the 8-minute The Monument. This album is a rerelease of the long-out-of-print Bay Cities CD by Chapter III, coupled with Goldsmith's score for 1978's Coma, a perfect pairing. Both have been digitally remastered, but Logan's Run shows its age with some noticeable tape hiss and mag wow. The insert features a short essay on the film and the typical accolades for Goldsmith that unfortunately sound like a press release rather than a meaningful description of the music. Logan serves as a companion to several other Goldsmith scores, most notably Planet of the Apes, with its harrowing dissonance mirrored in "You're Renewed" and "Intensive Care", as well as ST:TMP, with its heavy dose of electronics combined with listenable melodies. In short, Chapter III is to be lauded for their restoration and reissue of Logan's Run, finally making it available to the public for less than $100. It greatly deserves an expanded edition, but I for one am grateful to even be listening to one of Maestro Goldsmith's most complex and moving classic works.

Track by Track Analysis:

1. The Dome (2:05)
Goldsmith's score begins with an absolutely harrowing bloated bass synth tone that comes and goes like a gargantuan, grotesque monster. An ominous chromatic brass theme enters, eventually accompanied by exotic string embellishments, with the whold smorgasbord of orchestral color coalescing into an awe-inspiring display of power (it sounds like this scene was temped with Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra - Goldsmith's take on this traditional form is fascinating.) The cue ends with a lengthy eerie synth passage with a wandering rhythm and a completely experimental patch of upper-register sounds.

2. On the Circuit (3:45)
Ironically, this reminds one of Herrmann's Psycho with its meandering, dissonant string line - actually the basis of Goldsmith's love theme. The cue features an ominous pizzicatto accompaniment, and several synth effects during some of the more desolate passages. This features some of Goldsmith's most evocative string writing that foreshadows Poltergeist, among other things. At various intervals, the pizzicatto accompaniment transfers to piano, at which point this smaller idea actually takes the form of the brass motif introduced in the opening credits.

3. The Sun (2:09)
"The Sun", another of the best cues, paints a stunning portrait of the alien landscapes with some of Goldsmith's most moving impressionism. Opening with a hopeful string trill and a lush piccolo cadenza, it soon segues into a monstrous brass fanfare, presenting the full love theme for the first time in a perfect arrangement. After another of these magnificent fanfares, now under the string trills, the tone becomes ominous with a sinister low brass/timpani theme, which ends the cue on a dissonant note.

4. Flameout (3:24)
The first of Logan's Run's completely synthetic cues, this opens with whining extraterrestrial tones that build throughout the running time, continually added to by weirder and weirder timbres, finally turning this into a synthetic version of the dissonant Planet of the Apes. Flameout's synths are some of the most "unique" sounds to ever grace a score, and their primitive mechanics transform this into a simply irresistable chunk of '70s Goldsmith cheese that no one should miss. ;-)

5. The Monument (8:08)
Easily the best track of the score, Goldsmith composes this in the impressionistic vein of The Sun. It opens with a luscious, beckoning flute cadenza with transparent accompaniment that is passed around the woodwinds, with dissonant chords in the strings, finally resolving into a delicate flute arrangement of the love theme. An upbeat, Legend-like dance soon begins, based on a delicious motif originally introduced by synths directly after the love theme. Following this is another unpretentious, superbly moving presentation by the woodwinds, finally resolved by the strings in one of the most breathtaking moments in the Goldsmith canon. The maestro bases the finale of the cue on a reprise of the impressionistic flute opening and a final pastoral development of his love theme. This piece prefigures the combination of beauty, complexity, impressionism, and (sometimes) dissonance of his Legend score.

6. You're Renewed (2:47)
The first of Goldsmith's orchestral action cues, this relentlessly dances through the speakers like a ballet, featuring the composer's superbly overwhelming dissonance and ostinatos in a manner that actually makes atonality fun. A desperate version of the love theme on cello rounds out the track.

7. Ice Sculpture (3:33)
This begins subtly with an otherworldly percussion ostinato and string background that gives the section the feeling of a pipe organ. The chromatic idea that backed On the Circuit returns, and the majority of the cue is comprised of a lengthy, string based development of the love theme. After a return of the opening ostinato, it turns darker with a series of laden, oppressive string passages. The finale transfers this ostinato to screeching strings, transforming the music into an action cue.

8. Love Shop (3:42)
Easily the most whacked-out track of the album, this pays homage to the first synthesized score, Forbidden Planet. Needless to say, this contains a completely artificial soundworld, filled with surreal noises that make Flameout sound like "Rudy" in comparison - definitely not easy listening.

9. The Truth (2:04)
This horrific cue plays like a precursor to Alien with several dissonant acoustic sounds backed by the chromatic motiv. Soon, however, the material picks up where On the Circuit left off, with a return to the oppressive string arrangement of the love theme.

10. The Key/Intensive Care (3:58)
The other of Logan's Run's modernistic orchestral action cues, this takes several of the motivs hinted at earlier and melds them into another remarkably exciting scherzo. The most stunning realization is in the piano part - it's actually performing a strange offshoot of the ostinato that opened Ice Sculpture, but more akin to the action segment at the end of that piece. Intensive Care, after an overwhelmingly dissonant, grotesque string figure, transforms into a continuation of The Key's intense, chopping material, highlighting an excellent piano part that continues to develop Ice Sculpture's recoiling figures amidst Goldsmith's malevolent string ostinato.

11. End of the City (2:22)
For the score's denouement, Goldsmith follows a magnificent brass fanfare with a haunting, impressionistic version of his love theme that the orchestra passes around in increasingly victorious arrangements, finally climaxing triumphantly on a major cadence by the full orchestra, making this a fitting end to one of the maestro's magnum opuses. Its sound quality suffers from some noticeable mag wow in parts, but it takes nothing away from the listening experience.

12. Love Theme from Logan's Run (2:38)
I couldn't believe I found myself enjoying this - ordinarily, pop arrangements of themes drive me insane. Luckily, there is NO DISCO INFLUENCE AT ALL in this track - in fact, the only pop element is a small percussion backbeat that the orchestra buries. The material is a grandiose piano concerto based on the love theme- the orchestra's strings carry the main melody accompanied by horn clusters and descants, and featuring a piano solo that continually expands on the melody. I haven't really addressed this theme in comments on the rest of the score - truthfully, it's probably one of Jerry's most moving melodies of all time - its passionate, operatic grandeur combined with its awesome feeling of simplicity has hardly every been matched.

NO! It can't be over! 40 minutes is simply not enough of this score to satisfy die-hard Goldsmith fans. It's just as well - I've completely run out of superlatives. Just take my word for it - BUY LOGAN'S RUN! Coma, on the same disc, is another highlight of the composer's career - but that's another review entirely.


Logan's Run: The Final Score
Music Rating 10/10
   
Packaging/Liner Notes 5/10
Sound Quality 6/10
Length 8/10
Orchestral Performance 8/10

Logan's Run is Copyright 2000 by Chapter III.  Review Copyright 2000 by Andrew Drannon.  All Rights Reserved.