It’s a strange thing when the most famous piece of music on a soundtrack is not only not by the composer, but also credited to a different act altogether. It’s not exactly unheard of for KPM library music to turn up in the strangest of places, but the piece with which Dark Star is most closely associated, “When Twilight Falls on NGC 891,” by Martin Segundo and the Scintilla Strings, is actually a library cut by James Clarke under the rather benign name of “Spring Bossa.”
John Carpenter’s score is part and parcel with the movie -- quite literally, actually. This is a remastered version of the original 1980 LP release, wherein music, dialogue, and sound effects from the 1974 sci-fi black comedy are all strung together in a “theater of the mind” kind of thing. It’s a film on record, basically. If you’re a fan of the film, it’s a grand affair, but otherwise, it’s a little weird. Films on record always end up being slightly disorienting, if you’re not as familiar with the movie as you’d like.
The real appeal to this release is the bonus 7-inch on red vinyl, which contains full versions of the three tracks heard on the LP, ready for you to spin at your next party. Be it the country rock of "Benson Arizona" by Dominik Hauser, or Alan Howarth’s “Ode to a Bell Jar,” along with the aforementioned Martin Segundo track, the 7-inch is really where it’s at.
Strangely, though, the entire PR for this release touted the inclusion of “endless loops of sound effects from the movie to turn your house into your very own scout ship” on that 7-inch, but there’s none to be heard on the copy we have. There’s a great audio version of the film’s trailer, which is absolutely grand, but we were certainly looking forward to getting weird and freaking out our cats with those audio effects.
Dark Star has a great cover, though, with a great inner sleeve, as well. Other than that, it’s pretty light on additional materials -- as per usual with WRWTFWW -- but the audio contained on the release is so spectacular and so much in demand, one’s simply over the moon just being able to have it in an affordable form, regardless of liner notes or bonuses -- and, really, we probably would’ve paid what the LP cost just for the 7-inch.
DARK STAR (1974) / COMPOSER: JOHN CARPENTER / LABEL: WE RELEASE WHATEVER THE FUCK WE WANT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW