AUDIO REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO ORIGINAL TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK: BEST OF SERIES ONE THROUGH SEVEN / COMPOSER: MURRAY GOLD / LABEL: SPACELAB9 / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Ever since Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, Murray Gold’s score has become almost as celebrated as the theme tune he reworked. While lead actors and show-runners have changed, his incidental music has remained a constant bedrock. Condensing seven series worth of his work into one 14-track best-of picture disc vinyl isn’t an easy feat, but watching Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith’s faces rotate at 33 revolutions per minute on this limited-edition release, STARBURST were overjoyed by the results.
Naturally, the LP begins with his rearranged version of the Doctor Who theme. Originally composed by Ron Grainer, it remains one of the best theme tunes of all-time (and relative dimensions in space). From there, the backbone of the record is the numerous motifs written for the various assistants and companions, spanning the period from Rose Tyler to Amy Pond. But it’s the one-note piano introduction to the melancholic Doomsday that stays with you. Haunting and menacing, the chugging violin coupled with the extraterrestrial vocal recalls Muse at their most destructive. The hymn-like Vale Decem, which soundtracked the final moments of the Tenth Doctor’s life, brings the first side to a close, before side two kicks off with the majestic I Am The Doctor – which reminds us that an understated theme can be as solid and memorable as one with huge, bombastic orchestration.
When the rolling Together Or Not At All’ (designed to reflect the love of Amy and Rory Pond) makes way for the crescendo of The Long Song – the “lullaby without end” sung to feed the Old God and keep him asleep in the series seven episode The Rings of Akhaten - it’s hard not to admire the imagination and scope of it all. The tracklisting follows the chronology of the Who timeline, eliciting your favourite series’ memories, so once the last notes ring out, it’s difficult to decide whether to listen again or reach for the box-sets.
Technically, the release is bang on the money with minimal noise created by the super glossy and crisp, defined print. Although, due to the strictly limited edition nature of this release, we can’t imagine these hanging around on the shelves of the US chain Hot Topic for very long.
In fact, if the vinyl proves anything, it’s that the music contained here has been just an integral part of the success of the Who reboot as the Daleks or Cybermen. That said, you don’t have to be Fez-owning devotee of the Whoniverse or even know what the Happiness Patrol is to enjoy this dynamic collection of compositions.