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Soundtrack review: Blade Runner (Vangelis – 1982)

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Soundtrack review: Blade Runner (Vangelis – 1982)

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“Blade runner” is Ridley Scott’s unforgettable 1982 Sci-fi epic about a cop (blade runner, played by Harrison Ford) who has to search and terminate four replicants who have returned to Earth in search of their creator. The movie, inspired by Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids dream of electric sheep” was unlike anything people had seen before and has remained as exciting and fascinating to this day.

Few scores in the history of film music have been as debated, sought after and appreciated as “Blade runner”; the soundscape that Vangelis created to compliment the visual spectacle that Ridley Scott imagined is a landmark in synth music and it’s still one of the highest regarded film music compositions in history. 80s synth music is my favourite genre and Vangelis’ masterpiece is a score I would love to see get an expanded or complete release. Having recently watched the movie again I can say that the fascination for the movie has probably led to the fascination for the music, either as a way to recapture that atmosphere or as a way to clean up the listening experience since in the context of some cuts of the movie there were scenes where the music just didn’t fit right or even interfered with the visual flow. I am talking especially about the use of “Blade runner blues” with it’s permanent harmonica and string like sound over some scenes that didn’t need as much noise.

Right from the main titles the synths start playing that sound that has haunted me and made me come back to this genre as my favourite year after year; the dreamy, melodic and hypnotic vibes that left me speechless the second the vehicle carrying Deckard rose up in traffic and we got to see the city lights. I remember that precise moment the score started in context and even if there were moments when the image and sound didn’t fit, that first moment remains perfect. The music is interrupted in the movie and, as I said, sometimes seems exaggerated and intrusive for certain scenes but in the score album, as a standalone listen, it becomes one of the most rewarding, haunting and memorable musical experiences one could ever go through. Actually, as in the case of the movie, in the right album presentation like this 1994 release because this one flows as if it was one single 54 minute long blissful synth cue. The tracks bleed into one another naturally and once I start this journey I am riding in this imaginary train until it stops; from the dreamy voiceovers from the movie which work perfectly, to the seductive saxophone in “Wait for me” and “Love theme” and the mesmerising and haunting vocals in “Rachel’s song”, every car from this hypnotic neon lit train is filled with emotion and synth magic. This is almost one hour spent in a pod with nothing but my dreams, being slowly subdued by the melancholic and rainy music that Vangelis created.

There have been a hundreds of synth scores synth than and few have come close to being as good as “Blade runner”. This release manages to play like a pocket, musical version of the entire movie; with the voiceovers from the main characters and the continuous flow, if one wanted to fall asleep in the seductive embrace of the “Blade runner” atmosphere he wouldn’t need to watch the movie: this version of the score would be enough.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 54 / 54

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:
Main Titles
Blush Response
Wait For Me
Rachel’s Song
Love Theme
Blade Runner Blues
Memories Of Green
Tales Of The Future
Damask Rose
Blade Runner (End Titles)
Tears In Rain

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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2 Comments

  1. Chris 8th October 2017

    “Vangelis’ masterpiece is a score I would love to see get an expanded or complete release”. I recommend checking out the Esper Edition (you can find it on Youtube). It includes many of the sound effects from the film which were omitted on the 1994 soundtrack. The Esper Edition is among the top 10 most popular bootlegs of all-time on Rate Your Music. Hope that helps.

    Reply
    1. Mihnea Manduteanu 8th October 2017

      Thank you, I will look for it!

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