Today I’ve been listening to the FSM disc of Ron Grainer’s The Omega Man score. Maybe it was due to listening to the Silent Running score before Christmas, but I’ve been meaning to dig out this CD for several days now, as its another 1970s soundtrack that sounds quite unlike anything else you might hear today. Its funky and jazzy and is sprinkled with elements of pop and orchestral music… its such a melting-pot of different kinds of music it shouldn’t really work but it does. Its also, yes, utterly of the 1970s. Not that this dates it particularly but you always know it’s from some other era entirely from the one we are living in. It feels a little like a time capsule.
There’s a few other CDs in my collection from the 1970s that ‘feel’ rather apart from the John Williams/Jerry Goldsmith/John Barry scores that are likely more fondly remembered from genre films of that decade. Fred Myrow’s Soylent Green score for instance, which shares the kind of folksy, funky sound and jazzy source cues of The Omega Man in places (the ‘Prologue/Opening Music ‘ track is one of my favourite pieces of film music from that entire decade) and Lalo Schifrin’s unrelentingly melancholy score for George Lucas’ THX 1138. These scores and their ‘music of the future’ (at least as they saw it then with limited budgets and orchestra sizes) are, incredibly, fast approaching half a century old now- THX 1138 dates from 1970, The Omega Man 1971 and Soylent Green 1973. Music of the past that used to be the music of the future- it’s a funny thought; odd to think it’s how they thought the future would sound.
I think THX 1138 came closest to sounding like the future- it’s about the perfect soundtrack to world events of January 2017. So dark and depressing… makes the Last Man On Earth of The Omega Man sound distinctly jolly.