Thin Red Expanded

thinredost1This may prove to be the soundtrack release of the year. La La Land Records have confirmed a 4-disc set of Hans Zimmer’s gorgeous score for The Thin Red Line is going to be released next week. The film is one of my favourites and so is the soundtrack, so this is great news. Its also, I believe, the last project from the late Nick Redman, and is surely a marvelous way to celebrate him and remember his contributions to film music ( I believe a dedication to him has been added to the inside inlay of covers being reprinted to fix a typo that slipped through, which is a lovely gesture by the label).

There does seem to be a little bit of a backlash though from the film music community. Of the four discs two have been previously released – the soundtrack album and a later compilation of Melanesian chants, of which I think just three are from the film (I have the soundtrack album, naturally, but never bothered with the other). The main draw of course is the full score on the first two discs, hugely expanded from the original album and featuring some alternates. As a souvenir/record of the music this set is fantastic, but some music fans have balked at the high price ($59.98) considering two of the discs are nothing new (albeit they have been remastered). I suppose this is the problem with some releases, especially as there is a tradition of including original album assemblies for completists’ sake (this may be a legal requirement, too, I’m not sure). Most of the time it’s fine, the new material heavily outweighing the old (I’m thinking of the 3-disc Star Trek:TMP set, which included the original 1979 album but that was lost in all the new goodies) but two discs of old/two discs of new, considering the price point of the set,  seems to be annoying some. I think they just need reminding how sublime this score is- its some of the finest music ever written for a film.

thinredost2Foolishly, perhaps, as I have always adored this film and its music I’m pretty much at the ‘whatever the price, I’m in’ set, but it does mean I’ll have to reign in purchasing other stuff (and indeed just cancelled two pre-orders on Amazon). I’d rate this set as one of the biggest, most important and unlikeliest releases ever- up there with the aforementioned 3-disc Star Trek: TMP and 3-disc Conan the Barbarian. These are all releases that, when the actual films came out, you would not have dreamed were possible. I suppose what may be troubling fans is all the rumours of six hours of music cooked up by Zimmer that some had hoped we’d hear something of, and initial word of a 4-disc set for TRL had some -hell, me too- wildly speculating about contents. Well, the final tracklist has brought us back to the real world, but it’s not too shabby at all and really, an expansion of this was so unlikely I still have to pinch myself. There is some utterly gorgeous, beautiful music on this set for the first time.

Unfortunately, I will likely have to wait until March for it to arrive over on these shores- expect a review then!

2 thoughts on “Thin Red Expanded

  1. Matthew Mckinnon

    I like this soundtrack, but I can’t lay down what would probably be around £50 for it, especially when I have 25% of it and wouldn’t listen to another 25% ever.

    I can see why it’s created a stir at that price bracket.

    1. Its probably the only soundtrack I can envisage me spending this kind of money on, to be honest. Curiously, one of the guys at La La Land revealed today that all of the speciality labels have received letters from Sony Music stating that Sony and its subsidiaries will no longer license music titles out to the labels. Two projects that La La Land have been working on with Sony will see releases soon, but work on other titles has been scrapped. As TRL is a Sony Classics title, it seems that it slipped through the net just in time, which makes me feel doubly fortunate that this got a release at all (other recent La La Land titles associated with Sony include CETK and Titanic so there’s some kind of indication how thankful we should be that this didn’t come sooner).

      Its rumoured that this may have something to do with major labels moving away from physical media altogether, and this possibly indicates we may be nearing the end of what has been a great period of film score expansions/releases. It may well be that this niche music genre and its limited editions is just too complicated/expensive re: legalities/licensing etc to justify continued releases. Troubling news, I think, although after Apollo 13 and TRL my wallet could stand a break.

      I hope the film company arms don’t consider similar actions with the boutique video labels like Arrow, Criterion and Eureka regards physical media of their films, now that would be depressing!.

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