This is a re-issue of the original film version of Dune's Soundtrack in the form it was originally released in by Polydor in 1984 rather than the PEG version from 1997. This time it is out on heavyweight Spice colored vinyl on Jackpot Records for record store day.
The score was written mainly by Toto with a little help from Brian Eno and mainly played by Toto with The Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Volksoper Choir which is why listening to this album as an album rather than with the film is really like listening to a modern classical album.
While I hadn't seen Dune since the 1980's, I watched it after getting this album to review, so I knew how the music interacts with the images and well I understand totally why David Lynch, the films director, doesn't think the film works as it should, while the music works well as part of the backdrop to this Sci-Fi Fetishistic and highly stylized future Universe that owes as much to Buck Rogers as it does to the drugs and sexual proclivities of the minds behind it, for me it works far better as a stand alone album even with a couple of cues that add the odd verbal interjection.
The soundtrack opens with the opening Prologue from the film that sets up the story and giving way to the lush orchestral opening titles, it's generally very calming and the music harks back more to the Vienna of the 18th and 19th century than it does to a future still thousands of years away.
The first cue to come in is at the start of The Floating Fat Man (The Baron) it feels as much like punctuation in the score as anything and is a nice diversion.
The choral backing of the Volksoper Choir come swirling in for the trip to Arrakis as if you can't fold space without a top notch choir along for the ride as the music builds and falls to denote the arrival on Arrakis and the impending danger well it feels almost like the music wants to be a portentous battle eulogy before the battle has even begun.
The Prophecy Theme that is the only part of the score attributed to Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno has a far more ambient otherworldly feel to it than the rest of the soundtrack. Whereas the Desert theme that follows it is the first time I can hear both Brass and some Synthesizers and some of Steve Lukather's guitar work on a tune that has a quite gently krautrock feel to it and in many ways it's the least neo-classical piece in the soundtrack.
Paul Meets Chani sees things go rather sentimental and romantic with nods to Verdi and Schubert this is a rather calming piece. That continues through Prelude (Take My Hand) before become slightly more spacey ambient sounding on Paul Takes The Water Of Life and this works much better without the visuals from the film, that to be honest I struggled with, mainly due the aspect of the film that no one in it seems to do anything that's at all fun, so no matter how all seeing you may become, if you're not doing it to have a good time or make things better what's the point.
Obviously for Big Battle the drums and percussion come to the fore in a march off to battle and portents of doom in the violins and eventually the choir urging everyone into pointless battle. One of the best bits musically is Paul Kills Feyd with what sounds like bongos tapping out a beat with the strings around it and brass stabs punctuating every now and then and just enough doom to let you know something bad happens to this music.
Then it's time for us all to drift off to sleep to the Final Dream a nicely lulling into slumber or peaceful contemplation. Before the closing credits roll and Take My Hand finishes the album with what is the closest thing on here to what you might normally expect to hear from Toto with a widdly guitar part and some nice piano and tambourine leaving us to wonder if anyone who survived the battles in this film ever got to have some fun afterwards.
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