This volume turns our attention to the work of Russell Stone.
The music presented here comes from the first three stories
that the composer worked on: Red Dawn, Winter for the Adept
and The Holy Terror. The device of prefacing each selection
with dialogue extracts from the relevant story makes a return
after being absent from Volume II, helping to remind the listener
of the music's original context.
Dawn opens with optimistic and self-consciously synthesised
signatures to accompany that story's manned mission to Mars.
These distinctly '80s sounds evoke both the television era
of the star, Peter Davison, and the pre-Challenger
glory days of human space exploration. Before long, however,
hollow-sounding percussion announces the unwavering military
presence of the Martian Ice Warriors. The decidedly funky
final track from this story, "Countdown to Destruction", ultimately
lifts the mood again.
contrast to the deliberate artifice of Red Dawn's space-age
sounds, Winter for the Adept opens with - and is pervaded
by - the more down-to-earth and soulful strains of the piano.
During this pseudo-ghost story, the instrument is used just
as effectively to convey mournful melancholy and, later on,
Halloween-style tension. Elsewhere, a shrill synthesiser
suggests both the freezing conditions beyond the walls of
the Alpine finishing school (in much the same way that Dominic
Glynn's score for Dragonfire helped to lower the temperature
of Iceworld) and the presence of ethereal "spirits".
solemn drum; a tolling bell; eerie choral samples; and gently
plucked strings open the selection from The Holy Terror.
The bizarre setting of this elaborate and inventive tale is
matched by the eclectic mixture of sounds. Many passages feel
creepy, while others convey sorrow and regret. Such emotions
are later offset by the tinkling chimes that accompany the
Child - the delicate chimes are deliberately out of place,
imparting the sense that something is not quite right about
this supposedly innocent boy.
his sleeve notes for the CD, Stone expresses the belief that
his music is "inseparable from the dialogue and situations
that inspired it". Very little of it stands alone as memorable
music in its own right, which is rather peculiar considering
that it was written for an entirely aural medium in the first
as Stone goes on: "If listening to this CD makes you want
to go back to the original stories and enjoy them all over
again, then I will know I have hit the right note." This is
certainly the case with the haunting themes of Winter for
the Adept and The Holy Terror - and I didn't even
enjoy Winter that much the first time around! In this
regard, the collection can be considered a success.