Battle of The Planets
Original Television Soundtrack

Composers: Hoyt Curtin and Bob Sakuma
Silva Screen
RRP £14.95
Available 18 October 2004

Battle of the Planets first aired on British TV sets in 1978. It originally started out in 1972 as a Japanese anime series known as Gatchaman. Modified for Western audiences, the show, which was also known as G-Force, mixed snippets of the original Japanese series with new material to tell the story of five transmuting orphans, and their guardian robot, as they fought evil aliens in an intergalactic battle...

This two CD digipack set contains almost two hours worth of music from the cult animated TV series Battle of the Planets. I have to admit that when I first heard that this album was going to be released I was really excited - a bit like when I heard that the episodes were going to be coming out on DVD. I started listening to this soundtrack and soon realised that the anticipation had been more exciting than the finished product. The opening theme and 7-Zark-7's theme where about all that I instantly remembered from being an eight year old glued to the television set every Saturday morning.

There were too many tracks that featured the (oh, so dated) inclusion of 'wacca-wacca' guitar rifs. So, I only listened to a couple of tracks and then decided that I couldn't stomach any more and put it aside for a few days.

However, when I put the album on again, apart from the 'wacca-wacca' tracks, I really enjoyed the music that was included. There is such a diverse range of tracks here. From pounding drum based anthems (Fighter G) to battle music (Space Chase) to mild, mellow tracks (Red Illusion), and suspenseful scores (Countdown).

It was also interesting to learn, thanks to the enclosed 16 page booklet, that Bob Sakuma wrote and recorded the original music for Gatchaman in less than ten days. In fact, the music that would eventually support the show for over 100 episodes was recorded in just five hours.

Hoyt Curtin's additional work, that would help supplement Sakuma's original score, only took 10 days to compose. However, the entire music library for the project was still not complete as the first episodes of Battle of the Planets began to air to a Western audience.

The music is split into two CDs. The first includes Curtin's music and the second showcases Sakuma's. I was confused as to why Curtin seems to get top billing here (both on the front of the CD and in the booklet). While I'm sure most people will remember the theme for Battle of the Planets, all Curtin really did was take numerous cues, and expand on them, from Sakuma - at least that's how it seems listening to these tracks.

It is (with the exception of the Battle of the Planets main theme) Sakuma's work that has aged more gracefully. Curtin's score is certainly a product of its time and, in places, seems very dated.

For all of us that grew up on Battle of the Planets, eagerly anticipating each episode at the weekend, this album is a great way to recapture some of our youth. It certainly puts work on some of the more modern kid's shows to shame.

Darren Rea

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