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CD: Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani (1984)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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March 25, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

35 tracks / (56:42)



Roger Limb


Special Notes:

Also available as a digital album and limited vinyl pressing.

Comments :    

Although several of the BBC’s Doctor Who DVDs have featured isolated music scores, Silva Screen’s CD marks one of the rare occasions a full score makes its debut on disc (and limited purple LPs), giving fans an opportunity to hear how well the show’s electronic music holds its own outside of the series.

Roger Limb stays rather exclusively in the realm of traditional suspense scoring, relying on a handful of eerie, cyclical motifs which give the score its momentum. A classic two-note arch forms the score’s main theme, and Limb expands it into extended chords which trail off, punctuated by a synth chime, or layers in a collection of wooden rapping sounds, shakes and scrapes, and light percussion.

Not unlike John Carpenter’s electronic scores, the 56 minutes of music weaves in and out of various states of unease, but there are no extended confrontation cues or singular cathartic moment. Most of Limb’s music is designed to sustain tension, and the strategic nature has most cues end without resolution.

A march (“Doctor Pursued”) is the score’s main action motif, and like Carpenter, Limb adds a throbbing bass line which provides some contrast against the mid-range rapping and arching synthetic strings. The epic “Milk of the Queen Bat” brings the score to a formal close, stitching together all the motifs into a 7 minute cue, but the edited material still mandates a restatement of Ron Grainer’s classic series theme to bring the score to its end.

Most of the cues average less than two minutes, but Limb’s variations and instrumentation emulations provide a decent level of variety in what’s essentially an hour-long suspense suite. Silva’s mastering is clean and, and as fans of the BBC are aware, the score is in straight mono with the lone cue “The Magma Beast” either being the only surviving stereo cue, or a curious exception or experimentation from Limb. Whether it was convention for pre-stereo shows or the BBC’s in-house practices, the music from shows like Edge of Darkness (Eric Claption and Michael Kamen) and Tender is the Night (Richard Rodney Bennett) have only appeared in flat, dry mono recordings.

Limb’s other series contributions include The December Rose (1986), Steam Days (1986), Through the Dragon’s Eye (1989), and Troublemakers (1990).



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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