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CD: Teen Titans - Trouble in Tokyo (2008)

Review Rating:   Very Good
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La-La Land Records

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July 29, 2008

Tracks / Album Length:

26 tracks / (59:31)



Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis


Special Notes:

8-page colour booklet with liner notes by the composers, and producer Glen Murakami

Comments :    

Having not seen the animated feature film based on the 2003 Teen Titans TV series, one's initial thought would be an action score with plenty of quasi-Asian themes, but the score by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis is a pretty insane, eclectic mix of genre conventions written with great affection for some specific composers and time periods.

While the title cut, “Meet Saico Tek,” is dominated by a heavy electric guitar, the support from strings and trumpet quickly evoke seventies action shows for kids, although crafted with a greater eye on orchestral rock with a broad scope.

“Monster Attack” expands on the retro keyboards briefly heard in the title cut, and the cue is a strong example of creating a momentum for action using a dance rhythm, peppering beats with hollow wooden taps for a bit of obligatory Asian cliché, and breaking up the rhythm with dramatic pauses and trumpet fanfares – the latter an iconic (and delicious) fashion in fifties monster film scores. The cue shifts to a completely different mode with full orchestra performing a heroic march that recalls a bit of Barry Gray, namely his Thunderbirds material.

The march is also the basis for some more melodic cues that slow down the kineticism of the album's first quarter. Some of the best cues are the most simple and gentle, including the brief “Troopers Tour + Robin's Disappointment,” and the lush “Moment Lost,” which probably helped viewers calm down and rest before being jolted by the next batch of action cues, like the guitar and bass-saturated “All You Can East/Boy Troubles” and “Motorcycle Chase,” with its orchestral prog-rock fusion.

“Tokyo's Newest Heroes” closes the album with a bit of eighties pop rock, with heavy synths and keyboards before a fast trumpet fanfare, and the score should please fans of the series who probably didn't get many opportunities to hear the TV scores in longer, meatier incarnations.

In addition to Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (2008), La-Land's parallel release is Batman: Gotham Night.


© 2006 Mark R. Hasan

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