Over the last couple of months, TrekCore has been covering the release of La-La Land Records' complete soundtrack collection release of Star Trek: The Original Series. If you've missed it, check out our interviews with three of the producers on the set - Neil S. Bulk, Lukas Kendall and Jeff Bond. You can also see a full track listing from the set as well as a large number of sample tracks. To wrap up our coverage, here's the full TrekCore review of the set.
Star Trek: The Original Series The Complete Soundtrack
Published by La-La Land Records • 15 CDs
Limited Edition of 6000 Units
17 hours, 23 minutes
It only takes a few notes of the Star Trek Original Series fanfare to conjure up mental images of the Enterprise and her crew getting ready for another adventure. The music is not only iconic, but historic. Simple yet strong melodies have inspired countless musicians, have been parodied throughout the years and dearly cherished by Star Trek's fans.
Perhaps it's a bit of nostalgia, but the lighthearted tones and the whimsical melodies are capable of conveying a strong image to even those who have never seen the series before.
This is the set that Star Trek fans have been dreaming of for over 40 years. The minefield of music licensing, royalties and copyrights had made such a project far too much of a financial risk for the majority of record labels, but La-La Land took the mugato by its horn and set about putting together this dream of a collection. Years in development, the producers of the set have worked tirelessly to ensure every note from all 80 original episodes is included in the best possible quality.
This daunting task of fulfilling a complete soundtrack has been masterfully done. Nothing has been cut out, every song from every episode is included and care for integrity is obvious. Even the most dedicated fans will not be left wanting more or questioning the integrity of the collection. Finding the exact recordings that were used must have been a difficult project, but discrepancies aren't present, even throughout all 15 discs.
What's especially exciting for fans are the extra takes and source music, since they've never been released before. For the first time, fans can listen to outtakes and retakes from songs they've heard countless times. Even recordings of sound effects that were never used -- such as a collection of ideas for sound effects for tribbles.
Even after over 40 years, it's amazing the sound quality is so pristine and more importantly, that the original music has even survived at all. One would expect the tracks to have a bit of background noise, but it's rarely present and almost every track is completely clear with amazing quality. That's a testament to the fact that the team went back to the original reels, diligently transferring them and enlisting the help of a global team to ensure the best possible sound quality. The majority of tracks are presented in mono sound, however fans can delight in listening to tracks from "The City on the Edge of Forever" in stereo, a true rarity for television from that time period.
Because original cue sheets have also been preserved, the original names of each title are available. Humorous titles like "Zap the Cap", "Music to Dent Force Fields By" and "The Unreal McCoy" are an interesting look into the composer's production process, while other titles like "The Crew That Was", a track from the episode "The Doomsday Machine", gives a harrowing reminder of what became of Commodore Decker's crew.
Star Trek's more dedicated fans will be able to determine which episode each track is from, if not the exact moment. Without referring to the physical packaging, it can often be difficult to figure out which episodes certain tracks pertain to. However fear not, the collection is accompanied by 4 wonderfully detailed booklets with notes from producer Jeff Bond. The liner notes are full of painstakingly researched information from the names of original musicians to factoids about cues and composers.
When the scores are listened to independently from the show, one can truly appreciate the merits of the theatrical, whimsical and distinct melodies. Iconic songs like that from the famous fight scene in "Amok Time" are easy examples. Imagery of conflict or anxiety is inescapable.
The set is housed in an elegant black box containing three CD boxes, each containing one season. The spine of the box sports a striking metallic effect logo of the Enterprise's top profile blueprint inside the Starfleet delta. Every part of the design of this set screams luxury at you.
The box holds four booklets, one housed separately (review set copy shown here signed by composer Gerald Fried, retail copies are not available signed) and one enclosed in each respective season case. Bookets sport imagery of the original Enterprise (not remastered) and each disc features a different character.
There's no questioning the fact that at $225 the set is a considered purchase, but when you do the math that's still just $15 a CD and more than worth the expense in my opinion. The financial commitment on La-La Land's part has clearly been considerable given the huge number of people and entities who needed paying to make the set a possibility, so any cries of "screwing the fans" would be incredibly unjust for these guys. Based on the sheer amount of work that's gone into this, I would humbly suggest it's worth every cent and then some.
Overall? I can't recommend this set enough. It's been my absolute pleasure to pore through track after track, reliving episodes in my head as I go. The attention to detail, quality and completeness is astounding and I'm thrilled beyond measure that La-La Land managed to beat all the odds and put this set out for fans the world over. It's an absolute gem of a collection, and I shall enjoy it for years to come. Bravo!
You can order the set from La-La Land's website here. Numbers are limited to 6,000 copies.