Along with "Chariots of Fire", "Blade Runner" is probably Vangelis' most famous score, and the one most people immediately associate with his name. Twenty Five years later it is difficult to appreciate quite what an impact this movie and its soundtrack had. A reworking of author Philip K Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" it treated the Science Fiction genre seriously for perhaps the first time in a big budget movie. The movie's "look" or style was an important part of its overall impact, and this goes hand in hand with the soundtrack in painting a plausible future earth with a mixing of cultures, seemingly constant rain caused by climate change, interplanetary travel, the extinction of many species of animal, and artificially created life including replacement animals and humans (the androids of the book's title). The music conveys all these elements wonderfully with a particular mixing of film noir for Harrison Ford's detective "Blade Runner", the mundane aspects of life little changed in this vision of the future, together with an ambivalence towards the extraordinary technology which permeates the cityscape which is the setting for most of the story.
For the movie's 25th anniversary, director Ridley Scott has now released a definitive "Final Cut" of the movie on DVD and Vangelis has released a 3 CD special celebration of the soundtrack. CD 1 is the same as the remastered original soundtrack which was released back in 1994, which many soundtrack enthusiasts may already have in their collections. CD 2 is the album which Blade Runner and Vangelis fans have been waiting for. It contains additional music from the film which wasn't included on the previous soundtrack album, and some bonus material (the tracks "One Alone" and "Desolation Path") which were written for the movie but not actually used in the film. CD 3 will also be of interest to Vangelis fans and Blade Runner fans since it consists of entirely new material, with some remixes and resampling from the film score and spoken contributions from Ridley Scott and others film makers and celebrities.
The vast majority of film music collectors will be very satisfied by the contents of Special Anniversary collection, containing as it does previously unreleased material from the film and completely new though celebratory tracks by Vangelis. A small numbers of fans have expressed some disappointment that Disc 2 doesn't contain every single second of film score from the movie, but that must be considered a minor criticism indeed given the wealth of music split over the three discs. This recommended soundtrack is available now from most record stores and at the following online links where the music can be previewed: Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. (The director's "Final Cut" of the movie is available on DVD at Amazon.com (Region 1) and Amazon.co.uk (Region 2), with trailer and promotional material about the "Final Cut" at bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com. Full track listings of the three CDs are provided below.
We had the opportunity to ask Vangelis 5 questions via email in relation to the anniversary album:
1. Can you explain your musical background and experience as a film composer at the time you were asked to work on Bladerunner.
Until that time I was an established solo recording artist and, as a film composer, I had composed plenty of soundtracks for TV and also the score for the film Chariots of Fire.
2. Bladerunner the film and its music are to many people considered as a classic which has influenced subsequent generations. However the historical significance of its groundbreaking innovations are not well understood by today's generations. In your own words can you describe how you came to be involved in the project.
I was drawn to it due to the prophetic aspect of the subject matter and its amazing adaptation into film by Ridley Scott.
3. How did the film noir style come about during the writing of the score. Did you hit the right mood immediately or did it require some experimentation? And what is the significance of the pop techno sound of the end titles?
My approach is always instinctive and direct. As for the rest you are mentioning, that all comes once the music has been created, not before.
4. Did Bladerunner change the direction of your career and in which way?
For myself, nothing changed whatsoever. What changed, as usually happens in these cases, were the attitudes of the people around me.
5. How did the idea of an anniversary album come about, and what was your approach to the 3rd CD?
It was mainly to celebrate the 25th anniversary. The approach was to continue in the same path as the pre-existing music, occasionally using segments from the original score.