Back when Daft Punk weren’t even molecules in their parent’s loins. Before the remake of Tron. Before techno and electro were born – during a weird primeval melting pot phase of experimentation in music, there was a whole canon of 70’s and 80’s sci-fi soundtracks that pushed the boundaries of ambient, electronic and rock music. These soundtracks are mostly obscure. However it’s always fun to discover old music that still sounds good. This article’s inspiration comes courtesy of the always brilliant vinyl-lovers’ wonderland The Vinyl Factory.
I guarantee that this is worthy of your time. If you’re feeling in the mood to be transported to weird and wonderful new places – light up a spliff, have an aperitif and try these out with some good headphones.
(Warner Bros, 1981)
A space western film starring Sean Connery in 1981 with a very similar vibe to the more popular Alien series. Great orchestral and aural foreboding in this one.
John Carpenter & Alan Howarth
Escape From New York (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
(Varèse Sarabande, 1981)
John Carpenter directed and scored this sci-fi cult classic. Modular synths and electronic disco make this a wonderful and timeless 80s score.
(Full Moon, 1982)
Blade Runner is one of the big gifts of the science fiction genre. This soundtrack is such a perfect marriage of storytelling and soundtrack.
Akira (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
A classic of Japanese Anime film, the soundtrack for Akira sounds so fresh it could have been made yesterday. Composer Geino Yamashirogumi used the cutting edge technologies of the time to replicate gamelan and Balinese percussion but the soundtrack is a mix of traditional music styles and synths.
THX 1138 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
(Warner Bros, 1970; reissued by Film Score Monthly, 2003)
Well before Star Wars, George Lucas’s illustrious directorial debut was THX1138. The soundtrack to the film features peculiar sonic landscapes populated by weird sudden sounds and gorgeous harps and flutes. This was before its time and heralded a new era in exciting sci-fi soundtracks and film.
La Planète Sauvage (Bande Sonore Originale)
A weird and surreal French animated sci-fi film where humans are known as ‘Oms’ and live a sad life of domestic servitude to a superior race of alien beings. A bit like the super-trippy, psychadelic jazz parts on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which I also profiled before.