Bentley Ousley is a full-time Computer Systems Engineer and part-time Music Producer. He has composed music for clients such as Levi’s, Stetson, Jeep and Blu-Blocker Sunglasses. He lives in Kansas City, MO with his lovely wife of 15 years, Lisa, and 2 and ½ cats ("we feed a stray who hasn’t decided whether or not he wants to be adopted"). On new-moon weekends, you might find him in the country pursuing his hobby of amateur astronomy, and if you listen carefully you might discover that the background music playing while he trains his telescope on a star cluster or nebula is a very rare version of the "Blade Runner" soundtrack.
Disclaimer: Bootlegs are illegal. Any information presented in this article is in no way meant as an endorsement of illegal copying or other violations of copyright law. Many of the releases mentioned in this article are very rare. With some, only a few exist in the world. They were produced for archival purposes in very limited quantities. I can’t help you obtain copies of this material, so please don’t email me asking me where you can get them. If you wish to pursue these releases, some of the more common items will appear on eBay occasionally (these are usually severely overpriced). You might also investigate some of the ‘Vangelis Trader’ sites. There is a Russian website offering discs of mp3 files for several of the rare discs. I can’t advocate purchasing bootlegged foreign mp3 files. As a cautionary example (for edification purposes only, of course), toward the end of the article, I will give you a clue that may help you locate the website. Morally (and legally) you are on your own.
In the Beginning...
My descent into the abyss began in 1994. I was contracted to write original music to match a storyboard for a trade-show film by an advertising agency representing Girbaud Jeans (remember them?). The concept of the film was very dark and futuristic. My instructions for composing the music were pretty straight-forward: "Do something similar to the mood of the soundtrack for the movie ‘Blade Runner’."
I’m a science fiction fan. I had seen the movie when it first appeared in 1982 and remembered being very impressed with three things:
- Sean Young made me look at brunettes in a brand new light.
- The soundtrack cue as the Spinner carrying Gaff and Deckard approached the Tyrell pyramid really excited me.
- The theatre audience seemed oddly bewildered at the end of the film.
I had also seen the Director’s Cut recently and thought I had a feel for what the agency people were looking for. I picked up a copy of the recently released soundtrack and listened through it a couple of times. The sound was gorgeous coming through the monitors at the studio. This was one well-produced record. I put together a series of cues for the tradeshow film. The ad agency was pleased. They wrote me a check. I continued with my life. The soundtrack CD was lying around the studio and I found myself using it as background music when I was repairing cables or rewiring patch bays or any other of a number of mindless busy-work projects. This soundtrack really gets under your skin after a few listens. I was hooked.
I started looking for similar soundtracks by Vangelis. This led to searches on the Internet for related information concerning the soundtrack of the film. I soon discovered that there was a very intriguing and tortured history surrounding the production of this particular film (and soundtrack), which also fed my interest.
Vangelis recorded the soundtrack to Blade Runner at his Nemo Studio (London) in 1982. He recorded scores for a number of other films there also, including "Chariots of Fire," for which he won an Oscar. Vangelis works by layering his performances onto a multitrack recorder, playing virtually every musical part himself, a practice he continues even with technology offering more sophisticated ways of composing. One of the staples of his sound during that period was the Yamaha CS80 Analog Synthesizer. The CS80 can be heard on nearly every cue in the Blade Runner Soundtrack. The CS80 was one of the first synthesizers to offer performance features that allowed for a great deal of musical expression (some say the CS80 has yet to be equaled in this regard.) In the hands of Vangelis it certainly becomes a seriously impressive sonic vehicle. In the case of Blade Runner, it is the emotional score that seems to breath life into what might otherwise be a cold, steely, technological landscape. For an in-depth article on the Nemo Studio and the production of the Blade Runner soundtrack check out this fine article by Matt Lord.
Vangelis’ official soundtrack for Blade Runner wasn’t released until 12 years after the release of the film, building a lot of interest in the Vangelis score. This led to a menagerie of releases related to the soundtrack - some legitimate, some not. Here are the items that I consider the cornerstones of the long, tortured history of the Blade Runner soundtrack, presented in order of their release.
|See You Later - 1980 Polydor
This Album was released prior to the release of the film. It was the first release of soundtrack material used in the film. The cut ‘Memories of Green’ was used as underscore for the scene where Deckard is demonstrating to Rachel that her memories are implanted. He does this by describing memories she possesses which only she should know. The ‘Green’ of the song title seems to refer to a description of a memory regarding a spider with ‘…orange body, green legs…’ I’ve read that this CD was released before Vangelis was hired to do the soundtrack and that the title of the song is strictly coincidental with the action on the screen. In my opinion, this is too much of a coincidence to accept. Soundtrack cues are often named for pieces of dialog that occur near the cue and this title fits much too well to be coincidental. Early editions of the script were available in early 1980. Perhaps Vangelis got an advance look at the script to peak his interest and was inspired by this image. Who knows? By the way, the spider incident was related as a true-life story from actress Barbara Hersey (originally considered for the part of Rachel) to Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher, so it isn’t possible that the screenwriter wrote dialog inspired by the title of an existing Vangelis track.
This bootleg, the first of many, appeared prior to the release of the film. The track list and times for the cuts that I have seen posted look very similar to the Off World Music 1993 release. I have never heard or seen this bootleg, but I understand that the quality was dodgy at best, with shrill highs and distortion in the bass. In fact, I have often wondered (because of the similarity of material plus the limited fidelity) if the soundtrack cues from this cassette bootleg and the Off World Music bootleg come from the same clandestine dubs. Pictures I’ve seen of the Cassette Bootleg show a clear-shell cassette with a white, typed label with the words "Blade Runner" printed on the front.
|New American Orchestra - 1982
This title actually contains none of the Vangelis underscore from the movie. This album, which was released to correspond with the release of the film by the movie studio, contains tracks that have been transcribed from the original Vangelis cuts and re-performed by studio musicians. ‘Why didn’t they just release the original score?’, you ask. Who knows? Some sources report a conflict between Ridley Scott and Vangelis concerning the use of third-party-composed material in the finished film. Some say that Vangelis’ plate was so full that he lacked the time to compile the soundtrack and was unwilling to relinquish contractual control to the studio (giving the studio the ability to complete the soundtrack with the original cues). This seems to be a real mystery.
A few clues, though, point to an uncooperative Vangelis:
- The studio was obviously hot to release something or they wouldn’t have gone to the expense to recreate the soundtrack.
- The studio obviously would have preferred to release the original score -- much less expensive than the re-creation.
- The material was obviously available in completed form (how else could you account for the bootlegs.)
So… the only possible reason I can imagine for the studio to ‘recreate’ a complete soundtrack from scratch was because they were withheld the legal authority to release the original (Just my two Lincolns). At any rate, when the film did poorly at the box office there was little incentive for Vangelis to complete an original soundtrack for an unpopular movie.
This title is a mixed bag in terms of quality. I really have to give the people who transcribed the Vangelis performances credit, on the one hand. They paid close attention to the musical structure of the compositions. This is particularly noteworthy considering that since Vangelis neither reads nor writes music, any transcriptions had to be created by ear. Where they fail is in recreating the subtle electronic background noises and fill that have no equivalent in a studio orchestra. There are several high points on this release but also many failures. The most ridiculous attempted facsimile is during either of the ‘End Title’ pieces (Yes, there are two!). Dig that campy, Wa-Wa guitar. This guy sounds as if he just finished the soundtrack for Shaft. There is also a horn section fill that sounds like it could belong in a car chase scene on ‘Manix’. Ha! That kills me every time I hear it. Oh well, that’s Hollywood.
|Themes - 1989 Polydor
Vangelis has a history of not releasing film soundtracks. He packaged some of his most popular film themes from previous scores with previously unreleased tracks to satisfy some of the demand for his most sought-after soundtracks. This release contained three cuts used in the "Blade Runner" film: "End Titles"- as the name implies, was used as the titles rolled at the end of the film. I’ve heard the argument made that this cut is the first example of what was eventually called ‘Techno.’ With the throbbing bass synth and dark theme it certainly wouldn’t seem out of place at a dance club (well, maybe with a drum loop underneath). "Love Theme" was used to underscore Deckard and Rachael’s romantic interludes - a beautiful piece featuring a great saxophone solo by Dick Morrisey. This piece really complements the futuristic/film noir theme of the film. "Memories of Green" was discussed earlier in "See You Later."
|Private Release - 1990 FIC
This is an extremely rare version of the soundtrack. This is the only other version (the other being the original Cassette Bootleg) that I have been unable to hear personally. Although I have heard releases that are derived primarily from this version, I am reliant on information I have received from sources that are familiar with this release. Only five numbered copies of this two-disc, archival release exist. The origin of this release is interesting. This soundtrack contains the complete underscore and sound effects for the complete original theatrical release. My sources say that this release was created from an audio dub of the film that was produced for foreign language markets. In order to speed the dubbing of multiple languages for foreign release; a complete underscore and sound effects dub was created (basically all sound except the dialog, which was then added in the particular foreign language.) At the end of disc two is the soundtrack (minus dialog) for the original theatrical trailer.
|Off World Edition - 1993 Off World Music
This release is probably one of the most sought after of the Blade Runner soundtracks. Two thousand copies of this disk where manufactured. It offers professional-looking graphics and passable, although flawed, sound quality. My sources say that the original tracks on this release where the original mixes of the Vangelis tracks used to create the ‘Directors Cut’ remix, along with a vinyl recording of a non-Vangelis track (Gail Laughton’s "Harps of the Ancient Temples" - listen carefully and you can hear the clicks and pops of the LP), and an unknown source for ‘If I Didn’t Care’ (not used in the original theatrical release because of licensing problems). Whoever made the clandestine dubs of these jewels got the levels a little hot and as a result there is some audible low-frequency distortion on three of the cuts. It is probably most notable on ‘Main Titles and Prologue.’ I can just imagine someone quickly trying to make these dubs on the sly without getting caught. It was definitely worth the risk, even with the distortion.
The cover booklet that comes with this CD has several pages of text and photographs concerning the film and soundtrack. It states in the booklet that the original soundtrack was unreleased because of a conflict between Ridley Scott and Vangelis over non-Vangelis composed source material. Many sources have labeled this claim as pure conjecture, but as of this time, the principles involved have offered no detailed explanation.
|Synthesizer Soundtracks - 1994 Silva Treasury
OK, so this isn’t exactly what you would call a ‘cornerstone’ of the ‘Blade Runner’ soundtrack history - I include it only for completeness. This is a compilation of various movie themes which obviously hoped to capitalize on the Director’s Cut release in 1994 by naming itself for the film. Don’t be fooled by the name Vangelis on the cover, the one "Blade Runner" related track on the release (End Titles - Complete Version) is actually performed by someone named Mark Ayers. Mr. Ayers has obviously done his homework. He turns in a very good facsimile of the original Vangelis track. In fact, he does a better job of copying Vangelis than the folks hired by the studio to do the New American Orchestra version.
|Official Release - 1994 Atlantic/Warner Brothers
Finally, here’s a release with terrific sound quality, but it comes at a price. This release has some issues. There are pieces of dialog from the movie that are used over the top of the score on the beginning of some tracks. The voiceovers are a little distracting and, in every case except for ‘Tears in Rain’, have nothing to do with the placement of underscore in the film.
I was curious about the source of the dialog and assumed that the movie studio had sent dialog-only recordings for Vangelis to use. A chance observation changed my opinion. If you listen carefully, you can hear the original underscore for the ‘Deckard meets Rachel’ scene underneath the new fill music that was added to the cut "Blush Response". Suddenly the dialog strategy made sense. Vangelis used dialog he copied from the actual movie. Thus, it was necessary to either choose scenes where there was no underscore (as is the case with the intro-dialog for "Main Titles" and "Wait for Me"), scenes where the original underscore could be buried under new music (as in "Blush Response"), or scenes where the dialog exactly matches the underscore (as in "Tears in Rain"). Vangelis chose to embellish some of the original tracks with intros and endings in order to tie together the mood of some of the tracks (this may also be related to the dialog placement) - totally unnecessary; in my opinion the tracks stand by themselves.
Speaking of original tracks, there are four tracks here that appeared nowhere in the movie. The track ‘Rachel’s Song’ was reportedly recorded for the film but never used. I was a little skeptical of this because of the similarity in timbre to more recently recorded tracks. But upon further investigation discovered that Mary Hopkin (the vocalist on this cut - that’s right, the same one who had the 60’s hit ‘Those Were the Days’) had, indeed, recorded her part in 1982 (one of Mary Hopkin’s fans has a website that logs all of the studio sessions and live performances of her entire career). Although the track may have been enhanced, the basis of the track had, in fact, been the film. The other new cuts are obviously new tracks composed specifically for this release (or radically enhanced tracks that might as well have been created for this release). I like the new cuts. I just wish he hadn’t chosen to include them instead of other tracks that where actually in the film. I really dislike this kind of revisionist history of the sound track. But then again, any new Vangelis is good.
|Romanian - 1995 Gongo
This release is obviously an attempt to capitalize on the rarity of the Off World Music 1993 release. It basically reproduces the tracks of the OWM release in a slightly more professionally mastered format. It drops the version of "If I Didn’t Care" and the soundtrack for the original theatrical trailer and adds the source for the Blimpvert \Japanese Women’s Blimp Song. The release is supposedly limited to 3000 copies, although it is unnumbered and thus hard to verify. It allegedly comes from Romania and all of the text - including the track titles - are in Romanian. It was most likely produced for the US market with the import tact used to keep the producers out of court. I bought this release when it was still available on commercial websites for $25.
|Westwood Computer Game - 1996 Westwood
Some will find this an interesting choice for an article on Blade Runner soundtracks, but I must include it if for no other reason than completeness. Vangelis performs none of the music in this game but the composer obviously spent a great deal of time and effort in a very reverential treatment of the feel of this soundtrack. The pieces recreated from Vangelis performances are done so with extreme detail and subtlety. The new pieces are generally spot-on for maintaining the mood of the original film. Even though the underscore when playing the game is obscured with sound effects, there are sites on the net that offer versions of the cues extracted directly from the sound files from the game. The files themselves are limited in dynamic range and frequency response and offered in mono instead of stereo in order to conserve disc space. They still work great in the context of the game.
|Themes 2 - 1997 PolyGraph
Themes 2 is a bootleg that tried to take advantage of the success of the first Themes release. It looks very official, even using the same typeface and cover art design as the original. There is one Blade Runner related cut contained in this release: "I Dreamt Music," which is credited on the CD insert as "taken directly from the soundtrack of the preview test version of the film." I take this to mean that this piece was taken from the infamous work-print that contained a partially completed score. This track also contains dialog and sound effects in addition to the musical cue. This is a very interesting piece. You hear the dialog from the part of the movie where Rachel is playing the piano and Deckard wakes and joins Rachel at the piano, where he proceeds to ‘put the moves on her.’ The musical underscore is completely different from the theatrical releases. Even the piano piece that Rachel is playing is different. The piano piece heard here is in a minor key (as opposed to the major key piece heard in the theatrical release) and has a very different feel. This ‘Love Theme’ is much more of a musical-wallpaper-type piece, with no saxophone or really any lead instrument at all. Just a wash of synth pads. A side note on this release: The lead track on this disc, Main Theme from "Sex Power" starts with a percussion part that sounds remarkably similar to the beginning of the "Animoid Row" cue from the movie. Another cut, the theme from the film "Francesco", sounds remarkably similar to some of the more dramatic cues used for "Blade Runner."
|Memoirs Volume 4 - 1997 FIC
This is actually a bootleg soundtrack for two films: the Vangelis-scored film "Bittermoon" and "Blade Runner." The cues from "Blade Runner" are identical to the ones on "Memoirs Volume 5," only fewer.
|Memoirs Volume 5 - 1997 FIC
This is another extremely rare release. Only 20 numbered copies exist. "Memoirs Volume 5" is basically an edited version of the FIC release. Its producers were a little more selective about the material they used in order to make the program fit on one disc. This disc basically contains the audio portions of scenes from the movie (including score and sound effects) without dialog. It recreates the vibe of the film very well. One disadvantage of this release is the fact that you hear the score exactly as edited for the film, and as such, in smaller pieces than other sources.
|Special Edition - 1999 Deck Music (Japan)
AKA Deck Music Version/AKA The Japanese Edition/AKA "Memoirs 7." This version of the soundtrack fetched the second highest price on eBay that I have seen for any Blade Runner soundtrack - $810 (No, it wasn’t me who paid that much.) Needless to say, this is another extremely rare release. Only 100 numbered copies exist. This release, at its core, is a re-edited, re-mastered version of "Memoirs Volume 5," with a few noticeable exceptions. It contains a segue into "Rachel’s Song" at the point in the soundtrack where Rachel is beginning her Voigt-Kampff interview. The alternate version of Rachel playing the piano (minor key instead of major) is presented. This particular piece is remarkable, since (my sources tell me) this piece of music existed only in the workprint. This version is one of my favorites. The sound quality is great. It really establishes the mood of the film.
|Westwood Edition - 2000 Skinjob
This is another extremely rare release. Only 10 numbered copies exist. This release is primarily a soundtrack for the Westwood video game. When I obtained this disc I was expecting something akin to the quality of the sound within the game. Mono, limited frequency response (they do that in the game to save disc space). Boy, was I wrong. My source for this disc told me that this release was made from the original master recordings for the game. It is full stereo, with full dynamic range and frequency response. This disc also contains a version of ‘Blade Runner Blues’ credited as performed by Vangelis. The disc also credits Vangelis with the version of "Love Theme contained in this release, but if you listen carefully you can tell it is actually just a very accurately copied version by the games soundtrack composer (the synthy sax sound is the giveaway).
|Definitive Edition - 2000 Off World Music
This is another extremely rare release. Only 100 numbered copies exist. This release uses what are considered some of the best available sources to create probably the most complete version of the soundtrack currently available. It spans three CDs, including the bonus disc. This version succeeds splendidly, for the most part, with a few things that could have been done better. Disc 1 and 2 attempt to weave together the best sources using clever editing techniques in order to create the ultimate Blade Runner soundtrack.
When I first heard the Main Titles on this collection, I thought I was listening to a brand new mix of the Vangelis source material. It seemed to address all of the complaints I had with previous versions. No bass distortion, no voiceover dialog, no sound effects, and the track is presented in its entirety with impeccable sonic clarity. As I listened to the disc more carefully I began to realize how this was accomplished. The "Main Titles" sequence actually uses an amalgamation of two audio sources with nearly undetectable edits in order to create the illusion of the perfect version. The OWM version (or the slightly brightened but identical Gongo version) is used for the opening of the track. This includes the solo synth and bass drum part omitted by the official release, while eliminating the distracting voiceover present in the official release. It transitions to the official release version just in time to avoid the bass distortion inherent in the OWM bootleg. A transition is constructed at the end, back to the OWM version. This allows the ‘Main Titles’ piece to end as it does in the film and not segue into the unrelated piece ‘November 2019’ as it does on the official release. This edit is very well thought-out and executed and I have to give credit to an ingenious idea.
I only wish that all edits on this disc were as subtle. There are several tracks that seem to end abruptly. Kind of curious, given the obvious thought that went into to this collection. Several of the seemingly new versions of obscure cues are, in fact, cleverly extended loops from the FIC, Memoirs, or Japanese editions. These include cues used for the "Animoid Row", "Snake Pit Bar", and "Zhora’s Dance Music" scenes. There is also a cue with sound effects for the Leon VK interview that seems to exist on no other source. Could this be a cue from the work-print? The third disc (bonus disc) is a re-sequenced version of the Orchestral Version.
|Antarctica - 2000 Off World Music Edition
Have you ever wondered where Ridley Scott got the underscore for the Unicorn sequence added in the Director’s Cut? I mean, after all, the film had been released for over 10 years when the scene was added. This bootleg of Antarctica brings some interesting facts to light. Antarctica was the soundtrack Vangelis worked on immediately following Blade Runner. It shares many textural similarities to the Blade Runner score. One cue on this disc is obviously an extended version of the same cue that is used for the Unicorn scene. In the film ‘Antarctica’, this cue is used prominently in several places for underscore. Two possibilities come to mind: If Vangelis originally composed the cue for the Unicorn scene and it wasn’t used, perhaps he recycled it on his next project. Or, if no underscore was available for the added scene, perhaps Vangelis allowed Ridley Scott to use a small piece of this cue to fill the underscore for this brief scene. When the Director’s Cut was being put together, Ridley and Vangelis had just completed the film ‘1492’ and any past hostilities had no doubt been resolved (especially since Vangelis was to finally release the official version of the soundtrack in 1994.) (P.S. Notice how Antarctica is misspelled on the cover)
|Reprise - 2000 Atlantic
A retrospective of Vangelis’ work in the 1990s, it contains an edited version of ‘Rachel’s Song’. A side note: the track "Dawn," taken from the 1990 Vangelis release "The City," has very much the same vibe as "Blade Runner Blues."
|2001 Edition - 2001
This is my favorite version yet of the "Blade Runner Soundtrack." It is similar in concept to the "Off World Music Definitive Edition" in that it uses clever edits to resolve issues with the various versions, but offers much cleaner edits. I find this version to be a little more satisfying in its execution, if not as complete. The editing and mastering on this release is superb. They even re-master "One More Kiss Dear" and "If I Didn’t Care" to sound as if they are coming from an old AM radio (including occasional bits of static!). I must admit, it is a little gimmicky, but I like it. The producers of this disc have found a better source for Gail Laughton’s "Harps of the Ancient Temples". You won’t hear any of the pops and clicks of the vinyl LP source used on the OWM and Gongo discs. This is the version of the soundtrack I find myself listening to most often.
|Memoirs 12 - Blade Runner Radio Show - 2001 FIC
This is a CD of a radio program that was used as a promotional vehicle for the film in 1982. It contains short pieces of Vangelis’ underscore (at least one cue appears to be unique to this release) but unfortunately there are no complete musical tracks without dialog. There is a version of the cue used under the Taffey Lewis bar scene sans movie sound effects or dialog that is pretty interesting. I don’t think I have heard this particular source before. It sounds like a pristine mix of just the cue. There is dialog taken from what appears to be an alternate version of the trailer that is interesting. Another bright spot is an actual interview with Vangelis. There are also short interviews with Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Douglas Trumbull, and others, but much of this promotional piece is simply shameless filler. Talk about tenuous connections: this radio program seems like an attempt to produce an hour-long program with 15 minutes worth of material. (Out of curiosity, I timed the material that was exclusively related to Blade Runner: less than 10 minutes.) The program is peppered with pop songs that have very thin connections to the subject and seem to be used simply as something to kill time. There is indeed a wealth of tangential material here. For instance, this disk includes interviews with Sean Connery and Roger Moore, Huh? (And they wonder why the film didn’t do well at the boxoffice?)
|Limited Russian Edition - 2001
This Russian Bootleg is basically a wholesale rip-off of the Warner Brothers/ Atlantic release. The tracks on this CD are identical to the official release, as are the graphics (with the exceptions of the Warner /Atlantic logo being removed.) This bootleg is easily obtained through a Russian web-store, but why would you bother when you can get the same material more cheaply (and legitimately) at your local music shop? Other releases exist which are similar to this one, in that they are basically foreign produced bootlegs with exactly the same content of the Official Release with slightly altered graphics. An example I’ve seen that immediately comes to mind is the Asian version.
|Anthology #5 CD-ROM: Home Collection - 2001
Vangelis 1988 - 1993
An MP3 collection with nine (that’s right, nine!) Vangelis albums on one disc. This disc includes the Gongo release (actually released in 1995) and an item labeled as "Private Release" which is, in fact, the OWM 1993 release. It also includes "Themes". It is still easily available through the Web.
|Anthology #6 CD-ROM: Home Collection - 2001
Vangelis 1994 - 1997
Another multiple album MP3 collection, this contains the Warner/Atlantic release and Themes 2. It is still easily available through the Web.
|Anthology #7 CD-ROM: Home Collection - 2001
Vangelis 1997- 1999
Yet another multiple album MP3 collection, this CD-ROM contains remixes of Blade Runner soundtrack-related audio made by several DJs. It also contains "Reprise," which contains an edited version of "Rachel’s Song." It is still easily available through the Web. On Google.com, do a search on ‘private-store’. You should be able to easily find the Russian site.
|20th Anniversary Edition - 2001 Off World Music(?)
This is basically a rip off of the original "Off World Music" version combined with tracks from the "Official Release." Whereas the Definitive and 2001 editions repackage similar material with clever editing and superb remastering this release simply presents the same old material with the same old problems. Save your money, this 2-CD set offers nothing new and offers it at a premium price. There are supposedly 500 copies of this release. It is unnumbered, however, and impossible to verify.
|Limited Edition - AKA 89 Minute Score
I’m afraid the only function this bootleg serves is to enrich a few greedy souls on eBay. Come on! This is a thinly disguised 2001 Edition rip-off. Mirroring the content of the 2001 precisely except for omitting three tracks. I guess if you are going to steal, you should steal something with some merit. I have to agree that the 2001 edition has merit, however I can’t praise someone for attempting to profit from other peoples efforts. This is a prime example of what I like to call the "Self-manufactured Collectable". I’ve actually seen this offered on eBay with the idea of sending you the CDRs and emailing the Graphics files for you to print and assemble yourself. These people want to charge you an outrageous price and have you assemble your own product. Sheesh!
|Deck Definitive Edition - 2001 Deck Art (Japan)
This is basically a manufactured version of the "Deck Special Edition" release with a few bonus tracks. One of the bonus tracks includes a piece by John Williams that was used as a temp track for the work print. This piece includes the dialog from the "Tears in Rain" speech. Interesting, even though the underscore is credited to John Williams, it doesn’t mention the origin of the piece. This now holds the distinction of garnering the highest price I seen paid on eBay for a "Blade Runner" soundtrack - $1099 (again, it wasn’t me). There were supposedly 500 copies of this disc originally manufactured, so the higher-than-$1k selling price is probably just an anomaly. The price will no doubt drop, as more become available.
A word of caution for collectors: Due to the extremely high prices garnered by certain rare "Blade Runner" soundtrack pieces, I have started to see a disturbing trend on auction services such as eBay - The ‘self-manufactured collectable.’ As a result of the ease of manipulating audio and graphics on the PC, some unscrupulous eBay sellers have assembled their own versions of "Blade Runner" soundtracks and are selling them for ridiculous prices. (I saw one ‘Collectable’ with a "Buy-It-Now" price of over $600!) Not a bad racket: Throw a few tracks on a disk, put together a credible-looking cover and CD tray card, and look for suckers on eBay. Of course the sweetest part of this deal is that you can sell the same rarity again and again. All you need are CDRs and a printer. Before you spend money, make sure you are getting something that actually has some value. I don’t think any CD is worth $600. Be careful out there.
Despite the number of Blade Runner related releases that exist, there are actually only four major unique sources of material:
- The Official Release.
- The clandestine dubs used for the OWM version (and possibly the original Cassette Bootleg.)
- The audio-track-minus-dialog version used for foreign language dubs and appearing originally as the FIC Private Release version.
- Audio taken from the work-print (with its incomplete score).
In nearly every case, except for the Westwood game versions, there are no new sources of material. What we are seeing now is simply re-editing and recombining sources to give the appearance of something original. In some cases, this is done just as a way to add a new perspective on the material and share limited edition ‘Archive’ versions with a few other fanatics. In other cases it is used merely as a means to take advantage of peoples’ willingness to shell out big bucks for something that is perceived to be in short supply. Most folks with whom I have dealt who are avid collectors of Vangelis and Blade Runner materials are outraged by the tactics used by certain individuals to garner high prices from questionable tactics.
If you liked Blade Runner…
There have been several releases by Vangelis that feature tracks that seem to have a certain "Blade Runner" vibe. Here are some of my favorites:
Reve - Opera Savauge: Has a nice BR Blues/Memories of Green kind of vibe. Very relaxing.
Le Singe Bleu - L'apocalypse Des Animaux: This has a flavor of BR Blues/Love Theme. A solo trumpet is featured. Another relaxing cut.
Dawn - The City: This cut is reminiscent of BR Blues also.
Antarctica Echos - Antarctica: A nice, lush cut full of moody synth textures. Not reminiscent of any particular cut but texture-wise right in the ballpark.
Song of White - Antarctica: A contemplative piece… like being in a Zen garden.
Memory of Antarctica - Antarctica: A moody introspective piece that seems to fit right in the groove.
Special thanks to my friend and mentor Antas, without whose kindness and
generosity, I would have much less to write about.
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