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FIlm scores for "Roswell" and "Communion" films remain compelling

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ALBUM REVIEW: Soundtrack music from Roswell: The UFO Cover-Up and Communion (BSX Records) 2014

Anyone familiar with my writing knows that I have an interest in UFOs and the paranormal.

And a couple of films that I saw well-over 20 years ago – Communion (1989) and Roswell: The UFO Cover-Up (1994) – were recently revisited by BSX Records (BuySoundTrax), at least the soundtrack music was on this limited-edition compact disc, which features all of the compositions featured in both films.

Communion is based on the 1987 novel by Whitley Strieber of the same name and involves Strieber’s alleged encounters in late 1985 in upstate New York where aliens (“visitors”) abducted him and experimented on him.

Intense actor Christopher Walken plays the Whitley Strieber character in this moody and atmospheric film directed by French-born filmmaker Phillipe Mora. That “mood” was in large part due to the musical compositions written and provided by Mora’s longtime friend, rock guitarist Eric Clapton.

Rather than Clapton, it is Tim Kobza performing the guitar parts, along with Allan Zavod’s New Age-esque “synthesized backgrounds” as noted by film music critic Randall D. Larson, who wrote the liner notes.

The 5:25 minute “Communion End Title” is produced and arranged by Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek.

And while there are only five tracks on the Communion portion of the soundtrack disc, Roswell: The UFO Cover-Up, the film starring Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) and Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) took advantage of the renewed interest in the alleged crash of an alien flying saucer near Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947, which was said to have been covered-up by the U.S. government in the early years of the Cold War.

The Roswell portion of the disc includes a lengthy 15 instrumental tracks, along with “I’m Still Here,” performed by Nandani Sinha. The vibe, unlike Communion, is not “spooky or science fictionesque,” rather it is “a straightforward, workaday musical atmosphere” provided by composer Eliot Goldenthal and produced and arranged by Brandon K. Verrett.

I think because of that, I prefer the Communion portion of the disc. The music fits the film and Mora is successful in this regard, with “Approach to White Light” and “Museum Scene,” for instance.

Goldenthal’s Roswell material, however, does not stand out as much and goes along with a film that did not quite have the visceral impact (at least for me) that Communion did when I first saw it, after reading Strieber’s internationally-recognized novel, for which he is most associated with.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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