Blade Runner (1982) is one of the greatest science fiction films I have seen, it cyberpunk or neo-noir genre had made it a cult classic. Superbly directed by Ridley Scott; it was inspired by a novel of Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ). In 2007, the American Film Institute named it the 97th greatest American film of all time in the 10th Anniversary edition of its 100 years... 100 Movies list and is currently ranked the third best film of all time by The Screen Directory. Apart from all its cinematographic merits, the music is for me a main contribution to it success, a major ingredient in this masterpiece. Strangely, it was released twelve years after the film (1994), even thought it was nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe Award as best original score.
Vangelis was aided in this project by his friend Demis Roussos, by the composer Peter Skellern, the great sax of Dick Morrissey, and the voices of Don Percival and Mary Hopkin. The music takes many forms and conveys perfectly well the dystopian and sad atmosphere of the imagined Los Angeles of 2019.
Since Vangelis has composed this soundtrack, the synthesizers are at the forefront, not in the merry mood of most new age music, but with a superbly dark, gloomy and nostalgic feel. After all, the 2019 world it depicts is radioactive, almost devoid of animal life, dominated by big corporations and most humans appear cold and impersonal. This film prefigures many things that are unfolding now.
"Main Titles" begins with the voice of Harrison Ford, Rick Deckard in the film, working on a picture. Then the synthesizer enters and immediately we are thrown in that fascinating, but profoundly troubling future. With "Blush Response", it is a dialogue between Rick and Rachel (played by Sean Young) that we heard and, as in the first piece, the synthesizer voice is present with great effect. "Wait for Me" continue in that direction, but the music, even thought synthesizer based, is more jazzy and nostalgic in tone, like the beginning of new love. We also heard sax notes. It is one of the best pieces of this CD. "Rachel's Song", performed by Mary Hopkin, is beautiful and like a hope unforeseen. "Love Theme" featured the smoky and weepy sax of Dick Morrisey. This piece is probably one of the best known of the album. "One More Kiss, Dear" is like an old song of the 30's, memories of a world that is fading fast, a world were humans had feelings. It is performed by Don Percival. "Blade Runner Blues" is like the understanding that the androids that cares for each others, may be better than the human who created them. To be a Blade Runner is to be a killer. Rick Deckard does not seem to enjoy killing living being. He is confronted with himself and his almost senseless life; it is a real progressive electronic piece. "Memories of Green" is a slow piano piece with synthesizer taken from the album See You Later by Vangelis, and included here as another moody piece on this exploration of the human soul. It is very quiet and subtle. On "Tales of the Future" we ear the chant of Demis Roussos amid subtle chimes, it reminded me of another project they have done together, 666 with the band Aphrodite's Child. "Damask Rose" is a short piece in the same tonality as the preceding one, vaguely Mediterranean. "Blade Runner (End Titles)" is like Oxygen by Jean-Michel Jarre. It is for me a powerful piece of electronic prog. With "Tears in Rain", we ear the voice of Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer, see the citation at the beginning of my review) who is dying and offer us, mere humans, a small glimpse of the wonders he has seen.
It is a disc that has not aged. I recommended it for lovers of electronica and progressive music with emotions.