7/27/2006

Vangelis - Blade Runner bootlegs

After listening to Vangelis' Blade Runner album for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I developed a bit of an obsession for the music of Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic. As you probably know, the original soundtrack never gained an official release. For reasons much speculated over Vangelis obviously refused to participate in a soundtrack album back in 1982. So what saw the light of day after the film's opening were de facto-cover versions of some themes from the soundtrack: A bunch of studio musos were hired to record orchestral arrangements of Vangelis' electronic music. The result is a kind of James Last-ization of the wonderful original score and should be avoided by all means.

Finally, Vangelis released a Blade Runner album in 1994, twelve years after the movie. This isn't a soundtrack album, but rather a concept album based on the film. Like Vangelis said in interviews, the record consists of music that was composed during his work on the Blade Runner score. So what you get is music from the film that's for the most part edited and/or has new intros and endings attached to it. There's also four tracks which where obviously intended for the soundtack and ultimately not used. Some of the tracks also have snippets of dialogue at the beginning, none of which correspond with the placement of the music in the actual movie. It's a great record, sort of Vangelis' personal evocation of the film, but a far shot from being any kind of soundtrack album.

All this information was new to me and I decided to track down some of the bootlegs on the net which actually proved to be quite easy. So here is my Blade Runner-mega post with two versions of the soundtrack (the best ones available from what I've heard) and one very special goodie.

First up, there's the Gongo Edition, purportedly a Romanian bootleg. It also contains the short cue Ladd Company Logo by John Williams, composed when Vangelis' involvement in the score wasn't sure, and Bicycle Riders (Harps Of The Ancient Temple) by Gail Laughton. It's a music-only version, so there's no dialogue or ambience, and I guess it's your best choice if you want the main themes without most of the reprises and incidental music.

The second version is the two disc ESPER Edition, generally considered to be the definite representation of the score. It contains virtually the complete underscore including incidental music and various reprises. Occasionally, there's also some ambience and dialogue from the film, though in contrast to the official Vangelis release it actually matches with the underscore. I think both versions have their merits: while I personally find that the shorter Gongo Edition works better as an album of music per se, the ESPER bootleg is a unique and hauntingly beautiful evocation of the film. So get them both, after all they're for free!

Los Angeles, November 2019 was also produced by the people wh
o did the ESPER edition. It's actually not another bootleg version of the soundtrack. Instead, it uses ambience and sound effects from the film (and, according to some sources, also from the Blade Runner video game) along with some of the music low in the mix to recreate the atmosphere of Blade Runner's world. It's a kind of aural travelogue through the film's near future L.A., a somnambulic drift through a seedy, bustling, rain soaked moloch of a city. To give you an idea, think of a brooding, nocturnal urbane counterpart to KLF's Chill Out album. Btw, all the tracks segue into each other, so if you want to burn this to cd you should do so without pauses.

All three bootlegs are bit torrent downloads, so once again big up the original uploaders!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the ESPER edition.

Loopy C said...

Amazing, great concept on your part to present the spectrum. Thanks for all your work to do so ;-)

square dancer said...

Hi guys! Thanks a lot for your comments, always good to know some people are really enjoying this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. This is awesome.

Anonymous said...

square dancer,

Thank you for sharing this great music. My iPod is very happy and so am I!

square dancer said...

Glad to make the two of you happy. Cheers and thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Most Esteemed Sir,

I have always been obsessed with the works of Vangelis and like you I have shared a similar connection with the Blade Runner score. I want to personally thank you and let you know I'll never forget the tremendous generosity you have displayed on this blog. Your posting of the various bootlegs has saved not just myself, but countless other enthusiasts from the dread of slow torrent downloads. Why wait hours when one can have this wonderful music in minutes? Your contribution is a gem to the internet community and I praise you for it! Thank you so much!

-Sagesound

square dancer said...

Hi Sagesound! Thanks a lot, this is surely the most eloquent praise I have received on this blog so far! You're welcome and you were also lucky to get the bootlegs. Multiply just deleted them, because they received a complaint. I already tried rapidshare, megaupload, bigupload and quicksharing, so I guess now I give up.

Cerulean said...

Hi, I only found out about the esper soundtrack you had posted only for a few days before it was taken down. If you could give me any more information about it, or direct me to where it may be posted elsewhere, I would totally appreciate it.

Thanks a lot!!

square dancer said...

Hello cerulean, I'm afraid I can't give you any more information other than I've already posted. The ESPER bootlegs seem to be quite scarce and expensive. Had a quick look around and the links I could find have also been taken down. Thing is that the Blade Runner stuff always gets trolled after a couple of weeks. But I'll think of a solution over the next few days. Cheers!

Brad said...

I've been trying to get the Esper Edition for awhile, just thought to do a search of MP3 blogs. I was so close! Is there anyway you can repost this? I'd be in your debt!

Thank you,
bb

Manny Z said...

oh my! thanks so much for this! eternally grateful

Anonymous said...

http://plimp.blogspot.com/


nother version of blade runner here!

bishbashbosh said...

Yes Yes Yes

Anonymous said...

well it's been years I am looking at completing my collection of Blade Runner soundtracks. While I bought the original then the trilogy + managed to get some tracks here and there, I was wondering..Can you post all the three once more? Please?

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Dan said...

I know you posted this a long time ago, but all the links are broken! It would be great if you could post them again.