The deluxe edition

Colosseum 2001 CD (4005939624125)
Varèse Sarabande 2001 CD (0030206624120)
Movie Film release: 1986

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# Track   Duration
1.Main Title5:13
2.Bad Dreams1:22
3.Dark Discovery/Newt's Horror2:07
5.Combat Drop3:29
6.The Complex1:34
7.Atmosphere Station3:11
8.Med. Lab.2:04
10.Sub-Level 36:36
11.Ripley's Rescue3:19
13.Futile Escape8:29
14.Newt is Taken2:04
15.Going After Newt3:18
16.The Queen1:45
17.Bishop's Countdown 2:50
18.Queen To Bishop2:31
19.Resolution and Hyperspace6:27
20.Bad Dreams (Alternate)1:23
21.Ripley's Rescue (Percussion Only)3:20
22.LV-426 (Alternate edit - Film version)1:13
23.Combat Drop (Percussion only)3:24
24.Hyperspace (Alternate Ending)2:09
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Aliens - 08/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Just as Jerry Goldsmith didn't have a particularly enjoyable experience on the original Alien, neither did James Horner working on the James Cameron directed sequel. Ultimately, both composers came up trumps, even if the music heard in the final films wasn't what they originally intended. For this expanded release, Varese have assembled Horner's entire score as it was originally written as well as providing a few bonus tracks. It greatly expands the original 45 minute album and arranges the music into film order. The result being that whereas the short version mixed the suspense and action cues, the flow of the film results in the album being heavier on suspense in the first half and action in the latter stages.
The Main Title is a creepy string adagio which is strikingly similar to Khachaturian's Gayenne Ballet Suite. While many would argue that Horner should have written something entirely original, I doubt any alternate could have been more appropriate and it's a shame he doesn't credit his inspiration, particularly in this case. The melody comes up a few times throughout the score, although to call it a main theme would be stretching it a little. The opening half of the film is very much low end suspense with plenty of echoing synth, percussion and trumpet effects. Goldsmith's well known rhythm from Capricorn One makes a few appearances, which is again somewhat unfortunate as it wouldn't take much to come up with something similar, but not quite so obviously the same. One notable sidestep from the rest of the score is the gritty, but fairly heroic Combat Drop which is a nicely militaristic 'call to action' type cue. It was ultimately replaced with a percussion cue attributed to Harry Rabinowitz, although the percussion only version in the Bonus Tracks section is presumably by Horner. Perhaps a fraction too optimistic for the finished film, but a fine cue as stand alone music.

The novelty of Horner's suspense cues do tend to wear a little thin after a while, but with Ripley's Rescue, Horner breaks out the fully compliment of percussion and brass for the first action outing of the score. While not as intricately conceived as something like Star Trek 2 or Krull, Horner's action is bracing and played by the London Symphony Orchestra with a notable lack of subtlety. Various action devices appear from time to time, Going After Newt features a terrific ascending brass motif that is present in several of Horner's other scores of the period. The slightly far eastern motif for the Klingons in Star Trek 3 also makes a couple of appearances. The action highlights are undoubtedly the final three tracks. Bishop's Countdown, now infamous in its appearance in action film trailers, is still as thrilling as ever, although Resolution with its brief burst as Ripley finally overcomes the Alien Queen is probably my favourite. The main title material is reprised as a very appropriate end credit.

The Bonus Tracks are interesting exercises more than crucial additions. The percussion only tracks will keep percussion students happy and the couple of alternate edits give some idea as to the music's treatment in the film. I don't wish to take away from the efforts of Nick Redman as producer of the deluxe edition, but it almost seems as though his liner notes describing how the music was used in the film must have been almost more complex to research than editing the music for this album. It certainly provides a fascinating insight into the way music can be hacked to pieces at the whim of the director and producers. The sound quality is notably different from the original album which had a very narrow sounding stereo, but is somewhat more expansive here. The brass could occasionally have been mixed just a fraction louder over the percussion, but otherwise it's never sounded better. An immaculately produced album of one of Horner's most exciting and notable action scores.
Aliens - 09/10 - Review of Jason FLZ, submitted at
In 1986, director James Cameron entered the world of Alien and ended up making a sequel that, for the most part, was considered better than the first film. A whole new mythology was created for the title creatures and rather than relying on horror, Cameron relied on sci-fi action which offered a broader appeal. Scoring this time around was the flourishing James Horner. Much like the first film, the scoring process was plagued with major troubles. Due to the delays in production Horner was only given two actual weeks to score the film. It was hell, to say the least. The scoring of Aliens eventually got so rough that there was a falling out between Horner and Cameron (for the time being). Fortunately, despite the limited amount of time used in making the music, Horner's score is still very effective and remains as one of the most iconic sci-fi scores of the 80's.

To best describe the score for Aliens, imagine pounding militaristic percussion mixed with exploding brass pieces and the occasional subtle pieces. The opening 'Main Title' interestingly reflects Goldsmith's theme from the first film. A variation is played on his famous two note motif. Another interesting thing to point out is the opening violin piece. It is a subtler variation of some of Goldsmith's earlier work and later inspired some of John William's music for War of the Worlds. Horner also references Goldsmith's music as he employs more ambient themes (such as; 'Atmosphere Station' and 'The Complex'). Working best in the quiet moments is when Horner flashes out straight horror, best used on the outset of 'Queen To Bishop'.

The best part of Aliens, however, are the more militaristic action pieces. 'Futile Escape', for example, is 8 minutes of pounding percussion with clanking metal and menacing brass. Horner also employs a fast paced trumpet solo for the theme of the marines throughout the score (also heard throughout 'Combat Drop'). Some of the highlights of the score come through the more action styled parts. 'Ripley's Rescue', 'Facehuggers', and 'Newt is Taken' really shine with their combination of orchestra and percussion. It's also worth mentioning the famous 'Bishop's Countdown', used in countless action movie trailers and such.

The album concludes with several 'alternate' tracks which provide an interesting listen. As far as James Horner's music goes, he manages to provide an iconic score that still is fresh. The music isn't as good as Jerry Goldsmith's score but comes awfully close. One of the weak points of the music, however, is that it doesn't feel 100% original. Overall, one of the big highlights of Horner's career.
This official soundtrack for the recently released Twentieth Century Fox Special Edition of James Cameron`s ALIENS features nearly twice as much music as its original release!

Before Titanic there was one epic collaboration between director James Cameron and composer James Horner. In this action-packed sequel to Ridley Scott`s ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley, the only survivor from mankind`s first encounter with the monstrous Alien. Her account of the Alien and the fate of her crew are received with skepticism ­ until the mysterious disappearance of colonists on LV-426 lead her to join a team of high-tech colonial marines sent in to investigate.

Personally supervised by director Cameron, the ALIENS Special Edition DVD restored seventeen minutes of footage and treated the entire film to a high-definition makeover. ALIENS has never looked or sounded better!

For this Deluxe Edition of James Horner`s apocalyptic score we have restored every note the composer wrote for this massive symphonic assault. Horner`s ALIENS has always been among his most acclaimed scores and for fans of both the film and the score, we have gone all out. Included are extensions to cues formally only presented in edited form … even in the film! Over a dozen cues appear for the first time ever! The entire score has not only been digitally remastered but fully remixed to optimize its sonic power. This 75-minute CD is the ultimate ALIENS companion!



Other releases of Aliens (1986):

Aliens (1986)
Aliens (1986)
Aliens (1990)
Aliens (2001)
Aliens (1998)
Titanic and Other Film Scores of James Horner (1998)
Aliens (2015)
Alien Box Set (2016)
Aliens (2016)

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