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Keith Emerson - At The Movies CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson


Crossover Prog

3.78 | 15 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Playing for keeps

Keith Emerson At The Movies is a three disc compilation featuring tracks that Emerson recorded for various films between 1980 and 2004. Rather than opting for a chronological presentation, the music is ordered geographically with each disc holding music from American, Italian, and Japanese films respectively.

I will start from the back and discuss disc three first as I think that is by far the most valuable of the three discs. This disc is primarily devoted to music from the 2004 film Godzilla Final Wars which, as far as I am aware, is not available in this form as a standalone release but can only be found on this compilation (an "official soundtrack" is available but, as far as I understand, that one also has music by others interspersed with Keith's music). The Godzilla album occupies tracks 7-20 of the disc and my advice is to separate out these tracks and listen to them in isolation from the rest. Here Keith is in good form and this music is generally enjoyable and at moments even fairly ELP-like despite the programmed drums and absence of vocals.

The first six tracks of the third disc is from an animated Japanese film from 1987 called Harmagedon. These tracks are, I suppose, also hard to get hold of outside this compilation. The original vinyl release had one side of Emerson's music (while the other side was devoted to music by someone called Derek Austin). These tunes are generally great, perhaps the best being Challenge Of The Psionic Fighter which features a killer synth solo. Children Of Light is a vocal track but the rest is instrumental.

Moving on to the second disc which features music from Italian movies, we have music from the films Murderock, La Chiesa, and Inferno. In the case of the latter, the entire album is featured including the bonus track from the standalone CD release. Inferno occupies tracks 1-16 of disc two. The Inferno music is predominantly orchestral in nature (similar in style to Keith's Piano Concerto from ELP's Works Vol. 1.) and as such it is not my cup of tea. There are however some non-orchestral tracks like Taxi Ride which is pretty good. The following four tracks are from La Chiesa which means "the church", and not surprisingly it includes church organ. This music too is available on a separate release but that one features music by other people in addition to Keith's contributions. It is nice to have just Emerson's music concentrated. Murderock is almost complete here but a few tracks are omitted compared to the standalone release (which I have reviewed separately).

The first disc of At The Movies is devoted to music from films coming out of the USA. The soundtrack to Nighthawks, which is also available separately, is included in its entirety and occupies tracks 1-11. This music is towards the jazzier side and is not very impressive to my ears. Tracks 12-15 and track 18 of this disc are from a film called Best Revenge. The latter soundtrack too was released separately, but it is very hard to find. Comparing to the standalone release the running order is different and one track from the original release seems to be missing (I say "seems" because I'm only comparing with the entry for that album here on Prog Archives, I have never heard the original). I don't know why the running order was altered but I recommend reproducing the original track order when you listen (even though one track is, as I said, not included). In particular I think you should listen to The Dreamer and The Runner in that order as these two tracks seem to be made for each other. Together with Wha'dya Mean these three instrumentals are pretty good. The origin of tracks 16 and 17 is unknown to me but I presume they come from the same sessions as the Best Revenge material.

Strangely, nothing at all is included from Keith's soundtrack for Iron Man.

Overall, this is a rather nice collection to have with lots of good music on it as well as some less good music. However, I think that reproducing the stuff that is already available separately was unnecessary. Perhaps it would have been better if they had focused on making the standalone releases of these various soundtrack albums more widely available in their original and complete from on CD. The Godzilla music too would have deserved a standalone release with just Keith's music.

Deciding on a rating for this collection isn't easy, but discounting those inclusions that can be rated separately I think that three stars is appropriate here primarily on the basis of the material on the third disc.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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