The soundtrack to what is probably director James Cameron’s finest hour here: Aliens! James Horner applies suitable amounts of sonic creep and audio terror, firmly implying the presence of the terrible double-mouthed beasts. The soundtrack has been released before, but this double LP version includes stacks of previously unreleased tracks and cues. On Mondo.
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- Aliens by James Horner
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As per Norman protocol, I have not watched the film this soundtrack serves, but going on its record sleeve, I imagine it to be a sitcom about an extraterrestrial who moves in next door to a bunch of soldiers with hilarious results. Maybe it stars David Jason. I don’t know. James Horner’s soundtrack is suitably light, involving only a few terrifying contact noises, vomit-inducing drones and soul-sucking symphonies. Let’s just have a good time oh my god what is that its teeth are enormous it’s drooling.
The ‘Aliens’ soundtrack is perhaps most interesting for its application of orchestral sounds: the percussion section create metallic, widely-scoped sounds that give the feeling of a monster scuttling the vents, while strings rise up high before dovetailing into disrepair. It’s a harrowing mix that gives one both emotional queues and a sense of place: you feel trapped within the film’s confines while also offered a grandiose, pulpy escape in the symphony.
Horner clearly had a taste for ambience at this point in his career, and while there are plenty of ascendent marching drums for what are probably grandiose moments in the film’s narrative, it’s those droning sections that best give away the project’s tension. He’s able to exchange brassy and minimalist near-silence for terrifying squeaks of sound, offering a large space and letting sound skip through it, like a flicker before your eyes. I am now sufficiently scared, so I will give the whole thing a rating and hope for the best.
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