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Red Planet (Soundtrack) by Graeme Revell

Revell's Martian Soundscape
Review by Christopher Coleman

Composed by  Graeme Revell
Produced by Haslinger and Graeme Revell
Performed by Peter Gabriel, Sting, Emma Shapplin, Strange Cargo, 
Mellisa Kaplan, Different Gear VS The Police
Released by Pangea Records  November 2000

Red Planet (Soundtrack) by Graeme Revell

Red Planet (Soundtrack) by Graeme Revell


Originality 8
Music Selection 6
Composition 7
CD Length 8
Track Order 6
Performance 7
Final Score 7/10

In the not too distant future...

Our home, Earth, is dying.  We, the human population, poisoned it and now we have to move.  Our nearest hospitable neighbor is Mars.  We have sent a  team of specialists to investigate the progress of a plan to create a breathable atmosphere and to initiate the next phase of the colonization-plan.  Since there isn't any life on Mars, no one will mind a few million folks moving into the neighborhood.   No problem.  Actually...big problems!

Fortunately, the premise of the latest Mars-focused film out of Hollywood, takes a completely different tone and style from that of 2000's early Mars-matinee, Mission to Mars.  Ennio Morricone's musical interpretation for Mission to Mars left many fans scratching their heads as to what they were hearing.  Tinny electronics?  Pipe Organs? The plot of the film certainly could have used a boost wherever it might obtain one, but sadly, very sadly, Morricone's experimental style only confirmed the disappointment the audience experienced.

Veteran, albeit new-breed, composer Graeme Revell was selected to craft Red Planet's musical dimension, so another Mission to Mars score was highly unlikely.   Continuing in his unique blend of vocals, synthesizers, and orchestra, Graeme Revell delivers a soundtrack that will certainly have a broader appeal than Mission to Mars.  Still, those that truly enjoyed Morricone's score and are hard-core traditional orchestral score fans may have difficulty in listening to Red Planet.

Graeme Revell's fingerprints are on over half of the twelve tracks provided by Pangea Records.  While the emphasis is given to the performers of each track in the liner notes, Graeme Revell wrote or co-wrote seven of the twelve tracks.  Other contributors are none other than Peter Gabriel (1, 11) and Sting (3, 12).  This soundtrack is better judged as an entire listening experience as the majority of tracks synthesize to bring an interesting listening experience, if not merely a diversion form the typical.  

Peter Gabriel's The Tower that Ate People (1, 11), seemed much more of an appropriate title for a track on the Mission to Mars soundtrack, but along with Sting's, A Thousand Years (3), Emma Shapplin's vocals on The Inferno (2), The Fifth Heaven (5), and Canto XXX (7),  help give the feel of the score a more world-beat flavor.

There are three notably difficult tracks to listen to.  First, MontokPoint (6) by Strange Cargo is not much more than an eerie concoction of electronic beeps and bass that are layered over a dance rhythm.  Second, Melissa Kaplan's vocalizations, while in the previously mentioned, world-beat vein, are rather distracting and quirky in Dante's Eternal Flame (9).  The other disappointment with this release is the sequencing of tracks.  Surely, a better flow could have been produced that would minimize if not eliminate the bone-jarring interruption of Crash Landing (10).  This track proves to be the most out-of-sync with the rest of the soundtrack and replacing it with a subtler piece from Revell would have been preferable.

Graeme Revell's postmodern film music is not for all, but is proving to be a draw on a new, younger generation of music enthusiasts.  I can say I have nearly recruited two new film music fan's just by handing them this soundtrack!  Hard-core orchestral film score lovers are likely to cringe at Revell's latest effort.  At the same time, techno-geeks (as I can be from time to time) will find Red Planet an interesting change of pace and one worthy of full investigation.  


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track  Title  Time


1 "The Tower that Ate People" - 
Peter Gabriel
4:05  ***
2 "The Inferno" - Emma Shapplin * 4:31  ****
3 "A Thousand Years" - Sting 5:57  ****
4 "Mars Red Planet" * 3:25  ***
5 "The Fifth Heaven"  - 
Emma Shapplin*
4:53  ***
6 "MontokPoint" - Strange Cargo * 7:13  **
7 "Canto XXX" - Emma Shapplin * 5:11  ****
8 "Alone" * 2:13  ***
9 "Dante's Eternal Flame"  - 
 Melissa Kaplan
3:40  **
10 "Crash Landing" * 5:13  **
11 "The Tower that Ate People" Remix - Peter Gabriel 6:27  ***
12 When the World is Running Down (You Can't Go Wrong) - 
Different Gear VS The Police
3:34  ***

Total Running Time


* Written by Graeme Revell


Quick Quotes

"As clever and innovative as it is on disk,..., I fear that Revell will suffer the same fate as Ennio Morricone earlier in the year, and have his music laughed off the screen. It's certainly good, but it may be a little too different for some audiences to accept when they actually sit down and watch the finished movie. As a standalone album, though, and with a few reservations on the song front, Red Planet is an album worth investigating for anyone with a taste for the unusual. ***

Jonathan Broxton - Movie Music UK

"Revell has brought us by far the most original, postmodern score of 2000 so far."  ***

Christian Clemmensen - Red Planet

Graeme Revell
Graeme Revell



Purchasing Options
Red Planet (Soundtrack) by Graeme Revell





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