Skyriders (CD)

As someone that was born a number of years after Skyriders was released, I had to do a little bit in the way of research before I could pop in the score. The film itself is well over the top, using a well-trodden plot device (the lead character’s family is kidnapped by baddies) and resolving the conflict by nothing less than hanggliding to save the day. It seems to me that the film itself have a location – the mountain – and Jack DeWitt (the writer) was told to flesh out any premise that would use it. Despite the odd quality of the movie’s plot, Lalo Schifrin was able to create a memorable score for Skyriders that would stick with anyone lucky enough to listen in. This year, Lalo Schifrin’s own label (Aleph Records) has issued this soundtrack and has provided the opportunity for an entirely new generation of fans to pick up this release.

Don’t let the fact that this recording is not listed on Schifrin’s Wikipedia flavor one’s opinion about the quality of these compositions. The disc’s first composition is “Flying Circus”, a twinkling type odf track that calls forth the titular locale perfectly. The dynamism of the track allows listeners to be taken on a journey; Schifrin here is able to capture perfectly the airy nature of the film in a track that barely cracks the six minute mark. “Climbers” strikes out in a bold new direction from “Flying Circus”, using strings to make a distinctive sound that is furthered through the rest of the compositions here.

The disc’s longest composition is “The Terrorists”, and Schifrin here is able to both further the different trends present in the earlier reaches of the score, while distinguishing the named group as a fundamentally darker and evil force. The penultimate track, “Copters and Gliders” does well showcasing the light of “Flying Circus” and the dark of “The Terrorists” in a very dramatic type of way. Regardless of whether listeners have watched the original film, Schifrin is able here to come forth with an instrumental track and have an intricate narrative. If you are a fan of Schifrin’s work, or of strong soundtracks in genre, make it a point to pick up a copy of the score for Skyriders.

Top Track: Flying Circus

Rating: 7.8/10

Skyriders (CD) / 2009 Aleph / 8 Tracks / http://www.schifirin.com

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