La-La Land Records recently released a second volume of music from Star Trek: Enterprise. The four-CD collection features previously unreleased material from 31 episodes and music from composers Dennis McCarthy, Jay Chattaway and more.
Music has been an essential element to the Star Trek franchise during its 50-year history. The melodies, harmonies and orchestrations are as much a part of the final frontier as the characters, ships and ideas. While several companies have published Star Trek soundtracks over the decades, La-La Land has become a leader in unearthing original music from the television series and feature films. Beginning with its expanded release of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 2010, La-La Land Records has churned out 9 multi-disc collections, including two in 2016.
Star Trek: Enterprise Collection, Volume 2 was released in the fall and presents eager listeners with previously-unreleased music from 31 episodes, including tracks from “Observer Effect,” “The Aenar,” “Carbon Creek,” “The Forge,” “Acquisition,” and “The Forgotten.” As with its other Star Trek releases, La-La Land breaks up the collection by having each disc represent a different composer or composers.
The two men most responsible for the production of the release are producer Ford Thaxton and art designer Mark Banning. The duo, joined by liner notes author Jeff Bond, have a long partnership in presenting the music of Star Trek to fans. Their love for the franchise is evident in the care and dedication they put into these types of projects.
I’m a little different from people in this field,” Thaxton explained. “I know all these composers and my first prerequisite is to make them look good. I go through the scores and try to find the more interesting cues divorced from the visuals. I take into account what people tend to remember, as well as what might surprise them. I can point to every composer who has worked on the show and has done some wonderful things. Jay Chattaway can do an action cue like no one’s business, Dennis McCarthy just has that wonderful orchestral knack, and David Bell has a marvelous sense of rhythm.
DISC ONE – DENNIS McCARTHY
Thaxton added to his impressive picks from the volume one Enterprise release to capture more essential McCarthy music, including “Breaking the Ice,” “Sleeping Dogs” and “Future Tense.” Listeners should instantly recognize his work, which also hearkens back to his DS9 compositions.
Highlights from McCarthy’s 25 cues covering 11 episodes on disc one include the ethereal “Responsibility” from “Cogenitor” and the haunting “Empty Ship” from “Doctor’s Orders.” “Phlox to the Rescue” from the “Doctor’s Orders” sounds eerily similar to the trailer music for the 2009 J.J. Abrams film (“Freedom Fighters” by Two Steps From Hell). Kevin Kiner is listed a co-composer on four of the episodes, including “Doctor’s Orders” and “Observer Effect.” “More Than Observe/Rules Need to Change” from the latter episode will bring a smile to listener’s face as McCarthy and Kiner include ENT’s theme in this piece of music.
DISC TWO – JAY CHATTAWAY
Beginning with two cues from “Fight or Flight,” which includes the 10-minute track “Aliens Return….” disc two includes seven episodes with 22 cues, including standout music from “Carbon Creek,” which is a treat with its homey feel and is off the beaten path of the normal space-faring adventure tracks he writes for ENT. Thaxton also selected the touching “Father Son Talk 2/Reunion” from “E2,” a soft piece of music when the crew meets their future descendants. Listeners will also find the typical Chattaway cues from episodes like “Divergence,” which will evoke his TNG work.
DISC THREE – THE VETERANS
Featuring returning Star Trek composers David Bell and Paul Baillargeon, disc three highlights contain Bell’s tender “First Dance I Went To” from “Fusion” and the latter’s “Wisps Take Trip” from “The Crossing.” Baillargeon’s cue from this episode should be recognizable to listeners with its recurring somber music for the series. All told, disc three includes seven episodes of music, covering 23 pieces of music (“Fusion” and “Dawn” are Bell’s only contribution).
DISC FOUR – THE NEW RECRUITS
Three composers are featured on disc four, as Thaxton has included music from Brian Tyler, John Frizzell and Velton Ray Bunch. Twenty-six tracks from six episodes are presented on the disc with Tyler and Frizzell represented by one show each and Bunch on the remainder. Music of note includes Tyler’s work on the episode “Canamar,” which at times is presented more like a movie soundtrack than a TV show. Meanwhile, Bunch adds a new dimension to the Ferengi with his whimsical and adventurous take on the episode “Acquisition.”
“I try to go through the material and get it to the point when I think it has something interesting, with a beginning, middle and end.” Thaxton explained about how he selected music for the release. “Basically there’s a process. You have to think about it. You are doing albums for people to listen to. I want to give them material from the show that is interesting. One of the moments I really enjoyed from the release is the cue that had the teaser, ‘Previously on Enterprise’ (Baillargeon’s “Recap” from the episodes “Hatchery” and “The Forgotten”). It has this incredible rhythmic theme to it. I thought to myself, I’m not losing that, it had to stay. It is a lot of fun putting it all together.”
Thaxton also includes little gems like the “Archer’s Theme” and “Where My Heart Will Take Me” bumpers (short thematic music used to transition from the episode to commercials) and “Archer’s Theme – End Credits”, which is used on the show during the end credits, to close out the collection. While the producer’s task seems daunting, the art director faces his own challenges. Banning’s job is to not only design the graphics on the disc, covers and liner notes, but to seek out the best art in which to draw a listener’s eye. Sadly, it has become more difficult to capture those less-seen moments from the show with the availability of so many images on the internet.
“Our basic overall theme for these collector’s boxes has been the main ship for the show,” Banning said. “For this one, I found a nice picture of the NX-01 in dry dock, which was a unique one that we have not seen too much.”
“I hope everyone who gets it enjoys it.” Thaxton finished, “And waits two minutes before saying we left out their favorite cue. Everyone who worked on this gave 100 percent. It’s a lot of fun to do these things. When someone in Dubuque, Iowa plays and enjoys it as just music – that gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
One thing is certain; the collection will leave its listeners wanting to check out episodes of ENT once again, concentrating on the cues included in the collection. Star Trek: Enterprise Collection, Volume 2 is a must for any fan of the music from the series.
To order Star Trek: Enterprise Collection, Volume 2, go to La-La Land’s website.
Trying to think of Classic Enterprise themes, Nothing really comes to mind.
Not to be a wet blanket, but I’m surprised there’s even enough of an interest/a market for this for it to be profitable.
Star Trek fans are obsessive. Its always enough of them to buy enough things like this.
And its ‘Volume 2’ for a reason.
Good points. I do sometimes forget there are levels of fandom.
That’s the nice thing about compilations – there’s little cost to put it together, and enough of a fan base who’ll buy it round out a collection. It’s not a huge bump to their margins, but very little risk of not making money.
I thought the show was great. So many of my fellow Trek fans don’t like Enterprise. I already have the whole series on DVD from years ago. If you guys love Trek and have a Kindle check out Allfather Saga on Amazon. That series is a science fiction and Star Trek lovers paradise. The characters talk about Trek, and many episodes too within the stiory which is pretty damned good. Like Game of Thrones on a colony world of Earth, with characters that love Star Trek.
I like Enterprise, but I think the music is one place where it really failed, especially compared to contemporary series like BSG, where Bear McCreary’s score elevated the series to a point where it is as invaluable a piece of it as any of the other elements. With the exception of TOS and some moments from the first half of TNG, trek’s (series) music has taken bland and unforgettable to an extreme. It’s sad, because TOS had some unforgettable music.
Most TV shows have bland and repetitive music. Don’t they?
It’s what Ron Jones described at a convention as “Wallpaper Music”.
There was a theory put out there once that the opening theme song “Faith of the Heart” actually put such a bad taste into people’s mouths that it tainted Enterprise’s chances from day one. For a constant Trek fan who despises ‘adult contemporary’ syrupy schlock music like that theme, I see how that could have happened. The series’ own soundtrack music maintained the quality Star Trek music has been lucky to maintain on TV and in film for decades. But that hideous theme was like nails on a chalkboard every time I watched.
I enjoy Enterprise, and all the composers here are talented folks. Other than “In a Mirror Darkly”, I can’t think of many musical moments from the series I’d like to relive via soundtrack. Other than some moments using the TNG theme & TOS theme in the final episode, I don’t recall many memorable scores. That’s a reflection on the ‘musical wallpaper’ directive the composers laboured under, not a lack of talent or imagination.
When I rewatch Enterprise — which I will, seeing how it looks so great on Netflix compared to DS9 and VOY — I’ll pay more attention to the music. Thanks for the good interviews.
i think mccarthy and bell did some decent and memorable work on all those ‘trek’ tv shows.
And in spite of The Wall of Sound ogre, agreed. But the sad truth is they did more interesting (Dare I say superior?) work that ended up on the cutting room floor exactly because those works were, more interesting. Which is why a collection including their rejected versions, if only as interesting variations of those actually aired, would have a much more magnetic pull on my coin.
For me, after the first series, this weird approach the others took toward incorporating music made it like hearing a brilliant Beethoven composition rendered for elevators – it’s not revealing the piece in its best light but every once in a while a snippet gets across that something brilliant was going on there in its original non-elevator form, and THAT’S a thirst those shows’ scores aroused in me that I wish this collections somehow better addressed.
“this collections” should be “these collections” in this reply to you:
I really liked the theme song for the show. Never understood why some hated lyrics. It was different and trek is suppose to be progressing. Wish they would Give Enterprise at least one more season on Netflix. The last episode was a Travesty. How do you kill of the best character besides T’pol. They should have killed Archer because he was a bore and his acting was all over the place. A HOT MESS HIS CAPTAIN ARCHER WAS !!!