My second “Defiance” album is available now on iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers! This record contains songs and score from the SyFy television series, and acts as a companion piece to the videogame album released in April.
The “Defiance” television soundtrack is unlike any other record I’ve ever released, because it includes a substantial number of songs in addition to my score. This is not one of those annoying “music-inspired-by” cash-grabs that became so frustratingly popular starting in the 1990’s. I produced or co-produced every song to tell us something specific about the Votan / Human culture in Defiance. I arranged this record to flow seamlessly between songs and score and to provide the listener with a musical guide to this alien, yet familiar, world.
The songs tell us about the culture, while the score cues follow the narrative arc of our main characters. Fans who have already picked up my “Defiance” Videogame Soundtrack will immediately hear the thematic and sonic connections. Where the game score emphasized propulsive action, the television score emphasizes character and melody much more. But, they are two sides of the same coin. Listeners need to hear both records to get a true feeling for the franchise.
Music has been a central character in the world of “Defiance” from the beginning. Showrunner Kevin Murphy’s enthusiasm for the music of “Defiance” is clearly evident, because I asked him to write a couple sentences for this blog entry, and this is what he sent back to me:
This afternoon, I was listening to my brand new advance copy of the Defiance television soundtrack in the background as I was writing scenes for the Season 2 premiere. I held out for a while, but once I heard Raya Yarbrough’s sublime take on the old Five Stairsteps soul classic “Ooh Child,” I gave up any pretense of being able to split my focus. I dimmed the lights, leaned back in my chair and went back to track #1 to listen to the whole album all the way through from the beginning.
The epic “Battle of the Volge?” Eight minutes and thirty three seconds of what I enjoy most about this show. Make no mistake – there’s a lot to love about running “Defiance.” But my greatest pleasure among an embarrassment of riches is the fun of experimenting with Bear, post producer Paul Leonard, music editor Michael Baber and sound designer Daniel Colman. The town of Defiance is an immigrant melting pot and its music reflects this. Our talented team has created a wonderfully eclectic and spicy sonic bouillabaisse.
Listen to the old Earth/Votan pop synthesis of a track like “Terraform My Heart” and you can imagine a scruffy young Votan garage band obtaining a battered vinyl copy of Little Feat’s “Waiting For Columbus” and trying to integrate this new Earth inspiration into the framework of their native musical heritage.
Listen to the eerie sonic experimentation of “Besásh” – a sexy Irathient/Earth dance track that takes advantage of the Irathient’s double voice box. The actual vocal track is an electronic blend of Raya Yarbrough and Brendan McCreary which gives the lead vocal a wild range and unearthly timbre.
There are the Earth covers like the aforementioned “Ooh Child,” “Time After Time” (written by Cyndi Lauper and ‘Hooter’ Rob Hyman whose band played a gig at my high school in 1983!) and (my fave) “Gone Again,” written by the immortal Patti Smith.
We try to keep viewers guessing on the show. Sometimes the “cover of the week” is actually an original, like the Bob Dylan recording of “Scarlet Town” in 104 and Elvis Costello’s “Man Out of Time” in 108. There are a number of great tracks not appearing on this album that demand a volume two – the Nirvana cover from 102, the Votan language versions of all the Young Beautiful in a Hurry tunes, the Comedian Harmonists’ Cole Porter cover from 102, the Inkspots, Sass Jordan, Bear’s stirring “adventure score” from 105… it’s a long list.
Buy this album, make your friends buy it. If Bear sells enough copies of this sucker to justify a Volume Two, you’ll get it! Plus, I’ll be able to make an argument that SyFy increase our music budget so Bear and I can bring more music center stage in season 2!
Fist to your chest and say it loud like Sukar – DEFIANCE!
When you listen to the album, here are a few fun facts about each track:
1. Defiance Main Title
The much, much shorter cousin of the expanded theme on the videogame record, the hors d’oeuvre before the meal.
2. The Ritual of Perpetual Motion (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
The source piece written for the pilot for the Castithan rave where Alak teaches Christie to dance. For more details about this song, including some lyrics and translations, check out my blog entry about the pilot.
3. Flirting With Disaster
This song, by Young Beautiful in a Hurry, has not yet aired, so I won’t spoil anything for you. The scene it comes from is really cool, and the song fits it perfectly. In the broadcast version, major sections of the song are translated into Irathient, so listen on the album first to know what they’re really saying.
4. Before the Votans
5. Welcome to Defiance
Tracks 4 and 5 are the first true score cues on the record. You’ll hear variations of the Main Theme as well as multiple variations of the Spirit Rider Theme. Check out my pilot blog entry for more detail.
6. Terraform My Heart (feat. Brendan McCreary)
This fun song comes from the quick sex montage in the pilot. Brendan and I co-wrote the lyrics together, which he sung in Irathient and English. The chorus is inpisred by Dr. Kevin Grazier’s notes about the original Votan solar system. More detail about this song can be found in my first blog entry.
7. Baby Blue
Featured in tonight’s episode, “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” this song by Young Beautiful in a Hurry plays in the background during an extended conversation scene. In the broadcast version, it is sung in Castithan. On the album, you can hear what the lyrics are really saying.
8. Castithan Bath
This cue is the primary statement of the Castithan Theme that permeates the entire first season. For more details, and score notation, check out my first episode blog entry.
9. Ooh Child (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
Featured as the closing montage in “The Devil in the Dark,” I produced this cover featuring frequent “BSG”-vocalist Raya Yarbrough.
10. Lost to the River
This song was featured in the beginning of “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” and was co-written by the lead singer Brendan McCreary. This song is my new jam. It’s just so raw, and badass. (Actually, Brendan and I co-wrote another song that just came out. I’m blogging about that one soon!)
11. Outside Over There
This Young Beautiful in a Hurry original was played off-camera by the band in the pilot. The ragged arrangement features battered junk percussion, jangly guitars and the deep, subby synths that evoke the world of Defiance.
12. Worth Dying For
A lyrical orchestral piece that features Amanda’s Theme.
13. Concerto For Insects
This is one of the weirdest cues I’ve ever written. I wrote the piece using custom-made “Defiance” bug sounds provided to me courtesy of our brilliant sound designer Daniel Colman. Definitely check out my blog entry about this.
14. Time After Time (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
This song should be familiar to most of you, and is featured prominently in an upcoming episode’s closing montage.
15. Besásh (feat. Raya Yarbrough and Brendan McCreary)
I co-wrote this song with series’ language expert David J. Peterson, and it was featured in an on-camera performance by a lovely Irathient singer. My blog entry includes a complete translation fo the lyrics.
16. Kalagyi Anaila Kaziri
No comment, no spoilers.
17. Courage Under Fire
This Young Beautiful in a Hurry song is featured prominently in an upcoming episode. We wanted something that would have a retro, rebellious attitude: the kind of song a teenager would blast and that his older, more traditional father would hate. In the broadcast version, it is sung in Castithan. Those are all the hints you get about this one.
18. Battle of the Volge
As many of you know, I like to have at least one gargantuan battle cue on every record. I hope this one sits nicely besides “Assault on the Colony,” “Storming New Caprica” and “Easter Mass.” It would also blend well with “The Volge” from the videogame album. I bet someone could do a mash-up of the two tracks and make one epic Volge cue. For more detail about this gigantic cue, check out the pilot blog entry.
19. Nolan and Irisa Reunite
This is the thematic peak of their arc for the first episode, essential to setting up their relationship in coming episodes. Swelling orchestral statements of their theme eventually give way to an intimate solo violin moment. I still get a little misty when I hear the end of this one.
20. Castithan Wedding Song (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
The lyrics for this source piece were written by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, and translated into Castithan for us by David J. Peterson. This one hasn’t aired yet, so I won’t spoil it for you. Because I’m sure you’ll never, ever guess in a million years what’s happening on screen when this cue comes up!
Aside from the ‘Extended Version’ from the game score, this is my favorite variation of the Main Theme, and showcases some of my best orchestration and synth programming to date.
22. Gone Again (feat. Brendan McCreary)
Featured at the end of tonight’s episode, “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” this is a daring new vision of the classic Patti Smith song co-produced by myself and Brendan McCreary. Brendan’s powerful vocal layering and destructive guitar-playing take this incredible song to a whole new level.
“Defiance” fans who want the entire musical experience should definitely check out my score to the videogame as well. This was actually the first Sparks & Shadows release, and is available now from iTunes and Amazon and other digital retailers.
The tracks are all instrumental, emphasizing action and adrenaline, and complementing the television album’s more introspective tendencies. In my opinion, the last track is the definitive “Theme from Defiance,” for the entire franchise. And “Ninety-Niners” is one of the most fun cues I’ve ever produced for anything!
The Defiance television soundtrack marks only the second time in my career that a soundtrack album has been made available to you guys while a show is still airing its initial broadcast. (The previous ocasion was the release of the ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ album on May 28th.)
In April, I launched a new record label, Sparks & Shadows, with the goal of streamlining the album-making process and getting music out to you guys as quickly as possible, without sacrificing any quality. I’m thrilled to say that so far, everyone at the new label has worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality.
The Sparks & Shadows emphasis right now is obviously on digital releases. We can get this music into your yearning ears directly and bypass the manufacturing and shipping that slows this whole process down. However, we know that a substantial group of you really want to hear this music on CD. You want the music in a lossless format, so you can hear the same level of detail that I hear in my mixes, uncompromised by digital compression. And you want a package that you can hold in your hands and treasure. While there’s nothing to announce yet, just know that everyone at S&S hears you loud and clear on this. Plans are in the works that will make you guys very happy.
Enjoy all the new music from “Defiance,” tune in to the epic final episodes in the coming weeks and, of course, let me know which tracks are your favorites!