Blade Runner is one of my favourite films, definitely in the top ten. The original that is, I’m still undecided on the recent sequel. The music has always been a significant contribution to the feel of the film, almost a character in its own right, but one that lurks in the shadows, where you never quite glimpse her face. This soundtrack may also be in a top ten of best film soundtracks ever, in that it perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of the film, with its sensitive choice of dialogue clips that enhance rather than interrupt the flow of music.
The music itself is glorious, Vangelis has achieved something quite profound with his synth-driven compositions. They sound both organic and timeless, yet otherworldly and futuristic. There’s something deeply human about this music, there’s nothing robotic or Kraftwerkian about it. He has an orchestral composers’ approach to creating his soundscapes.
The soundtrack was only officially released in 1994 (although they’d been bootlegs around before then) due a disagreement between Vangelis and the producers, and its notable that even in the intervening 12 years the soundscape it conjures had lost none of its ability to capture the sound and mood of a futuristic dystopian Los Angeles in the far off year of 2019. Given the similar issues Ridley Scott also had with the film release, it’s perhaps only added to the film’s cult standing.
The Love Theme, dripping with sultry sax, is one of the most well-known pieces from the soundtrack and often features as a stand-alone in highlighting Vangelis’s musical prowess, but my favourite tracks are the opening Main Titles and its segue into the Blush Response, primarily for the way it works so well with the film dialogue – such a pivotal part of the story. The other highlight, for the same reason, is of course the stunning end sequence with Rutger Hauer for Tears in Rain. Vangelis doesn’t let his score overwhelm or over-sensationalise a moment like this, and that’s the real skill of a film score composer.
Best Bits: Tears in Rain: ‘All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.’
Genre: Synth Soundtrack
Like This, Try This: Read the book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K Dick