Okay, so, this arrived the other day:
To say “I would have waited an eternity for this moment” is neither a gratuitous (if highly appropriate) in-joke,nor an understatement: I really did not expect to have this sucker in my possession. Ever. Although i do have the original 1986 Transformers movie soundtrack—on old-school cassette tape, no less—this is an entirely different animal…. A complete collection of every single bit of instrumental music composed for the film, by one Vince Di Cola! Part of what made Transformers: The movie so unbearably awesome was Mr. Di Cola’s 80’s-tastic synth-rock anthems; which covered everything from epic battles to somber death scenes (spoiler alert: Prime doesn’t make it). But aside from legally-iffy recordings on Youtube and limited-editions-of-whoops-we’ve-sold-out- already compilations released at transformers conventions, how was I supposed to get my hands on some pure, unadulterated Vince-ness?
Well, thank you, intrada.com, I finally have my answer.
The CD has some lovely packaging, with the original movie poster on the cover (which also doubles as a pull-out booklet); and some screenshots of Megatron being x-rayed / Galvatronicised, and the swirly ‘technovortex’ from the opening credits on the inside. The booklet itself presents a potted history of the Transformers brand and 1986 movie, but more importantly tells you everything you need to know about Mr. Di Cola, his contribution to the project (especially how he tailored his musical compositions to the different sequences in the story), and all the stuff he’s been up to since. A good deal of this stuff i did not know before, which is an added bonus….
There are places, however, where I wonder how carefully the author fact-checked his Transformers info before sending it off to print:
1) he states that many characters were trashed to ‘make way for a shiny new toyline’, but then provides the Insecticons, Dinobots and Constructicons (who had all been around since midway-through season 1 of the TV show, and were hardly ‘new’ by 1986) as examples,
2) the Insecticons are called ‘Insectoids’ and the Junkions ‘Junkticons’ (what, did they switch sides or something?),
3) the Matrix of Leadership is referred to as ‘the hope-giving Energon crystals’, and
4) love-him-or-hate-him human companion Daniel Witwicky is described as ‘the spunky human kid Kevin.’
Who the flip-flopping flippity-flop is Kevin?!
Ah, you can but laugh.
The CD—obviously, the meat in this Transformers sandwich of Awesome—contains a whopping 25 music tracks (nearly 75 minutes worth), all as originally composed and recorded; which were then fitted around the seven other equally-epic rock hits making up the aforementioned soundtrack (such as ‘The Touch’ by Stan Bush and ‘Dare to be Stupid’ by Weird Al Yankovic). Listening to the unadulterated musical score—several times, on high rotation, I will admit—it was interesting to note that even though the tracks are presented in ‘chronological order’, i.e, matched to each major sequence in the film from start to finish, by Vince; in the final film several of them were either edited down, shifted to a different scene, or swapped out for one of the soundtrack songs.
An example here is track 3, ‘Space Attack’—intended, if my story sequence / music progression idea is accurate, for when Megatron hijacks the Autobot shuttle; but is replaced instead by NRG’s ‘Instruments of Destruction’ in the movie. However, all is not lost: track 19, ‘Decepticon attack’, contains a variant of track three’s bombastic tune, and shows up (in full) during the Junkion sequence, where Galvatron and co. ambush Ultra Magnus’ crew while they repair their crashed spacecraft.
One track that was definitely not in the movie is the last on the CD, ‘Legacy’—but if anything, it may be the most important of the lot: as it is the original musical ‘proof of concept’ that Vince Di cola created to get himself the Transformers movie gig in the first place! It’s a brilliant piece of music in every sense of the word, but this track holds an extra, special relevance for me personally…. I posted a YouTube link to it on my Yoobee film class Facebook page, and everyone found it particularly inspiring: especially our tutor, who could henceforth be heard whistling the main ‘hero theme’ as he strolled down the corridors; played the entire thing as a musical accompaniment to a presentation later in the year; and then used it as the theme song for our big 1980’s-influenced end-of-course student film exhibition!