TARZAN soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

TARZAN soundtrack | ©2014 Milan Records

David Newman’s rocking, rambunctious voice for electronics and the orchestra provided the beat for two cult teen movies from the late 80s – one involving a bitchy clique of “Heathers,” and the other pairing the far more lovable, dunderheaded duo of Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire. While the first picture got a snarky, country-flavored synth beat, the clever, time travelling conceit for BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE afforded Newman the opportunity to energetically combine a full-blast, history-spanning symphony with a rock-pop beat for the Wyld Stallyns’ first quest.

It was indeed a truly ingenious stylistic combo as Newman gives a playfully serious instrumental weight to such iconic figures as Abraham Lincoln, Sigmund Frood and So-Crates (while recalling just a bit of his dad Alfred’s HOW THE WEST WAS WON for Billy the Kid). The orchestral era hopping also allows references to Ye Old England as well as Asian percussion for Attila the Hun and Beethoven for well, Beethoven. Jamming them all into a phone booth is Newman’s antic talent for trumpeting, neo-Americana symphonic adventure (complete with “America the Beautiful”), as glued together with delightfully oh-so 80s neon synth keyboard percussion and guitar licks that play Bill and Ted as the two mentally harmless, lovable metal heads with IQ’s slightly about Beavis and Butthead. It’s a wonderful sense of innocence and uncondescending fun that helped make the movie into a classic of its kind, with Tim Grieving’s most excellent liner notes featuring new interview with Newman and Bill S. Preston himself.Intrada does a bit of time hopping with this totally awesome release, as they first put out Newman’s even more epic score for BOGUS ADVENTURE years before this. But with Bill and Ted, it’s always better late than never, especially with this deluxe edition that offers such nice bonuses as a western saloon’s tack piano, a bit of Claude Debussy and the William Tell Overture to boot.

TARZAN shows off David Newman as a composer who’s as muscular as ever when it comes to heroically swinging action. After last taking a trip into western space for the genre with SERENITY, Newman returns to the jungle that gave birth to one of his most sumptuously exciting scores with THE PHANTOM. Now the drums hit a fever African beat as he trades in comic strip blue tights for an earlier white savior’s loincloth. TARZAN stands tall as one of Newman’s most lavishly melodic scores, music that nobly never seems to sit still for a second. A mighty chorus powers TARZAN‘s bold melodies as he swings from trees to stop a giant magic meteor in 3D, the music particularly impressing for its brass jungle hollers and native percussion. Just about every cue here suffices for any other score’s climactic moment in Newman’s colorful adrenalin rush, scaling peaks of unabashedly lavish melody that comes naturally given his own legendary bloodline – though not without bits of pop drive, metal guitar or comedy. Here’s hoping Newman gets more chance to swing in the realm ersatz superhero scores, one he knows how to climb the peaks of like no one’s business.

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