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Legend by Tangerine Dream (Review)

posted Jun 4, 2012, 7:47 PM by Kaya Savas

The ill-fated relationship between Ridley Scott and Jerry Goldsmith is always a unique one to revisit. On Alien it's famously known how unpleased the studio was with some of Goldsmith's score. They thought he was doing too much and so he had to do rewrites and even some of his music was replaced. Scott re-teamed with Goldsmith for Legend, but this time he was wholly rejected. Tangerine Dream was hired to replace the entire score, but due to licensing issues Goldsmith's score actually made it in the final release in Europe while Americans heard Tangerine Dream. Tangerine Dream's score release is a bit of collector's item these days since right now only Goldsmith's score is still in print and is regarded as the true score to the film. In that sense this re-recording is a welcome release with the entire score produced and arranged by Brandon K. Verrett.

While there is no replacement for the original recording this does a fine job of recapturing the spirit of the score. The soundscape though is completely different. The modernization of the score I think kills it here. What made the Tangerine Dream score so trance-like is completely lost here even if the spirit remains. The specific sounds of those synths and electronics at that time were so iconic in the film, and with this re-recording we lose it. But if you focus on the score itself you will manage to find a very different experience than Goldsmith's take. It's actually quite stunning to see the film take on two personas. To watch the American release is like experiencing a completely different film, and through that you will realize how a score can shape a film. Tangerine Dream's score may be regarded as the unwelcome replacement, but it holds an immense wonder in its own right.

I really recommend searching for the original recording and hopefully one day that will get a proper re-release, but for now this recording will have to suffice. The change in approach is understandable but you do lose all that is magical about this score with the different instrumentation. Enjoy this as a take on the music and don't accept it as the music.
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