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Disney's The Black Hole (Complete Score Project) - Any Interest?

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Before I begin, I would like to say this up front: I would not be the one undertaking this project, although if I could help out in any way, I will. I really don't have the skill or experience required to pull this off. I am simply throwing this out there to see if anybody would be willing to tackle this idea.

The idea is similiar to the Blade Runner - Complete Music Collection project, though not nearly as massive in scope. I have always been a fan of John Barry's work, and I feel that his score for Disney's The Black Hole is exceptional. Sadly, the only official release it has ever been given was back during its original release in 1979, on vinyl. Worst still, it was only a single LP release, as was often the case back then, and much of the score was missing. To this day, the music cannot be officially purchased outside of an LP, a bootleg CD, or on Itunes in 128kbs acc. For some back information, here is an official statement regarding the Itunes release last January, from the Disney Music Discussion Forum on MagicMusic.net:

"JAN 16 2007

1. The Black Hole Soundtrack  - NOT PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE

As before, all masters have been transferred and restored at 24bit / 96kHz.

Now before someone cries foul, I will explain the status of “The Black Hole Soundtrack”. Though this was the first digitally recorded soundtrack, the digital technology of 1979 is not compatible with digital technology of today (or even 1982 when CD’s were introduced). This soundtrack was recorded with 4bit resolution at 32kHz sampling, thus making a pure digital release not only impossible, but any attempt to upsample or convert them would result in a recording far worse than the analog conversion that was done at the time. The reason it has taken me so long to get this soundtrack re-released is that I wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no way I could use the original digital recordings. I also couldn’t include more of John Barry’s score than was originally released – as the album, as it stands, is all that was legally cleared for release. I did, however, hunt down the original analog transfer from 1979, digitally transferred and restored at 24/96 and re-created the album’s original content. I know some of you more ‘passionate’ will still be disappointed, but there is nothing more anyone could do. Still, even at the iTunes 128kbs compression, the album has never sounded better!"

Also, this is a word from The Black Hole FAQ, which is outdated by several years, but still remains accurate in regards to this music:

Is there a soundtrack available for the film?

The only official release of John Barry's soundtrack for the film was the original LP, released in 1979 on Buena Vista Records (cat. #5008). It contains most of the music used in the film.

Here's the tracklist (with track times):

Overture (2:27) Durant Is Dead (2:31)
Main Title (1:46) Start The Countdown (3:51)
The Door Opens (3:38) Laser (2:15)
Zero Gravity (5:53) Into The Hole (5:00)
Six Robots (1:59) End Title (2:34)

 

For some more information on the soundtrack we go to a post from Marc St. Stephen:

The soundtrack to The Black Hole, by John Barry, was originally released on LP by Disney (Buena Vista Records). The LP contains just over 30 minutes of music and is of fair/poor sound quality. It has been out of print for quite a while now, but copies both sealed and unsealed are still floating around ...

Based on what I learned from Lucas Kendall (who publishes Film Score Monthly) Disney is sitting on the rights and master tapes to The Black Hole and will not reissue it on CD or allow anyone else to do so unless someone throws a great wad of money in their face and/or somehow proves to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that the re-release of The Black Hole will make tons of money for Disney.

Bootleg CD's
There have been two major bootleg releases of the film's soundtrack. The first bootleg release was paired with the Barry's score for "The Last Valley" - both of which are presented in MONO on this CD. The second bootleg of the soundtrack was put out by an Italian bootleg label, Mask, in July 1999. They paired "The Black Hole" with Barry's soundtrack to "Howard The Duck," and includes as bonus tracks "Star Crash" and "You Only Live Twice." The quality of the Mask release is unknown at this time.

I have also seen some small runs of CD-R's mastered from vinyl copies of the album - naturally, quality varies with the expertise behind the mastering of the individual CD-R's. The same proviso also applies to the bootleg CD's, as it is incredibly unlikely the bootleggers would have access to anything better than vinyl copies of the score.

 

I got this idea after I stumbled onto an "extended" Black Hole soundtrack that somebody posted on a blog recently. It was basically just a rip of the LP, but the poster also included 10 tracks that he ripped straight off the DVD. He obviously applied a basic filter to remove the speech, but it left the sound effects intact, as well as some echo from the speech in the background. It was rather crude, but reminded me how much music wasn't included on the official releases. Just those 10 short tracks added up to about 14 minutes of music. I truly feel that this score is deserving of a full release, and since that is obviously not going to happen, I was hoping somebody here with more talent than I have would be willing to take this project on. It would most likely involve ripping the DVD audio, and applying advanced filtering to extract just the music, without sound effects and speech, as there is no other way to obtain the missing music. I have the 10 tracks of additional music that were posted, if that would help somebody with knowing what music needs to be done. Luckily, almost all of the unreleased music is contained in these 10 tracks. I also have a very nice rip of the LP in 320kbps mp3, which was cleaned up by somebody very nicely. I don't know if it would be better to get the officially released tracks from the LP or from Itunes. I realize that the Itunes release is compressed, but if the LP doesn't sound so great, which is worse?

 

So, does anybody think this is something to pursue? Again, the fact that there isn't too many tracks to do means it probably wouldn't be that big of a project, if it turned out that somebody could successfully remove the sound effects and speech. But that missing music is, in my opinion, hauntingly beautiful, and it is such a shame to see it disappear. If Disney had at least offered a music-only track on the DVD, it would have made this so much easier, but alas, they did not. I am curious what others think about this. Regardless of how anybody feels about the film itself, John Barry's score for the film deserves far better than a partial release to Itunes in 128kbs acc. Thanks for reading this very long post, and please voice your opinions, as I would really like to hear what people think about this.

 

 

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I would love to get my hands on this score!

“First feel fear, then get angry. Then go with your life into the fight.” - Bill Mollison

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I'm a fan of the film. Barry's score is one of the best things about it. I used to rent the old Disney Laserdisc often because the only store that had a copy wouldn't sell it to me! ;)

The overture was legitimately released in the 90's on a compilation CD of Sci-Fi movies scores put out by the SciFi Channel. It has always sounded great to me.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Sci-Fis-Greatest-Hits-Volume-1-Final-Frontiers-O_W0QQitemZ120316472035QQihZ002QQcategoryZ307QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

 It's also present on the old Anchor Bay DVD (in 5.1) and the letterboxed VHS boxset. (Did Disney include it on their DVD version?)

A friend gave me MP3's of the vinyl and the Mask CD. The mask version sounds very good. There is also a disco version of the soundtrack done by none other than MECO!

Where were you in '77?

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I would wear out an extended version of the soundtrack. Count me in as very interested. The theme was one of the best theme songs of the 70's, right up there with the Rockford Files.
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Ya! This looks great

Remember, Highlander, you’ve both still got your full measure of life. Use it well, and your future will be glorious.

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Hi, i also love the music from this movie.  Ive spent years tracking down extended ques from this movie and many more and would love to finally get some good queues :-)

I have visited the blog you speak of and listned to the music there and i also found another blog that now seems to be down.  the blogs i found were:

theinfernomusiccrypt.blogspot.com, raresoundtracks.wordpress.com.  , and bsoraros.wordpress.com

I got the music and kinda made my own playlist based off those sources.  Id be happy to upload it so others can listen to it if someone can provide me with a place to put it.  None of my work of course, just what i have found.

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I found the links you mentioned through Google, roycommi. This blog links to a set of 2 zip files, both rips from the DVD. One zip contains a number of tracks with the vocals removed, again leaving the sound effects, like the version I found. The other zip contains the same tracks except unedited. Unfortunately, they are all 128kbs mp3s, so the quality leaves alot to be desired. Still, it would allow some folks here to check the music out if they are not familiar with it, and discover what a beautiful soundtrack it really is. Here is the link to that blog:

http://soundtrackfan.com/blog/?p=88#more-88

Note that this link does not include the officially released tracks, only DVD rips. Roycommi, you could try mediafire to upload your compiliation of tracks, that is where these zips are located, and it looks like you can upload for free, without signing up for an account. It took just over 30 seconds for me to download them.

So, there does seem to be some interest in this. Now we need somebody who can actually pull it off. It looks like it won't be easy to remove the sound effects, as apparently others have tried, and failed. I'd bet that focuspuller might have some luck, as his Blade Runner project seems massive in scope, but he is obviously very busy with that project. Thanks for finding those links, roycommi.

 

 

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[Captian Obvious=The largest problem with this potential project is that there aren't sources to draw on.]  Maybe the Storybook EP will be helpful.

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Agreed - that is certainly the largest obstacle. We have virtually nothing to get this missing music from, other than the DVD itself. I wonder if isolating certain surround channels from the DVD would help to filter out the sound effects. My guess would be not so much, because even though the speech may be primarily in the front speaker, the sound effects are spread across all the channels in the 5.1 surround mix, making the process of filtering out the sound effects very difficult, if not impossible. I have the record you linked to, and that may possible contribute bits of the music, as it contains 45 minutes of music and dialog straight from the movie, but it probably doesn't contain the full length music cues that the film contains, being a shortened version of the film.

 

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Oldfan said:

I also have a very nice rip of the LP in 320kbps mp3, which was cleaned up by somebody very nicely. I don't know if it would be better to get the officially released tracks from the LP or from Itunes. I realize that the Itunes release is compressed, but if the LP doesn't sound so great, which is worse?

Hi there,

Interesting project. I remembered a couple of the musical cues from a book & record a friend had as a kid, and when I found a copy of the LP sealed (for a buck iirc) I picked it up.

That's a shame about the original recordings (4 bit, etc). Almost as bad is the Itunes source being the analog masters, and then releasing as 128k, which is ridiculous.

As for your question above, can you buy a single track from the Itunes release? If so, you could then compare to the LP rip you have.

My guess is that a recording from the LP would sound better than the Itunes, but highly dependent on the equipment used for the transfer. You'd think that the Mask company should have decent gear if they do regular releases, but what extent a bootleg company would go to for quality, I have no clue.

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I found a couple references to the score on a couple blogs. Here is a quote from somebody regarding the itunes release:

In searching for the soundtrack by John Barry, I was led to Wikipedia which states the soundtrack is available on iTunes. So, needless to say, I finally have a clean copy of the entire soundtrack! I still have my pristine LP from 1979, but the sound is much improved on the new downloads.

Here's another quote, this one about the Mask release:

"The Black Hole" is available on an Italian import (the label is "Mask," I'm not sure this isn't a boot), with FANTASTIC sound (it's better than the LP, believe it or not). It's coupled with "Howard the Duck" and a few other tracks. There is also a suite from "The Black Hole" that adds no additional score (although it has different variations on the main theme).

I may indeed check out a single track from itunes, to compare to the LP. I've never used itunes before; from what I've read elsewhere, 128kbps acc is roughly equal to 192kbps mp3, but I don't know how accurate that is. Even if it's true, that's pretty terrible as far as it being the best source available. Why remaster the music and then compress it down again just for itunes? At least if it had been released to itunes as 256kbps, as some music is now getting, that would be something. And that still doesn't solve the biggest problem: how do we get clean tracks of the missing music?

 

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SilverWook said:

The overture was legitimately released in the 90's on a compilation CD of Sci-Fi movies scores put out by the SciFi Channel. It has always sounded great to me.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Sci-Fis-Greatest-Hits-Volume-1-Final-Frontiers-O_W0QQitemZ120316472035QQihZ002QQcategoryZ307QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I have this Sci-fi channel CD. Let me know I can help y'all out in any way.

 

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I have downloaded a single track from itunes, "Durant Is Dead", as this one has always sounded quite squelchy and tinny on the LP. I will admit it does sound very good. I would say it does sound better than the LP, but it is an m4P, DRM protected, and any conversion would result in further quality loss. I have also found another blog with the score available for download. If anybody wants to take a look, here it is:

http://chiefdundee.blogspot.com/2007/09/black-hole-john-barry.html

The front and rear covers are not from the Mask release, as I have seen those covers, so I don't know what this source is. It sounds flawless, without a single crackle or pop. I doubt it was from the LP. "Durant Is Dead" sounded virtually identical to the itunes track. It could be that it was converted from the itunes tracks, or maybe it is indeed the Mask release, as it does contain the additional suite that is unavailable on the itunes release. Very odd...

I have also found the REAL Mask release for download, available on www.gomusic.ru, which seems to be a Russian music site. From what I can gather, it offers popular and also rare bootlegs for download, for about 15 cents per song. It seems to be up for debate whether or not is is legal in the US, but many people have used them, and not had any problems. Myself, I doubt the legality of it. You have to load your "wallet" with a minimum of $10, from your credit card, then the songs get deducted from that. I'd love to hear the Mask release (it's in 256kbps mp3, DRM free), but I don't like the idea of going through them to get it.

A review I found on the Mask release commented on the quality:

"The sound quality is surprisingly good, but Mask's CD is filled out to capacity with shameless lifts from Kunzel, Star Crash, Barry's 'Space March', and even Arnold's 'Shaken and Stirred' version."

That's all I've got for now.

 

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Wouldn't it just be easier to buy the Mask CD on Ebay?

Where were you in '77?

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It would certainly be easier to just buy the CD, but it is expensive. There is one copy currently available on Ebay, and it's price is $39.99. I just can't afford that right now.  It may not seem like a lot for some people, but for me, that's too much for a single cd.

 

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So this is serious necroposting, but I stumbled across this post while I was searching on where/how to get my hands on the expanded soundtrack.

If you’re a fan of John Barry’s amazing score of this film and hadn’t heard, after the 10-track CD/itunes release of the original LP in 2007, they did a full soundtrack release in 2011. While it’s not available on iTunes, you can buy it through the link below. I’ve ordered mine and will update this post for anyone that still has this thread tagged and might be interested in it.

http://store.intrada.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7229/.f

While I’m known around these parts for my love of Star Wars, TBH is by far one of my most fondly remembered and enjoyed films. It’s not perfect, but it’s still amazing, particularly if you know it’s real history, including the amazing work that it represents from a special effects standpoint.

Anyhow, I’ll update once I get it and let anyone interested in on whether it’s worth the price, but I suspect it will be!

L8

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This arrived in the mail, and it is STUNNING.

The backstory on this is awesome. TBH was the first film score to be recorded digitally on what was state-of-the art 3M recording equipment. Those master recordings eventually became trapped in their media due to the technology becoming antiquated. In preparation for the 30 year anniversary, this one Disney guy sought to release the full score, and to do so in a process that preserved the digital aspect with a full CD release. Unfortunately that proved far more troublesome than anticipated. Long story short is that project is why there was an iTunes version of the original soundtrack LP that became available; they could transfer the files to analog and then re-digitize but that wasn’t what he wanted, he wanted the entire workflow to remain digital. So as a stop-gap they bounced the tracks that replicated the '79 vinyl release on iTunes and kept working the problem for the full score. Eventually he tracked down working equipment and engineers with the experience on how to access and transfer the songs. It was truly a labor of love that literally took years to accomplish, and it shows in both the audio results, and the accompanying booklet.

The CD comes with a thorough multi-page insert that chronicles the development of the film and the score, and then details the unique journey of the score, track-by-track in terms of style and motif, and closes with the journey of restoring the soundtrack.

If you are a fan of TBH, the score, John Barry or just cool musical scores in general, this is an absolute MUST HAVE for your collection. Hearing the full score that hasn’t been available is a pure joy for any fan of the film.

L8wrtr said:

So this is serious necroposting, but I stumbled across this post while I was searching on where/how to get my hands on the expanded soundtrack.

If you’re a fan of John Barry’s amazing score of this film and hadn’t heard, after the 10-track CD/itunes release of the original LP in 2007, they did a full soundtrack release in 2011. While it’s not available on iTunes, you can buy it through the link below. I’ve ordered mine and will update this post for anyone that still has this thread tagged and might be interested in it.

http://store.intrada.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7229/.f

While I’m known around these parts for my love of Star Wars, TBH is by far one of my most fondly remembered and enjoyed films. It’s not perfect, but it’s still amazing, particularly if you know it’s real history, including the amazing work that it represents from a special effects standpoint.

Anyhow, I’ll update once I get it and let anyone interested in on whether it’s worth the price, but I suspect it will be!

L8

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