Varese Sarabande’s Return to Vinyl: Podcast + LP Review

October 13, 2016 | By



When I read that Varese Sarabande was releasing The Bourne Identity (2002) on vinyl, there really was no hesitation in ordering a copy; it’s the definitive action score of the 2000’s, as well as John Powell’s signature action sound which resonated in trailers tracked with his music, and other composer’s scores in which producers clearly wanted a ‘Bourne’ sound to give limp scenes (or whole movies) needed oomph.

Bourne Identity is percussion, bass, and textures organic and digital, and one can argue this score is perfectly suited for vinyl because of the fine nuances within its engineering, and perhaps a challenge for the mastering house to get right.

For me it’s also another test to see how well a score that sounded great on CD would translate to LP, given there are many stages where inattention and budgetary costs can affect the final product. There’s also the curiosity / novelty of seeing if the Varese brand name can deliver the quality sound that I knew so well from the many platters currently boxed up in storage.

Whenever you saw the phrase ‘Mastered and Manufactured at KM Records’ (or something close to that) on their LPs, it was a reassurance to the buyer that Varese (or Citadel Records, for that matter) didn’t go the major label route and use recycled stock, or worse.

I started buying soundtracks in high school, went into overdrive in university, and went bonkers in the 1990s until I almost managed to get everything I wanted except the handful of rare titles that were always evasive (although I did nab more than a few. Malcolm Arnold’s The Roots of Heaven was once rated as one of the most rare platters out there, and today yet it sells for less than a song on Ebay – a sign that a swathe of silver and golden age composers have become less relevant to newer generations of collectors. Arnold tended to recycle motifs in his film work, but Roots is one of his great scores, where everything clicks).

To support my review of the Bourne LP, I’ve added an audio-only podcast interview with Varese Sarabande’s V.P. of A&R, Cary E. Mansfield, and some of the discussion clearly comes from the angle of a collector and vinyl enthusiast (me).

No apologies for that, as what I like to see are beautifully mastered LPs that are affordable and not limited to severe numbers. The Varese LPs, which also include Don Davis’ The Matrix, Jerry Goldsmith’s Rudy, and the pairing of selected cues from Marco Beltrami’s Scream and Scream 2 (with the latter featuring cover art by Rue Morgue’s Gary Pullin) seem to be aimed at the broader collector and fan market, so the releases shouldn’t disappear after a crazy night of mass ordering. There’s nothing worse than having to track down copies which are being flipped by speculators who kept clicking the BUY icon every millisecond.

The podcast is live via iTunes, Libsyn, and YouTube.

Lastly, in 2015 I covered some vinyl-related releases, labels, interviews, and gathered a small list of docs and ephemera on the format’s history which are worth checking out. I strongly suggested starting with the editorials for Vinyl Docs Part 1 and Vinyl Docs Part 2, because the docs also include some rare RCA shorts (all on YouTube) that are still relevant in demonstrating what goes into the making of a record. Compared to CDs, it’s insane someone though this multi-stage system up, and also kind of brilliant.

Coming next: in a change of pace for this site, a podcast covering Vista Trails & Geography of Light 2, an exhibition of work by mixed-media artist Annie Mandlsohn and photographer Robert Brodey at Toronto’s Urban Gallery.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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Category: DVD Label and Producer Profiles, EDITOR'S BLOG, INTERVIEWS, podcast

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