CD: Charmed (1998-2006)

November 13, 2013 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label:  La-La Land Records / Released: June 18, 2013

Tracks & Album Length: CD1: 33 tracks / (71:19) + CD2: 35 tracks / (73:58)


Special Notes: 24-page colour booklet with liner notes by Randall D. Larson / Limited to 3000 copies.


Composer: J. Peter Robinson




It’s perhaps surprising that it took 7 years for the music from the rather bland, yet long-running Charmed to be released on disc, but then little of composer J. Peter Robinson’s music has been released on CD. Robinson’s largely a veteran of TV movies and series, yet part of the problem may be he’s just not that well-known in spite of having scored several high-profile films (notably Wayne’s World, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and the cult film Detroit Rock City). Alongside Jay Gruska (The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Lois & Clark), Tim Truman (Miami Vice, The Marshal) and Richard Wolf (Static Shock), Robinson was a Charmed regular, and La-La Land’s 2-disc set features his ethereal, mystical and eerie music from the long-running series.

Extremely deft with electronics, Robinson uses an assortment of acoustic and electronic emulations, plus a handful of orchestral-styled cues which break up the score’s fairly contemporary sound. “Water Demon” Suite” is a mix of synths and brass emulations with an initially classical orchestral design, but the cue soon shifts towards more restrained melodic material with a finale that’s packed with exotic percussion, bass hits, descending chorals, and those bowed double bass notes which made his music for The Believers (1987) such a treat.

“Bogey’s Place” harkens back to the slight jazz influence in his music for Craven’s short-lived TV series Nightmare Café (1992), and the opening bars also evoke (deliberately or not) Franz Waxman’s Crime in the Streets [M] (1956). Jazzy, pliable bass notes are also present in the excellent “Kylie,” and a strutting orchestral jazz sound with chromatic lines also dominates the short “Wise Guys.”

Like Daniel Licht’s Dexter music (or for that matter, Sean Callery’s’24, which shares very similar electronic string and woodwind emulations), Robinson gave the show a broad range of moods and theme variations, so fans of the show will be delighted the mix of brief and medium-length cues offer a good programme of quirky drama and occasional downslides into supernatural PG-rated horror.

LLL’s set is mastered from pristine sources, and Randall Larson’s liner notes provide cue overviews, with interpolated quotes from the composer. Robinson’s other credits include the Joe Dante-produced cult series Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992), Tales from the Crypt (1990-1996), and the short-lived series Kindred: The Embraced (1996)..


© 2013 Mark R. Hasan


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