Review: Eraser (1996)

Composer: Alan Silvestri

Label: Bootleg (2-CD recording sessions)

Catalogue Nr.: Bootleg

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There is an unwritten rule for score fans: If you can't find it in stores then look for it on the secondary market. Composers are sometimes giving around complete samples of their most favourite work to collaborators or very close friends. Whenever that happens, the chances are high that these CDs will make their way to the secondary market where they become bootlegs and are traded by hardcore collectors. In the case of Eraser, that surfacing process took almost 10 years. Alan Silvestri is known as a very kind and generous person (recently, he donated a $100.000 music studio to the Carmel Youth Center) and he is also one of the few composers who actually care about their fans so it was only natural that a complete bootleg of Eraser would make the round sooner or later.

The score:

Now what makes this particular 2-CD bootleg so special? There are mainly three reasons: First of all, we get every note from the score in the way Alan Silvestri intended it for the film and if you put the alternate takes aside, this complete material goes up to more than 80 minutes of music. Furthermore, we get plenty of alternate takes with slightly different performances here or there. The last and most important reason is the superb sound quality. Only very few bootlegs will sound as clear and stellar as this one.

If you take the trouble and go through the movie you can bring the tracks in the correct film order. The first track listing below contains the unaltered track listing of the bootleg and the second track listing is showing their correct film order.

The complete score reveals that Alan Silvestri's approach to the film is slightly more detailed than the 43 minute album would suggest. Minor ideas and some parts of the score that were not used in the film are adding more depth and finally a little bit more sense to the score. Now the question is: Can the additional material increase the scores rating? The answer is simple: no. The new material offers nothing groundbreaking or new but more variations of the same material. If you hated the score on the album then there is hardly a chance that you will love the complete version.

Disc One:

After the "Original Main Title", the first previously unreleased cue is "Race To The Zoo". This cue comes right after "Kruger Escapes" in the film and consists of more e-guitar action at the beginning accompanied by strikes of synthetic drums before suspenseful silence takes over. The second part of the cue strikes with more jungle percussion as Lee is escaping into the reptile house before the e-guitar action continues. The next three cues are alternate takes of "You're Luggage" followed by the previously released "Cabin Raid". The unreleased material continues with "Bad Water" which starts with suspenseful music and goes into a striking variation of the Cyrez theme.

After the previously released "Kruger's Story" we get to an "untitled" cue which is essentially a very subtle and short take of the Cyrez theme. "Boarding The Plane" consists of a muskular march with heavily pounding percussion which is a foreshadowing of Silvestri's later work for Volcano (1997). "Rail Gun Assault" starts with suspense music interrupted sudden outbursts of atonal brass as a group of Assassins is approaching Lee's house before the action takes over again as Kruger is coming to the rescue. The driving rhythm and orchestral force is comparable to "Kruger's Escape" here but with a slower pace and a more march-like structure. The disc continues with another short suspense cue "Your Music Arrived". The next cue, "Observation" follows Lee's attempt to read the Cyrez-Disc with calm and brooding suspense music. "Kruger Escapes" and "Cyrez Break-In Part 3" contain previously released material though "Cyrez Break-In" is spread over several different cues here. "Conspirators" and "Morehart and Harper" are virtually identical short pieces of suspense music. "Cyrez Break-In Part 1" contains an ostinato for pizzicato strings which gives the music a sneaky and slightly comedic feeling.

Disc Two:

The real highlights of the previously unreleased material can be found on the second disc. It starts with the two previously released cues "She's In" and "When I Have Proof" before we get a variation on the main theme in "Life Insurrance". Two versions of "Union Trouble" follow while both seem to be virtually identical. "Cyrez Break-In Part 2" follows the reanimation scene with striking e-guitar and thrilling brass outbursts while "Cyrez Break-In Part 4" consists of previously released material. "To Baltimore" starts with calm and warm strings before an e-guitar statement ends the short cue. The highlight of this bootleg is the lengthy "Dock Fight Part 1" which features the most striking outbursts of the heroic main theme besides the album version which can be foud in "Dock Fight Part 2". Both cues were edited in the film while most of the beginning from "Dock Fight Part 2" was cut out. "No Witness, No Trial" is a more subtle variation of the main theme march from the album cue "The Eraser".

"Trust Only Me" is a short piece which features mysterious music for a solo English horn. After the album cue "Dock Fight Part 2" we get two different versions of "Reunion" and the album cue "The Eraser". Another unreleased gem is "Train Finale" which brings a short but striking outburst of dramatic Silvestri-fanfares. This particular musical moment was the one I have missed the most on the album because it offers pure Silvestri joy. "Donahue's Suicide" is another dramatic piece which starts with eerie and suspenseful strings and goes into a dramatically whirling outburst of action music accompanied by synthetic drums as Lee is escaping the Cyrez building. The next cue is an "untitled" one which was not used in the film and features more e-guitar music. The disc is closed by two versions of "Who The Hell Are You?!". The cue was meant to follow Kruger's rescue mission at the beginning of the film but only the first minute was used while the rest was rejected. The unused part consists of a lengthy variation of the main theme march with an excellent build up and huge fanfares. It feels like this idea was the basis for Silvestri's "March of the Lava" which followed in the next year.

Review by Andreas Creutzburg

 

RATING:

Score as heard in the film: 67%

Score as heard on CD: 75%

TOTAL: 71%

 

The presentation:

Certainly one of the better bootlegs which offers all the material from the film as well as alternate and unused takes in excellent sound quality. The running time is 101 minutes and originally it comes without track names or cover art.

Presentation by the Label: Bootleg

 

Summary:

I recommend this surprisingly great bootleg version of Alan Silvestri's overlooked action gem to all fans of the composer and everyone who was not satisfied with the official release. More Alan Silvestri music is never wrong to me, even if it is just more of the same material. Nevertheless, the bootleg offers a depth that was missing on the album especially when you listen to the new cues in their film order.

 

                              Tracklisting:

Disc One

01.  Eraser Original Main Title (02:37) **
02.  Race To The Zoo (03:16) *
03.  "You're Luggage": version 1 (03:18) **
04.  "You're Luggage": version 2 (03:20) **
05.  "You're Luggage": version 3 (03:17)
06.  Cabin Raid (04:44)
07.  Bad Water (03:10) *
08.  Kruger's Story (02:13)
09.  Untitled (01:29) **
10.  Boarding The Plane (01:10) *
11.  Railgun Assault (04:21) *
12.  "Your Music Arrived" (01:17) *

13.  Observation (02:04) *

14.  Kruger Escapes (04:21)

15.  Cyrez Break-In Part 3 (04:30)

16.  Conspirators (01:28) *

17.  Morehart and Harper (01:34) *

18.  Cyrez Break-In Part 1 (0:51) *

 

Disc Two

 

01.  She's In (06:14)

02.  "When I Have Proof" (03:19)

03.  Life Insurrance (02:49) *

04.  Union Trouble: version 1 (03:25)

05.  Union Trouble: version 2 (03:27) **

06.  Cyrez Break-In Part 2 (01:32) *

07.  Cyrez Break-In Part 4 (02:42)

08.  To Baltimore (00:48) **

09.  Dock Fight Part 1 (04:46) *

10.  "No Witness, No Trial" (01:06) *

11.  "Trust Only Me" (00:39) *

12.  Dock Fight Part 2 (03:17) **

13.  Reunion: version 1 (01:44) **

14.  Reunion: version 2 (01:42)

15.  The Eraser (01:45) **

16.  Train Finale (01:22) *

17.  Donahue's Suicide (01:34) *

18.  Untitled (01:43) **

19.  Who The Hell Are You: version 1 (04:04) **

20.  Who The Hell Are You: version 2 (4:04) **

 

* previously unreleased

** unreleased/contains material not used in film

 

Correct film order:

 

01.  CD 1/Track 01

02.  CD 2/Track 19

03.  CD 2/Track 01

04.  CD 2/Track 17

05.  CD 1/Track 12

06.  CD 1/Track 13

07.  CD 1/Track 11

08.  CD 2/Track 11

09.  CD 1/Track 17

10.  CD 1/Track 08

11.  CD 1/Track 10

12.  CD 1/Track 06

13.  CD 1/Track 07

14.  CD 1/Track 14

15.  CD 1/Track 02

16.  CD 1/Track 05

17.  CD 2/Track 02

18.  CD 1/Track 16

19.  CD 1/Track 18

20.  CD 2/Track 06

21.  CD 1/Track 15

22.  CD 2/Track 07

23.  CD 2/Track 08

24.  CD 2/Track 03

25.  CD 2/Track 04

26.  CD 2/Track 09

27.  CD 2/Track 12

28.  CD 2/Track 14

29.  CD 2/Track 10

30.  CD 2/Track 16

31.  CD 2/Track 15