Top 10 Scifi Soundtracks to Own

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft! With the RTE orchestra hosting a special music night (Wednesday 12th in the National Concert Hall) we thought we’d take you through some of the best sci-fi soundtracks out there to buy.

The RTE Orchestra ask ‘Is there anybody out there’ tonight,Wednesday 12th, 8pm at the National Concert Hall. The newly appointed Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra David Brophy and team take us on a voyage through space and blockbuster sci-film scores, the likes of which include Stargate, The Rocketeer, Star Wars, Capricorn One, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.  It got us thinking; what are some of the most memorable sci-fi soundtracks?


Here are  ten of the most memorable scores from Sci-Fi/Fantasy films out there!



(1) Brazil  


Ary Barroso’s famous 1939 song “Aquarela do Brazil” (Watercolour of Brazil) is the leitmotif of Terry Gilliam’s classic ‘80s film. Like the film, the piece alternates from grand and operatic to light and bouncy as composer Michael Kamen takes us through Gilliam’s bleak dystopia future. Superb.



(2) Stargate

Today, Stargate may be better known for its television spin-off, but in 1994, legendary/classical inspired science fiction composer David Arnold gave us one of the most inspired scores for Roland Emmerich’s unique vision of Egyptian Pharaohs in outer space!



(3) Star Wars

There is no escaping John Williams’ 1976 score for the first Star Wars movie. It’s arguably the most recognisable modern classical composition on earth. The clip above, also known as ‘Luke’s Theme’, features in all of the Star Wars movies. Williams is often credited as reviving the grand symphonic scores, which are so much a part of modern sci-fi cinema.


(4) Star Trek

‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’ was an instrumental piece written by Alexander Courage for the Star Trek television series created by Gene Roddenberry. The tune was used throughout the original show and  all the Star Trek movies. Lost’s J.J Abrams is currently working on redesigning the Star Trek franchise with his movie due in Summer ’09, lets hope he holds on to a few  of these classic elements!


(5) Flash Gordon

It’s sci-fi meets camp with Queen’s soundtrack to the Flash Gordon. Gordon was one of the earlier high-budget films to use a score primarily composed and performed by a rock band. Other films to follow in this tradition include ‘Dune’ (scored by Toto) and ‘Maximum Overdrive (scored by AC/DC).


(6) 2001 : A Space Odyssey

With its relative sparse amount of dialogue music plays a crucial part in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. The film heavily relies on classical music taken from pre-existing commercial recordings and is most remembered (not to mention most parodied) for its use of the opening from Richard Strauss’s ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’.


(7) Close Encounters of The Third Kind

Another film score composed by John Williams, but unlike the grand symphonic score of Star Wars, Close Encounters is immediately recognisable for five simple tones. More like a doorbell ringing then a film score, a synthesiser was used to communicate with the aliens ‘re-mi-do –do (octave lower)-so’. The motif was developed to resemble H-E-L-L-O in musical form.


(8) Blade Runner

Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis is a dark melodic combination of classic composition and futuristic synthesizers which mirrors the film-noir future envisioned by Ridley Scott.  For fans of the original soundtrack, a set with 3 CDs of Blade Runner-related Vangelis music was released last Christmas. Titled “Blade Runner Trilogy”, the first CD contains the same tracks as the 1994 official soundtrack release, the 2nd CD contains previously unreleased music, and the 3rd CD is all newly composed music from Vangelis, inspired by, and in the spirit of the movie.


(9) The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Combining sci-fi and sex, it is of course Richard O’Brien’s (aka that bald guy from the Crystal Maze) sci-fi musical ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. Whether you see it as classic sci-fi or not, it has one of the most memorable soundtracks around (just attend any 21st and you’re bound to end up dancing to one of its tracks –willingly or not!)



(10) Matrix


It’s heavy metal and hard industrial techno in the first instalment of the Matrix but like the film, this stands out as one of the best sci-fi/fantasty soundtracks before the brothers watered down the film with the sequels. Worth it if only for Manson’s ‘Rock is Dead’





These are just a few examples of some of the best soundtracks proving that sci-fi really is the genre that sparks the creative imagination but what do you think? Do you agree, disagree. Tell us!