This weekend’s episode, Takin’ a Break From All Your Worries, presented unique challenges. There are several original songs featured in the episode, some written by myself and others written by series writer Michael Taylor, Raya Yarbrough… even Edward James Olmos!
The episode begins with Baltar and Number 6 singing a simple lullaby as he prepares to kill himself. The lyrics for this tune are penned by the episode’s writer Michael Taylor. Eddie (Olmos, actually a very skilled musician) directed this episode and improvised the vocal melody on set with James and Tricia.
Eddie’s lullaby is a pleasant waltz in G major. I composed score to play against their vocal, creating a music-box-like accompaniment set in E minor and C minor. This has the effect of taking an otherwise sweet tune and giving it a dissonant and disturbed quality, more appropriate to the scene. The lullaby makes a few instrumental appearances throughout the first act as well.
The bulk of the score is comprised of variations of Baltar’s theme (see this entry for musical details) since the story revolves around his torture. Among these versions is a bittersweet and lyrical arrangement for erhu and Scottish fiddle. Baltar’s theme is inherently dark and brooding, so to set it in this context was very challenging, but extremely rewarding. The result is music that has the folk-instrumental qualities of Season 2’s Roslin and Adama, but retains the off-center darkness of Baltar’s theme.
However, Takin’ a Break… also includes several “source” pieces, or songs that are meant to function as pop music within the show itself, not as narrative “score.” The B-plot takes place at a make-shift bar that opens up on a hangar deck. Bars naturally play music, and Joe’s is no exception. But, rather than simply laying the music in during editorial, Eddie wanted to play it on the set to inspire the actors, and so he called me before shooting.
Unfinished Business used source music during their outside celebration. For that sequence I brought in a Celtic-inspired jig. However, it was always my feeling that there was a band off screen playing that song live and the scenes at Joe’s bar clearly required recorded music played from an off-screen radio. (You’ll even get a glimpse of the radio itself in the second to last episode, but I’ll discuss that song when the time is right.)
Eddie wanted songs that were gritty and bluesy, but still had a Battlestar feel. I sent him a handful of cues and let him decide on the set which ones fit best. The first song you’ll hear is an instrumental that I wrote for the show. The other two are vocal pieces that Eddie chose, beginning with:
- Lord Knows I Would
- composed and performed by Raya Yarbrough
Yarbrough’s voice has been a part of the Galactica score from the beginning, but this is the first time her original music has been included. Her haunting vocals are already a part of the soundscape of the series and it seems fitting that the crew would listen to her.
Raya Yarbrough and Paul Cartwright perform Raya’s original “A Mess of Me” at the Battlestar Galactica concert, June 2006.
There’s good news and bad news for you soundtrack junkies out there. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to include Raya’s tune on the next Galactica album, for legal reasons. However, the good news is that this song will be available on her debut album from Telarc Records in the late summer. Check out her website for details. [Updated: Lord Knows I Would is featured on Raya Yarbrough’s self-titled debut album from Telarc Records, released February 2008]
The final song featured in the bar scenes is:
- All That Remains
- performed by Raya Yarbrough
- composed and produced by Bear McCreary
An organic choice, since it’s performed by the same vocalist, this is the song you hear the most throughout the show. Eddie and the editors used it almost as score, allowing the drama to build as the momentum in the song crescendos. As we cut in and out of the bar scenes, I wrote an instrument score cue that lays over the song and interacts with it in some interesting ways.
Oddly enough, this was a song I wrote for another project, the film Rest Stop. At the time I gave Eddie this song, I had no idea what would be happening with the Apollo / Starbuck / Dualla / Anders storyline. However, the lyrics are actually eerily appropriate! This song is actually already out on CD on the Rest Stop original soundtrack. You can even snag it off iTunes.
The next few episodes develop some of the wonderful supporting characters in stand-alone stories, but the last four of the season revolve entirely around major storylines. You guys are going to love it…
So Say We All,
PS: (I was a little behind with updates here. If you missed the Rapture entry, you can find it here.)