Track 01: Main Title Demo (Two Pianos) – Danny Elfman and Shirley Walker
I LOVE the two pianos version of the BTAS theme. Elfman and Walker working together sounds amazing!!!!
Tracks 02-08: Night of the Ninja – Mark Koval
the BTAS episode Night of the Ninja was always an interesting one to me. For the simple reason that we get background on Bruce’s time in Japan. This episode also comes back to haunt Bruce as his old nemesis returns. This score is done by Mark Koval as you can see above, but again he is another one of Shirley Walker’s team that I have never heard of. I think he does an amazing job with each track here. In “Karate School/Flashback/Ninja Assault” I love the Japanese style theme moments throughout. There are some deep horns sections in here, and the music inspires mystery as well. “Master Crime Fighter” is another of my favorite tracks here. It has that dark and mysterious vibe that goes so well with BTAS.
Tracks 09-15: Day of the Samurai- Carlos Rodriguez
So technically Night of the Ninja and Day of the Samurai are a two parter episode. I do like how they did this. Instead of parts 1 and 2 they just go with opposite yet similar titles. Day of the Samurai is done by Carlos Rodriguez, and once again Shirley Walker’s team members really come through. The first track for this score is “Day of the Samurai/Ninja’s Arrival” and it has some wonderfully put together oriental type music. At about the 2:20 mark in “Bruce Meditates/Once Upon a Time, Alfred/Uramachi District/Batman Gives Chase” there is some great chase music, and it also has a great upbeat tempo. The track “Batman Confronts Kyodai” is very intriguing to me. Because it’s very rare in the BTAS world that we see Batman going up against real “non supervillain” type criminals. OK sure Daggett and Thorne are real, but they are mob like. With Kyodai this is a man from Bruce’s past, a man that can match him move for move! And that track really expresses how much of adversaries they have become.
Tracks 16-21: Prophecy of Doom – Shirley Walker
Ms. Walker has given us a Prophecy of Doom! This one opens up with some big horns, and then kicks into a jazz like tune… what the….? Oh right this is the episode with Nostromos….. Never really cared for this ep, but Shirley’s music here is great! The opening track which gave me the WTF moment is aptly titled “Prophecy of Doom” It’s an amazing theme with music that inspires you to think outside the box. I wasn’t even sure what the heck was going on until I realized what the episode was about. Then there’s the last track “Nostromos Sees the Light/Guilty as Charged” Which has great sounds in it, and it’s probably my favorite other than the bonus track of “Nostromos Source”
Tracks 22-29: Eternal Youth – Lolita Ritmanis
This here is my favorite Poison Ivy episode. It’s also my favorite Alfred centric episode. The opening track “Eternal Youth” is awesome. I always loved it’s slow build. As it builds up some very upbeat tempos kick in, and you can twll this is gonna be a dangerous theme! The episode in itself is all about Poison Ivy turning rich people into trees for her forest. The next track “Wild Weekend/Detective Batman/Batcave Greenery” is very ominous plus it mixes in the BTAS themes nicely. Then there’s “Alfred and Maggie Go Back/Batman’s Chemistry/Behind the Curtain”. This track is wonderful for many reasons. As I said before this is an Alfred centric episode. Wherein Bruce doesn’t want to attend the Eternal Youth Spa, so Maggie, Alfred’s love interest insists that they go. Seeing “Alfie” as Maggie calls him so off his usual prim and proper game is fun. I wish that there were more episodes like this. With the next track “Bat Gliding/Petrified People” it’s exactly like it says we hear in this track how Batman hunts down Ivy and he finds the petrified trees. I love the music cue in this track when Batman actually sees the humanized trees, and the sheer look of shock and mortal terror on his face. Lolita really has outdone herself here! Also included are several source tracks.
Tracks 30-36: What is Reality? – Richard Bronskill
Ahh yes a Riddler episode. This episode has such an Enigma to the score. Bronskill really tapped into the character of The Riddler in this music! We start off with “What is Reality?/Police Station” which starts of a bit whimsical to me, then the music gets deeper. I really do like it. There’s something about simplicity that is so elegant is these scores. After that we get “The Riddler’s File/Robin Opens the Box” this track is one I really love. Because well it deals with Robin vs The Riddler. There is a great upbeat tempo in the beginning, and then it goes dark. “Riddler and the Commissioner/Batman’s Fire Out/Batman in Computer Land” what intrigues me about this one is the Batman in Computer Land section. Anytime Batman goes up against the Riddler… at least in this cartoon, it always amazes me how Nygma forgets one tiny detail that Batman can exploit. “Batman and Pegasus/And So On, and So On” fits the ending to the episode very well, and it has some definite mysterious cues to it. Finally we end this episode’s score with “Trapped” because The Rifddler gets trapped in his own Riddle! “Trapped” is only 42 seconds long, but it really shows off how defeated The Riddler is.
Tracks 37-40: Mudslide – Shirley Walker
Clayface is back! Sadly this is his last appearance in this incarnation of BTAS. This score starts off with “Mudslide/Clayface Slips By” and the first 22 seconds are very very sad sounding. Then again this is Clayface we are talking about here. When we last saw him in his debut “Fdeat of Clay” I always felt that the Matt Hagen version of the character was more sad and less of just a general criminal. I mean look at how he became Clayface that was sad and disturbing. All he wanted was his career back. “Your Goose is Cooked/You Used to be Neater” is the next track and this one has an undertone to like I’ve never heard before. I’m not sure how to really explain it, but the undercurrent of some of the instruments really digs down into your soul. With Shirley Walker doing this score I’d expect nothing less. Her music has always driven my emotions in different ways when it comes to BTAS. After that track is the “Movie Source” track. Once again I find it interesting how they incorporate Hagen’s previous life here. Plus I love how the source cues are perserved so well. “MP-40/Clayface Escapes” is a track where Ms. Walker shows off some depth to the Hagen character. The last track I’ll talk about here is “He’s Melting/Breaking Up is Hard to Do” why do I get a wicked witch of the west feeling in this music? This one just feels like a bad 80s pop break up song and the final scene of The Wizard of Oz. I’m not saying I dislike it, maybe it’s just the title that gives me that feeling though. The track itself is great. So this is the last score on disc 3, and damnit I was hoping for a BTAS end theme again, but nope. I get it they all have already been released in the previous 2 sets, but still…..
Disc Four goes right into “I Am The Night” So lets get there shall we….?
Tracks 01-09: I Am the Night – Michael McCuistion
Michael McCuistion is on duty for this episode’s score. With tracks like “Roses/Stakeout/Roses on the Pavement/Brass Knuckles” and “Batman Unmasks/This is My Hunt/Batman Saves Gordon” McCuistion really outdoes himself. the arrangements of the music, and the emotional tone behind them is great. This episode deals with Bruce honoring his parents on the anniversary of their death. In the track “Battering Ram/The Jazzman was Ready/Catching the Jazzman/Commissioner is Shot” there are masterful musical tones between the Jazzman character and then Gordon getting shot. There’s an amazing very deep low toned horn section in “Batman’s Rage/Jazzman in Prison” which then kinda continues on into the next track. What I find most interesting about this score is the changes in tone. From sad to mysterious to action packed. With the final track “Batman Talks with Kid” there are very low tones here. You can feel the emotion in the scene when listening to the music.
Tracks 10-24: Heart of Steel Parts I and II – Tamara Kline, Richard Bronskill & Carl Johnson
Three composers on this two part episode. Tamara, Richard, and Carl all do great work here. I’ve always loved this two parter. It brings Batman out of his element a bit. Tamara handles the track “Briefcase on the Prowl” and it’s kinda refreshing compared to some of the other music I’ve talked about in this review. I do enjoy ALL the BTAS music, but it depends on the episode. Tamara Kline and Richard Bronskill alternate tracks on this score. Bronskill has the next on entitled “The Escape” Carl Johnson takes over the rest of the tracks when we get to the Part II of the episode. So with Part I being alternating tracks. I freaking love that. It gives us the listener a different feel every other track. I find this most interesting. How Kline and Bronskill are two very different composers, yet the score for part I sounds as if it was all the same. For part I we are left off with Tamara’s track “Randa Finds the Batcave/HARDAC Has Control” Batman you aren’t supposed to let anyone find the Bat Cave!!! When we get into the Part II section of the score Carl Johnson comes in and continues the same great overall flow. As I’m writing this and listening to each track, I caught myself twice just sitting here listening to the music. I stopped just listening when I got to the track “A Watchful Eye/Flying Over Cybertron/Robots Run Amok/Randa is Terminated”. I didn’t stop because I wasn’t enjoying it, but that was a third time I caught myself not writing anything here. This track has some weird come hither sounding music in the middle of it, and I absolutely love it. This one takes place during the end battle between Batman and Randa. The final two tracks are “Let’s Go Home” and “Futuristic Muzak” After these are a few alternate takes from tracks I’ve previously mentioned. I love the Futuristic Muzak track, it is awesome with it’s piano and horn melodies.
Tracks 25-30: Blind as a Bat – Steve Chesne & James Stemple
Once again composers names I’ve not ever heard of, but it’s ok. Because they are on the Walker team! Steve Chesne and James Semple do an amazing job with this episode. One of the reasons I always liked this one was it gave us a situation where Batman had to be blind. I like it when writers and creators put Batman in situations that we might think he’ll never get out of. James has three of the five tracks from this, and Steve has the other two. As I mentioned earlier I love how they alternate the composers on every other track sometimes here. The track “Sight, or No Sight/Tooling Up/Quoth the Batman, “Nevermore”” by James is one of my favorites. It has BTAS themes in it, and great chase music!!! The piano tunes that run underneath it aer awesome!!! Steve Chesne’s track “Batwing Disabled/Disabled Batman” is my favorite from him here. Again the whole high action thing is going on in the music. Along with a few tender moments, but action is the key to this piece. Batman eventually learns to cope with being blind and he works well as he is Blind as a Bat. Obviously this wouldn’t be a permanent blindness, but still very cool to see him think outside the box.
Tracks 31-34: Paging the Crime Doctor – Shirley Walker
It’s time we started “Paging the Crime Doctor” Shirley Walker’s title track to this scored episode. Ms. Walker builds up the suspense with this track, and it continues as we go along. It often surprises me of the length in each track, because sometimes I think they are longer than they really are and vice versa. In the second track for this episode titled “Leslie Remembers/Matt Finds Leslie/Old Friends/Abducted” we hear various sentimental tones, and a few sad ones. This also kinda serves as Dr. Thompkins theme in this episode. This episode is also all about Rupert Thorne, which honestly he’s a meh BTAS mobster in my eyes. The best thing about him was his rivalry with Two-Face. Closing out this episode we have “Rooftop Escape/About My Father” Which has some nice huge drumbeats in it, and then it gets slow and sad, because the ending goes along with scene betwen Batman and Leslie.
Tracks 35-41: The Man Who Killed Batman – Shirley Walker
Here we are. The end of BTAS Volume 3. Shirley Walker closes it out with “The Man Who Killed Batman” the title track of the episode. This one starts out with a VERY haunting organ, I freakin’ love that!!!! Then we get the Sid the Squid theme in “Sid Wanted In/Sid the Squid”! This has some very sneaky like tones in it. It also has chase music! Have I mentioned enough times in this review that I LOVE CHASE MUSIC!!!! The second to last track for this score is “Batman’s Funeral (includes “Amazing Grace,” trad.)” this track sounds weird to me. I have no idea why, but it just doesn’t sound like funeral music. We end with “Pine Box/A Lot of Respect” which has a lot of the BTAS theme variations in it, and then it ramps up to be its own thing.
Overall La La Land Records continues to outdo themselves with each new release. Scores I’ll be re listening to from this set on the regular are Robins Reckoning, Heart of Steel, The Clock King, P.O.V., and The Forgotten. You can get this set from La La Land Records directly by clicking HERE!