In the mid to late '70s, director Francis Ford Coppola put his career on the line to complete Apocalypse Now, his quixotic attempt to variously document, deconstruct, and mythologize America's military involvement in Vietnam. The end result was a troubling masterpiece and technical tour de force whose use of sound and music influenced films for decades. As originally released, the soundtrack album was equally groundbreaking: an intriguing, dreamlike collage of dialogue, sound effects, and music that both evoked the film's artistic sensibility and underscored the innovative, Academy Award®-winning efforts of sound designer Walter Murch.
Two decades later, Coppola revisited the project, adding nearly an hour of previously unseen footage and revamping its soundtrack release as well. But while the film may have taken on fresh new dimensions, the new soundtrack album seems stripped of virtually all of Murch's key contributions. What remains is primarily music--and a telling argument for the notion that the whole is considerably more than the sum of its parts. Inspired by synthesist Isao Tomita's '70s classical adaptations, Coppola hired father Carmine to write an orchestra score, and then set about synthesizing it. The Doors' "The End" remains an iconic touchstone, but removed from the context of the film (and its original album release), much of the Coppola music all too clearly reveals its inspirations (Tomita, Holst, Wagner, Stravinsky) and the technical limitations of the relatively primitive synth technology involved (mirrored in a pair of newly recorded tracks as well). --Jerry McCulley (Amazon review)