Def-Con 4

Christopher Young

" Several obscure Young scores "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

The young Christopher Young in a nutshell. Here are several works of the beginning of the composer's career, ranking from obscure to never before heard of. Opening is probably the most interesting one (and the one the poster mentions). Def-Con 4 is a post apocalyptic movie about the fight for survival of several people who control a nuclear weapon. Young's score is often incredibly rich in structure (sadly not sound), giving me sometimes the distinct feeling I'm listening to a Jerry Goldsmith score. The way he uses suspense and brass together is a signal to that ("Forced Landing", "Armageddon"). The latter part is chock full of the more tribal sounds of the people that chase the survivors on a post apocalyptic planet. Flutes, percussion, you name it, Young puts them all to good use. A good cue is "The Juggernaut" with its thrilling action motif, and "I Can't Go On", with the use of an evil motif for extra danger. All in all, it's a rather good early entry of Young.

Another good entry on the list is Avenging Angel. Don't tell me about the story, because I do not get it. But Young's score is surely interesting, if only because we're hearing James Horner's Commando clearly in it. "Overdrive", "Ratamacue" and "Good Golly Solley" could just have easily come out of Commando. They thrive on the same saxophone and militaristic uneasiness of Horner's score. It's often incredible to hear the exact same detail and sound in them. Truth is, Avenging Angel was released 10 months before Commando, so was it just a coincidence or not? Then again, wasn't Commando a rip of Gorky Park or 48Hrs? So, I'm not attacking anyone here, but enjoying the irony of it. The rest is a combination between catchy tunes, jazzy encores and bouncy melodies.

Torment is sadly the odd and weak little duck on the pond. 1 track 10 minutes in length, but 10 minutes of forgettable atonal uneasiness. It's not good and you better skip it I'm afraid. Then The Telephone, the comedy / drama starring Whoopie Goldberg is much easier and above all jazzier. 3 tracks of calm smooth jazz for your listening pleasure. Nothing demanding, just relaxing background material. The final track even infuses harmonica and calm guitar to "Christmas in July", making it the perfect finisher.

All in all, the kind of material a Christopher Young completest will surely be interested in. The one more interesting than the other.

Track Listing

Def-Con 4
1. Def-Con 4 (Main Title) (1.41)
2. Forced Landing (2.24)
3. The Liberation of Fort Liswell (2.40)
4. Armageddon (2.14)
5. Ghost Planet (2.10)
6. Gideon's Law (1.46)
7. The Terminals (1.05)
8. A New Man's Destiny (2.35)
9. Defense Condition 1 (2.18)
10. The Juggernaut (1.32)
11. Electronic Ocean (1:22)
12. A Message from Home (2.00)
13. I Can't Go On (2.12)
14. The New Dark Age (2.11)
Avenging Angel
15. Kit Carson (2.28)
16. Overdrive (3.16)
17. Molly Mey (2.23)
18. Ratamacue (2.42)
19. Dark Angel (4.22)
20. Never (1.06)
21. Bughouse Bust (2.07)
22. Good Golly Solley (2.43)
23. Thanatos (10.31)
24. Vashti Blue (3.24)
25. Definitely Not Manhattan (3.22)
26. Pantomime (3.26)
27. Christmas in July (2.30)

Total Length: 72.29
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 2 votes - average 4/5)

Released by

Intrada MAF 7010D (regular release 1990)

Conducted by

Paul Francis Witt