A Love Letter to the Blade Runner soundtrack

06.12.09

I didn’t see my Dad as much as I would’ve liked to as a child – cue mini-violins – that’s why the moments that I did spend with him stood out like icebergs in a frozen sea. To be honest, I think I only saw my Dad five or six times a year during the early 90s. Our days in the city were spent scavenging through primary coloured crates hoping to stumble upon obscure House and Soul records. I always made mental notes of the producers that were hand-written on those white labels. In my mind, those producers were like ghosts. I had no idea who they were. Sounds absurd but I used to think that white label vinyls were created by a legion of man-made robots. I imagined that these robot gods were designed to create beautiful music in an underworld that existed beneath the city. Evidently, I was extremely naïve (and bored) but my imagination was always running wild. I invented so many worlds in my mind. I even used to think that if I tried to understand my Dad’s musical interests, he would want to spend more time with me. I hoped that we would have something more ‘grown up’ to talk about besides the latest episode of Thunder Cats. At that time, my Dad was young and I never really felt that being a ‘Dad’ was really his thing.

Strangely enough, over time I think that music actually brought my Dad and me closer together. As I got older, our conversations about our love for music started to vary. I fell in love with Outkast, Wu-Tang and Japanese Manga whilst my Dad stayed loyal to his House/Soul/Jungle record collection. Even though our tastes in music were different, I was always open to my Dad introducing me to albums and records that had inspired him over the years. I remember him playing the likes of Sam Cooke and Gil Scott Heron to me, as well as the Ragga Twins, Aaliyah and early Wookie productions. He did the same with films. I remember the first time that he introduced me to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller, Blade Runner. I was hooked after the first viewing. The mind-blowing set designs, the complex plot and the timeless soundtrack by Greek synthesist Vangelis. I had no idea who Vangelis was but I was fascinated by the dark production that he created for this cyber-noir classic. I remember analysing how the futuristic production made this fictional world feel more believable. It was one of the first times that I thought deeply about how the power of sound can compliment an image and evoke emotion.

One scene that always stood out for me is where Deckard kills exotic dancer Zhora outside in a busy street. That beautiful shot of Zhora’s desperate attempt to escape death is accentuated by Vangelis’ use of ambient textures and airy compositions. From the Hollywood-esque sax solo by Dick Morrissey on Love Theme to the haunting keys on Memories Of Green, this soundtrack has to be one of my all time favourites. The Blade Runner soundtrack is close to my heart not just for its musical brilliance but also for the memories with my Dad that are attached to it.

Look out for DELS’ new single Shapeshift out early next year.

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