Planetary Chronicles Vol. I

Jonn Serrie

New World Music, 1992

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/01/2004

When I was in the Cub Scouts - a fact I'm not proud of - one of our big field trips was when we got to go to a planetarium. We'd sit back in the seats, stare at the ceiling - obviously in preparation for some mind-numbing job we'd have at some point in our lives - and watch as the darkess was illuminated by a light show of stars while our ears were filled with trance-like music and facts read by someone who fancied themselves to be the next James Earl Jones. With all of that training in my youth, it's a miracle I didn't become a serial killer.

Betcha never gave a second thought as to who created the music you heard in the planetariums you visited - that is, unless you were there for the laser show orchestrated to the music of Pink Floyd. One such artist is Jonn Serrie, and from the notes I have, he appears to be the top of his field, having been selected to create music for events involving the likes of George Lucas, Charlton Heston and Vincent Price. (What?!? No Shatner?)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Planetary Chronicles Vol. 1 is a selection of five musical pieces from such works, all of them instrumental.

That's about as descriptive as I can get in this review.

You see, such music isn't of the kind you can put on, sit in your favorite chair and drink a Smirnoff Ice to while appreciating every note. Serrie's work was created as background music, works which are supposed to help make the listener feel like they're traveling in the cosmos and watching the interstellar light show up close. It wasn't originally written to stand out in the forefront - and anyone who tries to listen to this disc while doing anything else will quickly find themselves pushing it to the back burner, taking it all in while doing their other tasks.

You can't really fault Serrie for that - after all, the music is still doing exactly what it was supposed to do. But it is a little disheartening in my mind, especially when the purpose of such a commercial release is to bring Serrie's work to the collective consciousness of the public. Maybe, just by associating Serrie's name to these works, that goal is accomplished.

I can say this about the five selections: while listening to tracks such as "Mystery Road," "Starmoods" and "The Straits Of Madigann," the listener does feel like they're being taken on a trip through space, not unlike the opening credits of Cosmos with the stars swishing by. So, in that regard as well, maybe Serrie's goal is accomplished.

It's hard to say whether you will enjoy a disc like Planetary Chronicles Vol. 1, but it is pleasing enough to give a few spins any place you need to use some mental floss - at the office, at home once the kids are put to bed, what have you. It might not be substantive, but it is peaceful.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of New World Music, and is used for informational purposes only.