Music by Richard Band, Mark Ryder, Phil Davies

Squid lovers celebrate! Soundtrack music from first three Trancers movies featuring Tim Thomerson as futuristic gumshoe Jack Deth are at last available on 2-CD set! Popular time travel series from Charles Band also featured Helen Hunt, Art La Fleur, Michael Stefani, Anne Seymour. Charles Band directs (I & II), C. Courtney Joyner directs (III).

One of the most iconic films in the Empire catalog is the 1984 film Trancers, which became a cult hit and launched a series of sequels.  Setting the series’ noir tone was its sleek, exciting synth score by composers Mark Ryder and Phil Davies. Overseen by Empire house composer Richard Band, Trancers’ memorable themes became the calling card of Jack Deth during his first adventures. The music is as moody as the ’40s film noir, black-and-white pictures that inspired Deth’s character, yet as colorfully modern as Trancers’ time-warped detective. Given the throwback tone of a high-tech future meeting the retro present, Trancersseemingly begged for an electronic musical approach, a sound quite different from the mainly orchestral scores that Band had done previously for the studio.  The score would be in tune with Vangelis’ approach to Blade Runner, as well as the new-wave and rock aesthetic of such synth composers as Tangerine Dream and Giorgio Moroder.  A classic noir score invariably employs a jazz sound, a sultry sax supporting the femme fatale as darker strings establish the no-nonsense hero. However, the composers took the approach of a moody homage rather than electronically replicating that kind of iconic instrumentation.

To premiere the scores for the first three Trancers films on this 2-CD set, Intrada used the ½” four-track scoring session tapes which contained the finalized two-channel stereo mixes.

The hard-boiled, trench-coat-wearing gumshoe is a film noir staple, narrating his encounters with scheming psychopaths and sensual dames while cracking a big case. Trancers cleverly added in time travel, propelling the consciousness of a future cop from they year 2247 to Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, circa 1985. Bogart’s spirit was very much alive in Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson), a man out of his element in an ancestor’s body. Setting out to “singe” the zombie minions of a similarly transplanted foe from his era, Deth finds a May-December romance with Santa’s sexy helper Lena (Helen Hunt), who proves to be just as strong-willed at trancer hunting. Trancers had instant cult appeal that made it one of the most popular franchises in the prolific output of producer-director Charles Band.

Flavorful synthesizer scores by Mark Ryder, Tim Davies (I & II) and Richard Band (III) add immeasurably to never-ending appeal. Musical themes are highly melodic, action ideas are rhythmically charged, atmospheric material is inventive… with everything supported by unusually tonal, attractive harmonic vernacular. Memorable! First score by Ryder & Davies establishes major themes and motifs, second score reworks many of them, third score uses them as launchpad for aggressive new material by Richard Band. Minor keys play important role throughout, underlining overall melancholy feel of both quasi-film noir plot and saddened love story at heart. Even action sequences are anchored by strong melodies above, minor-keyed harmonies below. While main theme gets center stage, especially in beautiful end title treatments, every melody has moments in the spotlight. Results are unusually strong, accessible sci-fi scoring! In third and longest score, Band gives equal time to original themes, new material. His own contributions add vivid contrast to initial moods by bringing in gritty intensity that reflects much grimmer storyline. The future isn’t pretty! All three scores are presented in stereo from 1/2″ three-channel masters vaulted in pristine condition. Richard Band supervises production, Daniel Schweiger writes detailed notes, Joe Sikoryak & Kay Marshall offer attractive booklet with Flipper-style cover art. Choose your favorite! Mark Ryder, Tim Davies, Richard Band compose and perform, Richard Band produces, supervises.

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 356
Date: 1984 / 1991 / 1992
Time: 135:22


01. Main Title (2:39)
02. Diner Singe (2:06)
03. City Of Lost Angels (1:22)
04. Ancestry (2:07)
05. Santa Claus Killer (2:47)
06. Tropical Tube Tan (4:04)
07. Ethereal Union Of Two Lost Souls (1:57)
08. The Paper Mill (4:04)
09. Trancer Trooper (1:30)
10. Divide And Conquer (4:53)
11. Deal With Whistler (3:27)
12. The Fortune Teller (1:20)
13. End Title (3:07)
Total Time: 35:34

14. Jack Deth (3:49)
15. A Bad Day For Shopping (2:47)
16. Dr. Wardo (6:25)
17. Be Careful (0:37)
18. A Special Patient (2:56)
19. New Clothes (0:28)
20. Jack And Alice (1:03)
21. Exploding Ham (1:20)
22. Herbs Of The Future (3:53)
23. Van Getaway (0:55)
24. Ashby’s Rescue (2:27)
25. Barn Showdown (9:43)
26. Thank You, Jack And End Title (7:35)
Total Time: 44:11

Total CD1 Time: 79:50

01. Main Title (3:32)
02. The Chamber (1:53)
03. Jack Is Taken (3:01)
04. The Basement Hospital (1:21)
05. Alarm Goes Off (0:54)
06. The Attack (3:09)
07. Club Fight (5:16)
08. The Seduction (1:53)
09. Underground Headquarters (0:54)
10. Jack On Phone (0:45)
11. The Newspaper (0:51)
12. Lena & Jack Argue (1:56)
13. Jack Leaves Lena’s Apt. (0:40)
14. The Pre-Fight (1:23)
15. The Fight (2:50)
16. RJ & Jack Escape (3:24)
17. Muthur & Jason (1:30)
18. About To Meet The Senator (1:05)
19. The Demo Fight (2:01)
20. Jack & Shark To The Kill (9:00)
21. Back To The Future (0:35)
22. Finale & End Title (4:44)
Total Time: 52:49

The Extras
23. Hot Wheels (From Trancers II) (0:32)
24. Christmas Source No. 1 (From Trancers III) (0:43)
25. Christmas Source No. 2 (Trancers III) (1:15)
Total Extras Time: 2:33

Total CD2 Time: 55:32