The World's Finest Presents

Releases - CD - Mask of the Phantasm
 
Original Release Date: December 14, 1993
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Warner Brothers

Track Listing
1. Main Title
2. Promise
3. Ski Mask Vigilante
4. Phantasm's Graveyard Murder
5. First Love
6. Big Chase
7. Plea for Help
8. Birth of Batman
9. Phantasm and Joker Fight
10. Batman's Destiny
11. I Never Even Told You (performed by Tia Carrere)

Music composed by Shirley Walker
Album produced by Shirley Walker
Executive Album Producer: Michael Ostin
Executives in Charge of Music for Warner Bros.: Gary LeMel and Doug Frank


Review: Shirley Walker and Batman just go together. She provides excellent music for the television series, so it made absolute sense for her to score the movie - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. And like the show, she's able to capture the essence of The Dark Knight and make him sound so epic, so iconic.

Much like the movie, the score dives deep into the mysterious nature of Gotham; the theme for the movie's title protagonist, The Phantasm, is eerie, and chilling. Through each track, we're taken through the happy times of Bruce's early life, to his fight night as a crime-fighter, to the tragic showdown at the abandoned World's Fair exposition. The use of a choir adds for a stirring effect as the punches are thrown and fists fly.

During the entire running time, we're introduced to each character's distinct theme; Walker manages to capture each character perfect, and can see the movie play out as the soundtrack progresses. There are some obvious omissions in this soundtrack, like the great music as Bruce is stuck on the grill of a truck being hurtled towards a wall. But each track is so impressive, so engaging, that oversight can be quickly forgotten.

The only weak spot in this soundtrack is that horrible love theme sung by Tia Carrere (yup, the chick from Wayne's World) but that can be easily skipped over. The cheesy music and awful lyrics are completely forgettable. No wonder they made it the last track on the disc and in the movie.

Overall, itís a great soundtrack on par with Elfman's and Goldenthal's work. You can tell she is inspired by composers before her, but Shirley Walker also makes this movie, this soundtrack, sound completely unique. There's a heroic beauty to the entire album, even as the plot gets mired in tragedy. This is truly one of the best "Batman" soundtracks.

History on the 'Chant' in the Beginning

For those who want the "Latin" lyrics used in Mask of the Phantasm, there is an amusing and fascinating anecdote. Shirley Walker tells the story.

"As you know, the music team is rushing to the finish line as a film is in its final dub phase. Even the known orchestrators are not always given the credit they so justly deserve for insuring the timely execution (so to speak) of the score. I've become tired of fighting for credits for the support team that helps pull me through the final throes of recording and mixing my scores.

The choir for Masks gave me the opportunity to rectify this terrible situation. I made a chart by number of syllables of every music persons name backwards to use in creating the language you hear. 'Oh Nahlim Mot!', the phrase the score begins with, is Tom Milano, the music editor of most of my features, whom I originally worked with doing the Flash TV series.

You get the idea. It was working so well, I realized that I would need to include some of the film producers and executives at Warner Bros. After all, they were paying for my little inside joke. People do like to be included in these sorts of things. I had to lie to the Warner Bros. legal department person who called to ask me what the language was and what was being said.
They certainly didn't want to be a party to me saying "screw Warner Bros." in Danish. I told them it was an obscure nonsensical choral language that existed only in out of print orchestration books.

I think I actually spent more time on my plot than I did on the score during the week I was preparing the choral cues. It was quite fun to see the looks on peoples faces, as they realized what they were hearing. Only two people had deciphered the puzzle by the time we recorded the choir. It was very difficult for the singers to sing the strange words. I'm sure they would
have had more fun doing it, had I been able to include them in the joke too.

While I was mixing the score, I had Bobby Fernandez (Zed-nahn-fur E-Bob) record the choir accappella onto a seperate DAT, ostensibly for my sample reel. The look on Tom's face as he began to suspect what I had done was well worth the whole deception. He finally turned to me and said "You didn't do what I think you've done, did you?".

The rest is history. Everyone on the music team has a tape of the singing of their names (we transfered to 1/4" tape and played it backwards; the old "back-masking" trick)."

-
from Cinemusic.net.

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