This soundtrack to the revolutionary natural history documentary (or so I've read, I can't track down a copy of the DVD locally) was never supposed to be commercially available. Composer Edward Williams had 100 copies privately pressed on vinyl to give away to the musicians involved in the score only. Fortunately, Trunk records has released this compelling collection of tracks officially on cd for the rest of us to enjoy.
Reviewing soundtrack work can be tricky. It's hard to know how to talk about the music in relation to the visuals that it originally accompanied. Luckily, I don't have this problem since I've completely missed out on seeing the original "Life on Earth" documentary. What I'm left with is the raw music to create my own visuals with internally. It's easy to do because the sounds and melodies that Williams presents are so colorful and captivating. Just pop this disc in and before you know it you'll be slipping off into a dream world of dramatic growth and discovery.
Willaims' score immediately reminds me of vintage sci-fi dramas- its otherworldly charms are filled equally with orchestral sounds and synthesizer flourishes. Quiet, eastern tinged melodic passages share equal space with symphonic bombast. There is a decidedly 1970's feel that is hard to pin down- maybe it's just the recording quality, but something in the music seems slightly over saturated (in the best way possible). I can only imagine how epic the retelling of nature's evolution on our planet might seem being presented via this music. Williams score is part space voyage, part vintage Disney soundtrack and part avant garde experimentation. It's unique to say the least, and quite an adventure to experience. 8/10 -- Charles Franklin (28 April, 2010)