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 Posted:   Aug 13, 2009 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)


Holy crap! I've been telling people for years that Goldsmith and the Beam was like Tchaikovsky and the Celesta--that it was a brand new instrument and that he was the first to use it in an orchestral work. That's one of the reasons I believed the score to ST: TMP to be so utterly groundbreaking. Guess this is yet another lesson in "do your research before you go spouting to people"!


Well, Goldsmith was the first to use it so prominently, and with such resourceful imagination. Kind of like Rozsa and the theremin in Spellbound.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 13, 2009 - 12:31 PM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

Here's me just assuming it was a Moog or CS80...

It sounds a helluva lot like the slap guitar preset from the DX7 with pitch bending! No doubt Goldy thought so too.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 19, 2009 - 12:29 AM   
 By:   musicwizard   (Member)

James Horner also used it in "Battle beyond the Stars". Like the Klingon theme and some other stuff from STTMP :-)

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 19, 2009 - 8:07 AM   
 By:   Nesius   (Member)

It was used in John Barry's "The Black Hole," and is especially prominent in material that wasn't released in the official album. But naturally, the approach was very different from ST:TMP, which based on what I have heard from the Blaster Beam's other uses, must stand alone in my opinion as the Beam's most creative moment. One of my favorite Goldsmith moments ever remains the Blaster Beam solo which opens "the force field" (and here I mean the version used in the film, not the outtake version that Sony stuck on its not-so-expanded release). The Blaster Beam had such personality in that film, it could take on so many voices! I just love the footage from that Goldsmith documentary mentioned above when we see it played.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2009 - 5:53 AM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

Now that I have this oddity in hand and have given it a few listens, I would have to say that it's an obscure effort for a reason--it's really not that much to write home about.

The opening version of the original Courage STAR TREK theme sounds like an attempt to meld the theme with a "Keith Emerson vibe." The rest is relatively accessible but pretty dated in it's electronic moments. Nowhere in it do you find that powerful low end use of the blaster beam that Goldsmith used it for in STTMP. The "genesis effect" cue is there for those that care. Basically, it ends up sounding pretty much like a lesser offering on the old "Hearts of Space" radio show with a few rock and jazz licks thrown in.

Among the "thanks to" section in the liner notes, there's one to "Jerry 'love that sweater' Goldsmith."

So, I've satisfied my curiousity at a reasonable price, but i doubt this one comes off the shelf too often.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 11, 2009 - 9:27 PM   
 By:   snowleopard   (Member)

I'm a couple weeks late to this discussion, but hope I can add a layer, as I visited Michael's studio back in the 1990's, and we briefly discussed the Beam, which he still had there, but was not plugged in or in current operation.

I do not remember verbatim what his words were, only that it was not his first Beam, and there were a few designs, and sizes. The current Beam he had was smaller than his first Beam. Craig's name came up, and I believe Michael mentioned that Craig had indeed built his own Beams, his first one when he was young, but I think the original concept came from someone else, as Stearns says in the Chronos DVD (John Lazelle apparently).

We also talked about the Lyra and Sustaining Cylinders, which unfortunately had been disassembled and locked away in storage. Michael was very proud of his global collection of rare bells and chimes, which were indeed quite cool to see.

Michael is very calm and quiet in the DVD, and appears that way in his photos, but once you get him going, he's actually quite personable.

 
 Posted:   Sep 12, 2009 - 5:51 PM   
 By:   Trekfan   (Member)

Hey snowleopard, interesting additional information - and just a quick note that your homepage URL in your profile is malformed - it looks like this (two http://'s, and truncated): 'http://http://snowleopardx.homestead.com/index2.ht'. I did manually fix it up to surf to, but you may want to update if you get the chance!

 
 Posted:   Sep 12, 2009 - 6:01 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

Incidentally, the score to FORCED VENGEANCE recently went on sale on iTunes, in case anyone feels like splurging .99 to own that main theme...

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=298338197&s=143441

Yes, I'm pimping the score to FORCED VENGEANCE... and I am proud.

cool

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 6, 2010 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

It's definitely there on Robocop 3, just listening to it now. It's on it's own for one menacing drone and then seems to be doubled with an FM synth for the robot Japanese henchman theme. I wonder who performed it?

The fake BB on First Contact sounds very brittle, I think, and with seemingly no reverb.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2010 - 8:00 PM   
 By:   snowleopard   (Member)

It's been a few months, but I thought I would dig up this thread.

I managed to procure plans from Stearns on how to build a Beam, and a friend of mine and I are planning on making it our spring/summer project when the weather improves. Conceptually it doesn't look that impossible, it's not like we're building an engine, but first getting all the parts, then getting it to work will be the task.

To reiterate in my post from over a year ago, by all indication it was indeed John Lazelle who invented the Beam, in about 1970, maybe before that. He apparently sold the design to Francisco Lupica, who built several out of iron, and played them in various shows in the 1970's. He had to have some contact with Huxley, as Lupica gets a credit in Star Trek.

Why Huxley is viewed as being the inventor of the Beam is unknown. I think perhaps he built his own, and from aluminum, as opposed to the iron that Lupica used.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2011 - 7:22 PM   
 By:   snowleopard   (Member)

More research finds that Craig actually patented his design of the Blaster Beam in 1984. He filed for the patent in 1982.

I can only speculate that neither Lazelle or Lupica minded. Or that Lazelle was no longer alive, and Lupica didn't wish to pursue the issue. As the patent was granted, it now stands to reason how Craig came to be known as the inventor of the instrument.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 4, 2011 - 11:37 AM   
 By:   mikael488   (Member)

The Beam was additionally used in Don Peake's horror score to "The Hills Have Eyes" (1977). This was two years prior to its use in Star Trek: the motion picture.

Quote from the CD liner notes:
"I used "The Beam" a long aluminium channel (about 10 feet) strung with a single wire. The player (Craig Hundley) would slide a piece of steel up the wire string creating a long glissando."

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2011 - 2:40 PM   
 By:   everybodyelse   (Member)

It's been a few months, but I thought I would dig up this thread.

I managed to procure plans from Stearns on how to build a Beam, and a friend of mine and I are planning on making it our spring/summer project when the weather improves. Conceptually it doesn't look that impossible, it's not like we're building an engine, but first getting all the parts, then getting it to work will be the task.

To reiterate in my post from over a year ago, by all indication it was indeed John Lazelle who invented the Beam, in about 1970, maybe before that. He apparently sold the design to Francisco Lupica, who built several out of iron, and played them in various shows in the 1970's. He had to have some contact with Huxley, as Lupica gets a credit in Star Trek.

Why Huxley is viewed as being the inventor of the Beam is unknown. I think perhaps he built his own, and from aluminum, as opposed to the iron that Lupica used.

Hi snowleopard. Could you possibly email me about these plans please? I've been trying to find something for years! Much appreciated. Martin Johnson: music@everybodyelse.co.uk

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 22, 2011 - 3:36 PM   
 By:   pj geerlings   (Member)

Many years ago Craig (then Hundley) asked me to take a look at an instrument called The Cosmic Beam played by a fellow named Francisco Lupica - I attended an open-air concert Mr. Lupica gave "somewhere" in Southern California ( Venice, IIRC ) and from a few brief glances at the instrument I knew I could build one.

So, with funding provided by Mr Hundley, I did wink

That instrument became Craig's Blaster Beam
FWIW, I built and hand-wound the original pickup as well but apparently that part has been replaced

So, now you know a bit more of the story ...

peace y'all
pj

 
 
 Posted:   May 11, 2012 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   Marcato   (Member)

Craig Huxley is credtied as synth-programmer on 2010 and he produced the electronic music in collaboration with David Shire.

 
 
 Posted:   May 11, 2012 - 9:48 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

I'm amazed no one has mentioned this instrument's brilliant use in Leonard Rosenman's PROPHECY (1979), where it backs chopping strings to represent the unstoppable force of the giant, lumbering monster. Heard most prominently in this cue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNqvhNcV380

(coming about 18 seconds into this insanely dissonant and terrifying cue, the second half of which wasn't used in the film) It's a brilliantly 'monstrous' creation if I do say so that does a wildly successful job of musically representing unrelenting, savage evil. And double checking my FSM CD, low and behold, Mr. Hundley is credited in the 'keyboards' section of the orchestra.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2012 - 7:29 AM   
 By:   mikael488   (Member)

Craig Huxley is credtied as synth-programmer on 2010 and he produced the electronic music in collaboration with David Shire.

Mr. Huxley worked on quite a few scores as a synth-programmer and performer.

Here are some examples:

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Star Trek: the motion picture (1979)
Outland (1981)
The Hand (1981)
The Beast Within (1982)
Forbidden World (aka Mutant) (1982)
Megaforce (1982)
Psycho II (1982)
Firefox (1982)
Boogeyman II (1983, composer additional music)
Dreamscape (1984)
2010 (1984)

 
 Posted:   Jun 8, 2012 - 3:25 PM   
 By:   atrac   (Member)

Just curious -- I just came across this clip from 1978's "Doctor Strange" TV movie (composed by Phil Chihara) and immediately was reminded of Star Trek:TMP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFCL0eCjnsA

Is that an early appearance of the blaster beam??

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 9, 2012 - 8:29 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Jun 9, 2012 - 8:51 AM   
 By:   Lokutus   (Member)

T3 score incorporated the Beam as well. although it was in pretty bad condition and several strings were missing, etc...

 
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