The Andromeda Strain Soundtrack – All Records Should be Polygons

I posted this soundtrack eons ago. Back when no one read my blog. Now that next to no one reads my blog, I thought I’d give it another go.

The Andromeda Strain Original Electronic Soundtrack
The Andromeda Strain is a movie that came out in 1971, based on the Michael Critchon book of the same name. It was directed by Robert Wise, who also directed such classics as West Side Story and The Day The Earth Stood Still.

It’s a good adaptation of the book, albeit a little slow. What’s most interesting about the film (at least in my opinion) is its groundbreaking soundtrack. The score to The Andromeda Strain is the one of the very first all-electronic scores for a major motion picture. The only one I can think of that predates it is the score to Forbidden Planet, which came out in 1956.

Gil Mellé composed the score, using entirely instruments of his own creation. He created many of the bizarre sounds heard on the album by recording and then distorting all kinds of found sound, including buzz saws, trains and bowling alleys. So if you think about it, that probably makes The Andromeda Strain soundtrack one of the first examples of sampling as well.

It’s a very important historical document, and a technical marvel for its time, even if it hasn’t aged particularly well. Its extremely experimental, often sounding more like random noise than anything that might resemble electronic music music. So if you’re expecting to hear something like a John Carpenter score then you may be disappointed. It’s more abstract and atonal than that, very soundscape-like. Imagine what Vangelis’ studio must sound like before he tunes all his synths. It’s like that.

But what’s even more interesting than the score is the record that it came in.

That’s right, it’s a hexagon! It’s so odd that it came with a warning.

Well duh.

Even its packaging is out of this world. The record is enclosed in a die-cut hexagon that folds out, revealing linear notes about the soundtrack, as well as pictures taken from the film.

The back cover is pretty crazy too.

It’s safe to assume that this one-of-a-kind packaging and pressing cost a good amount of money to produce back in the day. I’ve read online that the studio only made 10,000 of these in this format, which is probably why they go for a good amount of money now. As you can tell from my pictures, my copy is more than a little beat up. If it was is better shape I would probably be able to get  at least $100 for it, if not more. As it is now, I bought it for about $30.

They also released a regular, non-hexagonal version, which I also have.

Not nearly as cool.

Anyways, if you fancy yourself a fan of electronic music then you should definitely give this one a listen. Like I said before, it’s not the most melodic thing in the world, but it’s definitely worth a listen.

6 Responses to “The Andromeda Strain Soundtrack – All Records Should be Polygons”

  1. Noah says:

    I am a total sucker for packaging like that! I so want a copy now. You might appreciate the custom vinyl single I released last year that I designed to look like an 8-bit version of a circle:

  2. serpico009 says:

    very cool record, that packaging is awesome.

  3. Th. says:

    thanks! so great!

  4. Claude Rorabaugh says:

    Happy New Year to you.

    I had a round LP of the Andromeda Strain and a reel to reel copy. Unfortunately, 40 + years later both were heat damaged.

    May I borrow your LP? I do audio restoration and would enjoy restoring the LP to a pristine CD or better yet, 24 bit / 96 khz DVD-Audio. To do my work I have a VPI record vacuum system, VPI belt drive turn table, several very nice Shibata tipped and elliptical phono cartridges from Blue Pont and Shure and with 50 years of hi-fi and electronics background I twill be gentle. I can also restore the disk to cassette or reel to reel if that is your preference?

    Let me know? I also have most sci-fi related soundtracks including a rare recording by David Rose of the orchestral piece proposed for Forbidden Planet.

    Claude Rorabaugh, former VP and General Manager of KMUZ-FM Portland /now KNRK and radio station consultant with Bonneville Broadcast Consultants.

  5. Lost Turntable says:

    I am currently in Japan, the record is in Pittsburgh. So…no. Sorry

    Additionally, while I understand the need for high-quality lossless audio archiving, recording an LP to DVD-Audio is pretty pointless, with the inherit limitations of vinyl I think that anyone who can tell the difference between a 44.1 and a 96khz rip is lying or delusional.

  6. sem says:

    Here’s Gil talking about it:
    Fantastic LP!

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