Opening with a theme nicely equivalent to the first track of 'MUTANT'(vol.1) this 2nd AlteredVistasAudio-disc sounds exactly like part of a double-set. Given that so much of this material in particular has been composed over an(aprox.)5-year period, its consistency of style and 'one-studio'sound holds together the delightfully wide-ranging tunes,tones&moods hereon amazingly well.
The arrangement of the tracklist is excellent. Where dynamic is contrasted with subdued or slow followed by 'atmospheric' or jump-cut to something more dynamic, the relationship of the sounds is also considered nicely.
The last disc, 'MUTANT' had one track (‘Collisions in Jazzspace’) that became my favourite piece of short electronic music for that year, while 'VORTEX' has several contenders for that place, plus other worthy mentions, viz:
Track3 – 'Genesis of Evil Fantasia' which, despite (as he says in his liner notes) being Stuart's very first Dalek Chronicles composition, is a deliciously 'ambient'/atmospheric piece of masterful competence and its "orchestral sample'', later used for the Series Theme itself, integrates this number perfectly with the large number of later compositions which ended up on these two discs;
This is followed by (Track4) 'Black Legacy's extensive composition which features a lot of atmospherics & mood-noodlz making it the ideal follow-on from above. It is also an excellent example of how listening to these musix divorced from their other(visual&dialog)content significantly changes both their subjective perception and one's awareness of their beautifully-rendered* musicality;
[* cgi-pun intended ]
Particularly nice for me is the inclusion of the music from 'Plague of Death' (T.9) – a nicely 'Organ-ic' composition for my favourite D.C.story;
Track 10 – 'Hush' is a short&(very)sweet ditty, elegantly simple and quite lovely in its gentleness and links the different moods of the preceding&following theme-trax;
Another feature-inclusion is Track15, Stuart's theme for 'The Destroyers' (T.N.'s pilot-ep. for a Dalek Tv-series) which would be the very first EMPIRE 639 music that i ever heard due to encountering this on the LC-Recon of 'The Dalek Master Plan'* before getting my first D.C.s-discs!
[* which was also my first glimpse of Stuart's CG-DalekWork ]
The "original theme" for T.D.C. is included ("...as a curiosity") and i'm most grateful for it, despite (as Stuart properly decided) not being up-to-scratch as the D.C.Theme, is nonetheless a good 'Miniature'(near-1min.)work which goes well as a pairing with the (only seconds longer) 'Destroyers' Miniature.
Lastly, 'Blood Dawn'*, the final Track(17), is like a 'performance-extra'/encore or "AfterShow-TheatreMuzak" follower for the two tiny 'end-trax' preceding it – the Orig.D.C.s Theme being the obvious Closer.
[* isn't this an IceWarrior/'Martian' audio,novel-or-shortstory title?! (oooh!) ]
This is not to poke fun at the music, btw – it's one of those quality ambient movements Stuart does so well* and finishes-out the arrangement of 2 very good electronic compilations.
[* i'd love to hear an entire disc of EMPIRE 639 Ambient music, actually! ]
It would be nice if there was (could be?) an Index for the non-storytitled tracks to identify where & in-which AlteredVistas-productions they appear (or don't).
And it is good to be told (in his notes) that Stuart has troubled to adapt many of the incidental-music compositions as full audio-arrangements, especially given that part of the Art of soundtrack-work is in modifying the dynamics of background-music to Underpin-rather-than-Undercut the Audient's experience of visuals&action/dialogue. As listening-material, such work does need remixing to restore 'musicality'. I, for one, am grateful that Stuart respects his own work as an audio-artist enough to go to such efforts on our behalf.
Another splendid set of GreatValue-for-Nothing(!) AV-Productions (on a single disc!!).