The Sound of Sci-Fi
The iconic, dissonant soundscape to Ridley Scott’s landmark sci-fi horror is considered one of the best and most visceral of the many iconic scores by composer Jerry Goldsmith despite it suffering from a controversial post-production fallout between the pair.
When the crew of an Earth-bound spacecraft answers a distress beacon coming from a barren planet, their mercy mission has fatal repercussions when a deadly, seemingly indestructible monster gets on board their ship and starts killing them one by one.
Using his familiarity with acoustic and electronic elements Goldsmith created the film’s famous ‘alien wind’ effect using an Indian conch shell run through an Echoplex tape delay machine. Musically, however, the film has always been shrouded in controversy as director Ridley Scott and editor Terry Rawlings saw fit to chop the composer’s music into bits, as well as replacing it with cues from other Goldsmith scores as well as classical staple by Howard Hanson on the final credits. Aside from its traumatic creation though, Alien still encapsulates Goldsmith’s remarkable ability as a composer to juxtapose glacial beauty with bone-chilling terror.