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Japanese Release of Elmer Bernstein's Ghostbusters Score (Sony Classical) Audio CD Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:50 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Music
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Back in 2019, Sony Classical released Elmer Bernstein's score to Ghostbusters on CD and Vinyl. I reviewed the CD at the time of release. Unbeknownst to me, a slightly different version of the album was released in Japan. Read on to find out more about it...

Before I get into this, I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the Spook Central VIPs for providing the funds that allowed me to buy this item and review it for all of you. This item was NOT provided by the manufacturer.

For the most part, the Japanese release is the same as the U.S. release, so I don't need to say too much. My original review will get you up to speed about 99% of what you'll find on this album. The big difference is the inclusion of a 38th track at the end: "End Credits" (5:08). This is NOT a new track. It was Track #36 on the Varese Sarabande album from 2006, where it was noted as being "not used in the film". Embedded below is the track from the Varese album. Spook Central VIPs can download a 320kbps MP3 of the track taken from this Sony album.


This photo shows everything that comes with the album.

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As is customary with physical media in Japan, wrapped around the left side of the case is an obi strip. It provides various bits of information, most of which I can't decipher because I can't read Japanese. It does give the catalog number of "SICP 31420", a MSRP of 2,500 Yen, and (I believe) a release date of September 23, 2021 ("21.9.23"). Although 2019 is the main copyright date given throughout the album, there are two mentions of "2021", which leads me to believe that this version of the album came out last year.

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(bottom of obi strip)

As you can see on the obi strip, as well on the stickers placed on the front of the plastic wrap (see image at the head of this review), this CD was duplicated using the "Blu-spec CD 2" ("BSCD2") manufacturing process. You will also see this mentioned in the title of listings for the CD at various online retailers. There is a dual-sided paper insert explaining what this is, and pointing to an official Sony site about the process, but it's all in Japanese, so it means nothing to me. Thankfully, I found an English description of the process. In short, BSCD2 CDs are manufactured using a blue laser, similar to that used for Blu-ray discs, instead of an infrared laser. Supposedly, this allows for audio CDs to be produced that are even more precise with even less jitter. Sony calls this process "phase transition mastering". In contrast to Blu-ray Disc, no blue laser is required for playback, so these CDs can be played in any normal CD player. Honestly, the CD sounded no different than any other CD I've heard, so I wouldn't consider this a plus or a minus.

Much of the packaging is the same as the U.S. release. The front cover is 100% the same and entirely in English. The back cover has the same Ecto-1 image, though the track list includes the extra "End Credits" cue. The disc features the same image of the guys doing "hands in" outside the apartment building. Under the disc is the same Stay Puft image. Only the copyright text and product numbers are different. The left spine text is in English, while the right side text is in Japanese.

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If you were looking carefully at the photo of the album contents, you will notice that it comes with TWO liner booklets. One is the same 14-page color booklet from the U.S. release. Scans of that can be found on the reference library page for the album. All of the text in this booklet is in English. There is no Japanese text at all. There are only two differences from the U.S. booklet, aside from a different product number and a Sony Classical logo placed over the photo of the guys on the back cover. (1) The track list on page 2 includes the 38th track. (2) On page 13, the text stating which tracks "were not used in the film" is different. On the original U.S. release, it lists "Tracks 14, 15, 24, 32-34". On this Japanese release, it lists "Tracks 14, 19 (introduction), 24, 32-34". I don't know why "15" was replaced with "19 (introduction)". Could the original release have been wrong?

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The 16-page black & white liner booklet, printed on thinner paper, is almost entirely in Japanese. Aside from the front and back covers (numbered as pages 1 and 16), which have the same logo and photo of the guys, this booklet is entirely different. There are no movie photos inside. It's all black text on a plain white background with a gray border. Pages 2 & 3 is the track list in English and Japanese.

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I can tell that on Pages 4 through 6 is the essay by Peter Bernstein that appears in English in the other booklet. There are a few dates given in numbers which match up with the English essay. On Pages 7 through 14 is an entirely NEW essay that was written on February 1, 2021 (it's signed with a "2021.2.1" date). As for who wrote it and what it says, I haven't a clue. It does mention "Varese Sarabande" and "3,000", which is referring to the 2006 score album by Varese Sarabande which was limited to 3,000 copies. That's all I can suss out. I'm trying to see if I can find someone who can translate Japanese.

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Page 15 contains a small photo of Elmer Bernstein and what I assume is a biography written in Japanese. None of this is in the English booklet.

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And that's all there is to this. Not super thrilling, but it's nice as a collectible.

You can generally find the album priced at $30-$40. By comparison, the U.S. CD is currently being sold by Amazon Marketplace sellers for $15-$20. Whether it's worth paying double for one extra song and a booklet all in Japanese is entirely up to you. Honestly, I don't think it is. I see this album as something to buy only if you want it as a collectible, or to complete the "set" with the U.S. release.

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