“Titanic (The Deluxe Edition)” by James Horner

James Cameron, known for being one, if not the most innovative and meticulous filmmaker out there, was responsible for the two highest grossing films of all time. And both prominently utilized two of the most ill-reputed typefaces of all time. It’s almost as if they did it on purpose… only to mock us typophiles.

Producing a hollywood blockbuster for an allegedly production budget of $237 million dollar and then making use of “Papyrus” (a font that came free with every Windows and Mac OS computer) certainly feels somewhat ironic, there’s no denying that. Even Ryan Gosling thinks so.

Ten years earlier Cameron already pulled the same stunt – albeit not to the same extent – with Titanic and its extensive use of the equally hated “Trajan” (shush graphic designers… calm down!). This overused font may not have the same cheap, inferior reputation as “Papyrus”, but it still robs the movie of the chance to give it its own unique identity, an iconic logo that speaks for itself.

I struggled with the decision to completely replace “Trajan” with a different and more distinct font, but ultimately decided against it. These covers first and foremost are meant to represent the original soundtrack as it is commonly known. Replacing a font, even if it’s as trite as this one, would probably take away the authenticity and and I wanted to avoid that.

In case you’re wondering why I labeled every cover as a Deluxe Edition, well I made this set for my friend Sonic who’s remixing and remastering existing scores to make them sound right. Let’s see what he has to say about it:

I was a bit shocked when I discovered that heidl employed that overused “Deluxe Edition” label for his set of Titanic covers. In my mind, everyone who uses that moniker (which I originally stole from Varèse Sarabende for my first DE) only does so because he or she is one lazy sack (I definitely am). But obviously heidl is not lazy so when he uses it I sort of cringe, simply because I think he’s above this, you know what I mean? I forget of course that heidl loves to lampoon and make fun of things. Best example for this is his covert re-design of the WrG Records logo. Oh what a clever – and oh-so creative – boy he is. I can’t say it often enough… but the two cover designers I like the most are heidl and Jim Titus.

But enough with the daily dose of bootlicking. Now for some corny anecdotes…

When the Titanic was discovered in 1985 by Robert Ballard I was immediately hooked by the human drama and the technical hubris the ship epitomizes. I was a child back then and I needed to know everything there was to know about that liner. Books, movies, technical drawings, you name it. All of it led to a life-long fascination with ocean liners. I even used to draw my own ships when I was just a bit older.

Now imagine me twenty years ago when I first saw Titanic in theaters: as the ship was leaving Southampton, soaring alongside the bubbling music James Horner provided, I was crying tears of joy. The movie is perfect and the music by James Horner perfectly enhances it, yet is also able to exist on its own. And that’s not an easy feat! But as it happens, the original soundtrack release is one of the most perfect CDs around, muscially and sonically.

Bob Katz, who is a Grammy-awarded mastering engineer, included it on his personal list of best-mastered releases. But that isn’t really surprising as Patricia Sullivan is one of the best as well. Give her enough time (-> money) and she will do everything she can to make it sound perfect. It helps that the recording itself is already very good, no surprise considering it was engineered by no other than Shawn Murphy. Mike Mattessino, mastering engineer for the La-La Land-release, didn’t try to re-invent the wheel, bless him. So what would I myself do? I would tone down treble just a tad, boost mids, maybe lower noise for the odd track here and there. I would delete or micro-edit some tracks to improve musical flow and I would call the resulting soundtrack “Deluxe Edition”.

The funny thing is: I haven’t even started yet! The 4-CD-box sits on my desk among Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Orphanage and Judge Dredd (Silvestri), my stack of “yet-to-do” scores. It’s rare that there are covers bearing the DE thingy before there even is a score for it. heidl completely went ahead and designed beautiful covers. Though, I will admit, it might have been merely a coincidence. Whatever it was, I now know I don’t need to design some cover myself as I will glady use heidl’s superior ones :-)

I am well aware that the majority of you won’t get ahold of this unofficial Deluxe Edition, so I’ve also created standard covers to use for the original soundtrack. You can grab them below.

And for the first time in a very long time I’m also offering a digital booklet again, not selfmade though, but cleaned up and optimized. You’re welcome!

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