I listened to this back-to-back tonight with the 180 gram vinyl 2018 reissue of original blade runner soundtrack. What a wonderful way to spend an early summer evening. Each album is good in its own way - but here are some comments (sometimes comparing with the original movie Vangelis soundtrack vinyl)
1) Sound quality.... My copy does NOT have fingerprints or signs of dirt/mishandling from a new-purchased copy. Looks clean right out of the packaging. I washed each vinyl with spin-clean record cleaning wash, carefully, just to prep for the ideal listening experience. Out of the 2 vinyls, 4 sides total, there were 3 instances where the lower-volume gradient intros did have some light crackle, i.e. instead of listening to the growing pure drone of a synth there are some 'fireplace crackle' vinyl artifacts audible when first putting the cartridge to the vinyl on 3 sides. Well for whatever reason when I gave the vinyl a light sweep with a carbon fiber brush, on the 2nd play this crackle, which mind you is probably a tolerable amount for many, was probably decreased by 40% or so. No longer as irritating. And it's only in the first minute or so, i.e. very outer edges of the vinyl. For the rest of each vinyl surface crackle was almost nonexistent, i.e. about what you would expect from a good clean new well-manufactured vinyl record. Thus I have to report that this is not vinyl that has every sound come at you, regardless of dynamics (i.e. especially quiet parts), out of the blackest of empty silences with no surface noise whatsoever. I wish it was so. This is a paradox of vinyl altogether (i.e. sounds better than lossy digital formats, but does bear some artifacts).
2. Music quality.....Original Blade Runner soundtrack has much more emphasis on crime-noir themes in a sci-fi setting. Suitable for a focus on Deckard as someone who is a detective who is intrigued by a dame and is in pursuit of something where outside forces are powerful and pushing back. The Vangelis stuff works well because it's like a futuristic jazz sax at times, at other times has a piano section that you imagine in a dusty, whiskey filled bar - goes with the loney detective seeking occasional respite in a rough world. Some of this carries over to Blade Runner 2049 of course, but in the case of 2049 there is more of a ongoing focus (I think) of the protagonist being puzzled/affected/haunted by his own (implanted) memories and shifting sense of identity/affinity. I'm sure others who study these movies may disagree but I'm just offering an interpretation here, and I'll just throw out the tentative suggestion that Deckard throws himself outside into the world more, whereas K is much more "in his own head" from even the very start of the movie. So, the newer 2049 sound track has more atmospheric surges and swells, like the things K is trying to sort out in his own head, and the piano theme here is comparatively much more sparse (just about the only non-synth melodic element). Bottom line - there are overlaps between the two soundtracks but also differences in thematic emphasis. So, the newer soundtrack suits the more recent film. Also as a 2018 listener I just think Vangelis is great for reedy synth pads and textures that by now are presets on so many hardware synths today. The newer soundtrack seems to have more processed sounds for more modern times, i.e. the otherworldly pads and droning sounds and other textures are the next evolution. Timbre/distortion etc is pushed more in the newer soundtrack as part of the sonic construction.
3. Coherence of presentation.....I wish the pop song did not exist at the end of side 4. It doesn't fit the mood of the soundtrack but I guess it's nice like an alarm clock to remind you to get up and take the cartridge off the vinyl. It's basically the 'end credits ' song that gets you to rustle about, gather your things, and leave the movie theater. But out of a whole long soundtrack you get no elvis or adele etc for all the rest of the vinyl, which is nice.
4. Packaging.....I wish the packaging of the vinyl for Blade Runner 2049 was more epic - gatefold, etc. But it's good enough just because it represents what is basically the movie poster on the front cover. I'm sticking the vinyl in some mobile fidelity sleeves then sticking the cardboard outer sleeve in some protective mylar with backing - it will look nice that way.
Final review, then, subjective score:
Quality of soundtrack: 8.5/10. It's unique, it's great, it takes me places. I will re-listen often.
Quality of pressing 7/10. Not the disaster people make it out to be. But I do recommend cleaning the vinyl. I don't know why there is the 'intro of vinyl/right at beginning' crackle.
Quality of packaging 5/10 - average
Listened to using ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge. Playing music back on Adam A8X monitors + sub
Soundtrack is superb (with the exception of that last track/pop song) but the pressing leaves much more to be desired. There was dusty paper residue on the records from the sleeves they came in (people should stop packing them in those thick paper/cardboard material) and all sides had plenty of pops and clicks throughout. Initially I thought it was from the paper residue stuck within the grooves but after cleaning them twice on my own and one professionally done at the record store, the pops and clicks remain. Epic, Alcon Sleeping Giant Records and Sony Music...step up the quality yo.
No fingerprints on my numbered edition but they were dirty and there is surface noise when played. They aren't warped. I agree that the last song is somewhat out of place. The music is great but the inclusion of 'Tears In The Rain' by Vangelis reminds you of just how high the bar of comparison is to his score.