Disgruntled fans like myself sought out the myriad bootleg versions that had been created from cassette run offs from the mixing sessions or isolated music tracks from DVD's of the film. The most famous of these was of course the Esper Edition, which was created in very limited numbers by a group of fans known only as Esper Productions for circulation amongst themselves.
It used cues from every available source (official and unoffical) including the Blade Runner Game. Even though its original release was limited to a few copies for friends, subsequent copies of it began to surface and soon it became a much sought after Blade Runner essential and for many it is the best available example of the soundtrack. It's unlikely that the new version will be as complete as the Esper contains many non Vangelis cues that would be a copyright nightmare.
Inevitably, greedy self serving opportunists have bootlegged this very worthy release and charged extortionate sums for it on Ebay. Some have gone as far as to dress it up and embellish it and pretend that it is the work of Esper Productions - Classic examples being the so-called Esper MK2 and Esper MK3 which are still commanding ridiculous sums of money and lining the pockets of greedy non-fans.
It got to the point that Esper Productions published the following announcement on the excllent Vangelis Rarities site http://www.vangelis-rarities.com/:
STATEMENT FROM (THE REAL) ESPER PRODUCTIONS
In light of the sheer amount of "Esper" discs (i.e. "Esper Edition" and L.A‚ 2019) being sold on the internet over the past few years and with the emergence of new bootlegs claiming to be "Esper Productions‚" we wanted to take this opportunity to officially clarify that any vendor claiming to be‚ or selling on behalf of "Esper Productions" has absolutely nothing to do with the original people involved. These rip-off merchants have quite simply‚ stolen our "label."
The "Esper Edition" was made by two Vangelis/BR fans. Both of us would like to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. The intention of this private release was to give "our take" or interpretation of what the Blade Runner soundtrack should be. -that’s it.- The fact that these bootleggers have appropriated the discs and label name and started selling them on various websites‚ ebay‚ etc‚ is indeed regrettable.
We’re totally against the idea of lucrative gain being derived from these kinds of fan projects. Moreover‚ let me further clarify that neither of us have ever made a single cent off this effort.We made a total of ten original copies: five for each of us. We then distributed them to friends in the Vangelis circle. Among them‚ is Antas who has been gracious enough to let us publish this note on his site. Why only ten? It was always meant to be a homemade project.Since‚ the "Esper Edition" has surprisingly become "stuff of legend" in many Blade Runner circles‚ mentioned on many webpages all over the internet. While secretly very flattered- we’d also like to take this moment to "de-mystify" the release.Why did we make it?
Basically‚ we were sick of so many BR bootlegs floating around that never "got it right" in terms of chronology‚ or thoroughness. They all had something unique to them‚ but there were always oversights. So‚ like taking pieces from a puzzle‚ we decided to simply "cut and paste" from all the exiting releases (official‚ bootlegs‚ private releases‚ etc)‚ 1982 video‚ 1992 directors cut and construct something fresh. We paid close attention to chronologically follow the sequences from the film. Although not agreeing at first‚ we finally decided it would be best to have the tracks flow into one another‚ as a sort of BR suite. We originally wanted to make the discs just for our enjoyment‚ but we thought it would be neat to come up with artwork and make it a "private release" for our friends.
That’s all. As for the follow-up‚ "L.A. 2019‚" we wanted to make an "ambience" cd that transported the listener to the world of Blade Runner. The sound effects are almost entirely from the BR game‚ with Vangelis stuff layered in the back. We inserted "Reve" and an unused piece from "The Bounty" as well‚ because they both fitted the mood very well.Why the name "Esper Productions?" We thought a logo of the Esper machine would make an original pseudo trademark. Hence the name.
Lastly‚ let us stress that our intention was always to make this a project by fans for fans. It was created out of love for Vangelis’ music‚ not money. Having said this‚ if other fans want to further the "Esper" concept by adding‚ re-editing or using our "work" to get a different result‚ that’s fine -provided that they do not use the name “Esper Productions‚” which has been ripped-off just to cash-in.
In 2005 however, an excellent sound quality bootleg of the MK2 surfaced for a short while called Esper Analysis, which was not only affordable (about the cost of two cdr's as I recall) and came with silkscreened discs in a double DVD package with some pretty nifty artwork.
If you can get hold of a copy, it's certainly worth a listen, until the official version comes out anyway.