It’s time to open the second window on our Mr Robot Hacks’ Advent Calendar; at this rate, if I keep opening all these windows, I’ll have burgled every apartment in my building by Christmas Eve!
Today’s is a musical treat to please your ears as we delve into the world of the Mr Robot composer…
As any great composer’s music should, his brings so much to the show; one second ethereal, church organ-type chords uplift your soul, the next your world is filled with the synth dread of 80’s horror movies before your pulse is sent into overdrive with drug-fuelled, discombobulating industrial electronica! The music of Mr Robot can give you the feeling of standing in a vast, open cathedral or echo around the cavernous corridors of Elliot’s deranged mind… via a wind-swept New York subway.
This is the genius of Mac Quayle. We’ll be getting to know Mac a tiny bit better in a minute, but here’s the best songs from his original soundtrack to listen to as you read…
Before we go on, although this is on the youtube, Mr Robot Hacks would never advocate hacking the system, illegally downloading music, movies, TV shows or software or not paying artists for their time, effort and talent so we better let you know that you can buy the OST at Amazon and iTunes. 😉
Beginning his musical career as a high school percussionist, Mac Quayle was a member of the concert orchestra and marching band before (presumably) snapping his baton, growing his hair and joining rock groups. He began but never finished a music program at NYU becoming disillusioned along the way. Like so many artists, his route was not to be an academic one, instead becoming interested in dance music via an internship at a recording studio…
Skip forward almost thirty years and through a mutual friend, one Sam Esmail asks Mac to score Mr Robot, after hearing his work on American Horror Story and as music arranger on Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and Stephen Soderbergh’s Contagion.
Nowadays, Sam shoots Mr Robot in New York while Mac scores in L.A. – in an interview with USA Network, Mac says Sam “talks about a feeling and when things should happen. We developed a little bit of a language so that I can interpret what he’s saying and try to give him what he’s looking for… we have that conversation. I write music for the episode, he listens to it and gives me notes, and then I tweak it to get it to be what’s right.”
Just like Mr Robot is a mash-up of all of Sam Esmail’s favorite influences if you listen to the soundtrack, it seems to contain a wide and varied list of influences: Sam takes you from the 1986 neon world of Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice to moments of starry, other-worldly sci-fi wonder a la Star Trek, The Original Series. From Noughties Euro-synth pop to technophobia-inducing, Nine Inch Nails-esque, Trent Reznor industrial madness. And so, so often via the beautifully oppressive, brooding synthesiser of John Carpenter’s slasher movies.
Let’s hope we see Mac (and two other great television composers Max Richter (The Leftovers) and Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Westworld)) follow the likes of Michael Giacchino make the jump from TV (Alias, Lost) to Hollywood (Star Trek, Rogue One)
He’s well on the way, having picked up the 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Music for a series for Mr Robot’s OST.
We’ll be back tomorrow with another advent calendar window to open, and we’ll bring you the OST Volume Two soon…
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