Adam Taylor: The Handmaid’s Tale OST
One of the most acclaimed television shows of the year, The Handmaid’s Tale is an adaptation of the celebrated 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. Tasked with scoring the series, Adam Taylor creates a perfect blend of the symphonic and the synthetic. Simon Tucker reviews.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a much loved and respected novel and when it was announced that there was to be a television adaptation the news was met by a feeling of intrigue and a lot of trepidation. Luckily the creators of the show pulled it off and The Handmaid’s Tale has been a critical and commercial success gaining many plaudits and praise from the media and fans alike.
One of the main factors in the series success was its score created by Adam Taylor which has been been released by Lakeshore Records and Invada Records. Taylor’s score helped underpin the drama and when listened to separately away from the source material it reveals even more depth and beauty.
Blending classical string instrumentation with synths, Taylor’s score displays a high understanding of the themes of the show as it walks the tightrope perfectly between the past and the near future. Dystopian yet also familiar.
Considering the inherent bleakness in the novel / series it would have been easy for Taylor to have written a score solely focused on ramping up the tension and wallowing in heavy distortion and oppressive synth tones. Instead, Taylor scatters throughout the album cues that are serene and uplifting that help give you a sense that there could be a happy ending after all. Strings and pianos dip and swoop and whilst the score never fully gives you a sense of optimism it does allow that most vital crack of light into the world.
If you are a fan of the more droning and oppressive side to soundtracks then there is plenty to enjoy with Moira and June Escape and River Walk being particular highlights.
With this score Adam Taylor has created a work that fits perfectly into the world for which it was created. The themes that run throughout the novel / series are played out throughout making for a thrilling blend of deep, oppressive (and sometimes claustrophobic) cues with more genteel and lilting cuts. It is a near-future score that highlights the emotions perfectly one gets from reading / viewing The Handmaid’s Tale and one that does what all great scores do and that is give the listener a visceral and thrilling experience even if you have not heard it attached to the images it was created for.
Adam Taylor can be found via his website