Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
Stranger Things OST
Please check Invada / Lakeshore websites for full release dates and variants.
The much anticipated score to Netflix’s acclaimed sci-fi / horror series Stranger Things gets the full vinyl/CD/DL release treatment. Simon Tucker reviews:
According to the internet, Stranger Things is a new series staring Winona Ryder and it is one that has been getting much praise. I can’t vouch for the quality of the show itself as I have not yet been able to see it (the curse of no Netflix strikes again) but what I can certainly vouch for is the quality of the soundtrack. Created by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from Austin outfit S U R V I V E, the score is a synth heavy delight that manages to touch upon every great cornerstone of electronica music whilst retaining a unique individuality that stops it from sounding like yet another wannabe Carpenter release.
Over the two volumes (over 75 cues in total) we are taking through the full gamut of human emotions via processed sound and artificial pulse. From the evocative main theme itself via the dreamy ambience of cues such as ‘Eleven’ and ‘Friendship’ (one of the most beautiful cues this writer is lucky enough to have heard), the score is rammed with ideas and scope.
One major quality that Dixon and Stein have managed to infuse into the score is a real sense of otherworldliness and slight menace where things are never quite what they seem. ‘Hallucinations’ and ‘Hanging Lights’ are but two examples of this as they lay on the listener a palpable sense of unease whilst retaining a lightness that stops them from tumbling fully into darkness.
Like many a great score, it does not need the visuals to make it sing or to put you in the correct mental space. There is obviously a noir element and a nod to the great horror and sci-fi scores of the eighties (I am told this is true of the show itself) but we never tip into copyist traits. The synths on here are full of richness and deep tones making it lie perfectly between cold-hearted machine and warm human emotions. Just play the back-to-back cues of ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Hazmat Suits’ for evidence (though be prepared as this is the moment when things really do get twisted).
Over these two volumes of music Dixon and Stein have created a work that is set to become a classic of the genre. Deep, disturbing, crystalline and tidal, Stranger Things is a soundtrack many would do good to hear.
I really must get Netflix…