If you haven’t binge-watched your way through Netflix’s brilliantly ’80s-steeped Stranger Things, then you need truffle shuffle on out of here and get to watching. In the last ten days, the 8-episode first season of the series has endeared itself to everyone who grew up with E.T., The Goonies, It, The Thing, Eraserhead, Teen Witch, Gremlins and a melange of films that were simultaneously unnerving, fantastical, absurd, and effortlessly fun. Instead of simply being a cocktail of pastiche to the stylistic idiosyncrasies of John Carpenter, David Lynch, Steven Spielberg, and Richard Donner, the show has fun with the tropes in a self aware way that never rings untrue or contrived.
But in discussing the show with fans during Comic-Con last week, everyone seemed to unequivocally agree that the best part of the show is its score.
As fans clamored for more information about the eerie, thumping synth that introduce the sinister tones of the show — a coalescence of John Carpenter’s and Tangerine Dream’s extensive film scores — several discerning Reddit sleuths and publications figured out that the band S U R V I V E, specifically members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, were the masterminds behind the synths.
S U R V I V E is a Texas-based quartet that has trickled out retro-leaning, analog music over the last few years, most notably for the soundtrack of Adam Wingard’s The Guest. In an interview with Noisey, the duo explained that Wingard was a fan of the band and simply sent an email hoping the pair would come up with some original composition for the stylistically moody and nostalgic show. After that project, Dixon told Noisey that he dropped everything for Stranger Things.
“There was nothing that could have stopped me from taking this job.”
The pair recorded hours and hours of music that never made it into the show, but while we hope and pray for Netflix to release the Stranger Things OST, let’s take a dive into some of the fantastic music the band has already released. If you peruse their Soundcloud page, you can listen to their entire album mnq026, which is generally more textural and droning than the work you hear in Stranger Things. Check that out below to compare.
You can definitely hear the similarities here. Pulsing, alarming synths shoot fog and smoke from your speakers, obscuring all that lurks in the shadows just ahead. The track “Hourglass” is as unsettling and driving as anything you hear throughout the show. The band also has a new album coming out this September, titled RR7349 — Dixon told Salon that all their album titles are simply the catalog numbers for their records — and the lead track, “A.H.B.” is a multi-chromatic swirl of metallic textures and alien chirps. It is a tune that you should think about including on Halloween playlists when it comes time and a good indication of the direction of their latest record. It is far more melodic than the stern drones of their earlier works, all of which you can find on iTunes, but still deeply spooky and distressing. I can’t wait buy the album, turn out the lights, and scare myself shitless.
Are you guys as obsessed with S U R V I V E as we are? Excited to take a leap into the void and explore all their music? Let us know what you think in the comments and hit us up on Twitter.
Images: Netflix; Alex Kacha