Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – ‘Stranger Things, Vol. 1’

The first of a two-part volume soundtrack to Netflix’s newest hit TV series has landed today. Scored by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein of electronic group “S U R V I V E”, the first volume of the soundtrack is a delightful thirty-six track collection of minimalist and ambient analogue synth-driven cuts.

Dixon & Stein manage to near-perfectly encapsulate 80’s nostalgia through their handcrafted sound, as do the show’s producers through its stunning visual cinematography. The show’s plot line of mystery, government cover-ups and its secrets is successfully channeled through the accompanying soundtrack. The majority of tracks have a rather mellow and subtle structure, often slowly building tension and suspense to mirror the on-screen visual cinematography. The result is some genuinely beautiful soundscapes, ranging from approaching dread to a sense of calmness, even though there is always something definitely lurking in the shadows.

The show’s progressively twisted and dark storyline consistently generates mystique and wonder throughout its eight episodes. “The Upside Down” explores this theme, with its menacing tone provoking the feeling of fearing the unknown as mysteries continue to go unanswered. “She’ll Kill You” on the other hand communicates a sense of elation in comparison to the largely foreboding atmosphere previously established. This track, with its high-octave synth arpeggios and mammoth snares puts the viewer in a euphoric state when a small sliver of hope is unveiled.

The duo have done a fantastic job of making a good TV series into a great one through its soundtrack. Correctly identifying and understanding the aesthetics of a particular time period is imperative to create worthy musical compositions that work and interweave with visual cinema. This reinstates that sound and music within all mediums of media is just as important as its visual counterpart.

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