Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Halt And Catch Fire by Paul Haslinger (Review)

posted Aug 21, 2016, 9:53 AM by Michael Hollands

The TV series Halt And Catch Fire was first aired in 2014. So far, two seasons of the series have been aired and season three is basically around the corner and ready to be broadcast in late August of 2016. Right on time for the premiere of season three, the musical score will be released as well. Paul Haslinger, a former member of Tangerine Dream, was hired to write the music. In 1990, Haslinger left Tangerine Dream and several years later, he would start to write music for films as well. His list of credits includes films like Crank, Shoot 'Em Up and Underworld.

Halt And Catch Fire is about the computer boom in the early 1980s. Hence, a score was required that matches the sound of this decade. The music written for the series is entirely electronic. I am a huge fan of the 80s and I have always loved the sound and the look of this decade. The album starts with the piece “Golden Gate” and it is indeed very retro and 80s in terms of style. It has a repetitive synth rhythm and a simple, yet quite effective and catchy motif.

The first couple of cues of the album are indeed promising and “First Day On The Job” is definitely the best of the early pieces. In fact, it is my favorite cue of the entire album, which contains a total of twenty-three tracks. It is a very upbeat cue with great synth programming and a vibrant beat to it. The great, yet short track is the highlight of an album, which does not feature too many great moments. There are several reasons for that: Firstly, you have multiple very short pieces, some of which are under the one-minute-mark. Secondly, I kind of lost interest in the music after approximately twenty minutes. I liked the sound of the music, yet ultimately it loses its appeal after some time. There are very few tracks that are interesting or that stand out in any way.

However, there are also moments that shine. The four-minute cue “It Speaks” has to be mentioned in this case. It is a nice synth piece and it stands as one of the better tracks on this release. The score, as a whole, has good ideas that were well-executed and programmed by Paul Haslinger. Nevertheless, very few tracks are intriguing and some of them are simply too short. As far as I am concerned, there are two stand-out pieces: the aforementioned “First Day On The Job” and “Western Arrivals”. Those are the best moments of an album that displays quite a few shortcomings.The music is not bad at all, it just never really captivated me.