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Mr. Robot: Volume 1 & 2 by Mac Quayle (Review)

posted Jul 6, 2016, 8:26 AM by Kaya Savas

Mr. Robot is a show that surprised everyone by quickly becoming a big hit and immediately creating a large fanbase. The show’s unique and noteworthy tone and atmosphere can be traced down to Mac Quayle’s great approach to the show’s score. This side of Mac Qualye is completely different than what you hear in American Horror Story and more along the lines of his former mentor and collaborator Cliff Martinez. The electronic soundscape may feel like the “expected” approach, but the score is unique and structured well enough to really stand out.

As I said, an electronic score for a show about an elite hacker who is recruited by a famous underground group of hacktivists to take down a corrupt corporation seems expected. Yes, technology immediately makes us think of synthetic scores but Quayle does a fantastic job of fleshing this universe out, and after a few tracks you’ll realize how in-tune the music is with the characters and story. This two-volume presentation of the music gives us almost 2.5 hours of music from the first season, and thankfully Lakeshore Records continues to do this. They’ve done it in the past such as with Hannibal. Since the show is heavily scored, we can get a real shape of the narrative across these two albums. The score is subtle and nuanced, don’t expect Daft Punk here. The tone of the music shifts as you move through the two albums and you get a feel of our main character and his journey. The tracks can drastically shift in style and melody, and in those instances it’s hard for the score to build momentum. There are some continuing textures and atmospheric tones, but when suddenly a newly pitched melodic loop appears it can feel like we jumped somewhere else very quickly. Overall though, this is textural scoring at some of its finest especially given the amount of score we have.

Mr. Robot is a very impressive and engrossing electronic score from Mac Quayle who has demonstrated a precise handle on the characters and story in season 1. The score builds a wonderful foundation of rhythms, tones, textures and atmosphere. The two volumes give us enough music to truly digest and grasp the story, even if the score has some issues creating a dynamic narrative flow. Even though the idea of an electronic score for a series about a hacker may seem familiar, the sound Mac Quayle has built for this show is truly unique. It'll be interesting to see where the series goes musically next season.