The opening music in the Netflix thriller Stranger Things, scored by the Austin duo S U R V I V E, immediately sets a mood: buzzy bass bombs detonate around celestial synth melodies and strikes of sci-fi sound effects, the deeper beats pounding like a heart jolted into rapid activity.
The Texas band’s creepy John Carpenter-referencing score has not only helped spur immediate fandom for the '80s-referencing, Winona Ryder-starring hit series -- it's also sparked discussions about the current renaissance of the '80s-riffing synth soundtrack.
If you’re into the sound of terror -- whether that music accompanies Stranger Things’ plant-faced monster, the lumbering human STDs of It Follows, the WTF-is-Scarlett Johansson-exactly in Under the Skin, or the grim New Age vision of Beyond the Black Rainbow -- there’s never been a better time to bask in sinister synths. Below is a breakdown of the best new-school scores by the next generation of electronic mood masters.
S U R V I V E, 'Stranger Things'
It took exactly 12 days after the premiere of Stranger Things for Netflix to announce its soundtrack release of music written by Survive’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. The fervor for the band was so immediate, driving the underground group’s Facebook following into the 28,000 range, that the streaming network had no choice but to feed the fandom. The timing is great for Dixon and Stein, since Survive releases its new full-length record for Relapse, RR7349, on Sept. 30. (The name of that album, rather than being some kind of cool secret code, is simply the catalog number for the label.) Much like the Stranger Things score, RR7349 sounds both edgy in tone and surreal in mood. The band plays Oct. 7 at the Elbo Room in San Francisco.