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Soundtrack review: Mr. Robot (volume 3) (Mac Quayle – 2017)

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Soundtrack review: Mr. Robot (volume 3) (Mac Quayle – 2017)

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“Mr. Robot” is an American drama–thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. It stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who suffers from social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Alderson is recruited by an insurrectionary anarchist known as “Mr. Robot”, played by Christian Slater, to join a group of hacktivists called “fsociety”. The group aims to destroy all debt records by encrypting the financial data of the largest conglomerate in the world, E Corp. Mac Quayle wrote the score and the music of season 2 has been split into two volumes. This is a review of the first of them.

I just love the electronic paranoia that opens this score; “2.0_1-S4ve-The-W0rld.Act” wastes no time in pulsating its way into my brain and making me want to turn off my laptop. Mac Quayle starts this season way more aggressively than he had ended the previous one. I am just loving the insane pace that starts this score and even if I am not getting the electronic nostalgia I was looking for I don’t care because the music is so good with its adrenaline filled darkness. Even when the pace slows down the music is still dense and uneasy. I welcome every single melodic motif because it brings the warmth that plays down the anxiety in the music. Everything sounds and feels natural so in the context of this score, even a disturbed and uncomfortable cue like “2.0_5-Inifiniteloop0finsanity.Vox” makes sense and is enjoyable. Paranoia and anxiety play and important role in the show and so do wild swings so I welcome a very Nine Inch Nail esque piano depression “2.0_6-Madame3xecutioner.Oga” which is already my favourite cue from any “Mr. Robot” score. This is the type of mood that I always immerse myself into and play on repeat because it reaches down inside me and slithers like a snake that knows all my deep dark secrets and knows where to hit. Trent Reznor would be proud of this cue.

I am fascinated with this score; it’s alive, it changes mood and pace but always stays dark ambient and always gives me feelings of unrest. It’s one of the most immersive scores I’ve heard this year; Mac Quayle wrote pulsating, visceral music for this show and I have the strange feeling of not wanting to stop it or get out from under its spell; I want to explore this electronic music maze and experience all its corners and twists. I can almost taste the metal or the smoke from the wires as I listen to the music. There is a cue “Prisoners of paranoia” that synthesises what the music makes me feel. How can a music so beautiful and exciting express feelings so dark? I remember liking the first two volumes but not this much as the music hadn’t developed yet into this dark mix that I just can’t get enough of. I can say that I like this score even when I don’t like it, even when there are a few cues that are less intelligible. And then comes an ambient gem like “2.2_3-Existence.Opus” and I just want to hear everything.

When a score makes me write ramble style and causes all these emotions in me it means it is the kind of composition that will mean a different personal experience for every listener. From suffocating industrial cues to dreamy ambient pieces and melodic metallic sounding paranoia episodes, volume 3 of “Mr. Robot” makes me anxiously (of course) wait for volume 4. Do not miss this experience.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 38 / 66

Album excellence: 58%

Highlights:
2.0_1-S4ve-The-W0rld.Act
2.0_2-FuxSocy.sln
2.0_3-J0urnaling.Ivs
2.0_4-Control-1S-An-Illusion.Amr
2.0_6-Madame3xecutioner.Oga
2.0_7-Jester-Actual.Dss
2.0_9-Unexpectedpresents.M4b
2.0_11-Music-B0x.Mmf
2.2_3-Existence.Opus
2.2_5-Divinity.Iklax
2.3_1-Steel-V4lley.Webm
2.3_3-Fuckgutinstinct.Act
2.3_4-Midland-City.Oga
2.4_2-M4ster-S1ave.Msv

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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