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Soundtrack review: Travelers (Adam Lastiwka – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: Travelers (Adam Lastiwka – 2018)

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“Travelers” is a science fiction television series created by Brad Wright”. Thousands of special operatives, sent back in time from the future, are tasked with preventing the collapse of society. These operatives, known as “travelers”, take over the body of a 21st-century individual via a transfer of consciousness; to minimize impact on the timeline, it is performed moments before the person’s recorded time of death. For the second season, FBI Special Agent Grant MacLaren (Eric McCormack) and his team of time-travelling specialists attempt to navigate their 21st century lives while tasked with the mission of saving the future from a dystopian existence. The Travelers will face their most difficult obstacles yet, including the Faction, a deadly virus, and a mysterious new Traveler (Enrico Colantoni), all while continuing to live the everyday lives of the present-day host bodies over which they’ve taken. Along with McCormack and Colantoni, TRAVELERS features an all-star Canadian cast including MacKenzie Porter, Patrick Gilmore, Jared Abrahamson, Nesta Cooper, and Reilly Dolman. Adam Lastiwka wrote the score.

The opening cue “Protocol” is a rhythmic electronic affair that’s alert and nice to hear. It’s the kind of cue you hear in tech related thrillers usually when all the computer operations take place. This fast paced vibe continues until “Phillucinating” which is the first cue where I hear some warmth and emotion and also the first cue where the electronic simplicity brings nostalgia to me as it sounds very 80s pioneer like. I am a fan of this genre so any electronic score is welcome; this one is light and pleasant, without leaving much of a trace. I do infer from the fast pace and bursts of energy of the first few cues that I will enjoy the show if it matches the energy of the music and I also think that hearing this score in context would make for a better listening experience.

The background feel of the music changes with “Temporal transmigration” which is one of those minimalistic alternative instrumental pieces that I always connect very easily with; it’s written in the experimental sound of Radionhead for example, with reverbs and electronic sounds and orchestral instruments all mixed in an enjoyable musical puzzle. The score takes a turn for the ambient experimental and this is something I can really work with; I remember playing sci-fi exploration computer games like “Rama” for example many years back and this warm and inviting electronic sound that I find in “Nexus” made the gameplay experience much more immersive. I like how the composer transitions from superficial to deeper in this score and the more I hear it, the more I like it.

“Travelers” is an uneven score because of its experimental nature; there is a lot of variation in the electronic sound, from alert to fragmented to ambient melodic so there is a lot to choose from depending on which genre you like more; if you haven’t seen the show, like me, it’s all about your enjoyment of this robotic kind of music, the music I always associate with exploring new planets, new realms. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable as some cues are abrasive but other times the melodies are peaceful and comforting. Take your pick.

Cue rating: 81 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 12/ 58

Album excellence: 21%

Highlights:
04 Phillucinating
06 Temporal Transmigration
08 Nexus
12 The Future ain’t what it used to be
17 Can’t Let Go

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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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