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Soundtrack review: The assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Mac Quayle – 2018)

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Soundtrack review: The assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Mac Quayle – 2018)

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“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is the second season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. The season premiered on January 17, 2018, and concluded on March 21, 2018. It consists of a total of 9 episodes, and explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History. Mac Quayle, the new composer of choice for Ryan Murphy shows, wrote the score.

The score starts boldly with an almost 8 minute long “Adagio in G Minor” which I imagine serves as a sort of elegy for Gianni Versace and somehow using such a familiar piece to open the score fits with the popularity and elegance of the designer. It’s the kind of deep, sombre orchestral piece hat cannot leave anybody unaffected. Mac Quayle’s original contribution starts with the theme for Donatella and it’s really my kind of cue, deeply ambient, just the kind Mac Quayle knows how to write so well; a mix of tenderness and mystery that always gets to me. It’s almost a Pavlovian like reaction for me to be hypnotized by these sounds. After hearing a little while ago Mack Quayle’s surprising score for “Feud”, so old school orchestral, I didn’t know what to expect from ACS; as an electronic music fan I am more than happy to discover a pure electronic ambient score that just flows and lets me get lost in it, very inviting to reflection. I get Zimmer vibes when I hear a cue like “All of them” (not just because of the title) as this sounds similar to his electronic sound as of late; it goes quite deep.

It is hard for me to be objective and clear minded when I listen to a score like this because this is the sound that’s closest to me, I can’t help it. Electronic ambient, with subtle nuances of suspense and sadness that break the mood every now and then; I don’t even care or notice where one cue ends and another one begins because it’s all just an ambient feast for me. I do notice “Idea to kill” because this is one of those cues where the craft of a composer really shines, because in keeping his sound and atmosphere he manages to evoke completely different and raw feelings, aggressive,violent, full dark.

Fans of Mac Quayle and fans of ambient electronic music will love this score for sure. I can’t wait to listen to it in context as well and see how it fits with the story, the investigation. Until then, Mac Quayle cements his place as one of the best electronic music composers right now.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Highlights:
Adagio in G Minor
Donatella
All of Them
Autopsy
David Murdered
Interviews (
This Is Not for You
Calling Modesto
Another Stage

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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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