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Soundtrack review: Humans (series 2 and 3) (Sarah Warne – 2018)


Soundtrack review: Humans (series 2 and 3) (Sarah Warne – 2018)



“Humans “(stylised as HUM∀NS) is a science fiction television series that debuted on 14 June 2015 on Channel 4. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, based on the Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans, the series explores the themes of artificial intelligence and robotics, focusing on the social, cultural, and psychological impact of the invention of anthropomorphic robots called “synths”. I remember how much I enjoyed the weird texture of the score for the first season, written by Christobal Tapia de Veer. This is the score for the second and third seasons, composed by Sarah Warne. I have no idea why they switched composer, I guess Tapia de Veer’s experiments weren’t for everyone, as he’s only credited on four of the cues.

A show like with a premise like this one raises my expectations when it comes to the music, especially if I enjoyed the first season; I want electronic experimental music and nothing else, I want the composers to explore the weirdness and implications of this story through their music. I mean the robots are called “synths” themselves. Hint, hint. The advantage here is also that, since I am such a big fan of electronic music, even generic electronic music works for me as a standalone listen because that almost ambient, reflective mood appeals to me. In the first few cues of this score Sarah Warne doesn’t take any of the risks Tapia de Veer took going for only mildly experimental and not evoking any discomfort. On the contrary, there are cues like “Odi wakens” and “Because you liked me” which are melodic electronic pieces which remind me of the sound of old computer games. Even the cues written with Cristobal Tapia de Veer, keep this ambient, glowy like sound.

The music for seasons 2 and 3 of “Humans” is textural and minimalistic. It’s quiet most of the times with various sounds that evoke different emotions; Sarah Warne does a very good job of telling the listener what the story is about with the mostly cold, metallic sound and the lack of dramatic effect or explosions of emotions. It’s a very homogenous score, like a long, electronic suite and you can basically listen to it starting from any point and the effect would be the same. It’s a background electronic score that can work as an ambient standalone listen that will not stop you from doing whatever you are doing in the meantime. I like minimalistic music and I like music that doesn’t interfere or overwhelm so I enjoyed listening to this one. There are subtleties that I only discovered at the second listen and this is also a good thing.

Cue rating: 60 / 100

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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