“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” — Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman, Google)
The internet has changed the world in so many profound ways it would be impossible to catalog them all in a single article. From increasing global connections, to reshaping the news and entertainment industries to, well, helping us learn about awesome music, the online world has been a juggernaut of change in nearly every aspect of culture.
Its invention, however, has also ushered in all new dangers and anxieties, the long-term effects of which have yet to be fully understood. Enter Dark/Web, a new horror anthology TV series which will explore the dangerous side of a totally connected world.
Dark/Web is the brainchild of Felt Films founders Michael and Tim Nardelli, and Mario Miscione, creators of the cult hit Circle. That film was purchased for distribution by Netflix last year, and is certainly recommended for fans of smart sci-fi.
The eclectic cast of Dark/Web includes many recognizable TV names including Buffy the Vampire Slayer alums Nicholas Brendan, Clare Kramer, and Julie Benz, Agents of Shield’s Gabriel Luna, Hannah Marks from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Cassi Thomson from Big Love, Dora Madison from Friday Night Lights… the list goes on.
So how do you approach scoring a show like Dark/Web? A show about technology and the lurking threat accompanying it? Vehlinggo asked the show’s primary composer, Jonathan Hartman, a veteran of film and television music who has provided sounds for TV shows like Starz’s Outlander, that very question.
“With this story, and its emphasis on the underbelly of the cyber world, I thought it would be interesting to explore a more digital sound, with analogue synth influences and ominous textures,” Hartman said.
One of the show’s episodes, “Rideshare,” a modern serial killer story centered around an Uber-esque driving service, struck a chord with Hartman, who shared an exclusive cue from its haunting, propulsive opening credits with Vehlinggo.
“‘Rideshare’ was one of those situations where I responded so strongly to the visual image and setting,” Hartman said. “The director, Boman Modine, described the story to me, which was deeply unsettling. So that got me thinking. But when I saw Sara’s cinematography of Los Angeles at night, it really sparked that musical idea into something that felt driving, pulsing, aggressive, a bit malicious, and neon.”
Listen to a piece of the episode’s closing credits:
In our conversation, Hartman went on to explain his thoughts about what gives synths the edge over a more traditional approach to instrumentation.
“Overall, synth sound allows a lot of flexibility in textures,” Hartman said. “I look at it as a huge sonic sandbox to play in and find some unique elements.”
“I also like the idea of creating something that’s like a studio album; to some extent it can only exist as a recorded creation and couldn’t really exist as a ‘live’ thing,” he said. “The synth studio environment frees you up from the those constraints.”
This next cue, from a selection titled “LA Morning News,” evokes the sunnier side of LA.
Dark/Web is currently in post-production with an eye to premiering late 2017 after it shops to international buyers in the summer.
Here’s one last cue to send you home. With the ominous title, “Zack’s Madness,” we can only imagine what horror the Dark/Web has wrought.
(Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Christopher Webster, who in addition to writing for Vehlinggo has written an episode of Dark/Web.)