Great Soundtracks: The Void, Halt and Catch Fire, San Junipero

As some of you go into a nice, well-deserved July 4th holiday weekend, I’d like to ask you to set aside some time to take in these great scores. Some are as bone-rattlingly frightening as the films they serve, while others tap into different types of visceral motivations.

The Void

The Void

Canadian horror film The Void has drawn attention as the latest in low-budget, high-reward offerings in the genre. Without giving anything away, the film centers on horrifying hooded cult figures, disgusting creatures, and the smell of pure, unmitigated evil. Pretty much everyone agrees it’s fucking scary as hell — if not scarier.

Well, did you know the soundtrack, releasing June 30 on Lakeshore Records, is also likely to raise your heart rate to unhealthy extremes?

I’ve been listening to it on my walks to work this week and I must say that the 32-track collection’s cold orchestrations, dark synths, screaming dissonant electric guitars, and rib-cage crushing, treated percussion do a great job of bringing out the film’s study of some of the most messed up elements of humanity.

Several different groups or artists contributed to the soundtrack: Blitz//Berlin, Jeremy Gillespie, Menalon, Brian Wiacek, Jahmeel Russell, Amy de Blois, and Darrell Simpson.

Halt and Catch Fire

Paul Haslinger, formerly of 80s-era Tangerine Dream, has crafted a nuanced synth-driven score for Christopher Cantwell’s and Christopher C. Rogers’ Halt and Catch Fire the popular AMC show generally centered on a band of engineers and salesfolk trying to make their way during the early days of the personal computer and the “World Wide Web,” as us oldsters used to call it.

You’ve been able to get it digitally for a while, but now Fire Records and Lakeshore Records are poised to release it June 30 on sweet, blazin’ vinyl in packaging reminiscent of New Order’s giant floppy for “Blue Monday.”

On Halt, Haslinger has certainly tapped into his time with TD, as exhibited in his ability to extract an extraordinary cascade of human emotions from his fleet of analog synths and synth arps, drum machines, and keen melodious manifestations. (TD had quite the score run in the 80s — see Risky Business, Thief, and Legend, among others, and certainly has in general influenced the trajectory of modern score work.)

The composer has created music for film, television, and video games for years, but I find his score for Halt to be his best, most realized work.

Remember ‘San Junipero’?

San Junipero Black Mirror
Photo Credit: Billy the Butcher/Invada.

If you recall, last year Clint Mansell crafted an extraordinary score for “San Junipero,” the 80s-tinged, third-season episode of Black Mirror. (You might even recall that I said he manages to avoid getting lost in rote pastiches and tropes, while still honoring the source material.)

It’s been available via Lakeshore for some time, but on July 14 Invada will be shipping an awesome vinyl version. Billy the Butcher’s pop art is a thing Lichtensteinian beauty.

You can pre-order the standard, turqoise vinyl version now, or maybe you want the picture disc version. Or maybe both? Or maybe you want the purple, North American edition from Lakeshore Records, which originally released the score digitally?

Either way, you should get it. I consider it one of my favorite synth scores of the past several years. Mansell can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, but even so, this thing is perfect.