Cliff Martinez is one of the most influential score composers of the past 30 years — creating the music for everything from Drive and Pump Up the Volume to Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Traffic, and even the popular video game Far Cry 4 — all while picking up a trove of accolades along the way. His latest work is the compelling synth-laden score for the Amazon Original Series The Wilds and today Vehlinggo premieres one of the tracks, “My Life Is Out There,” which Milan Records is officially releasing tomorrow.
Through the use of a series of movements with shifting themes on “My Life Is Out There,” Martinez contemplates a sense of longing and adventure in the music for creator Sarah Streicher’s show about teen girls stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. Martinez’s trademark use of dynamics, arpeggiation, crystalline synthscapes, catchy melodies, and sonic experimentation cultivates both the deeply personal emotions and the massive sense of interconnectedness inherent in contrasting a wistfulness for life’s past events and the seemingly insurmountable goals faced in trying to return to that past. Nostalgia can be a progressively corrosive drug, but it’s also a brilliant motivator to try to escape a precarious situation.
“’My Life Is Out There’ is one of my favorite pieces because of its mixture of musical yin and yang,” Martinez told Vehlinggo. “The scene contrasts the past with the present. And, the music underscores both the situation and the psychology of it by alternating from conventional to abstract and back again.”
The Wilds (Music from the Amazon Original Series), which also features a song by the inimitable Empress Of, releases Friday, Dec. 11, via Milan Records. (Vinyl forthcoming, including a black variant on Jan. 8.) You can pre-order and pre-save the album now. The show premieres on Dec. 11 on Amazon Prime.
The Legendary Cliff Martinez
Vehlinggo readers will be quite familiar with Martinez, who was the subject of an in-depth interview on this site in 2018 and who has showed up in several reviews and features over this site’s six years. He is known for his nuanced and inventive work with directors such as Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Neon Demon, Too Old To Die Young, and more) and Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Solaris, Traffic, Contagion, and more), along with one-off gems such as John Francis Daley’s and Jonathan Goldstein’s Game Night and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. He was also at certain points a drummer in such bands as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Captain Beefheart.
On those scores and others he’s written, Martinez utilizes a deftly conjured and often minimalist formula of electronic and organic elements. You’ll often find ambient electronic passages, bending synth leads, delicately constructed synth arps, and the glorious cristal baschet all interacting in his compositions alongside strings, guitars, experimental percussion, and even a theremin. It’s a rather extraordinary experience.
About The Wilds
The Wilds follows a group of teen girls from different backgrounds, who strive to survive after a plane crash leaves them stranded on a deserted island. As they learn more about each other — the secrets they keep close to the chest and the trauma they’ve each endured — the survivors experience some profound bonding but also some pronounced conflicts. There’s a further twist to all of this that I’ll let you figure out when you watch it.
The series stars industry veteran Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Brothers & Sisters), as well as a mix of familiar and fresh faces that include Sophia Ali, Shannon Berry, Jenna Clause, Reign Edwards, Mia Healey, Helena Howard, Erana James, Sarah Pidgeon, David Sullivan, and Troy Winbush. The Wilds is co-produced by Amazon Studios and ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios. Sarah Streicher (Daredevil) created the series and also serves as executive producer alongside Amy B. Harris (Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries), Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings), and Dylan Clark (The Batman and Bird Box).