Mr. Robot is one of those shows where it feels just as much some bizarre science fiction tale as it does an indictment on those with money and power and those that wish to take that money and power away. At times the show feels very much “of the times” and a pretty upfront tale of an awkward guy who could be on the spectrum using his cyber skills to put bad guys in their place. But by the time season one wrapped up you realize that’s only scratching the surface. From the writing and dialogue to the cinematography to the at times almost hallucinogenic quality of the show it all works together to make you question the validity of what you’re seeing before you(much like our protagonist Elliot Alderson.)
Besides the amazing look, feel, and writing(as well as acting) of the show, the music has pulled me in. It grabbed me as much as Stranger Things did, and I knew I wanted the Mac Quayle score on its own in order to enjoy it spinning on the turntable. I had not been familiar with Mac Quayle before I started watching Mr. Robot, so his work has been an absolute joy to get lost in. There have been 4 volumes of music released so far from the Mr. Robot series, and I’ve picked them all up. Most recently I grabbed Volume 4 and it’s probably the most engaging yet.
With Volume 4, Mac Quayle has seemed to have opened his musical “Pandora’s Box” and is using whatever tools are at his disposal. The music ranges from ambient moments of melancholy to electro funk to complete synthetic dread. Quayle at times captures the vibe of the Reznor/Ross score world, while also embodying the spirit of his contemporaries like Cliff Martinez, Clint Mansell, and Jeff Russo.
More than sounding like his contemporaries, though, Quayle is pushing the musical narrative on television shows like them. No longer are television composers bound by the typical schmaltzy, over-the-top, heartstring-pulling of network composers’ past. Guys like Quayle sound as if they’re opened up on these shows. They’re going as big as they feel they can go. In-particular, Mac Quayle has created an industrial-tinged, electro-infused musical world where things can go from quiet desolation to the world crumbing around us to reflective electronic pulses at the drop of a hat. His work on Mr. Robot is some of the most engaging television scoring I’ve heard in recent years. Quayle is pushing the envelope, and Volume 4 proves that.
Mac Quayle continues to be as integral part of Mr. Robot as the writing, direction, and acting. His score is as vital a character as Elliot Alderson, E Corp, and Mr. Robot himself. I don’t see that changing.