listen to ‘Devs’ amazing score by Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury & The Insects
Devs, the FX on Hulu original sci-fi miniseries written and directed by Alex Garland is, in a lot of ways, a companion piece to his 2014 film Ex Machina. Both feature insanely wealthy tech moguls who may have a god complex (in this case Nick Offerman in a very effective dramatic role), and both star Sonoya Mizuno. Here she plays a computer engineer at Offerman's Amaya corporation, which is one of these seemingly idyllic companies that, in this case, harbors some sinister secrets. When her boyfriend, who works in Amaya's mysterious "Devs" division, goes missing, she finds herself possibly in over her head. You can watch the entire miniseries now via Hulu in North America and the BBC iPlayer in the UK.
As with all of Garland's movies, he explores a lot of big ideas -- quantum theory, free will vs determinism, what it means to be human, love and loss -- and with the miniseries format, he has lots of room to explore them. The series is also visually spectacular and, as with his films Ex Machina and Annihilation, Garland got Geoff Barrow (Portishead/BEAK>) and Ben Salisbury to do the score and, collaborating with fellow composers The Insects (Bob Locke and Tim Norfolk), they've delivered their most striking work yet. It's at times minimal and ambient; elsewhere it turns unnerving and blasts you in the face.
"As with all of Alex's projects, we started working on ideas for the music after reading the scripts," says Salisbury. "As well as being blown away by the material, we knew the music would need to reflect the strong religious thread that runs through story, and that we would need a number of developing themes that had a warped devotional vibe to them. But the music also needed to work with the thriller and tension side of things and the moments of outright horror, as well as sitting alongside the sheer beauty and scale of the amazing cinematography and set design. Crucially, the score also had to reflect and emphasise the human and emotional aspects of a story that is ultimately about grief and love.”
There is also a lot of score, much more than your average series. "The series is eight episodes, and it goes through all sorts of different states," Alex Garland told Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall. "The one thing we knew, and agreed on very early, wasn’t going to end up happening is that they would write a bunch of cues for the first episode, and we would recycle and repurpose them through the eight episodes. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that each episode would have a lot of original score written for it. So in the end, their workload was just massive."
The 37-track Devs score is being released digitally on Friday, May 1 via Lakeshore Records in the US and Barrow's Invada label in the UK. A triple vinyl album and double CD will be released later this year. Ben suggests you head to Bandcamp on Friday to buy it. You can stream the whole thing now, and watch the Devs trailer for Devs below.
Devs also has a few very effective needle drops, including Low's "Congregation" and "Aquarius" from the Hair soundtrack. You can listen to a playlist of the songs used in the series, below.