Listen to the fantastic, sinister ‘The White Lotus’ score by Cristobal Tapia de Veer
HBO's The White Lotus just wrapped up its first season on Sunday night. The show, about the goings on of the guests and staff of an exclusive Hawaiian resort, starred Murray Bartlett, Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy, Sydney Sweeney, Steve Zahn and more, was written and directed by Mike White (Enlightened, Chuck & Buck) and shot during Covid lockdown in Maui. A very dark satire on privilege, class, and colonialism set against an island paradise, it was a surprise hit and the network recently announced that they've picked up the series for a second season, featuring a completely different cast and location.
In addition to the scripts and performances, one of the things that really makes The White Lotus work is Cristobal Tapia de Veer's amazing score, that plays with Polynesian and other tropical music tropes but adds a distinct sinister undercurrent, with nervous percussion and all sorts of nature sounds and vocal murmurations woven into the mix. His score sets the idyllic location on edge, keeping things from ever getting comfortable. White said he wanted a feeling of “tropical anxiety,” and Cristobal more than delivered.
Tapia de Veer told The L.A. Times that he was aiming for "Tropical Hitchcock," saying "I didn’t want people expecting things to happen: ‘OK, the music is very dark, so someone is going to get decapitated. A lot of shows are extreme now compared to what Mike did. So there is a risk of being too much and people expecting murders.”
He also injected a sense of humor into it as well. "It’s aggressive but funny at the same time," Tapia de Veer tells the Times. “I had a big laugh the whole project. I was just screaming into flutes, doing completely ridiculous stuff like monkey sounds.”
You can listen to the full The White Lotus score below and if you haven't watched the series yet, all six episodes are streaming now via HBO Max and On-Demand. You can watch the S1 trailer below.