Chuck composer Tim Jones will be back on our screens – musically speaking – next week when CULT premieres on the CW, and boy does he sound different!
Investigative journalist Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis, “The Vampire Diaries”) has learned to live with his younger brother Nate’s relentless string of obsessions, especially his latest rant that a hit TV show intends to harm him. However, when his brother mysteriously disappears, Jeff takes Nate’s paranoia seriously, and in the process uncovers the dark underworld of the TV show “Cult” and its rabid fans.
The fictitious show, centered on the cat-and-mouse game between a charismatic cult leader and the detective who was once a cult member, has become an obsession for its viewers – and now some of its devotees seem to be taking their fixation to deadly extremes in the real world.
The premise is that this show-within-the-show is actually brainwashing viewers into carrying out violent acts on behalf of the mysterious creator, Steven Rae who has a legit producer credit on the REAL show, just to blur the lines of reality even further. Oh, and did I mention that within this fictional universe, the CW exists and airs the show-within-the-show? Is your head spinning?
I had the opportunity to visit Tim at his studio when I was in Los Angeles earlier this month and he screened a couple of episodes for me, complete with his score. Because the show is actually two shows – the “inside show” and “outside show” is how Tim differentiates the stories – two different types of music were needed to help draw the line between what’s “real” and what’s “fictional”. The “inside show” is more of a traditional police procedural, and the score reflects that with familiar cues. The “outside show”, however, is chock full of eerie, disruptive music that literally gave me goosebumps.
Tim purchased a new set of synthesizers specifically to create the sound for CULT and showed me how he layered those notes with other instruments for a truly unique musical experience. I continue to be blown away by his ability to create evocative music for such different projects. Chuck gave him a variety of scenes to work with – action, romance, drama, humor – and now he adds “creepy cool” to the ouevre.
Listen to the score during the opening credits below (created by former Chuck editor/director Matt Barber who is now an editor/director on CULT):
Different, right? It’s certainly darker than what we heard on Chuck, although Tim does sneak in some witty moments here and there. In an episode toward the end of the season, there’s a very tense scene in a church as a gruesome discovery is about to be made, the music is creeping me out and I’m on the edge of my seat, when I hear the chiming of bells woven into the score. That was a welcome bit of levity before I got creeped out again.