Paul Haslinger - Halt & Catch Fire Original Soundtrack

by Jason Atkinson Rating:9 Release Date:2017-06-30

Popular AMC show “Halt and Catch Fire” deals with the PC-computer revolution in the 1980’s. Paul Haslinger, Tangerine Dream alum/film composer, was hired to create the soundtrack. Now, thanks to Lakeshore Records, it is being released in elaborate vinyl packaging. It is also available on Spotify for those of you that like to listen to music using earwax encrusted Sony headphones that you bought at Hudson News in Grand Central.  

There is a great deal of incentive to purchase this work on vinyl, though. One major reason: it just sounds so damn good, a cut above, custom-tailored for the audiophile. Paul Haslinger, sired in the relentlessly prolific flames of Edgar Froese’s Dream of a Tangerine colour, is not only a great composer—he’s a true audio professional, a workhorse. The credits list, miles long: He’s done film soundtracks (Blue Crush, Crazy/Beautiful, Underworld 3, Blow, Crank) video game music (Resident Evil, other stuff) and plenty of television music. He has an incredible compositional range and, judging by all the youtube interviews I’ve watched and work samples I’ve listened, a consummate professional who can pretty much deliver whatever you need. And then some extra. And then a cherry on top of that. 

In the case of “Halt and Catch Fire,” a 1980’s sound, in the vein of the recent synthwave revival (think “Stranger Things” and band S U R V I V E) Haslinger is tasked with creating compelling vintage sounding synth music. This, due to the Tangerine Dream connection, is not a problem.

The cues created for the project are not complex. Watching the show, they move the story forward, heighten dramatic tension, and do a particular job. Taken on their own, a listener can appreciate the care that went into making them sound exceptional (mixing, recording, and mastering) and, further, marvel in Paul Haslinger’s masterful execution; he is a Viennese composer, after all, coming from an incredibly grand tradition dating back to that time in your junior high music appreciation class where you said "I don't care who Arnold Schoenberg is, I want to watch E.T. and eat Tostitos." 

Listen to this. To do this, I recommend first-rate audio equipment.  And, while you are at it, get those nasty earbuds out of your ears, buy this on vinyl, and get a good record player you mp3-listening-to man-child, you. 

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