Scored by S U R V I V E’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the Netflix show Stranger Things can at times seem written around the music, such is the importance of its soundtrack. The duo’s band creates very similar music but in longer form, developed stories in contrast to Stranger Things’ vignette accompaniments. If they recall the European progressive synth work of Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream, as instrumental narrative S U R V I V E’s tropes, fresh as they are, are the well-heeled scions of horror and suspense soundtracks of the 1970s and 80s — those coveted analog burblings so influencing rock archetypes that today a band like S U R V I V E can be embraced by a culture that may not have looked so warmly on the be-caped japes of synth lords in their keyboarded cathedrals of yore. This is a good thing, as is S U R V I V E’s 2016 album RR7349. The punky, catalog number-as-title approach is embedded in the band’s music, in its wordlessness plain spoken, symbolic of itself, its images so strong — or perhaps its ability to conjure notions and memories of images we’ve grown used to associating with such music — that there’s an enjoyable lack of heavy lifting here. As instrumental albums go, it’s a seamless ride through the horrorshow.
“Wardenclyffe” is the heart of RR7349; it is an opus of classic thrash metal rhythm, a slow burn, slow bleed psychedelic nod off, an American folk opera circa 2016. It is everyman music, an electronic field holler to the collective national iThumb and Assemblage of the Hallowed Streaming Box. Like its mothership album, it is so woven into the now that it’s a blip on the screen; but mark it, for when the future civs recreate our campfire dances, this is the soundtrack.