Ramin Djawadi's score for the HBO series Westworld has become just as well known for the different interpretations of pop songs as it is for the composer's original music. Season 2 is no different, but the ways in which Djawadi combines the influences of his score and the music he's recreating have grown to new heights.
Take, for example, what might be the best back-to-back pairing of the entire triple LP: a cover of the White Stripes' “Seven Nation Army” followed by “The Raj”, the theme for park six of Delos Destinations' series of worlds. It takes almost a solid minute to realize what the White Stripes song is upon first listen, until that anthemic guitar line takes hold, albeit here played on the sitar. It flows effortlessly into the theme for the Raj park, and creates an auditory experience meant to evoke the 19th-century Indian experience (at least for Westerners).
Djawadi's music is, like the Delos parks, meant to recall a past time period while not cleaving exactly to it. Hence, there are Wu-Tang Clan covers in Shōgunworld which take the melodic sample from the Charmels' “As Long As I've Got You” and turn it into a gorgeous piece on the koto, rather than traditional Japanese musical pieces. The musical shorthand is a little cheesy - really, “The Entertainer”? However, the playing is done well and used in ways which are interesting enough to keep the score from verging into exotica territory.
The original score is big and grand, and the composer doesn't hesitate to go for emotional broke with something like “Akane no Mai”, whose violin work is heartbreaking. However, Djawadi also brings in electronic elements in the bold “Virtù e Fortuna”, and when one sits down and goes through this score in one sitting, they're in for a well-crafted auditory ride through Westworld's second season that's reflective of the show's expanded scope.
At the Movies' triple-LP release of the second season Westworld score might as well be a souvenir from the park itself. The inner design looks like it came straight from Delos itself, right down to the center labels on the records, and the silver vinyl looks appropriately futuristic. The triple gatefold sleeve is just this side of audacious as well, which again fits the vibe.
WESTWORLD SEASON 2 OST / COMPOSER: RAMIN DJAWADI / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW