The composer discusses crafting the delicate, otherworldly rhythms of Amazon’s sci-fi anthology series.
Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.
Paul Leonard-Morgan is no stranger to composing for science fiction, lending a propulsive, industrial wall of sound to films like Limitless and Dredd, as well as video games like the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. But with Amazon Prime Video’s latest anthology series Tales from the Loop, he’s in a milder, more contemplative mode — delicate, thoughtful, and endearingly beautiful.
Based on the ‘suburban sci-fi’ artwork of Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop tells the story of a sleepy, timeless town, under which lies ‘the Loop’, an research facility overseen by a mysterious institute conducting experiments on the nature of the universe. Along the way, the residents of the town feel its curious effects — time loops, alternate universes, and the like — and discover new things about themselves along the way.
Closer to something like Arrival than Stranger Things, Tales from the Loop eschews bombast for something more akin to a tone poem. Episodes are slow, deliberate, heavily fueled by dusky visuals and restrained performances by the likes of Jonathan Pryce, Rebecca Hall, and Paul Schneider, most of whom flit in and out of the episodes as we see the disparate ways the Loop’s experiments reveal new things about these decidedly ordinary people.
And underpinning this all is the score, a collaboration between Leonard-Morgan and the legendary Philip Glass that coats each stolen glance and mournful experiment with minimalist, arpeggio-laden wonder. Tales from the Loop is all about its atmosphere, and Glass and Leonard-Morgan’s score mines a graceful elegance from the interdimensional magic surrounding Mercer, Ohio’s denizens.
In anticipation of the show’s release, The Spool sat down with Leonard-Morgan to talk about Tales from the Loop‘s bittersweet magic, working with Philip Glass, and the ways the isolation that comes from our current historical moment is changing the ways composers and musicians collaborate with each other remotely.