The Music of Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

By Katherine Phan

If one were to think of one of the most popular current tv shows on air, Stranger Things would
come to mind. Released in the summer of 2016, the show focuses on an investigation into the
disappearance of a boy at the same time supernatural events are occurring with the discovery of a
girl. In addition to its amazing directing, acting, and cinematography, the series boasts an
impressive score inspired by 1980’s synthesizer driven music.
I had the opportunity to hear this music live, as the two people behind the score, Kyle Dixon and
Michael Stein of Survive, played their score at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Upon
walking into the venue, I noticed many dedicated fans sporting various Stranger Things
memorabilia such as shirts and memorabilia, with my friend sporting a “Palace” arcade shirt.
Watching their performance was interesting to say the least. This was my first time going to a
concert to hear a score, so I didn’t expect much audience engagement or lyrics. The music had an
ambient style, making me feel like I was trapped in the upside down, trying to find my way out.
Dixon and Stein’s effortless transitions from song to song came with a lot of musical noise,
intended to build the listener up to the next song. Although I thought it was ok, others did not,
and as a result left mid show. This unfortunately took away from the experience, as I was now
distracted by looking at people getting out of their seats to leave instead of focusing on the
music. Overall, the performance was good, as Dixon and Stein clearly know what they’re doing;
the experience could have been better, due in part to a better crowd.

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