Netflix's <I>Lou</I>: Composer Nima Fakhrara
Issue: September/October 2022

Netflix's Lou: Composer Nima Fakhrara

Composer Nima Fakhrara recently created a suspenseful, vibey score for Netflix’s Lou. The cat-and-mouse action-thriller was produced by Bad Robot, and stars Allison Janney and Jurnee Smollett.

Thinking she’s put her past behind her, Lou (Janney) finds her quiet life interrupted when a desperate mother (Smollett) begs her to save her kidnapped daughter. As a massive storm rages, the two women risk their lives on a rescue mission that will test their limits and expose dark secrets. The film was directed by Anna Foerster and began streaming on September 23rd.

Fakhrara wanted his score to have the sort of tape-scratch elements found on cassette recordings of the 1980s. Composing a clean and modern score, he ran everything through an old cassette player, recording all of his score audio onto cassette and then capturing that recording digitally to further manipulate. The resulting score has unconventional instrumentation, making use of a small ensemble that includes a string quartet.

“Creating an entire score on cassette was a challenge I set out on, to create a vintage sounding score without composing music that sounds like the 80s,” he recalls. “Every instrument was recorded onto a multitrack cassette recorder and manipulated further with different synthesizers and machines. The vocals were the first idea to push through this method, and the first experience can be heard as the first note over the logos.”

The mechanics of the cassette were also handy in creating a musician soundscape of memories.

“I recorded specific musical ideas multiple times over the same cassette loop to create a sound that is both aged and beautiful,” says Fakhrara. “The first experiment was me singing Iranian classical music ideas and recording them repeatedly till the tape was pretty much destroyed. Some of these experiments became the base of the score.”