Below are demos from four sections of the 2099 Pilot: all of the teaser and act 1, a song from act 3, and the finale of the entire episode. Note that while I’m only presenting about 22 minutes of music here, I have written and recorded all of the music for the pilot. (Vocals and mixing have not been completed for the other acts.)
Setting Up the Entire Series
Almost all of the first season’s main themes—visual, narrative, musical—are introduced in the pilot’s 3.5-minute teaser. From the stark opening low-string motif that permeates the entire episode and underscores the nightmare of the climate-ravaged world outside; to the angular hip-hop groove that sets the scene for the bland bright-white rooms that are the underlying edifice of the inside world; to the bombastic orchestral pomp hyping the techno-utopian city during Jacob’s infomercial and the following too-happy funk theme that completes the sell.
The teaser ends with Jacob’s wife Rachel singing “The Magic Walls” chorus—just as it begins with an instrumental version of the song’s verse. Of course, we don’t know the connection between these two pieces, even as they individually permeate the entire pilot, until the very end when she sings the entire song.
- 0:00-00:42: Opening “climate apocalypse” theme
- 00:42-01:05: “White Room” theme
- 01:06-01:33: Newvircity Theme
- 01:34-03:00: Virtuals Theme
- 03:01-03:34: Magic Walls Chorus
This is the complete act one of the pilot. While it is a demo, I thought it important to give you a sense of what an extended piece of Sci-Fi Musical Drama actually sounds like. With the exception of a few strategic moments of silence, everything here is set to music—even spoken, non-metered dialogue. I move freely between rhyming sung dialogue and spoken “normal” dialogue, depending on what the situation calls for. But there are also set-piece songs. Songs like Jacob’s “Give the Man What He Wants” (at 3:50), however, are built on musical-thematic material that proceeds them. So they never feel like they came out of nowhere. That song, by the way, sets up Jacob’s entire modus operandi for season 1: “I’ll give the man what he wants, and when he’s paying no heed/I’ll flip the damn script and give him what he needs.” That kind of sums up what he’s about.
What’s The Point of Power?
Lehcar’s Rambling Lament
This song from Act 3 illuminates the confused mindset of the Virtual, President Lehcar, the most powerful Corporate/Government (they are one and the same leader in the world. Lehcar is both Jacob’s benefactor and potential antagonist. He laments in this song not only his inability to use the power that comes with his position (very Trumpian in that regard) but the strict limitation put on Virtuals in general.
Everything leads up to Rachel’s song that comes at the end of Act 5. In fact, though, we’ve heard almost every part of this song from the very beginning of the pilot—it’s just that we didn’t know it was all part of the same song. Specifically, while we’ve heard the bass line and chords of the verse in the very first 30 seconds of the teaser (and throughout act one in particular), we don’t know that it’s the verse until Rachel sings it here. It’s also worth noting that while we hear the chorus both at the end of the teaser and in the first act (2:23) as Jacob and Rachel are working it, in those situations the song is lighter, almost smooth jazz.
Jacob continues to tinker with the song. The darker, troubled version here at end of the episode reflects not only what he’s seen outside, but his mood at being blackmailed by the resistance.