Reviews / Sync Stories


Written by Sandy James
Edited by Farinoush Mostaghimi (Noush)

Los Angeles based composer and producer Cameron Brooks has the art of crafting vivid soundscapes down to a science. Inspired listeners could spend a fair share of their week trying to crack his formula. You could start by rifling through his classic collection of retrograde instruments and analog recording equipment at his studio in downtown L.A., but listening to Brooks tells us that there’s a little more to his productions than setting up a mic and a mixer and hitting record. Brooks has made a name for himself recording with vintage gear while using modern production techniques to form a distinct sounding mix. He has a masterful ability to hijack any genre from any era, and steer it into his own musical direction in a way that just works. He’ll mash low-fi garage drumming with moody synths and make you feel relaxed about it, or smoothly transition grungy electric guitar into a casual waltz. Brooks’s talents clearly haven’t gone unnoticed, while his tracks “Where Django’s At” and “I See Charcoal” are featured in the second season of Stranger Things, an award-winning Netflix series highly praised for its musical choices.

“Where Django’s At” is a rapid-fire solo jazz drum number. A tactfully paced combination of snare rolls and fills builds towards a sense of controlled chaos for the listener in less than 30 seconds. It’ll make you reach for your dad’s collection of Buddy Rich vinyl, or re-watch the part of Whiplash where you find out Miles Teller is good at drums. “Where Django’s At” can be heard in Chapter 6 of Stranger Things’ second season.

On the other hand, “I See Charcoal” is an aggressively charged cinematic build up. Using sparse instrumentation, Brooks draws listeners into a musical dystopia, leaving only the impending feeling that they’re about to be trampled. A lone reverberated guitar drone acts as the battle cry, before the track’s percussive stampede amplifies and rushes towards you. From there the listener faces a paralyzing moment of fear and apprehension, and then nothing. “I See Charcoal” is featured in Chapter 9 of Stranger Things’ second season.

While each of Brooks’s tracks will take you on a distinct sonic adventure, the placement of his work in Stranger Things is a fitting destination for an artist that seamlessly manages to exist in so many realms musically at once. The formula behind Cameron Brooks’s versatility as a creator might not be a simple one, but lucky for music lovers, he shows all signs of a brilliant musical mind committed to every detail of his art.

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