Doctor Who Series 11 Soundtrack – Segun Akinola’s Fresh Approach
The official soundtrack to Doctor Who series 11 has finally dropped and it’s time to take a deep look at Segun Akinola’s fresh approach to the series.
After Murray Gold put such a recognisable stamp on the way the show has sounded since 2005, anyone taking over would had a mammoth task ahead. How do you make it fresh and new again?
Segun Akinola’s soundtrack is something completely different, and completely beautiful.
Akinola’s approach is almost entirely different to Gold’s. It’s atmospheric, subtle, and doesn’t overpower the scenes so much as sprinkle a little something extra in the background. It’s not a grand, sweeping, operatic experience. It’s more down to earth, while at the same time having that certain sense of strangeness that Doctor Who is famous for.
This goes in hand with much of the direction of the show under Chris Chibnall. Down to Earth, but tinged with the uncanny. It’s not a space opera, or a fairy tale, it’s Doctor Who.
Atmosphere and ingenuity are really Akinola’s strong points it seems. The use of electronic instruments and synthesisers giving it a space age tint meanwhile, building sounds and discordant instruments to give menace when it is needed.
There is so much to talk about in this soundtrack that I could be here all day. So it’s probably best for me to pick my top three tracks and talk about them!
Number Three on my list is Kerblam! An episode that was a lot of fun if confused towards the end. What made this story stand out was certainly Akinola’s little ‘theme’ for the space age Argos store. Here we hear it in its full glory, from friendly and sinister to its reprise and in all its forms.
There’s a fantastic little middle section that builds that investigative atmosphere that was central to the plot. Listening you can just see the Doctor and her friends snooping about, hiding, and working things out. And then that creepy little ditty plays and you remember those terrifying robots with their plastic faces.
The theme starts quiet, building over the course of the track. Gaining its significance and scale. It’s a nice reminder of how music can inform a scene and tells us a lot about how this company can create its identity through a seemingly innocent theme tune.
Number Two in my Top Three is Resus One. I was amazed by just how much I loved this track. It’s from the Tsuranga Conundrum, an episode I was fairly lukewarm about. But this seven and a half minute suite is simply breathtaking. It runs the gambit of danger, to investigation, and right through to awe and wonder.
There is a lot going on here, the various moments and movements throughout made me stop in my tracks as I was walking and listening. It is at times beautiful and dramatic. This is really a perfect all round space-y experience. If you like the soundtrack to Interstellar, this might be a great place to start and get a taste of Akinola’s work.
I could listen to this track for days. Great for listening to while writing, working or studying.
And how could Number One not be this? The Thirteenth Doctor’s theme. Surely one of the most important tracks (other than the main titles) that a composer will have to develop. It echoes much of what we may recognise from Gold’s work, especially the Ninth Doctor’s theme. The ethereal voice calling from afar and building the melody.
It’s mysterious, but not completely alien. The Doctor is an alien, but she’s one that’s wandered the Earth for so long it’s more her home than Gallifrey. This feels just right in that sense of being unfamiliar, but not too unfamiliar. The Doctor is here, and there’s something odd about her, something not quite human, but she’s still on our side.
Get it While it’s Hot
The Doctor Who series 11 soundtrack is out now and you can get it from all the usual places. Streaming, physical, all that good stuff. It’s worth your time and money for sure!