I’ve been enjoying the new season of Mayans M.C., the first following the exit of co-creator Kurt Sutter. The fourth episode aired last night. The show continues under the stewardship of Elgin James, its other co-creator. Part of the new tone is due to the arrival of composer David Wingo, replacing Bob Thiele Jr. That new tone is set from the start by the new opening credits, which have gotten attention for their political imagery, not just the real-world source material, but the historic scope.
Wingo’s theme music is just as big a shift from the earlier seasons. Gone is the song co-written by Thiele and Sutter, sung initially by Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, and then the second season by Diana Gameros. In its place, Wingo has crafted a compact, moody instrumental track that lingers just below 70BPM. It’s all atmosphere, built from layered guitar parts, moaning group background vocals, and plenty of percussive elements, all rendered as slow-burn drone rock. While not quite as diffuse as, say, the ambient folk and country of groups like Boxhead Ensemble or SUSS (the latter of whose Gary Leib died last week), it sits well alongside them.
Wingo’s name wasn’t immediately familiar to me, but as it turns out, I’ve heard a lot of his music in the past. He composed material for Soundtracker, the excellent documentary on field recording artist and acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, co-author of the book One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest to Preserve Quiet. We discuss material from Soundtracker most semesters I teach my “Sounds of Brands / Brands of Sounds” course. He also wrote music for Manic, the (pre-500 Days of Summer) pairing of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel that made excellent use of some Aphex Twin music, as I wrote about in my book on Selected Ambient Works Volume 2, for which I interviewed its director, Jordan Melamed. Wingo has worked on the scores for Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults, Barry, Mud, The Report, and numerous other productions, dating back to David Gordon Green’s 2000 debut feature film, George Washington. He also led the Austin, Texas, band Ola Podrida.
More from Wingo at david-wingo.com.