James Bond Has No Time To Synth

The latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, joins the long tradition of television shows and movies using synthesizers, drum machines and other electronic music gear to convey the idea that characters are using futuristic technology.

In Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, scientists use an ARP 2500 modular synth to communicate with aliens. In Star Trek VI, Chekov uses an Oberheim DX drum machine to control the Enterprise. And, in the movie Contact, Jodie Foster uses a Focusrite compressor to prove the existence of alien life.

In No Time To Die, Bond visits the home of gadgetmaster ‘Q’, where a Eurorack modular system and a Polyend SEQ sequencer provide the high-tech blinkenlights:

In this case, Q doesn’t do anything with the system, so it’s not clear from the film whether Q is a dawless jammer, or if it’s just another instance of film makers using electronic music gear to stand in as incomprehensible future tech.

The book No Time To Die: The Making Of The Film, though, reveals that the character Q does have a musical side:

“[Q] likes music, but rather than a piano, he has this super-contemporary electronic music device that looks like something he would use at work.”

The device was actually a modular synthesizer built by the associate producer (and son of Michael G Wilson) Gregg Wilson that production designer Mark Tildesley had seen him use on a flight to Canada while scouting for the Danny Boyle incarnation ad remembered months later when it came time to decorate Q’s home. “Gregg is very much like Q,” says Tildesley. “He’s a super-bright scientist working in the arts.”

Have you spied other instances of music gear playing the part of futuristic gadgetry in other movies or TV shows? If so, share it in the comments!


via Jacek Tworkowski

19 thoughts on “James Bond Has No Time To Synth

  1. Great piece. But do people really use modular synths on flights? I would worry about it getting mistaken for something else…

  2. Spoiler Alert:

    Of course James Bond didn’t die on that island. He’s going to pop up from the water at the beginning of the next movie looking all disheveled with an ASM Hydrasynth Deluxe box under his arm while floating in the ocean.

    1. after the explosion he ended up in thousands of tini jacks and bananas in the west cost and 1/4′ pieces on the west coast. Synth fact.

  3. Ever since this new Q showed up I have been seeing Bond movies as a new version of Thunderbirds with Brains showing off his inventions for International Rescue’s associate James. It hardly feels like Bond anymore.

    1. Yeah, for most of the 60 years of the Bond movies, Q was older than Bond, and Moneypenny was about the same age. It doesn’t seem the same when you have much younger actors playing these characters.

      What was the first Bond film that had a synth as part of the soundtrack? Was it View to a Kill with Duran Duran doing the title song? A-Ha did the title track for the Living Daylights, the 1987 film that was Timothy Dalton’s first movie as James Bond. The A-Ha title track has synths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXM4eIoPZUU

      1. The soundtrack to ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ from 1969 prominently used a Moog modular for bass sounds. Still sounds cool!

    2. Good point with the Brains analogy. Hadn’t thought of that, but now you mention it, I agree. I hope future Bond movies aren’t too ‘woke’. Good too see the original Aston Martin with its weapon gadgets in this film – a lovely nod to the Connery era originals. 🙂

  4. And don’t forget when our music tech went interplanetary in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ with the ARP 2500.

  5. Being a set designer and a musician must be fantastic. This scene really needs something technical looking in the background…. I’ll just order up some Modular components on the company credit card.

  6. I dig modular synthetic, but felt No Time To Die was the WORST Bond films ever made and undermined the 5 previous Craig movies, as well as every other Craig gangster movie like Layercake. I feel this is what happens when you give the script, production, directorial power, over to women who wish redefine James Bond into something not from the Royal Navy who has great, low powered marksmanship and can defuse a nuke if called for. So now Daniel Craig’s Bond is like Oprah coupled with Martha Stewart full of cliche expected recipe boxes to check: gun car, cool Omega watch, but no sex with the powerful women…. James is too weak now for the tough ladies…. maybe they can go with who the women have always wanted for their Bond: Shoreleave from The Venture Brothers. WTF Broccoli!??!

    1. Sounds like you’re nostalgic about the past or just afraid of change – but James Bond movies were really pretty cringey for thirty years. Trying to go back to the smarmy Roger Moore days or ridiculous Pierce Brosnan days would have killed the franchise.

      The Jason Bourne trilogy demonstrated a modern take on the secret agent that was so well done that the weak action and cheesy story lines of typical Bond films just won’t cut it any more. Bond movies had to change.

      Casino Royale was the first great James Bond film since On Her Majesty’s Service, and established Daniel Craig as the best Bond since Sean Connery. No Time To Die is probably the second best Craig film, with insanely well done action sequences. And it had a story line that actually tied together all of Craig’s films – something that was never even attempted with previous Bonds.

      There were four strong women that were key to the story of No Time To Die. Are you really complaining that Bond only slept with half of them?

      Also – this post was about synth gear being used as props in movies. Why did you think it was an excuse to make a tedious ‘anti-sjw’ screed?

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