#092 The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel – Chris Tarry – Main Theme

Join Chris Tarry, composer for audio drama The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel in a space-age soundtrack to an award-winning kids’ sci-fi story. An immersive listening experience. Headphones recommended. 



The piece of music we’re listening to in the background is called Mars Patel Season Three Main Title. It’s the theme from a podcast I co-created called The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. Today we’ll break it down, get into why and how it was made. You’re listening to How I Make Music, where audio drama composers get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we break apart a song soundtrack or composition and take a trip into how it was made. My name is Chris Tarry. I’m a musician, composer, writer and podcast producer from New York City. And this is How I Make Music. Welcome back to How I Make Music Episode 92. Mars Patel Season Three Main Title, written by myself, Chris Tarry. Thanks for listening in. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel is sort of like a Stranger Things-esque podcast about middle schoolers who start to go missing. And Mars Patel and his gang of friends try and get to the bottom of the mystery. 


I come from a real jazz background and I’m a jazz musician primarily. I came up with Weather Report, there’s a great, you know, what’s that one doo doo dah dah dah dah dah dah – Black Market! It’s a great track. So I’m really big into like 80 synths and 80s pop music and all that sort of stuff. And that has a big influence kind of on the sound of the music from Mars Patel. Spacey, and so sort of like, retro a little bit, I guess I would say. A lot of jazz influences whatever I’m doing so so for me, it’s all about melody and sort of vibe, you know. Tangerine Dream is very much an influence on this. The Risky Business soundtrack. And that individual track. You know, when they’re on the subway, they’re like making out on the subway. That Tangerine Dream track comes on. I hear so many influences and so much film music just based on that one track. Take a listen to it. I just brought it up to my wife. Like two nights ago we were watching a show I’m like “this is a ripoff of that Tangerine Dream track! Everybody’s doing this!” And she’s like “yeah, whatever, I’m going to bed.” Return to Forever, that’s another one. You know, when I was a kid just listening to tons of Return to Forever and, and just crazy fusion jazz guys. Stuff that nobody who ever had a girlfriend would listen to. I play in a lot of jazz groups, obviously here in New York. And we always – especially with the fusion stuff – we say everybody in the audience is just guys with ponytails who still live in their parents’ basements.


So this theme, which is called Season Three Theme – I did a version for each each season and kept the same form and harmonic structure, but produced the song differently every time. Here, I’ll play you all three versions of the theme in a crossfade. So you can hear the difference between season one, season two and season three. And hopefully you’ll be able to hear the similarities in the melodies and the harmonies. What changes is the vibe or the production of of the tune. You know, if you listened to season one, it has a very sort of very, very indie kind of feel. And see some two uses a lot of the same instruments, my bassline. You can hear me singing the melody. I’m not a great singer. So there’s a lot of auto tune on this! And then in season three, again, the same harmonic structure but a completely sort of rewrite and shift to a new kind of sound. This version took a lot a lot a lot longer. There’s an arp that goes throughout. More synths. I played synth bass instead of my Fender P-bass. 


The melody’s in three. But in this version, the drums are in four. And a bunch of the arps are in four as well. So it has this weird sort of feel to it, where it like flows over on itself.


I brought in my friend Zack Brock, who is a well known jazz violinist who just happens to live down the street from me and had him record the melody and the harmonies. And interestingly, it’s a lot of people It sounds like a trumpet to a lot of people, but it’s actually violin with some effects that I put over top of it. And we’ve played on tons of stuff together and we play in a piano player band. There’s a really big New York piano player named Jim Riddle, and we’ve been in his band together for you know, probably going on six years now. 


In season one, one of the one of the interesting things you know, I like I said, I didn’t know anything about writing podcast music. So Serial was the big show at the time. This eighth note pattern, just a very simple triad. And so I added that to the original version because I thought that’s what podcast themes do.


If you listen to the melody, there’s a high part and a low part. There’s like the main line and instead of having like a harmony that comes over on top of it, it actually comes in underneath it. So the harmony part is lower than than the main part which is maybe a little bit atypical. 


I flew out to LA to mix it with my film composer friend named Shawn Pierce. Really one of my closest musical friends. I’m a weird hybrid of a musician and a writer. Getting into podcasts was was the one thing that brought the writing together with my musical part, right from an early stage, Gen Z always had this idea that all of our music for our shows would be made in house because that’s what I do. It’s been a blessing to be able to have something obviously, a business that you’ve co created. Especially during the pandemic when there’s absolutely zero gigs for a bass player like myself.

11:09  OUTRO

So that’s it for this week’s episode. We’ll listen to the full track in just a moment. But before we do that, thank you for listening to How I Make Music. Catch new episodes every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you’d like to listen. We’ve been listening to the music featured in the audio drama called The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. To hear the full story or to check out my other compositions, follow the links in the show notes. We’ve got a new show starting this Friday, February 12 called Cupid and the Reaper, which we’re really excited about. Check out what’s on offer at patreon.com/howimakemusic. How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening, contact John Bartmann via the show notes. And now, here’s Mars Patel Season Three Main Title in its entirety. My name is Chris Tarry, and thanks for listening to How I Make Music. Catch you next Wednesday.


Gen-Z Media gzmshows.com/
Special “Music of Mars Patel” podcast episode pod.link/1158031787/episode/c99452f982319e753e06c5c5c250a19b
Zach Brock www.zachbrock.com/


The Weather Report – Black Market
Tangerine Dream – Love On A Real Train
Return To Forever – Medieval Overture


How I Make Music is a dramatically edited sound experience where behind-the-scenes musicians get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we challenge audio drama composers to break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and get into why and how it was made.

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How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening, visit johnbartmann.com