Heartbroken by his break-up with Rachel and seeking solace in a carb-fueled Italian walkabout, the second season of Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None” kicks off like an “Eat Pray Love” for food dudes, with Ansari’s Dev apprenticing alongside a Modena pastamaker, seeking both culinary expertise…and his inner self. Flirting with the Fellini-esque (rich black and white cinematography, madcap dashes) Ansari delivers more good times and wry humor as “Master of None’s” sophomore year follows Dev from abroad, to back home, and into a (semi) life-changing gig as host of a cupcake cooking show.
As always, Dev and his friends’ adventures are underscored by a spot-on play list created by the show’s music supervisor, Zach Cowie, an LA-based DJ that met Ansari and show co-creator Alan Yang at party where he was spinning. “We saw each other quite a bit after that at other parties I was djing at,” recalls Cowie. “And when Alan and Aziz got the show together, they asked if I’d be interested in working on the show’s music. I responded with an immediate ‘YES!'”
The result has been lauded as one of the most compelling soundtracks on television – unexpected, deep cut dives that highlight the show’s thematic explorations while offering a kind of “rim shot” punctuation to the comedy. “I’ve never felt a stronger sense of collaboration and such a high level of trust in each other’s instincts,” says Cowie of curating music for the show. “We’ve all been good about throwing our egos out the door and truly working together to find the best musical ideas to support the story we’re trying to tell.”
With this in mind, Cowie leads us through the five tracks that define the new season.
“Piu di Te” by Mina
“This 1965 b-side by Mina is the first singing voice you hear in Season 2. Aziz fell in love with her music while living in Modena and learning how to make pasta while gathering ideas for the new season.”
“Okay Okay” by Pino d’Angio
“For our 1st Italian episode, we shot in black and white, most of the music you hear (besides Mina!) is repurposed Italian film score from the 60’s. For our 2nd, full color Italian episode, we chose Italo disco as our sound. This 1981 banger by Pino d’Angio was our first choice to use for dev and Arnold’s scooter/snacking montage.”
“I Need Somebody to Love Tonight” by Sylvester
“Aziz said it beautifully in a recent Vogue interview; ‘Season 1 is about not knowing what you want. Season 2 is about wanting what you can’t have.’ That yearning for connection is perfectly conveyed by this 1979 Sylvester tune, which closes our 4th episode. It also sends our respects to one of the biggest inspirations for our ‘Master of None’ New York sound, DJ Larry Levan. This is a tune Larry was known to have played frequently during his legendary residency at New York’s Paradise Garage.”
“Amarsi un Po” by Lucio Battisti
“‘Amarsi un Po’ was one of the first tunes I sent Aziz when he mentioned the possibility of shooting Season 2 in Italy. I’ve loved the song for years but by pure coincidence, its title loosely translates to ‘to love a bit;, which did wonders in illustrating the back and forth relationship between Dev and Francesca that carries us from Episode 1 to 10. I was overjoyed when I was sent a revised script of the 9th episode in which Aziz had chosen this song, as not only the closing track but the Episode’s title as well! We’re also the first people to ever license Lucio’s music outside of Italy, thanks to the tireless persistence of my co-supervisor Kerri Drootin.”
“Se Piangi, Se Ridi” by Mina
“This is the A-side to the same single which has ‘Piu di Te’ on the flip. Our guiding voice returns to close out the season…”
“Master of None’s” official soundtrack release is available on Itunes via Lakeshore Records and on vinyl via Mondo Records this summer.