Ever since rudimentary car radios appeared in the early 1920s, motoring and music have been hand-in-glove: Just think of how many road trips have been given a memorable soundtrack thanks to the tunes provided by an old eight-track, cassette deck or CD player. As the automobile has progressed, so, too has the onboard audio, with high-end marques collaborating with equally exclusive purveyors of sound.
One of the benchmarks in this regard is the enduring partnership between Bentley and Naim. To commemorate the 14th anniversary of this harmonious pairing, the duo recently became a trio, enlisting Hollywood music producer Steve Mazzaro to create a more than nine-minute score to showcase Naim’s 2,200 watt system, available as an upgrade in models such as the 2022 Flying Spur.
Mazzaro, who works closely with renowned film and television maestro Hans Zimmer, has most recently arranged pieces for the movie Dune and the latest James Bond installment, No Time to Die. Understandably, his composition for Bentley, fittingly named Extraordinary Journey (listen to it here), has a cinematic gravitas that complements the Flying Spur’s dramatic cabin, named Robb Report’s Best Automotive Interior two years running.
“I knew it had to be modern and have some bit of edge, while being precise,” says Mazzaro in a recent conversation with Robb Report about the project, which took him a few weeks to write. “The intro of stirring, kinetic sounds was my way of creating the engine.”
The opening of the instrumental accelerates quickly, driven by the celebrated flamenco guitar-work of Latin-Grammy nominee Amir John Haddad, whose portion was recorded in Spain. In fact, the highly synchronous nature of the complex track belies the fact that the several contributing musicians each played their parts independently and from all corners of the globe, including cellist Tina Guo in Las Vegas, guitarist Guthrie Govan in London and Bassist Juan Garcia-Herreros in Vienna. Also helping weave the sonic tapestry were Molly Rogers (who has backed Andrea Bocelli) on violin, drummer Satnam Ramgotra (heard on scores for The Lion King and The Dark Knight) and percussionist Holly Madge.
On the drive toward Sunset Boulevard to meet with Mazzaro, the instrumental number resonates throughout the cabin of our Flying Spur V8 test vehicle. Divided into three distinct movements, the piece begins with a frenetic intensity, followed by a more tranquil intermediate section that transitions to a driving, synthesizer-laden denouement that only lacks rolling credits on the windshield. All of it was developed to optimize the soundscape specific to the Bentley x Naim system’s configuration, which includes 21 speakers and transducers in the Flying Spur, and whose controls are managed through the car’s 12.3-inch touchscreen.
“I got detailed specs of the speakers, their locations and the format the audio would be played in, so I was able to utilize that,” says Mazzaro, who pans and bounces musical elements across the array for an innate sense of motion.
Extraordinary Journey will also be available to hear at dealer showrooms and on Bentley’s SoundCloud site. Asked about the first time he heard his composition in the vehicle, Mazzaro admitted that he found it hard to be critical. “As an artist, you’ll always listen and think ‘Ah, I should have made this, or done this,'” Mazzaro says, “but with the car itself, the interior and the sound system, I didn’t care—it sounded fantastic.”