The video game soundtrack geniuses at Sumthing Else Music Works have graced us with a metric ton of new releases this year, and just in time for the holidays, they have snuck in a couple more, including Forza 3 and one featuring the music of Borderlands. This disc features the compositional efforts of not one, not two, but five different game music composers. Collaboration is often good, but how does the music from this FPS/RPG sound when heard away from the game? Click on through to find out, because Gearbox Software was kind enough to hook you up with some samples for your listening pleasure.
First up is Jesper Kyd, who, in my opinion, is among the top composers working in games today. Don’t believe me? Go listen to his Assassin’s Creed II music and tell me if you agree then. The tones and the atmosphere he paints in his song “Welcome to Fyrestone” from Borderlands actually remind me slightly of his amazing ACII music, especially the well played blend of guitar and world music rhythms, which is what I enjoy most about Jesper’s style.
Our next selection is the awesomely named "Battling Krom's Minions" by Raison Varner, which has a suitably futuristic military feel to it. This bodes well for another game he is apparently working on. I was not familiar with Raison’s work before listening to this, but after a bit of research I found he is listed as Audio Director for Gearbox Software’s forthcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines. Take a listen to this and I think you will agree that game has a good chance of sounding great when it comes out.
Next up is a piece called “Borderlands” by Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco. This moody piece captures the tone of the game exceedingly well. You will be familiar with this duo if you played Prototype this year, as they were behind the music for that game as well.
Our last sample is “The Old New Haven" by Tim Larkin, who has worked with everyone from James Brown to Ice-T as well as composing for numerous games in the Myst series. This percussion and trumpet based song is among the album’s more atmospheric pieces, and along with the follow up piece, also by Larkin, has a definite film noir vibe going on.
Over all, this is a solid album top to bottom, with the five composers’ pieces all playing quite well together stylistically. I like to apply the “how does it sound away from the game test” in these reviews, and I can say that this album does play solidly as a listening experience, though I expect this may appeal most to Borderlands players and those of us who enjoy listening to game music whether or not we played a particular title. You can get the 27 song Borderlands soundtrack album as a download or physical disc from Sumthingdigital.com.