Friday Album: James Newton Howard – “The Hunger Games” OST

The Hunger Games is...sort of the weird kid, whether in book or movie form. It should naturally follow that the tone, direction, and scheme of its soundtrack are a bit uncommon. Vibey dulcimers and glimpses of ferocious, tribal percussion square off against unapologetically keening (yet perfectly civilized) strings, warm but bitter violin solos, and the [...]

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Paul Leonard-Morgan – “Snatcher”

Paul Leonard-Morgan’s scope is a bit unpredictable. Though this particular style of music is middle-of-the-road likeable, I tend to avoid it since it can also easily wander into unhelpful territory. Nevertheless, the piano riffs in this track are too good to pass up. https://soundcloud.com/mihau/02-paul-leonard-morgan

Mary Gunderson – “Beckon the Moon” {Free Download}

Mary Gunderson’s watery approach already appeared once before on this blog ("Behind the Red Door"). While some might call it verging on New Age, I fail to see why a) this actually matters and b) where the rationale comes from. In my opinion, this kind of track has too much momentum, drive, and intent for [...]

Friday Album, A Bit Late: Gustavo Santaolalla – “The Last of Us” OGST

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGsuMgeVlVg To be strictly reductionist, The Last of Us is a staple zombie apocalypse game (complete with the requisite gunplay, gore, and tight-corners fighting), but its superbly tense plot and cavernous characterization caused a stir. Linear storytelling in games has almost become risky in recent years, not so much because writing has gone downhill but [...]

Friday Album: Halindir/Vaniardur – “The Nine Realms” {Free Download}

This one-man project out of Denmark consists of free downloads of melodic ambient and neo-pagan works. If you need a fix of folk synth (for reasons I don't understand, I've seen a few people classify it as "folk metal"), try this on for size. These songs can be downloaded on both SoundCloud and Bandcamp (check [...]

Friday Album: Gareth Coker – “Ori and the Blind Forest” OGST

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeVFrt7BUyw Ori and the Blind Forest is essentially a children's game, so it naturally follows that the soundtrack is more concerned with atmosphere than hard-hitting emotions. While this entire album is laden with whimsical optimism (atypical fare on this blog), it’s actually the opulence that caught and held my attention. Many tracks are not orchestrated, [...]

Soundtrack Month: “The Elder Scrolls Online” (Brad Derrick, Malukah, & Others)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOTIsNELvis Yes, another TES soundtrack. No, it’s nothing like Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls Online caused something of a ripple both positive and negative in the gaming world, not only in terms of its game mechanics but also the soundtrack itself (mostly because Jeremy Soule had departed the series by this time). Brad Derrick and several [...]

Soundtrack Month: “Imaginaerum” (Tuomas Holopainen)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofx7LzWdHqQ&list=PLqk_JOBZMYvEeLvs6cvlb2hu3Z7qGLplH A score for a small-budget movie you’re sure to have missed unless you follow Nightwish, frontman Tuomas Holopainen finally got a chance to flex the full strength of his orchestral muscles with this project. Nightwish has long been known for broad, sweeping sounds and epic flavors (I can count the metal bands I listen [...]

Soundtrack Month: “Breach” (Mychael Danna)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iOY6-BzCGg&list=PLaonpgurJ7RVD4Mj0fcqFXX-1jbii08Zi Breach is an understated gem, both as a movie and a score. While the film can be quite tense at times, its soundtrack mostly reflects the plotting, devious side of a spy gone awry. Mychael Danna is a master of methodical, swelling orchestral arrangements, foreboding harp introductions, and angsty piano solos (quite a lot [...]

Soundtrack Month: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [The Complete Recordings]” (Howard Shore

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F_OH_hX6MY&list=PL99D96766C5C05441 This probably appears to be an excessively obvious choice, but it’s still worth considering if you really haven’t listened to it yet. The Lord of the Rings trilogy had some of the longest soundtracks in recent years. In an age when a 100-minute movie is considered long, only Bollywood soundtracks boast a longer average [...]

Soundtrack Month: “Dragon Age: Inquisition” (Trevor Morris)

Fantasy RPG games always run the risk of being too abstract or too dense to be approachable. Yet some well-wrought character development and a knockout soundtrack kept the world of Thedas grounded and more than a little palatable in this third installment. Trevor Morris (yes, his second appearance on this blog this month) managed to [...]