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Game Music

All Up In My Head: Lone Survivor OST (Review)

All Up In My Head: Lone Survivor OST (Review)

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I cannot get over the level of genius and creativity that comes from these one-man indie production teams. Among them, I’ve really come to love the work of Superflat Games (essentially, Jasper Byrne). Last year we reviewed the soundtrack for his stellar, free Flash game Soul Brother. That was a funky drum-n-bass kind of album, like a mix of Daft Punk and other forms of avant garde Euro-pop. In sharp contrast, we have the soundtrack for Byrne’s latest project.

Lone Survivor is a psychological horror / survival sim, and the game itself is excellent, I assure you. As for the music? Well, that’s why we’re here.

Find out about the soundtrack for Lone Survivor, including how to get it, after the jump!

First and foremost: listen along, see full tracklist, and buy, via bandcamp.

The album opens with “Blue World,” a personal favorite. I love the unexpected modal-shift-style chord progression. I love the droning of the chords, and I love the decorative piano. I also love how it kind of, sort of, almost, hints at another musical motif found later in the soundtrack. Of course, I’m referring to “Her,” one of the best songs on the album. The chord changes happen in double time here, and there’s yet again a beautiful decorative piano line. I love that the second chord in the pattern falls right on the upbeat of 4 in the first measure, so every two measures you are thrown ever-so-slightly off the expected pattern, as if you’re stumbling through the dark.

Jasper Byrne uses a fair bit of guitar throughout the soundtrack, and this is first heard in the title music (track 2). This is just a straight-up rocking anthem for the horror title. Akira Yamaoka fans (Silent Hill) will likely dig this track. Other guitar-heavy tracks include “You Know Me,” “Survival,” “Sleep Forever,” and the totally awesome end credits music “Moving On.” There are also a lot of guitars in “Where Is It Going?,” but this is the album’s feature vocal track (yes, that is Jasper singing). I love the lyrics to this song. A sampling of said lyrics:

Give me some time / just give me some space
Give me a sign / just give me a place

Simple, effective. And all the effect-heavy descant vocals bouncing around are almost an homage to one of my favorite British recording artists, Imogen Heap. So, cheers to Jasper for that!

There are some jazzy tracks that make good use of Byrne’s years as a drum-n-bass recording artist. “Party Time,” which plays at some very important points in the game, is somehow eerie even as it is mellow and cool. I’m also a huge fan of the sparse, minimalist sounds for the character theme “The Director.” If you want a drug-laced trippy theme, check out “Medicine.” Organ plus crunchy guitar, great combo. Makes me want to take a red pill.

I absolutely adore the piano-centric tracks as well. I’m jealous of Byrne’s compositional talents when I listen to the songs “Reflections” and “Alone.” As a pianist, I wish I could come up with such catchy hooks. And the atmospheric track “Home,” just — wow. There’s a track that will stick with you.

All told, this is a soundtrack filled with great, memorable music. I suspect it will only stick with you after having experienced it in-context. Let me assure you, the tracks you may label as “filler music” are anything but. Just … play the game. Then get the soundtrack. Also worth noting: for a limited time, people who buy the game get the soundtrack to Byrne’s previous game, Soul Brother, absolutely free. May as well stock up on all the Superflat goodness you can get your hands on, right?

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