Indie ambient/electronic music composer Solar Fields (real name Magnus Birgersson) has released a lot of original albums, but he’s also no stranger to VGM (see our review of the Mirror’s Edge soundtrack). But, in 2011, one of Magnus’ 2009 albums got repurposed.
I talk about this all the time. Of all the “original” albums reviewed on OSV, how many times have I (or other reviewers) said in passing that the music would make for a great game soundtrack? Many, many times. Yet, how often does that happen? Almost never.
Well it happened here. Indie developer Alien Trap Games used the entirety of Solar Fields’ 2009 album [ Movements ] as the soundtrack for their 2011 2D platformer Capsized.
Having listened to the album separately, and having played Capsized through to completion, I have a lot to say about this music. Won’t you join me? (after the jump?)
02 Circles of Motion
04 Sky Trees
05 The Stones are not too busy
07 Das Bungalow
10 The Road to Nothingness
The full album comes to 90 minutes’ worth of music. I don’t own the CD, but one would think that would be a double-disc set, or that some of the tracks had to be shortened. In any case, it’s a ton of music.
Right off the bat, one thing that can be said of “Movements” is that it is accessible electronica, but never in a way that waters down the quality of the music. These long tracks (they average 8 minutes apiece) aren’t mere droning of chords in sequence. There is so much decor, the music is like a room that comes alive with action and excitement. Sometimes this is achieved by sampling actual sounds of wildlife: there are parts of the soundtrack that are natural, but in an exotic way. Other times, these decorative bits are entirely synthetic. In either case, so much attention to detail is poured into every passing second, it’s hard not to sit up and take notice.
In the context of the game Capsized, this music becomes even more vibrant. If there’s any complaint I had about that game, it’s that the screen was too busy. I never knew what was background and what was an object for me to interact with (or, worse, a hostile creature waiting to strike). I guess that’s all part of landing on a completely foreign, unknown planet. You’re sucked into this world that’s colorful and breathtaking, but also overwhelming, to the point that it triggers anxiety.
With all that in mind, tracks like “Sky Trees” and “The Road to Nothingness” are like guide posts being built as you arrive. Something is trustworthy, something is ancient … and yet, you see it coming alive right before your eyes.
Compared to the deep, droning, moody music from the game Mirror’s Edge, the album [ Movements ] and its subsequent use in the game Capsized are a welcome relief, something refreshing, like air bubbling up from a cool stream. If you want this kind of refreshing ambient electronica, pick it up digitally from bandcamp or the physical CD from Ultimae.
Have you heard this music, in or out of the game’s context? What do you think? And do you want to punch me in the face for all my (mixed) metaphors? Let us know by leaving a comment!Alien Trap Games, Ambient, Capsized, Electronica, Magnus Birgersson, Movements, Reviews, Solar Fields, Ultimae