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Epically Nervous: Frozen Synapse OST (Review)

June 2, 2012 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Epically Nervous: Frozen Synapse OST (Review)on Twitter

Editor’s Note: what’s this, a post on a Saturday? Yeah, it happens from time to time. But we’re going to be cramming posts in this weekend to work towards our goal of reviewing every album in the Indie Game Music Bundle 3, including the new bonus albums added yesterday! So keep coming back for more, and be sure to comment on your favorites!

Paul Taylor, alias nervous_testpilot (also _ensnare_), is Mode 7 Games’ go-to guy for good music. And when it comes to the Frozen Synapse soundtrack, well … this is probably the most widely-distributed of all of Mr. Taylor’s music.

Does this soundtrack deserve the broad fanbase it’s received due to the popularity of the game? For that answer and more, join us, after the jump!

Frozen Synapse Soundtrack Preview! – Mod DB

The nervous_testpilot knows how to make great ambient electronica. But the Frozen Synapse soundtrack isn’t ambient in the sense of “soothing, chamomile sleepy-time tea.” No, this is the kind of electronic music that keeps you just alert enough to feel on edge. It’s that feeling of anxiety, knowing you’re going into uncharted territory, or *not knowing* what’s going to happen after your next turn. Context to the game aside, what I’m trying to say is, this music keeps me awake. But it is still comforting, in some way. It’s the oolong tea of VGM.

There are some special little touches that I want to make note of. In the track “Switch,” Paul Taylor uses a voice sample that I swear is the same one used as that creepy haunting laughter/cackle in Chrono Trigger for Magus’ dungeon and boss fight. In track 8, “Triumph,” the ultra-bright piano/bell instrument that takes the lead is so wonderfully charming after all the angst-laiden music up to that point, it’s like breaking through the fog to a clear sky. And the vocaloid/phoneme synth in the track “Focus,” also found elsewhere on the OST, is simply divine.

One more thing to note about this soundtrack: it’s big. Despite being only 11 tracks, the album runs at just under an hour. The longest track, the most droning/ambient of them all, is the final track, “Menu.” I must say, as far as menu themes go in games these days, this is a mighty good one.

Phew! I’m wiping the sweat off my brow now. I suspected this soundtrack would be a difficult one for me to write about, especially since I’ve openly admitted to liking Impeccable Micro over any other album Paul Taylor has released. That said … after careful consideration, I do think that this soundtrack deserves its time in the limelight. I hope Impeccable Micro also gets some love, and I hope Paul Taylor continues to experiment in the world of chiptunes. Maybe, just maybe, he can strike a balance on his next project, taking the synth orchestra epic tension-building stuff of Frozen Synapse and adding his chiptune expertise into the mix. The end result would be glorious.

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