Game Music, Reviews

inFAMOUS Gets Famous With Amon Tobin on iTunes (Review)

June 26, 2009 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook inFAMOUS Gets Famous With Amon Tobin on iTunes (Review)on Twitter

I’m a big fan of Amon Tobin, so when it was announced that he was involved with inFAMOUS, I was immediately intrigued. Interestingly, this isn’t Tobin’s first game project, as he was also involved with the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory soundtrack. While I’m not familiar with that work, he certainly manages to pull off a more cinematic style with inFAMOUS that contrasts with his solo work.

It also turns out that Tobin didn’t work alone on the inFAMOUS score, although his name has been used extensively to promote the game’s soundtrack. There is actually a large list of artists involved, including Jim Dooley, Mel Wesson, JD Mayer, Martin Tillman, and Working for a Nuclear Free City. A big team for sure, but each of their individual styles truly meld into a cohesive listening experience through the 20 tracks on this iTunes release.

Our review of the inFAMOUS Original Soundtrack is waiting for you after the jump.

There’s no easing you into this soundtrack with a light piece or a memorable theme. Amon Tobin gets right down to business with “Rabble Rouser,” complete with a bombardment of percussion and twangy synth lines that sound like rubber bands being stretched to their breaking point. He continues with “Stampton Bridge,” which is a little more delicate with its ethnic instrumentation and steadily building progression. Tobin then teams up with Jim Dooley on “Meet the Repears,” which introduces some semblance of a melody with some occasional string work.

Taking a more mellow approach, Dooley’s “The First Son” is a foreboding piece featuring a haunting pad progression along with some screeching ambiance in the background. Dooley and Tobin team up once again for “Alden Strikes,” one of my favorite tracks on the album with its deliberate low-pitched brass notes and chaotic percussion section that really create a terrifying atmosphere. A Dooley and Mel Wesson collaboration titled “The Escape” is next, sounding like a festering slum with its gritty percussion and hollow ambient pads.

Tobin returns with “The Courier,” a funky track with rapidly moving hi-hats, grungy bass, and a twangy guitar progression. This is definitely something I can dig. “Tent City” by JD Mayer featuring Martin Tillman is another funky track with some groovy guitar work and some heavier percussion. Another track, “Hunt for the Ray Sphere” by Tobin will have you tapping your foot with its catchy percussion and its call and response between guitar and bass synth, still retaining that groovy jazz vibe. Another one of my favorites is “Anything for Trish” by Tobin and Tillman, working in layers of acoustic and electric blues-y guitars as well as lots of hats. It sounds like an awesome improv piece for a modern-day Western flick.

The pulsating atmospheres of “Stranded” by Tobin caught my attention with its use of strange sounds like muted and tweaked strings that add an element of uncertainty to the piece. Dooley and Wesson team up once more to inject more melody into the mix with “The Truth,” a slowly building monstrosity that makes me feel as though I can’t handle the truth. Tobin and Dooley make use of a beautiful harp progression in “Genesis,” but overlay some heavy orchestral and electronic elements to give the piece some gravity. The string work, presumably by Dooley, actually reminds me of the Zelda dungeon theme at points. There are also come cool electronic effects and accents that sound like chirping clocks that had me thinking of Jean-Michel Jarre’s Chronologie album.

The final track on the album, “Silent Melody,” comes courtesy of Working for a Nuclear Free City, a British electronic act. It’s the most song-like track on the album, working in some interesting 80s-esque filtered vocals. I really dig the powerful musical accompaniment, acting as the climax for the album.

While a number of the tracks here are your by-the-book orchestral/electronic hybrid cues that you’d expect to see in any other action game or film, there are a number of tracks that will catch your attention on first listen. I found myself drawn to Amon Tobin’s tracks most often, which is not a surprise given that I’ve been a fan of his work for years. The album is currently available in its entirety via iTunes, although I’d probably only recommend it to fans of Tobin or those who played the game and have some context for the music.

Were you at all surprised that Amon Tobin was picked for this project? Have you played inFAMOUS and have any thoughts on how the music worked in the game?

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