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Game Music

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My New Favorite Soundtrack: LittleBIGMusic (LittleBIGReview)

Email This Post Share on Facebook My New Favorite Soundtrack: LittleBIGMusic (LittleBIGReview)Tweet This Post Print This Post 12.17.08 | | 6 Comments

I couldn’t be more pleased about this release. One of the greatest things about Media Molecule’s hit game LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation 3 is the strange feeling of cohesion between all its elements. The gameplay mechanics, the “build-your-own-world,” the visuals, and the audio all seem to blend and swirl in some sort of watered-down psychadelic trip that could only come from the minds of 21st century British artists and programmers. I had hoped that a separate soundtrack would be published for this title. Behold, it has!

After the jump, check out our “little big review” for the music to LittleBigPlanet!

Daniel Pemberton is a British composer better known for his many British Television scores, as well as the film “Big Kiss” starring (and directed by) Billy Zane. Pemberton wrote much of the music that appears in LittleBigPlanet (though there was also some licensed work in there, as you may well know). Pemberton’s contributions to the game have now been released as “Little BIG Music: Musical Oddities From & Inspired By Little BIG Planet” as a digital download, available this past Monday. The “inspired by” part of the title refers to the fact that some of the music written here was unused in the final game, but all of it was written for LBP.

Pemberton’s style is one that’s all his own, and, in my opinion, it is decidedly British. Sometimes you hear samples of a full orchestra, and other times all you get is a child-sized glockenspiel with some synth to hold the piece together. Sometimes you feel like you’re hearing the freshest, most interesting circus music in the world. Other times, you’re convinced you’re hearing a reincarnation of “The Postal Service.” The opening track, “The Orb of Dreamers,” sets the tone for the entire album so well. You’ll remember it from the game (if you’ve played it)… what a lovely opening piece! It’s silly, light, and ethereal, but you ultimately recognize that there is something hidden in there that is quite profound, and quite important.

Though not similar in style, I think that Pemberton’s eccentricities in composition are reminiscent to that of Terry Taylor, who composed the music for The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys. If you’ve ever heard the “Imaginarium” double disc, you may be reminded of it in this album. There are no silly vocals or fart noises, but the idea of choosing your instruments to completely fit the visuals and concept of the game. “Flirty Cha Cha” is a song that, in my opinion, serves well to describe the nature of the Sackboy character. You just look at those cartoonish expressions on realistic textures, and you hear the bouncy music that goes with it, and the result? “Ahh…perfect…”

The track’s titles correspond well with the audio contained within. “Sepia Tones” is a perfect example. A sepia-color photograph (brown and beige) can seem dreary, but it can also bring back precious memories from the past. So it is with the sound of this piece: sometimes drab and dragging, but under it all is a sense of personal happiness, nostalgia, and tranquility.

I’m a huge fan of having actual CDs. The physical copy, the artifact in my hand, means a lot to me. But even though I generally dislike collecting music in a digital-only environment, I’m happy to break my own backwards rules to keep this one in my collection. I will hope for a CD release, but for now, a digital download is good enough for me. Be sure to check out this album.

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