Chip Music, Game Music, Reviews

Shatter: Official Videogame Soundtrack (Review)

July 31, 2009 | | 7 Comments Share thison Facebook Shatter: Official Videogame Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

Sidhe’s newest title, Shatter, is a downloadable PS3-exclusive brick-breaking game in the style of Arkanoid. It’s the coolest thing to come out of New Zealand since the Lord of the Rings films.

But the game, fun as it is, may not be as good as its soundtrack (at least, a price comparison might suggest this to be the case). Composed by Jeramiah Ross, whose musical moniker is “Module,” this retro-inspired blend of electronica and space-age rock is guaranteed to grab your attention.

So this is what you’ll want to do. Head to Bandcamp’s free-to-listen stream of the soundtrack, and while you’re listening, you can read my thoughts on the album: after the jump.

Before we get to the album’s quality, let’s talk about quantity. Though the soundtrack only contains 13 tracks, it comes to about 78 minutes in length. That means the average track time is 6 minutes (and some are as long as 9 minutes). Though it’s a digital-only release, it would completely maximize a CD’s space, right to the most outer ring. In other words, there’s a lot of music here.

The PR tagline for this soundtrack is one that I wouldn’t find disagreeable at all. Generally, I am frustrated by PR spin, and do not agree to the way they describe a particular game (or in this case, soundtrack). But I have to borrow some of the descriptive adjectives and nouns used for this soundtrack. They call it an “audio journey,” a “rich soundscape,” a “mix of genres from Electro to Glam Rock,” and “a truly immersive and unique experience.” Well… yes, I suppose I’d have to agree with nearly all of the things said here.

The only thing with which I might disagree is the suggestion that this is unique. Because, when I listen to this album, there is a duo of French artists that come to mind, and I suspect Jeramiah Ross would be quick to admit that they are a source of inspiration for him. Yes, I am talking about Daft Punk. Indeed, my two favorite tracks remind me quite a bit of Daft Punk. “Krypton Garden” (track 4) has a high-octave synth pattern running through it that sounds a great deal like the synth patterns used in “Superheroes” and “Voyager” (both off of Daft Punk’s Discovery album). And track 6, “Amethyst Caverns,” manipulates the human voice in a way that I would say is not at all unlike the way Daft Punk does it. The same might be said of the Boss Battle music (track 11). And considering Daft Punk is regularly imitated by dozens of aspiring electronica artists and DJs, I must again emphasize that I’m wary of calling the soundtrack “unique.”

But it is definitely a fantastic listening experience. From start to finish, there isn’t a single tone or beat I find displeasing or objectionable. It is one of the most refreshing and surprising game soundtracks I’ve heard this year. In fact, I think I’m ready to say that, among the “downloadable” titles on PlayStation Network, Shatter has the best soundtrack of them all. It’s just that good.

Now, while you can freely stream this masterpiece from Bandcamp, ownership of the music will cost you $10. Considering the game itself is only $8, you might think it’s an unfair price. But hey, in the game or on the website, you’re limited to where you can go with the music. Plus, with this money, you’ll be supporting an artist who clearly has loads of untapped potential. Plus, this score makes for great driving music, so you’d do well to put it on your iPod (or other preferred portable music device), go on a good hour-long drive, and rock out to this soundtrack.

Please consider leaving your thoughts about the soundtrack, having now listened to it (you *did* listen to it, didn’t you?), and tell us: do you think this album deserves a physical release? If not CD, then how about a limited vinyl release so DJs can spin it in the clubs? Man, I would pay premium cash to have this soundtrack on vinyl…

(follow-up FYI, composer’s blog confirms that a CD release is in the works!)

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