The name Ben Prunty may call to mind the foreboding outer space sounds of FTL but for his latest release Prunty has ditched ALL synthesizers to capture the rural 1965 setting of Dead Secret. Out now on Steam and available for the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR (PlayStation VR coming soon), Dead Secret is — no surprise — a first-person virtual reality experience.
Though it can now be played on a 2D monitor thanks to the Steam release, the murder mystery is designed for VR. As the game begins you find yourself at the scene of a murder. With the sun quickly setting you explore the home and life of the victim to discover what happened but soon realize you may not be alone in this isolated house. The combination of the 1960’s setting, the lonely environment and the looming threat of madness and murder gives Prunty plenty of themes to explore with the soundtrack.
The title track, “Dead Secret” begins with a dusty and jazzy melody on guitar and piano that would work as the theme song for a Bogart era gumshoe detective. As the album unfolds things turn dark and ominous but avoid the typical shrill strings and pounding drums of many horror soundtracks. It reminds me a little of Carter Burwell’s score for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, implementing organic sounds and non-traditional instruments.
“There are no synthesizers; even the things that sound like synthesizers are actually heavily modified samples,” says Prunty of the album. “There are lots of unusual sounds: light bulbs, a glass harmonica, wooden planks, and scraping metal, all to drive home the very analog feel of the […] setting.”
Thanks to the varied themes and atypical sounds Dead Secret is one of the more listenable horror game soundtracks I’ve heard in awhile. It’s a bit short with only ten tracks but if you’re in the mood for some spooky ambiance or cool detective accompaniment it’s worth checking out. The album is available now for $6 on Bandcamp and the game is currently on sale on Steam for 10% off its normal $14.99 price.