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An Immersive Oceanic Ballet: ABZU Original Soundtrack (Review)

September 15, 2016 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook An Immersive Oceanic Ballet: ABZU Original Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter


Austin Wintory has done it again. That’s it, review over. That’s all you need to hear right? Well at this point when it comes to video games scores you know that Austin Wintory is going to provide an exceptional score. Abzu is 505 games next game following the critically acclaimed Journey, which Austin Wintory also scored.

I took time to listen to the soundtrack to Abzu and was swept away by it’s beautiful melody and reoccurring theme. So come read about my thoughts on the album and why thoughts of ballet sprung to my mind with this soundtrack.

What sets a great game soundtrack apart is the listening experience outside of the game. As I have not played Abzu I have only experienced it from a musical standpoint except for the beautiful online trailers.

You may be wondering why I called the soundtrack an immersive ballet right? Well, upon my first listen I was struck with images of ballet dancers performing to the music. The use of harp an oboe are majestic and I could visualize dancers leaping and running with long pieces of water colored fabrics. Maybe it’s just me.

I have not played Abzu yet but I have listened to the album several times. Musically it’s an album that’s so immersive it reminds me of the feelings I get when under water. I also scuba dive and know what it feels like to be underwater at depths where you cannot see the surface. I also know what is feels like to swim alongside sharks, schools of fish and various forms of sea life. This music took me back to those feelings which is an incredible feat.

“To Know, Water” the opening theme that Austin Wintory notes he composed first serves as a basis for the score. This theme has a wonderful use of harp and sounds the evokes images of bubbles being exhaled and rising to the surface. The theme is introduced by strings and heavenly chorals and really establishes a grip on the listener. The theme returns expertly at various times throughout the score.

The music is performed by the Nashville Scoring Orchestra who also brought us the incredible soundtrack to Ori and the Blind Forest. Kristin Naigus also provides some truly stunning oboe solos which reminded me at times of a humpback whale’s song.

The score is a must listen and an experience similar to Austin Wintory’s Journey. I have used the Journey soundtrack while doing yoga, and slow exercises. I also regularly listen to it while trying to relax or read a good book. Abzu can also provide you with a similar experience. It is lovely, grandiose and a very emotional score. There are some tracks that are a bit darker in tone such as “Chaos, The Mother” which employs some resonating electronic sounds, and almost spooky vocals. The second last track on the album “Their waters are mingled together” runs just over ten minutes and is a musical treat which I assumes slowly builds to the climaxing moment in the game. I cannot stress enough how easy it is to enjoy the music without playing the game.

If you need to unwind or take sometime for yourself, the Abzu soundtrack is the perfect escape. Do yourself the favor and experience it for yourself.

You can get the Abzu soundtrack digitally on bandcamp for $7, or if like me you’d like to own it on CD, Varese Sarabande records will be releasing the album on October 21, 2016 and you can pre-order it at Amazon.

Have you played Abzu? What did you think of the music?

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