Game Music, Indie Music, Reviews


May 9, 2018 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook SHADOWRUN: HONG KONG VINYL (REVIEW)on Twitter

We recently reviewed Jon Everist’s soundtrack to Shadowrun: DRAGONFALL on Vinyl LP which you can read here if you missed it. The composer also provided OSV with a review copy of their Shadowrun: HONG KONG Vinyl LP. I first experienced this soundtrack back in 2015 and declared it a must listen, it also led me to choose Jon Everist as my pick for composer of year.

Listening to the soundtrack on vinyl for me was a new way to experience a soundtrack I fell in love with years ago. Read on for my full review of the double vinyl album, which includes a detailed look at the album art and packaging.

The album art for Hong Kong was created by Artist Joel DuQue. Throughout the review I’ve presented images of the cover, it’s interior and the back cover . Although, the Shadowrun name is missing from the album, I don’t miss it as the artwork is simply stunning. Like all of Black Screen Records releases, the album comes with a digital download voucher the size of a business card which you can redeem for a digital copy.

Side A of the album begins with “Heoi” which from my understanding plays in the game’s hub area where players can stay safe and resupply themselves. The music masterfully blends electronic melody with traditional asian instrumentation, that immediately gives the listener a sense of a place that has a long history.

Jon Everist also supplied OSV with a copy of the art print created for this release by Joel Duque, a concept artist at HarebrainedSchemes, who also worked on a lot of the artwork for Shadowrun: Hong Kong. The print also showcases the game’s five main characters, Duncan (Security Specialist), Gobbet (Shaman), Is0bel (Decker), Racter (Rigger) and Gaichu (Red Samurai). The print also contains a silhouette version of imagery found on the albums back cover on the bottom which looks like a ghostly derelict ship. From what I’ve read its most likely a location from the game known as The Sinking Ship. I placed the print on top of an album sleeve to give you a reference to it’s 9×12 size.  You can see more of Joel DuQue’s artwork on his website.

Side A of the album ends with “Ghoul Noir” a mysterious slow paced track, that reminds me of rolling fog and dark alleyways every time I hear it. It also features moments of creepy instrumentation that gives you a sense that something might be lurking in the shadows. The use of cello in the track encourages you to press on, and to continue to explore.

As you can see in the image above the album is presented on gold and silver Vinyl LPs. The interior of the album features liners note by the composer, and notes from the game’s Directors, Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain. I again have intentionally shot the above image not to spoil the liner notes so that you can enjoy them yourself if you decide to add this album to your collection. The dark brooding image in the middle of the album’s interior I’m assuming is a rendering by Joel DuQue of one of the game’s menacing bosses, the Queen with a Thousand Teeth.

Side B opens with one of my favorite tracks “Grendel” which when I first heard it reminded me of an action chase through a dark environment. The track on the records still impresses me, and the sound is fantastic.

The gold color of the vinyl is lovely, and both Side A and Side B bear the image of the Plastic Faced Man, who in the game is a character you encounter during a mission. Although his music doesn’t appear on the vinyl until near the end of Side D, I thought it was best to put a face to the music. About halfway through the track you’ll encounter a haunting yet hummable cello melody I could listen to for hours. It’s a shame it’s so short.

Side C opens with “Redemption” which I’ve learned in the same music that plays during a boss battle with the Queen of a thousand teeth whose image adorns both sides of the second silver LP. This is a track that has many layers, it blends an underlying creep factor with a sense of urgency and strong melodies. It’s the perfect track for a major boss battle, and a great way to open up the second LP.

The back of the album details the track listing, and presents a white silhouette of The Sinking Ship. Another standout track that I’ve grown to love is “The Walled City”. I’ve often listened to it imagined driving through a city at night, or walking a beat in a neon sign laced Hong Kong street. You might just find yourself tapping your foot along to the cool beats throughout.

Overall, the Vinyl LP soundtrack to Shadowrun: Hong Kong is an exceptional video game soundtrack on vinyl. As it’s a soundtrack I have loved for some time now, experiencing it on vinyl at a friend’s place was really special. As it’s split between four sides, I found myself really taking the time to savor the music. I also spent more time examining the art work and getting a sense of the characters that inhabit this musical world that Jon Everist has created. For the review, I listened to the album on a friend’s Pro-ject 2 Essential Turntable, connected to a Mies i100 amplifier, and played through Q Acoustics 2010i speakers.

Admittedly, I replayed the final track on Side D a few times as it took me back to the days when I used to DJ. “Club 88” is listed a bonus track, and to me it sounds like something I would have mixed into a club playlist. If this played at a Seattle warehouse rave, it’d be a hit.

You can sample more of the album and purchase it directly on Jon Everist’s bandcamp page. The limited a Deluxe signed version which includes the art print by Joel DuQue is still available. You can also purchase the album from the Black Screen Records store.

Check back with OSV soon for my review of Jon Everist’s soundtrack to Battletech, and if you missed our in depth interview with Jon Everist from last year you can read it right here. If you have this record in your collection, please tell us about your favorite tracks in the comments.

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