Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dark Void by Bear McCreary (Review)

Dark Void is a sci-fi video game that features what I found to be an immensely superb score from Bear McCreary. Certain elements to this score give it a classic feel. While listening through I was reminded of Jerry Goldmsith and certain parts reminded me of James Horner.

The score itself is incredibly thematically based. If there was ever a perfect example of theme and variation this would be it. McCreary sets up with the timeless sounding romanticized theme right off the bat. Another big surprise is that we have a full on sweeping orchestral score. Leave your synths at home boys and girls. McCreary successfully sets up an identity for the score even though he used a full orchestra. His wonderful percussion gives the score substance, and his use of ethnic instruments and arrangements give it character. He uses an electric violin to give it a bit of a vintage video game feel.

The music here is truly unique in that it doesn’t follow traditional gaming standards. Usually what we get from video game scores is “background” music. However here McCreary has given us a grand and lush musical story complete with changing arcs and swelling emotions. The very last track is a complete homage to Mega Man II, which Bear states in the liner notes was one of his first musical influences growing up. So, I thought that was fun of him to include.

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