When most people think of good music, videogames aren’t usually the first thing to come to mind. Then again, neither are movies unless a major label pushes out an OST with OMG-THE-BEST-BAND-EVER on the tracklist. An appalling reality, actually, considering these days a specifically-written score can outdo Michael Bay’s playlist of the year by a mile. Yes, I am glaring with contempt at the emo-plagued OSTs that back up the live action Transformers movies while at the same time regarding Steve Jablonsky’s scores as beautiful audio porn.
Game scores tend to be a different beast to those of movies, due to their nature requiring them to loop for as long as they’re needed. More often than not, this leads to music not entirely suited for releasing as an album (not that it’s stopped anyone trying to listen to it outside of the game anyway), mostly because it’s the same bit that loops after only a minute and gets pretty old after about three. Some artists, though, like Module with this soundtrack, manage to create some of the best 5-minute-plus tunes in an OST perfectly capable of serving as a standalone album in its own right. And he pulls it off like a godly boss to boot.
I’m going to assume most of you won’t know what Shatter is. In the worst possible layman’s terms it’s a stained glass take on Arkanoid that pours napalm over its rulebook and proceeds to rewrite it from scratch by etching it onto pretty windows. Brilliant game. Get it from Steam or PlayStation Store. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is beautifully fitting, mixing 16-bit with stadium space rock like it was it was going out of fashion. If it was even in fashion to begin with. Frankly, if it wasn’t in fashion, it should have been, dammit!
Amethyst Caverns: My favourite track on the album. Absolutely haunting to listen to and, putting aside its namesake stage in the game or even the masterpiece of an official music video that saw tiny toy robots seeking out an energy source (in the form of the song itself) in the hopes of escaping Earth, it’s a track well suited to creeping through crystalline caverns (okay, that was actually kind of the whole deal with that level aesthetically), the Fortress of Solitude or perhaps the lair of a cybernetic siren or banshee.
Granaular Extractor: You’re storming a villain’s factory and all the apparatus is moving to the beat of this song.
Argon Refinery: An espionage theme if there ever was one, with the guitar solo near the end possibly backing a moment of pressure. Like “OH SHIT THERE’S A BOMB!” or someone trying to break into a computer system on a limited timer. Similarly, Xenon Home World works as well, but may be better suited to less time-sensitive scenes or chapters.
Boss Music (all sections): This is going to sound a bit “DUH!” but this is the kind of music I want to be hearing when facing a big bad. There needs to me more music like this, in games and in cinema. Seriously.
Aurora: For when you need your resident good guy genius character to get their ponder on, I think, or if your take on cyberspace is, like the flawed take on Norse mythology that was Too Human, a fae-filled forest. With glitter, perhaps. Wait, why do you have that pitchfork?
The digital album’s available for $2.99 here. Alternatively, if you’re as much of a vinyl whore as I am (don’t you even DARE misread that!) or are just feeling generous, you might still be able to get the lovingly-crafted translucent blue 12″, with throws in a Steam key for the PC version and the digital album too. I’d say it’s worth it, speaking as the guy with number 006.