‘1979 Revolution: Black Friday’ is set in Tehran and you play a photojournalist who returns to Iran amid the bloody uprising against the ruling Shah. The game promises an immersive story as those you love deal with the consequences of the choices you make. Therefore the music has a rather big task in creating the tension and drama needed while also creating the flavour of a specific place and time. The soundtrack was composed by Nima Fakhrara, who has drawn on his Iranian heritage to create a wonderful, atmospheric listening experience.
The album works outside of the game creating an air of mystery and intrigue, without the aid of any visuals. Utilising interesting sound clashes to create unique textures, for instance, the title track sounded like a blend of the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, with washes of Link Wray-style chords. The heavy use of standard synths could have rendered this as just another game soundtrack but it is this use of different timbres that catches the ear and elevates this above your average score. There are many unique sounds on this soundtrack as the composer used authentic Iranian instruments.
Nima Fakhrara notes, ‘One of the things that I tried to do was to replace any western instruments with an Iranian instrument from the same family. I want to emphasise that I ONLY used Iranian instruments, not Arabic, greek, Armenian or any other countries’ instruments, I wanted to use authentic instruments from my country. For example, the Santour, being a dulcimer, and dulcimer coming from the Piano family, was used to replace and accentuate the sound of the piano. And at times the Santour replaced the piano. Also at times the sounds of the Iranian interments were shaped to become something that we recognise as ‘Tradition Western Instruments’.
This attention to detail has reaped dividends in my opinion as each instrument serves to anchor the listener in the time and place of the game. Each track bleeds into the next as the music ebbs and flows, tension builds , holding before being released in a flurry of storming drums and percussion.
Particular favourites were ‘Sorrow And Hope’. This was a standout track for me as I have always loved programmatic music. The track created such an air of menace that I could picture what the game must be like at that exact moment. The bass strings rise and fall, calling out like a fog warning heard through a cloying mist. Each swell of the bass is answered by a faint glistening figure in the high registers. The call and response between the low and the high were like listening to the tussle between Sorrow and Hope. In between this to and fro is the faint sound of voices. Are they chanting? Singing? Or is it some kind of rally? You cannot be sure. It’s this delicate touch that creates the sense of something happening just out of earshot, as if you were walking towards a danger you cannot quite identify.
As a listening experience, this album is deeply immersive and a real pleasure. There are a few stand-out tracks and a few that are little more than linking passages but listened to from start to finish the album has a real ebb and flow elevating it to a whole piece rather than a simple collection of tracks.
(pub: Lakeshore Records. 48 minutes, 21 tracks MP3. Price: $ 9.49(US). ASIN: B01F5409O2.)
check out website: www.lakeshorerecords.com