Ori And The Blind Forest by Gareth Coker (soundtrack review).

April 30, 2015 | By | Reply More

In recent years, soundtracks to video games have received a much greater level of attention from mainstream audiences, with titles like ‘Final Fantasy’, ‘The Elder Scrolls’ and ‘Kingdom Hearts’ all appearing in the 2015 Classic FM Hall of Fame (a list of the top 300 classical tracks voted for by the general public). Moon Studios, developers of ‘Ori And The Blind Forest’ might not have the international recognition of Square Enix or Disney Interactive Studios, but in the soundtrack department they’re certainly hitting with the big guys.

OriAndTheBlindForestCD

From the opening track, with its simple piano melodies, Middle Eastern themes and some beautiful vocals, Gareth Coker’s soundtrack grabs you and takes you on a fantastic journey. Great use is made of the full orchestra, with layers of sound built up using the different instruments and unexpected delights appearing out of this fantastic orchestral background.

The tracks are quite different, yet held together by simple themes that are adapted to suit the tone of each track. The main game theme occurs a number of times in piano, string, flute and vocal parts, ranging through elegantly haunting, gloriously powerful and sinisterly staccato depending on the track. It really ties the album together as a whole piece.

With 32 tracks, lasting for 89 minutes, you’re getting good value for money with this album. I don’t think there’s a single dud on there and, although a few pieces are pretty short, there are also some lengthier pieces to get stuck into. I’ll just mention a few of them here.

‘Restoring The Light, Facing The Dark’ starts off with a rapid drumbeat and hints of brass, before mellowing into the familiar themes of the game. It then pares right down to simple strings and vocals, before turning into a full-on triumphal brass build that leaves goosebumps on your arms. It’s one of my favourites because that sense of power and triumph is portrayed wonderfully.

‘The Ancestral Trees’ is at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of mood. It’s a gentle piece featuring tinkling bells and light piano notes, with mysterious strings and the oboe playing out over the top and is quite lovely.

‘Riding The Wind’ has an ethereal feel from the start, with airy panpipe sounds floating out of the speakers. It’s so atmospheric and such a contrast to the track immediately before it on the album (a harsh and slightly sinister number heavily reliant on strings) that you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

Finally, I can’t write this without mentioning the second track on the album, ‘Naru, Embracing The Light’. It’s a joyful little piece that shows off the woodwind section of the orchestra and builds up into a real feelgood and hummable melody. It makes me smile every time I hear it.

This album really does take you on a journey. Standing on its own, I think it is a fantastic album that I would happily listen to again and again. I love the different feelings it evokes and the skilful way that Coker has used not only the full range of the orchestra, but also little extra highlights of vocals or melodic percussion instruments to really bring out the desired mood of a piece.

I couldn’t resist taking a peek at the video trailer for the game while I was reviewing it and the brief snippet I saw there showed music matching perfectly with the beautiful artwork of the game. On Steam, ‘great soundtrack’ is one of the most popular user tags for this game and it’s specifically mentioned in a number of user reviews of the game, so it’s clearly not just me that is enjoying this one.

Great music, with or without the game, though after hearing it you may well be tempted to play…

Vinca Russell

April 2015

(pub: Microsoft Studios Music. 1 CD 89 minutes 32 tracks. Price: $ 9.99 (US). ASIN: B00TR9P0FA)

check out websites: www.oriblindforest.com

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Category: Games, Music/Audio

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