Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Michael GIACCHINO The Lost World - Jurassic Park OST  

Music for the Playstation and Saturn Games Northwest Sinfonia/TimSimonec Universal/DreamWorks Interactive/Sonic Images SID8803 [56:16]  

I knew it would happen: true symphonic (rather than sampled/synthesised) scores for computer games. It was a natural progression. Let’s recall how film music was seen when it first appeared. Now we have music for computer games. It may be that scores such as this will become important collectors items in years to come. This claims to be the first specifically composed orchestral score for a computer game so its interest is at the very least historical. Certainly they will prove important sources of work for an emerging

generation of composers and will give many of them their first taste of a real orchestra. The film and game companies are the new patrons of the musical and visual arts. A devoted gamer will probably hear this music more than a filmgoer or video viewer would hear a film score … at least if the game is a good one. All the old issues about the music making the game or the game making the music are relevant and will have to be answered for each score as it arises. Here for the devoted collector is a CD of the music used in the game. The true devotee can play this in the car or in the home stereo without the game as a distraction.

The tonal music has a rather unnatural shallow processed sound (this is the OST for the game) on my hifi. This initially had me checking the liner notes to have it confirmed that this was indeed a real symphony orchestra. There is an anonymous wordless choir on a couple of the tracks. The music itself has a pretty quick pulse and the first three tracks are raucous, hectic and hectoring with a dash of Herrmann in insistent slightly manic North by North West mode. Things then let up a little and mysterious tracks rampant with foreboding take centre-stage with even the odd echo of Dies Irae. Track 9 sounds something like the radio-telescope track from Herrmann’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. There is much metallic shimmer and atmosphere but with the exception of a quite good track 17 the music strikes me as serviceable rather than inspired. Strangely track 19 (the last one) keeps playing and counting out time for a minute’s silence before launching into yet more music and finally that track times out at more than 15 minutes contrary to the 2:08 claimed for it on the liner.

In summary then this is a glossy score which is all a bit much and is presented in a rather synthetic sound. The documentation has a good though brief pair of interviews with the composer and with the producer. 56:16 is shortish measure but this will not bother the purchasers. This is undemanding stuff which cannot hold a torch to the John Williams scores (though track 15 has a theme which is a jolly Indiana Jones feel) for the films and which was never intended to. Judged even on its own merits the score is not riveting listening. Again this is a souvenir purchase or for the collector who must have everything dinosaur-flavoured. It may also be for an emerging genus: the collector of game soundtracks. If the genus is not here already it is just around the next corner. I am sure that more striking better scores will emerge to grace computer-games.


Robert Barnett

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