Sunday, 26 November 2017

My Hearing Is Augmented


I've mentioned in the past how much I adore the original Deus Ex's soundtrack. parts of it are limited and a little dated sounding tanks to being an unreal engine game fro m'99 but the atmosphere is there. Fast Forward to a couple days ago where I was made aware of this little project by OCRemix, I've heard of them in the past but never dug too deep. So I was interested a little, which only increased when I read that one of the original composers was a collaborator too. I checked it out and I'm digging it, so now I'm going to give a rundown of some of my favourites from it!

It kicks off with a drum & bass treatment of one of my original faves, NYC Streets. The original OST had bits and pieces of Drum & Bass style things in it, (after all games like System Shock 2, which was full of techno and drum and bass too also came out in '99) but it's still interesting to compare and contrast the difference in styles, both when freed of technical restraints of being implemented into a game engine and with the passage of time. Oh, and the download comes with a readme of artist comments too which I really, really dig. I'll be putting them in quotes before the players.

"zircon: As with the entire Deus Ex soundtrack, "NYC Streets" is extremely atmospheric and creates a wonderful, dark mood. With this remix, I wanted to expand on that feeling and create a sense of motion, energy, and action befitting of a cyberpunk adventure. Jill lent her voice to the track with airy pads, solo improvisation and melody to help add even more of an organic feel to the heavily electronic instrumental."


zircon & Jillian Aversa - The Search For Ambrosia (NYC Streets) [click to download] |HTML5|


It's not limited to the first game however, our next one comes from the (not as well received) sequel Invisible War, which to be fair has a decent soundtrack also. I disagree with some points mentioned by Level 99 in the artists statement. It doesn't feel particularly 'Blade Runner' aside from the title (though I will concede going full Vangelis on this would have been a mite cliche). And second I don't think the tune's very hopeless feeling at all, I could easily (and have) chucked it into a cozy downtempo and trip hop playlist and it'd fit in just fine. Not to dwell on the negativity too much though, the tune itself is very gorgeous to listen to, and I absolutely adore that outro with the final key synced with the thunder.

"Level 99: "Tears in Rain," as implied by the title, was inspired by Blade Runner. Deus Ex has always had the feel of a Ridley Scott movie to me, and I derived inspiration from that as well as from the soundtracks of Thomas Newman, particularly Road to Perdition. There's this abject hopelessness throughout much of the series, and I tried to capture that here. While I didn't play Invisible War as much as the original Deus Ex, this song always stood out to me as being especially gorgeous in its mystique and sound design."


Level 99 - Tears In Rain (Seattle - Lower Seattle & Heron's Loft) [click to download] |HTML5|


Returning to a more electronically oriented piece for my last pick. That sweeping into ticks all of my electronic, sci-fi and cyberpunk buttons in one stroke, Ma Chérie Nicolette incorporates both the theme of the eponymous Nicolette DuCLare's chateau but also the main theme of Deus Ex itself later on, which combined with the overall synthwavy feel of the thing makes for an interesting rework of the two. Jimmy Hinson doesn't have much to say about the tune in the accompanying artists readme which is a shame, especially given that this is one of the tunes with the original composer featuring too. I can relate though, it is sometimes difficult to talk about your process or any meanings behind your work. Still, the tune's a worthy addition to the compilation.

Alexander Brandon & Jimmy Hinson - Ma Chérie Nicolette (DuClare Chateau, Main Title) [click to download] |HTML5|


So those are my choice picks from the comp, I should have maybe started by saying this but here goes anyway: If you've like what you heard here, you can pick up the Sonic Augmentation compilation for the low price of absolutely *free* from this page on OCRemix. It even comes with album art (and multiple choices of album art to boot!) if you're a bit of a stickler for that like myself. I hope you enjoyd and I'll see y'all next week with more selections.

-Claude Van Foxbat

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