Composer Lorne Balfe Chats Skylanders on Top Score

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
October 26, 2012
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — On the new episode of Top Score, Lorne Balfe talks about his music for the new Skylanders game, called Skylanders: Giants.

I had so much fun talking with Lorne, and just as much fun listening to his music for this game.

We don't often feature music from children's games on Top Score. By "children's games", I'm referring to a game with an "E" rating; Skylanders: Giants is actually rated by the ESRB "E 10+", meaning it's acceptable for children 10 and older.

I imagine these games get missed because I'm an adult with no children. Thankfully, Lorne's score to Skylanders: Giants found me.

Lorne is a percussionist, and he's Scottish. One listen to "Cutthroat Carnival" and you'll hear the influence of both.

I have a lot of favorite things about this soundtrack. The music is so joyful and has so much life in it.

In order to emulate the idea of children dancing, Lorne wrote music in what is called "complex" meters, using five or seven beats per measure, rather than the traditional three or four.

Granted, unless you're a super-music-geek like me, you might not hear such a subtle difference. But it gives a lilt to the music that otherwise wouldn't exist.

Whether you're aware or not, it's likely you've heard Lorne before. He has a lengthy resume of blockbuster film scores. The first game he worked on was Modern Warfare 2. As a protege of film composer Hans Zimmer, he's worked on films like Sherlock Holmes, The Dark Knight and it's sequel, Iron Man and Transformers.

His next game is a biggie too; his score for Assassin's Creed III debuts along with the game on October 30.

It's been such a pleasure to get to know his music. I really, really love this Skylanders: Giants score. Every single time I hear "Glacier Gully" I am full of joy (I'm listening to it on repeat right now).

And isn't that what it's all about?

Check out the archive of Top Score episodes here. Also available on iTunes.

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