Jesper Kyd and Darksiders II on Top Score

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
December 14, 2012
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — As Jesper Kyd points out, if you score a film, your music must work the first time its heard. But when you score a game, your music must be able to withstand repetition, and ideally, should be flexible enough for variation.

Judging from how many times I've listened to the soundtrack to Darksiders II, scored by Jesper, his music not only withstands repetition, but it demands it.

Jesper mentions another goal of his: creating complicated, intricate pieces that sound far simpler than they are in actuality. And this is one of the things I enjoy when I listen to him. Each time I hear a track, another detail unfolds for my ears.

As a player in Darksiders II, you become Death of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, War, Strife and Fury). Death is trying to reverse the genocide of humanity at the hands of his brother, War. To do so, he must appeal to the immortal "Makers", a race of beings who created the worlds in Darksiders II, for help.

The developer, Vigil Games, gave Jesper absolute freedom to create music for the game, with a caveat: they did not want him to write music typical to the fantasy genre.

Jesper chose to focus on the life and death struggle to the game, scoring what he calls the "light" and "darkness" of the afterlife.

"The Maker's Theme" highlights Celtic overtones in the game, with harp, violin and whistle. The interplay between the organic and synthetic sounds is seamless.

Another favorite is called "Crystal Spire." This track demonstrates Jesper's use of vintage synthesizers. While I'm not well-versed in the individual sounds of instruments like the CS-80 or the Prophet 10, Jesper assures me they're all over the soundtrack.

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