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St. Paul, Minn. —
It's worth repeating: it was hard to narrow 2013's list of best game soundtracks to 5. It meant leaving off some great scores worth mentioning, in case you missed them.
Jason Graves wrote an amazing score for 2013's Tomb Raider. It's a theme-based soundtrack, meaning there are specific melodies that symbolize people and places. Graves also commissioned a sculptor to make a new instrument (Graves is the one on the right in the top photo).
Here's the main theme:
This is what The Instrument sounds like:
You can hear my original conversation with Graves about Tomb Raiderhere.
Olivier Deriviere's score to Remember Me is also innovative. The game's protagonist has the ability to reprogram someone's memory in order to change the outcome of events. Deriviere wrote an acoustic score, recorded it with an orchestra, then "rewrote" the score digitally.
Sadly, I've not had the opportunity to chat with Swedish composer Gustaf Grefberg, although I'd sure like to. He incorporated a Norwegian singing technique called "kulning" (used for calling the herds home) in the score to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
It's beautiful music, full of nostalgia and hope.
In addition to fabulous orchestral scores, there were several non-traditional (read: electronic) soundtracks that I loved.
Fans of the 80s might enjoy Power Glove's soundtrack for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. A brilliant hat tip to 80s sci-fi electronica, the layers mix perfectly and the music is a blast. Here's the menu music:
Another favorite from 2013 is by Kettel (aka Reimer Eising) for an indie game called Ibb & Obb. It's pretty great. Check out Clarity: