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VGM Review #8: ‘FTL: Faster Than Light’ OST

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter (or irl) know that I have been playing a ton of FTL lately. I just bought it during the Steam Summer Sale for something absurd like $2.50 (<3) and it has maliciously taken over much of whatever free time I have to burn.

For those that don’t know, FTL is a real-time strategy game by Subset Games that was crowdfunded on Kickstarter to a release last fall (2012). While it is very fun and comes highly recommended – and not just by me, evidenced by its Metascore of 84 –, it is extremely unforgiving and has done nothing but pain me at great lengths. Still, I will on, determined to beat it someday…

But my excruciating experiences with the game are not why I write today. I come to speak of the soundtrack, of course—a soundtrack that has received high praise from a variety of sources. The accolades that composer Ben Prunty has listed on the front of his website are as follows:

  • IGN: Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012 (nominee)
  • Kotaku: Best Video Game Music of 2012
  • The Game Scouts: Top Ten Video Game Soundtracks of 2012
  • Complex: Top 25 Best Video Game Soundtracks on Bandcamp
  • NeoGAF: Official Game Soundtracks of the Year 2012

That’s pretty great. Based on his webpage, Prunty has only composed for a few projects so far, so kudos to him for getting that kind of recognition so early on in his career


I will start out by saying that I was instantly attracted to Prunty’s music. The title theme, “Space Cruise” is easy to like. The beginning certainly screams “OUTER SPACE,” from the tone choice, to the chord that bends and fades, to the seemingly eternal amount of space between that first chord and the second. Hearing those elements from the very beginning immediately puts the gamer in the mood to play a space-themed game.

Another great thing about the open beginning is that it sets up the next section, which one can still consider spacey, but in a different, more light-hearted and fun way. Prunty introduces more electronic instruments with different tone colors that fill in the voids that are left between the first two chords. What you hear is a pretty typical layered build-up that is meant to lead into a climax at 0:57.

This climax features a swifter pace that comes about by way of new, swirling rhythmic sounds and notes with shorter durations. It doesn’t last too long, though, as it hits a breakdown at 1:16 that signals the beginning of a devolution back to the more open feel of the beginning. Essentially, the other two-and-half minutes are filled by a variety of melodies and rehashing of ideas from the beginning of the tune in that open feel.

While I enjoy the piece, I do have some criticism for it More

New website and official demo!

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THE WEBSITE

If in the last few hours you scrambled to find out if there’ve been any goings ons on this blog by going directly to scorevgm.com, you may have found yourself in uncharted territory that looks exactly like the picture above.

I know it’s a little frightening, but please DON’T PANIC.

What you stumbled upon is my new website, which I created over the last two days using Squarespace. Before I go into details about the why, please note that if you follow my blog using WordPress, everything will be just fine.

Or, at least, it should be fine, heh. I’m going to continue to use WordPress as my main blogging tool, seeing as I can easily import my blog posts into my new site from here. Not to mention, I wouldn’t want to lose any of you, dear readers. Many of you have been following [Score.] since its beginnings, and I would certainly never want to alienate you from my stuff, or me from our interactions!

The idea for a new website for [Score.] came about after I finished up my demo late last week (more on that later). I thought, ‘Okay, I’m finally ready to send my content out to developers–let’s do this,’ but then came to the realization that my site was really just a blog and not an actual website, per se. To increase the professional look of my business, I needed the site to be focused around what my business is about and what I offer, not just around blog posts about constructing my compositions, reviewing other people’s work, and the like. More

Adding to the ‘finished’ stack…

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Creative Commons License
The works below are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and ©2013 Gregory Weaver.

Hey! It’s been awhile. I’ve got two tunes for you to check out.
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Fanfare and Jubilee (Remastered)

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This was actually completed about three weeks ago…

If you compare it to the original versions of the tune you’ll find some changes in the actual composition (as opposed to the sound), but nothing too significant. Mainly, I made the ending shorter so that the listener wouldn’t lose interest. I had thought before that the buildup to the large section that features all of the instruments playing together would be a good idea; however, even I as the composer was fatigued by hearing just one instrument come in at a time. Also, you’ll notice that the trombone starts off the buildup instead of the trumpet, and the percussion doesn’t take extra time to build up either. I think you’ll agree if you compare the two that it was in every listener’s best interest to shorten that section.

While this tune is technically final, having sought out some criticism of it I learned from other composers that they find the mix too dry. While I set out for a drier mix, I am going to run with the suggestions and see how I can improve the sound of the piece by altering the reverb to give it more depth.

(“Fanfare and Jubilee” on SoundCloud)
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A Binding Harmony

This next tune was written for the TIGSource Musical Challenge XXIII. You might recall that I entered one of the challenges a while back with my tune “Mr. AC (Keep Your Cool).” For that tune, the challenge was to make a thirty-second looping battle theme; for this, things were a bit less constricting. The challenge was, simply, to create a love theme. More