Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc. (SE-2019-2)
Release Date: 2005
Conducted by Mark Watters
The Hollywood Studio Symphony
|9.||The Rise Of Aurelia||2:01|
|10.||Edumeas Last Stand||2:04|
|12.||The Aurelian Movement||2:21|
|14.||The Human Movement||2:09|
|17.||Midst Of The N'Kul||0:34|
|19.||Fiery Arrival On Aurelia||0:55|
|22.||Mastery Of Self||2:20|
|23.||Return To Humanity||2:16|
|24.||The Seeker Movement||2:09|
|27.||Greater Lights (Jay-J's Shifted UP Mix)||3:58|
|Total Album Time:||57:21|
|by Matt Brennan
September 18, 2005
More and more, video and computer games are incorporating storylines, background plots, and characters into the play of the game. They have gone from games as basic as Duck Hunt to the more elaborate hunting games like Goldeneye, which incorporates missions and the Bond character, to games like the Final Fantasy series that feature movie-like components within the play. This is probably why there are so many novel and movie adaptations or spin-offs of games now: there are characters and a story to work with. The story of Advent Rising is set in the interstellar vein of Star Wars and Star Trek and involves a human colony warned of a race seeking to exterminate them just before the arrival of that race. The champion fighter pilot of the humans is sent to make first contact with these visitors; the player takes the role of this man's younger brother and co-pilot.
Musically, Tommy Tallarico's score reflects the presence of the story. The overall sound of it is like that of an action/drama movie and, though there are synthetic cues, much of it utilizes a full orchestra and choir; it even has a popish song, "Greater Lights" with a remix at the end. While a game like Mario Brothers had a synthetic, single-note theme that was cycled note for note, and games like Rainbow Six have melodic background music, Advent Rising – like many more recent games – has a full score (who would have ever published let alone bought an album of the Mario Brothers score? There is a rock soundtrack …).
A three note descending motif is the thematic backbone of the score and the basic melody for "Greater Lights". The tone and orchestrations change throughout, from a gentle, melodic piano ("Poeta") to dramatic brass and chanting choir ("Stolen Transport"). Such variation indicates (though certainly doesn't prove) that there is a deeper emotional story to this game, and the vocals – choral and solo – lend a human element to the music, the preservation of humanity being a theme of the story.
However, while the music reflects the nature of the game's story and makes for a good listen on album because of the orchestra and choir, and the coherent theme, these are all features of the first half of the album. The second half, unfortunately, lapses into the original expectations I had for a "game score": it loses the theme, the softer emotional side, and the vocals, and becomes noisy, background action music. Whatever the game may do at this point, I would have liked to see this score maintain the complexity and sound of the first half.
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