Sumthing Else Music Works, Inc. (SE-2017-2)
Release Date: 2005
|1.||The Way Of The Open Palm||1:37|
|2.||Jade Empire Main Theme||2:57|
|3.||Hills And Fields/Dance Of The Babbling Brook/Fallow Ground||5:13|
|4.||Fist/Test Your Mettle||2:49|
|5.||Dawn Star Theme||1:12|
|6.||The Tea House||1:42|
|7.||Fury, Hammer And Tongs||3:05|
|8.||Anthem Of The Tyrant||2:37|
|10.||Mischief In The Marsh||1:43|
|11.||Empire At War||3:02|
|12.||Death's Hand Suite||3:54|
|13.||A Night Out||1:37|
|14.||Fires Of Chaos||1:27|
|15.||House Of Spirits/The Dark Land||3:18|
|16.||Metropolis I And II||3:20|
|18.||Ballad Of The Drunken Revelers||1:47|
|19.||Call To Victory||1:37|
|20.||Into The Fray||3:26|
|23.||Silk Fox Theme||1:14|
|24.||Wine And Women||1:35|
|25.||Lost In The Wilds/The Hunt||3:28|
|28.||Rending Of Flesh||2:05|
|30.||Torment/The Way Of The Closed Fist||2:49|
|Total Album Time:||76:07|
|by Mike Brennan
August 10, 2005
Video game score composer Jack Wall tackles mythical ancient China in this latest release for Xbox from Bioware. Wall's past scores include games in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series and the third and fourth installments of the Myst game line. His latest project delves into eastern instrumentation, and Wall created an authentic soundscape for the mythical setting of the game.
The score opens with two cues that present the powerful and majestic main theme for the game on the flute: "The Way of the Open Palm", which introduces the theme, and "Jade Empire Main Theme", which presents the more dramatic main title by incorporating percussion and further orchestration. The next few cues are composed of stunning eastern instrumentation such as koto ("Hills and Fields/Dance of the Babbling Brook/Fallow Ground") and taiko drums ("Fist/Test Your Mettle", "Fury, Hammer and Tongs"). Some cues are composed with electronics, and subtract from the score's ethnic feel. Certain modes of play in video games require certain sounds. But the powerful, eastern-inspired, music is never far away.
The score picks up in "Empire at War" with some soaring French horn cues over a pounding orchestra and flute trills. "Fires of Chaos" brings the taiko back into play, providing a rolling thunder beneath the brass theme. "Ill Winds" and " Battle of the Drunken Revelers" takes a quieter approach, with woodwinds and light percussion, while still maintaining the eastern feel, similar to parts of Tan Dun's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. "Into the Fray" returns to the taiko before a rendition of the main theme begins in the brass and a male vocal that builds with a flute echoing in the background. Wall's use of taiko in this score is impressive; it is more along the lines of the solo drums in Tan Dun's Hero than Zimmer's use of them in The Last Samurai.
After some quieter cues, the main theme comes back forcefully in "Tribute", the point from which the album races to an end with action cues. The album closes with "Sanctuary", a slower performance of the main theme on the flute. The score was recorded with synthesizers, unlike some recent video games score (i.e. Medal of Honor, Headhunter). Nevertheless, Wall weaves multiple themes and musical ideas through the cues on the album. While some game-play tracks are a bit slow, he makes up for it with the variety of sounds and volume of some of the action cues. Wall gave Jade Empire the right feel for an action game set in ancient China, and is a must for fans of game scores.
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