Drum­ming to a new beat

Why videogame mu­sic is a new art form

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - THEBIG10 - Go to www.my­favouritemagazines.co.uk to buy OPM #154 and get the mu­sic CD.

Com­poser, sound de­signer, and field recordist Brian D’Oliveira took Shadow Of The Tomb Raider’s sound­track in a new di­rec­tion. The game, re­leased last month, fea­tured mu­sic that seam­lessly blended with the ad­ven­ture’s sound de­sign.

The mu­si­cian ex­plains: “My aim was to find the per­fect bal­ance of Lara’s more ‘clas­si­cal’ mu­si­cal in­flu­ences along with a true and hon­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the rich Mayan and Aztec mu­si­cal cul­tures that have been mostly lost be­cause of the Span­ish con­quest, which sadly dec­i­mated al­most all records of their rich mu­si­cal cul­ture.”

Us­ing a mix­ture of record­ings by ar­chae­ol­o­gists play­ing dis­cov­ered in­stru­ments, study­ing the lost cul­tures, and his own col­lec­tion of Mayan and Aztec in­stru­ments, D’Oliveira be­gan build­ing the game’s unique blend of sounds. This in­cluded find­ing Lara’s mu­si­cal per­son­al­ity.

“I see my work as that of a sto­ry­teller and not just a mu­si­cian, and it’s im­per­a­tive that I ex­press all the sub­tleties of the char­ac­ters… My an­cient 1780 Baroque cello and flute lend them­selves to be­ing her ‘in­ner voice’,” says D’Oliveira. It took time to per­fect the mu­sic for Tomb Raider; D’Oliveira spent the first two two years it­er­at­ing the sound de­sign. Dur­ing pro­duc­tion he even played live in a domed venue while 150 speak­ers played sam­pled jun­gle sounds to im­merse lis­ten­ers.

“I plan to now do this live set, and I am also con­tem­plat­ing do­ing a dance-floor friendly set,” he says.


An­cient Aztec and Mayan in­stru­ments were used to cre­ate the mu­sic for Shadow Of The Tomb Raider.

Brian D’Oliveira is now plan­ning a live set – mu­sic to our ears.

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