Drumming to a new beat
Why videogame music is a new art form
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.
I SEE MYSELF AS STORYTELLER, AND NOT JUST A MUSICIAN.