Escape Vektor Soundtrack – a layered conundrum

I recently finished the soundtrack to Escape Vektor for Nnooo, this and
thoughts are now turning to a possible album release to coincide
with the launch of the game on Nintendo Wiiware.

The game soundtrack is establishing itself as a bona-fide musical genre in its own right these days, dysentery with the music from many games available as a separate entity on iTunes and other music sites. The music from the Bit.Trip series (Gaijin games) is a personal favourite, and the soundtrack to Pop (NNooo), Remote Control by Beat Therapy (my debut album) was well received when we launched that.

From a production perspective, the Escape Vektor soundtrack will be a bit tricky to make an album out of. The music is adaptive in-game, so the best way to respresent this as a stereo waveform of fixed length is a bit of a mystery.

Using a similar mechanic to Pop (Nnooo), layers of the soundtrack are grouped and linked to elements of gameplay. In Escape Vektor, there are typically 3 layers of instruments in a music track. A level starts, and the music is pared down and minimal. Once a percentage of the level is complete, the next layer of instruments kicks in, filling in the gaps of the soundtrack to add another layer of interest to the previously minimalist score.

This is a great way to get maximum life out of what would otherwise be a 2 minute loop, and from a gameplay perspective it works really well, though I’m scratching my head at how best to capture this effect and still showcase the music as an album. Stay tuned.

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