Contact Music ***** out of 5. “The soundtrack for the much anticipated sequel to the cult-classic Returnal (2009), is nothing short of a masterpiece. With a perfect blend of ambient, electronic, and orchestral, the soundtrack for the Returnal movies is one of the best, and sets the tone to everything perfectly, and helps the viewer and/or listener become immersed in the world of Returnal.
The seventh. In May, Milan Records released the soundtrack to the latest game Returnal for Playstation 5, featuring music composed by Bobby Krlich. Bobby Krlich, best known for his work on Cloak of Huxan, brings his expertise as an award-winning composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist to Returnal, giving the score a dark, experimental quality that fits the tone of the third-person shooter. The album is Krlic’s first video game composition project as principal composer and follows his critically acclaimed and award-winning scores for the Ari Aster-directed films Midsommar, Massacre on Hulu, Snowpiercer and Alienist on TNT.
Bobby Krlich (aka The Haxan Cloak) is a British artist, songwriter and record producer based in Los Angeles. For the past ten years he has been making music under the name The Haxan Cloak and has released two critically acclaimed albums (The Haxan Cloak and Excavation). As a solo artist, he has toured extensively and built up a loyal fan base. Since 2015, Krlich has collaborated with fellow Oscar-winning producer and film composer Atticus Ross on the soundtracks of John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 and Michael Mann’s Blackhat. Since then, Krlich has made several major television series, including Sasquatch, Alienist: Angel of Darkness and Reprisal on Hulu, as well as Rockstar Games’ recent collaboration with Swans for Red Dead Redemption 2. He composed the soundtrack for Ari Aster’s second feature film, Midsommar, for which Krlic won the 2020 Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score.
In Return, Selena must seek redemption in the barren landscape of an ancient civilization after crashing on a planet with alien shapeshifters. She finds herself isolated and alone and begins to fight for survival. Again and again she is defeated, forced to begin her journey anew each time she dies. Through the relentless roguelike gameplay, you learn that the planet changes with each cycle, as do the items at your disposal. Each cycle offers new combinations that force you to push your limits and approach combat with a different strategy each time.
Returnal’s music – well, it’s really great. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of the game taking place in a time loop, and wondered how the game’s music would fit into that concept. As far as I can tell, the music relates to the idea of time repeating itself, but not in the way I imagined. Most of the tracks are distorted, there are sudden static sounds that interrupt the music, and my favorite part? Sometimes the voices seem to cut through the music, creating a disorganized effect that makes you feel like you’re really lost in time.
The instrumental mix is pretty much what you’d expect from a Returnal play: a mix of electronic instruments and synthesizers mixed with choral vocals. But what really surprised me was how quiet the music was for the most part. Given what I had heard about this game, I was expecting a more action-oriented sci-fi score or at least a more dynamic one. But that’s not the case at all, and it makes me seriously reconsider what I think of this game. This game seems more cerebral than I initially thought, and I’m very happy about that. I like games that make you think, and this music makes me think that Returnal is such a game.
If I have any complaint about Returnal’s soundtrack, it’s that it’s surprisingly short – only nine songs. I don’t know if this is an indication of the overall length of the game, but I’ve seen soundtrack albums that were three times as long, and it struck me how short this one was.
That little problem aside, I loved the soundtrack to Returnal, and I think you will too.
- Wall pictures
- Integrated in
- A mysterious device
- The dream is already in sight.
Let me know what you think of Returnal (and the soundtrack) in the comments below, and have a great day!
Video game soundtracks
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