Saturday, June 15, 2013

Soundtrack Suggestion: The Host - Antonio Pinto

The Host
by Antonio Pinto

I am no fan of Stephanie Meyer.  And that's me saying it in the nicest way possible.  However, I am aware that many things can be sources of inspiration, even if the inspiration is born from a feeling of "I can explore that plot far better" and so I have never shied away from exploring things that don't normally interest me.

The Host is a "science fiction romance" story about an unseen threat which takes over bodies and mutes the memories of their hosts, with a heroine named Melanie who risks everything to protect the ones she loves.  In the end, love conquers all.  Given however my love for Saoirse Ronan, who was phenomenal in Hanna and Atonement, I may have to give the movie a chance however.  Thankfully, Antonio Pinto is another name I have encountered before.  His work on City of God was, at least for me, phenomenal in giving the movie an unexpected edge.  So yes, in the days following this post, I just might embrace the option of catching the movie.

Outer Space (Track 01) opens with a slow building electronic tempo, which mixes an ethereal feel with an almost rural touch.  At 1:20 mark, the mood shifts to a faster beat, hinting at a younger and rougher presence.  The track cuts away to silence, making it a lovely one to use to open a scene, but definitely not one to use in a repeating loop.  Soul Inside (Track 02) opens with an almost ghostly whisper, but then builds into a more prominent leitmotif.   Strings take a forefront in this song, giving a hopeful yearning feeling to the piece.  Wanderer (Track 03) is a hopeful song, but tremendously short.  I would have loved to hear this last a few minutes longer.  Inside Your Mind (Track 04) is a shifting blend of otherworldly harmonies you'd probably feel perfect for a montage of space imagery.   The music hints at something just beyond reach.  Something just beyond one's comprehension.  Soul Mates (Track 05) opens with a certain feel of innocence, and the use of guitar strings gives the piece a more down-to-Earth touch.  The ever present ethereal waves remind us this is still a science fiction piece.  Escape (Track 06) opens with a very quiet touch, and while the title suggests a move towards a more active motion, the track wanders in the same area.  It is only at the two-minute mark the music finally becomes more foreboding as expected of an escape, making the track a bit harder to use in a game.  Fading (Track 08) has a sad passionate feel to its tune, which transforms into otherworldly by the 40 second mark.  The track promised a nice somber feel but sadly sends far too quickly.

Mirror Mirror (Track 10) opens with a face-paced beat, almost suggesting a chase sequence or a thrilling moment.  There are some moments the sound dips into Matrix soundtrack levels, which may or may not be a good thing depending on what you were going for.  Glow (Track 11) returns to the otherworldly tune for a nicely mysterious touch.  The use of guitar strings almost reminds me of the videogame, Diablo.  Dying Soul (Track 13) has an almost melodramatic flair to it, which I personally didn't appreciate.  Kinda cheapened the emotional level of the tracks.  There's a touch of a groaning wind instrument in the background which sounds interesting though.  I'm Alive (Track 15) is evocative, with an almost dream-like touch in its harmonies.  River Fight (Track 17) gets the WTF slot below because for a fight scene track it does NOT sound like a tense-fight at all.  I dunno.  Maybe I should watch the movie.  Oddly, Healing (Track 20) sounds the most engaged and chaotic song in the whole soundtrack.  Soul Outside (Track 22) is a lovely piece.  But I realize I like it because it can so work to supplement a soundtrack to the Firefly show.  It has touches of sci-fi without forgetting the heart and soul of a story.  There's Radioactive (Track 27) which is a lyric track, so I will just ignore it for the purposes of this review.

My favorite in the whole soundtrack would have to be The Store (Track 26) which sounds like the love child of a 1960s elevator song with touches of a grainy instrumental score.  Full of character and just fun to listen to.  For this track alone, I would get the soundtrack to find games I can toss it in.

So that's 27 tracks for an hour and eight plus minutes of tunes, which can be used with a bit of patience and mapping out of scenes.  Most tracks are somber and lack the sudden shifts other soundtracks have, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how you like your scores to work in your games.

The Host OST track suggestions:
WTF moment: River Fight (Track 17), The Store (Track 26)
Introspective/calm moment: Outer Space (Track 01), Soul Inside (Track 02), Soul Mates (Track 05), Star Crossed (Track 18), One Strange World (Track 24)
Tense/mystery moment:  Inside Your Mind (Track 04), Escape (Track 06), Walk (07), Glow (Track 11), Home (Track 25)
Combat music: Mirror Mirror (Track 10), Catch Us (Track 14), Healing (Track 20)
Hopeful moment: Wanderer (Track 03), I'm Alive (Track 15), Trust Me (Track 19), Goodbye Wanderer (Track 23)
Drama/sad moment: Fading (08), Into The Cave (Track 09), Sun Inside (Track 12), Dying Soul (Track 13), Kiss Me If You Can (Track 16), Kill Me (Track 21), Soul Outside (Track 22)

Best Used In: Science Fiction games which still have a touch of romance, loss and humanitas.  This won't be useful for games inspired by Warhammer 40000 nor for games based on either the Star Wars or Star Trek franchise.   However, if you were running games like Firefly, the movie Strange Days, or perhaps with some effort, a Shadowrun campaign, this may work out for you.

Me, I just LOVED The Store (Track 26) so much given I can inject it to dystopian odd games like Lacuna, or games inspired by timeless settings like Bioshock.
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