Saturday, 9 August 2014

Composing for games: Kristin Burdal

The music industry has always been and still is a very difficult industry. Making it as an artist is not a given, and it is therefore not enough just to have good qualifications. Years and years of education can only get you so far, what really matters is talent and the drive to be a good artist. Today we are going to take a look at one composers which was a topic of this blog a while back.

Norwegian composer Kristin Burdal, behind Stegosaurus on Marshland Acidic Trip, has come a long way since last time she was featured on this blog. Kristin has been offered a number of opportunities since then. She has composed the soundtrack for two games.

The first one is called GearCity which is an open beta game where you can simulate owning your own car company. The game is now available on Steam. This is a short review of the music, not the game.

The music in GearCity is lively and comfortable when listened to by itself, but has the ability to just act as background music when players want to concentrate on the game. It creates different dimentions and feelings to the game, it sets the atmosphere. GearCity's programmer, Eric B from Florida, really got his hands on a great musical talent when searching for the perfect composer for his game.

Although a lot of the pieces have a typical "background music sound", which is often the case in simulator games, there are a lot of hidden gems in the different tracks. The piano part in "In Total" is beautiful and can easily send chills down ones spine.

"One Time or Another" is fun and playful. It could be used in so many other types of games. Overall the soundtrack for GearCity is good, almost too good for a game like this, where sometimes simple is often the best. Kristin's creativity shines through each and every track.

Breakage is a free point and click adventrue game. The game consists of different "worlds" which has its own theme song. Together with the game, the music helps tell a story. The introduction theme song captures bits from all the worlds. It is a fun and adventurous song which sets the tone for the whole game. The tranistions between minor and major in "Outside" makes the piece seem somewhat sad, but the melody is picked up by a cheerful piano and light violin strokes.

My personal favourite from the game is "The Witch". It paints a picture of a witch, but not an evil one, as they often are portayed in mainstream television/media. This witch is a bit clumsy and very witty,  like a modern version of Disney's "Madam Mim".

"UFO" is mysterious, just like anything in the outer space. The wavy sounds makes you think of aliens, or what we on this planet have come to believe aliens sound like. The piece is quiet, calm and slow, and it makes me think about the fact that there's no sound in space.

"Dungeon" creates the perfect feeling of being down below. The song sneaks its way around, it has a few jump scares here and there, it stops to listen. Is anyone there?

Just like the intro, the outro captures the feelings of all the tracks you've heard earlier. It is happy, and so should you be. You've just completed the game!

To listen to all of Kristin's tracks, go to

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