AG Drive Soundtrack
AG Drive Soundtrack
February 19, 2015
Buy at Aritunes Records
The AG Drive Soundtrack is an ambitious soundtrack, led by Ari Pulkinnen, known for his work on Resogun, the Trine series, and Angry Birds main theme, and brings together eight demoscene/indie EDM artists, including Jonne “Purple Motion” Valtonen, known for his masterful orchestrations in concerts such as Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies, and Markus “Captain” Kaarlonen, known for his work on games such as Alan Wake. The soundtrack, for a mobile racing game, combines modern dance music with influences from 80s games, action movies, and electronic music of the era. Created to both work in-game as well as for a listening experience for those who may not even play the game, does it live up to its intended goal?
The album opens with the narrated title track, “AG Drive,” by Burt Kane, and features an epic blend of orchestra, 80s symth, rock, sci-fi inspired sounds, and a nice dance beat. It really sets the tone for the soundtrack with its wonderful melody, harmonies, and energy. The next tune, “They Call Me Speed (Original),” by Jonne Valtonen, is an amazing demoscene inspired tune that reminds me of the Swedish electronic band, Thermostatic. Deep bass hits, heavily processed vocals, and a great energy really bring this track to life and despite its “robotic” vocals, gives it a nice sense of emotion as well. There is also a vocal edit of this tune with much less vocal processing that does give it more of a human feel. For those of you only familiar with his orchestral work, this is Jonne Valtonen going back to his early roots. I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of Purple Motion type music! Markus Kaarlonen, under the moniker Domestic Machine Movement, creates a more modern dance inspired tune, “Delta Course,” with dubstep and electro influences. The melodies themselves in the game, produced by vocoder and synth, have a demoscene flavor and really work well atop the heavy dance tune. Speaking of heavy dance tune, Ari Pulkinnen’s “Drive” is an electro-inspired romp that really manages to bring the energy. What it lacks in melody, it makes up for with its fantastic manipulation of synt with its crunchy electronic tones to its more choppy accompaniment. Another electro tune by Pulkinnen is “Electric Mayhem.” This tune focuses a bit more on melody, but also provides an awesome dance vibe with its heavy hitting bass and modulation. In addition, I really like the slightly Asian flavor that the synth melody provides. Ari’s last tune is definitely a departure from the rest of his contributions. With a distinct 80s flavor, it provides a “softer” tone to close out the soundtrack while also offering a groovy atmosphere, suggestive lyrics, and plenty of synth hits to bring that retro flair.
Little Bitchard offers three tracks of his own to the soundtrack. His first tune, “Enter Sokudo,” is a hard hitting electro tune with some great synth hits, some industrial flair, giving it a cold atmosphere. It is definitely one of the highlights on the album and fans of modern dance music will certainly find themselves at home with this one. “Sigma Shock” is another track with a great modern sound but one that also mixes in a bit of nostalgic flair with the synthesizer in the melody. It gives off a great sense of acceleration. His last tune, “Future Motion,” opens up with a very 80s sci-fi flavor with ethereal synths, lots of build up, and an overall cinematic flair. As the tune progresses, it mixes in a steady dance beat and some airy vocal samples that gives it a wonderful energy. The remaining four tracks offer a nice blend of styles as well. “Rapid Acceleration,” by Tommy Baynen, definitely has a complextro feel to it, with a hard hitting beat, plenty of modulation, and a great club feel. This is one of the most energetic tunes on the album and really fits well with its title as well as in the genre of modern dance music as a whole. His “Rock That” track also provides a fantastic dance floor experience with its uplifting synth sound mixed with some high energy beats, buildups, and progression. City Cat’s “Rough Ride” also brings the dance floor to the mix. Its heavy beats, synth manipulation, and its mix of soft and hard tones in the melody line make for a wonderful contrast. Lastly, Tommi Salomaa’s “Riding High” definitely embodies the blend of 80s and modern dance. There are some great synth lines, vocals that definitely scream the 80s era but really complement the rest of the tune as well, and a bit of a rock edge, despite it being entirely synthesized.
From start to finish, AG Drive Soundtrack manages to provide a fantastic listen, with its mix of tunes more influenced by modern music, those more influenced by the 80s/demoscene era of the 90s, and those that blend the two together more prominently. Each tune works well within the context of a racing game and each track is enjoyable on a standalone listen. For its asking price, any fan of modern electronic music and/or demoscene music should feel more than satisfied with its contents. Ari Pulkinnen’s record label has another veritable hit on its hand and if there is more to come from the label in regards to these types of collaborative efforts, the future of Aritunes is quite exciting.
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Posted on February 24, 2015 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on March 5, 2015.