Freedom Fighters Original Soundtrack
Freedom Fighters Original Soundtrack
Nano Studios (CD Edition); Sumthing Else (Digital Edition)
September 29, 2003
Buy at synSONIQ Records | Download at iTunes
The award-winning Jesper Kyd has written several video game soundtracks, most notably for the Hitman and Assassin’s Creed series. His somewhat older score for the action adventure game Freedom Fighters has definitely more going for it than many average film scores and stands out strongly against other military scores of the day. Let’s take a closer look why…
Like many of Jesper Kyd’s scores, there is a focus on various atmospheric electronic elements here. Such electronics are an inherited feature of Brad Fiedel’s Terminator scores and many other video game works, but are treated in a somewhat different way. For one, their treatment tends to be heavily inspired by art music, particularly minimalism. The manipulation of the electronic synthpads and piano passages in the fifth track, especially, is reminiscent of Michael Nyman’s music and offers a mild yet perplexing portrayal of Isabella, the leader of the resistance. On “The Battle for Freedom”, on the other hand, the electronic elements and synthetic keyboard are like Vangelis on steroids. They are used as much for percussive effect as they are for a kind of orchestral sound reinvention.
The full sound of the Hungarian Radio Chorus also lifts many of the electronic ostinato patterns beyond sheer aural filler. A particularly impressive example is provided by “Main Title”. Like Kyd’s scores for the Hitman series, it’s fascinating how different choral passages repeat and interweave to give a very unique soundscape. It certainly adds dramatic weight to the soundtrack and is synchronised beautifully with the various electronic and percussive elements. Kyd is able to change the surrounding texture enough to generally maintain interest throughout this extensive track, which need to be treated as slowly building climaxes. Clearly, such music is much more sophisticated than the typical one minute loop.
The choral writing on “March of the Empire” has a definite Slavic feel to it that will be reminiscent for some of the choral writing in The Hunt for Red October and Conan the Barbarian. While the maintain chants convey an incoming brutal force, a soprano voice gradually emerges to bring a much more introspective element to awe-inspiring results. Such elements are also built on during several action themes, notably “Snow Battle”. The “Final Battle” theme is gloriously abstract and bizarre once again, rejecting the typical clichés of a Hollywood military score. The track blends electronic beats and choral elements throughout to yield a quiet and simple, yet highly suspenseful and deceptive soundscape.
Note that nearly all forces on the soundtrack are made with top quality samplers and the live chorus itself performs only on a few select tracks. Other choral effects, for example on “Rebel Base”, seem to be synthetically generated by a very well-prepared instrument that has been put together by Kyd. The artist is indeed a master of ambient soundscaping and this is especially apparent in tracks such as “Sabotage”, “Governor’s Island”, and “Nightfall” — slow-building arcs that provide a detailed and haunting perspective on some of the hostile environments of the game. They will be fascinating to a certain type of listener on a stand-alone level, whereas many others will prefer to listen to them within the game.
This score is a lot more interesting than many recent film score attempts. While many will pass this by due to the electronic and ambient focus, the album is still quite impressive throughout. Certainly, many gamers will definitely wish to check out this album, as will those interested in electronic music. The appeal to minimalist fans should also not be missed.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Steven Kennedy. Last modified on August 1, 2012.