Fusion -Genesis- Original Soundtrack
Fusion -Genesis- Original Soundtrack
Steve Burke Music
October 28, 2011
Download at Official Website
The decline of Rare from adored industry leader to sports game co-developer has been devastating to watch, but thankfully many of its employees have moved on to work on interesting new projects. Four veterans from the company set up the independent company Starfire Studios together and recently released their first game — the XBLA space simulator Fusion: Genesis — to critical acclaim. Freelance composer Steve Burke reunited with the developer to create an orchestral score for the title and released the final soundtrack for free through his official site.
Burke captures the vastness of space with a range of moody and understated orchestrations. The opener “Graveyard” first exposes the game’s sound in a slightly barren manner, before compositions such as “Crucible”, “Praetorian”, and “Tutorial” really nail it. With their epic drum rolls and driving string bass, the music is clearly inspired by the scores that dominate Hollywood today. Yet their measured development and chordal harmonies remind listeners of the elegant approaches of J.S. Bach — testifying to Burke’s years of study at the Royal College of Music. On “Tutorial”, especially, Burke goes beyond the call of duty to offer an elaborate and multifaceted piece of cinematic underscoring. The way Burke blends classical sensibilities with modern stylings is remarkable here and ensures the music appeals on a number of levels.
With downloadable games becoming more elaborate over the years, Steve Burke was able to make a much more detailed score than he did for Jetpac Refuelled four years prior. Vibrant action cues such as “Meteor Storm” immerse gamers into the action and complement the variety of Fusion: Genesis‘ gameplay. More softly orchestrated tracks such as “Solaria” and “Wonder” are reminiscent of Goldsmith and Williams’ most beautiful space scores and are an excellent complement to the game’s visuals. Others capture a different type of space ambience — some tinged with horror like “Folly” and “Ominon”, others simply abstract such as “Tempum” and “Ventus Primus” with their electro-percussive soundscapes. Combined, these tracks ensure a varied yet cohesive accompaniment to the game and an appealing stand-alone experience.
Given this is an Xbox Live Arcade project, there was no budget available for orchestral recordings unlike Burke’s Kameo: Elements of Power and this often limits the expressiveness of the tracks here. One can’t help but think how a full orchestra and choir would have transformed “Wonder” and “Erebus”, among others — from excellent tracks into masterpieces. Nevertheless, Burke was meticulous during the mixing and mastering stages to ensure that his MIDI scores still sound rich and professional. What’s more, he streamlined his composition approach to make offer numerous momentous moments. Burke’s exquisite chamber scoring on “Sentient” and “Caelum” is particularly effective at conveying both beauty and horror — both tracks emphasising piano and string soloists — while the brief tutti “Proelium Secundus” and “Periculum Primus” maximise the potential of every force.
Overall, Fusion: Genesis is well worth your time. Steve Burke captures the environments of the space simulator perfectly, while offering thematically and stylistically rich compositions worthy of stand-alone listening. Some tracks will be too brief, barren, or ambient to appeal, while the sampled implementation doesn’t always do the score justice. But overall, this is one of the most impressive scores for a downloadable game available and reaffirms that Steve Burke is one of the most talented and versatile composers in the business.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.