September 17, 2012
Download at Bandcamp
Initium Squared is an odd soundtrack. The music was originally created for a web-based sound demo by music production company Funky Rustic that was to show how a player could interact with their environment through gameplay and music. Crafted by demoscene veteran Alex Brandon, Initium Squared runs at only a brief 16 minutes and isn’t particularly lavish, but contains a variety of different musical styles. Does this short demo bring us anything to the table?
“The Journey Begins,” serves as the title screen music. While the build up with the synthetic orchestra sets the scene well, the piece runs far too short with no real development. “Kusanagi’s Parkour” is the longest track on the album running at 4:34 and, as such, it is also the most developed track. It begins with light electronica and quiet guitar riffs. By the 1:20 mark, it changes form into dubstep. Throughout the rest of the piece, it combines the two formats together before fading out. It is the biggest highlight among the otherwise brief tracks.
“Dragon’s Chase” sounds like it could have been taken out of a modern-day RPG. While the cinematic orchestral elements are obviously synthesized, the overall composition feels interesting without sounding too clichéd. The action-packed “Filled With Fire” changes things by being hard rock-inspired, with the bass playing a more major role towards the end. Unfortunately, once again, the piece fades out far too quickly for my tastes. “Is Nothing Scared” is mellower with acoustic and electric guitar providing melodies. The synth orchestra also adds great backing to this short, yet sweet track.
“Palatial Caverns” definitely sounds like an underground BGM with its combination of industrial percussion and ambient synth. I enjoyed the electronic blips and orchestration in the background. “Citadel Undulation” begins quietly with its synth and percussion, but goes full-out towards the middle section with electric guitar and louder synth, before gradually back in to silence by the end. We end things with “Resolution Part 1,” a fitting piece that combines all previous styles of music into one great finale. The main question I’m asking is why there’s no Part 2. Perhaps for a follow up project?
There are many things that Initium Squared succeeds at. I enjoyed the variety of style and most of the compositions, all of which could fit well in a modern-day game. The biggest gripe that I have is with its length. Although the soundtrack is clearly meant to only be an experimental demo, I really wished that it was longer. I can see a lot of potential with these brief tracks, and it would make an excellent full-fledged fusion album. Even at only $4.99, I still question the value of this album since it is only 16 minutes. Despite my problems with it, I think that Initium Squared still proves to be an enjoyable and interesting release. I recommend playing the excellent sound demo that the soundtrack originally accompanied. As for the soundtrack, I give it my cautious recommendation to fans of indie music and composer Alexander Brandon.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Oliver Jia. Last modified on January 16, 2016.