Nex Machina Deluxe Edition Soundtrack

 nexmachina Album Title:
Nex Machina Deluxe Edition Soundtrack
Record Label:
Housemarque
Catalog No.:
N/A
Release Date:
June 20, 2017
Purchase:
Buy at Official Site

Overview

The Nex Machina Deluxe Edition Soundtrack, which released alongside the game of the same name, is the latest effort by Ari Pulkinnen and continues his relationship with Housemarque, who have built quite a following with their games, Super Stardust HD, Dead Nation, and Resogun.  In this soundtrack, he is joined by Tuomas Nikkinen and Harry Krueger. How does this collaborative effort stand up to past Housemarque works?

Body

The album opens with “Let Me Save You,” featuring Sami “Haxx” Hakala, of Housemarque, on vocals. The tune itself has a very 80s sound, but modernized to capture the synthwave feel of much of the soundtrack. The melody itself is quite memorable and the vocal performance really adds to the whole flavor of the track, giving it a edgy sound. There is also an instrumental version featured at the end of the album that replaces the vocals with a synth lead rather than vocals, but personally, I prefer the original. Speaking of “Let Me Save You,” “Cosmic Hero,” one of the bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition, incorporates aspects of the vocal theme into the accompaniment while the melody manages to impressive with its energy and upbeat synth. Other bonus tracks found on the Deluxe Edition include “Epic Montage,” a tune featuring a heroic synth melody and gritty bass line that helps encapsulate the feeling of the entire soundtrack, “The Spiral” and “Critical Error,” both of which feature heavy industrial sounds and overall intensity, and “Dream Machine Anthem,” which is a more down tempo tune with dreamy synth that portrays a melody that gives me a sense of accomplishment and is reminiscent of an 80s action/sci-fi film score, at times. The bonus tracks are certainly welcome, but some of them don’t stand out nearly as much as the more prominent pieces on the album.

The titular track, “Nex Machina,” composed by Harry Krueger, also captures this 80s sci-fi sound in it. The tune itself utilizes the organ in a prominent fashion and gives the overall piece a slightly ominous and dark touch to the piece while the synth accompaniment helps lend an eerie atmosphere to the theme. It has a very mechanical coldness to it and the overall progression is a treat. The other guest contributor is Tuomas Nikkinen, who composed the music related to two stages and their respective bosses. The first set, used in the third stage, “Fire Caverns” and “Helltron,” offer a darker, industrial aspect to the stage themes. The former features a great synth melody and gives off a sense of bleakness that blends well with the choral aspects of the piece while “Helltron,” the boss theme utilizes similar elements to give it a much bigger intensity thanks in part to its faster tempo. His other contribution is to the fifth stage, “Future Labs” and its boss theme, “The Architect.” The stage theme has a very sci-fi feel to it while the incorporation of choir helps add some darker tones. To accentuate this atmosphere, the mysterious synth melody and industrial tones in the rhythm bring some edge to the piece overall. The boss theme intensifies these elements mostly due to its slower tempo. The end result is gritty, ominous, and tense.

Ari Pulkinnen does the remainder of the stage theme and respective boss themes. The first stage theme, “Dark Shivers,” is an energetic synthwave tune that boasts a fantastic melody. The tempo changes heard throughout the piece help bring a nice sense of tension to the mix. The end result is quite enjoyable and fans of his past electronic Housemarque tunes will feel right at home. The boss theme, “Beamtron,” is an engaging tune with some interesting synth and harmonies in the accompaniment. The overall tune is full of tension and also has an equally memorable melody. “Crystal Mountain” and “Yeti Kong” are the second stage and boss themes, respectively. The former gives me Resogun vibes and features a clear, crystalline synth lead coupled with a driving beat. The overall energy of the tune is top notch and really fits the gameplay quite nicely. The latter, “Yeti Kong,” is quite tense, as one might expect. The accompanying rhythms are some of my favorite on the album and adds a fun aspect to the piece’s overall intensity. The melody itself is quite dark and gives the theme, in conjunction with the other elements, an excellent atmosphere.

The fourth stage theme, “Machine City,” and its boss theme, “Enforcer Prime,” keep the energy flowing. The former is upbeat with bright synths, yet still manages to feel mechanical and cold. It’s an excellent synthwave tune that boasts some wonderful harmonies and a great melody. The latter is heavy, tense, and sinister. The organ and heavy electronic beats help add a darkness to the piece giving it a very oppressive air thanks to the synth in the melody line, among others. Lastly, “Space Station” and “Supreme AI” round out the last stage related themes. The stage theme has an ominous air to it and reminds me of Super Stardust HD in some ways. Also of note is how the track builds its tension by altering how the melody sounds, sometimes more uplifting while at others, more dire. Finally, “Supreme AI” opens with organ and choir sans electronic elements to dramatic effect. The melody itself is quite haunting and I love the progression from this almost unholy sound to a more cold, distorted, bass heavy track that incorporates these elements while also giving it a very mechanical flair.

Summary

In the end, the Nex Machina Deluxe Edition Soundtrack is quite a smashing success incorporating synth/retrowave elements to give a modern, yet nostalgic, touch to a game reminiscent of retro games such as Smash TV. While some of the bonus tracks don’t live up to the other tunes on the soundtrack, the end result is still one that is quite cohesive. This album is certainly recommended for fans of Pulkinnen’s past Housemarque works, synthwave, or those who dug the music while playing the game. With Matterfall just around the corner, it’ll be interesting to see what approach Pulkinnen brings to the table for Housemarque’s next work.

Nex Machina Deluxe Edition Soundtrack Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

4.5


Posted on July 27, 2017 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on July 27, 2017.

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About the Author

Don Kotowski

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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