Too Human Original Soundtrack
Too Human Original Soundtrack
Sumthing Else Music Works
November 25, 2008
Buy at Amazon
Too Human took its inspiration from Norse mythology. Steven Henifin’s music for the game helped to recreate that world by hybridising many forces fitting the game’s world. He combined orchestral and chorus performances with Northern European ethnic instruments like the alpenhorn, langeleik, and hardanger. Even the vocals utilize texts from the Norse Eddur as inspiration for the lyrics used here. A layer of electronic elements appears as well to underscore some of the technological aspects of the game world.
The opening “Prelude” sets the tone for the score with a recessed ambient sound giving way to modal harmonic orchestral writing and large chorus. The use of the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague and Chorus lends a warmer quality to the music in what is an excellently recorded acoustic. As also evidenced by his work on Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Henefin’s style is akin to a richer-scored Zimmer epic score, but with a lot more rhythmic variety. The thematic ideas are laid out in stark contrast to one another, with a rhythmic pulse providing a slow build to the darker quality of the music.
After a series of these rather cold epic orchestral ideas comes “Cyberspace,” a track that introduces more of the subtle electronic and ambient components that will appear mixed in to the other segments of the score. It creates an otherworldly quality that strangely bridges the gap between the Norse-sounding music with the modern sounds of the score as Henefin has a guitar/harp sounding instrument lay out a modal melodic idea against these other soundscapes. The score moves effortlessly through these ideas with strong, but rarely overwhelming percussion, helping to force the music along as it continues its epic journey.
Ideas are illustrated in textures that feature mostly unitonal writing as Henefin tends not to clutter the sound of the ensemble with overwhelming swaths of sound. For example, “Epoch” primarily focuses on an epic trumpet melody above tribal percussion. Both forces are a prototype for scores of this type, but are fortunately treated well enough to still be enjoyable; the percussion lines help increase the tension while other threads pop up into the textures as well. When multiple ideas do come together, for example in the climactic choral theme “Gods and Chaos”, they are assigned in such a way that the various strands can be easily distinguished in the overall texture of the music.
Unlike other scores that incorporate electronics and ambient sounds, Henefin has found just the right balance to make everything feel like it belongs in the sound world of the game here. The score tends to segue easily from one track to the next as it moves through its epic qualities and various ethnic sounds. Transitions that might have seemed odd had they simply been cut off at the end of a track turn out to smoothly move into subsequent tracks. While many tracks effortlessly combine various musical segments of the game together with some deft editing, though occasionally sudden shifts, or the panning out of one idea as another comes up indicates the repetitive nature of one idea that is designed to loop until a new segment is achieved.
This is an intriguing score. While close in style to Hans Zimmer fare, it features plenty of interesting instrumental colors and excellent production values. It is also distinguished in its incorporation of ambient and electronic material in ways that help it feel like another orchestral color. That said, with a number of somewhat bland tracks, the score feels a bit overlong at times and the more interesting material begins to appear towards the end of the disc. However, there is still quite a lot to enjoy in its ample playing time.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Steven Kennedy. Last modified on August 1, 2012.