Wind-Up Knight Original Soundtrack
Wind-Up Knight Original Soundtrack
October 24, 2011
Download at Bandcamp
Robot Invader’s Wind-Up Knight is a charming, free-to-play platformer with a medieval setting. Revered for his work on titles such as The Spirit Engine 2 and GunGirl 2, Josh Whelchel was the first choice to score the title. Given the setting, the artist decided to combine a little bit of tradition with original approaches throughout the soundtrack. The final result, released through Bandcamp, is worthwhile despite its brevity.
The title theme “Wind-up Fughetta” sets the light-hearted medieval mood for the soundtrack. By Whelchel’s own admission, it’s not technically a fugue, yet it does feature plenty of canonic figures and counterpoint. Incombination with the harpsichord-focused orchestration, the track holds up a fairly authentic Baroque pastiche. But rather than offering a stiff or pretentious imitation, Whelchel also injects this track with his own voice. The phrasing is lyrical throughout, while the tone is suitably tongue-in-cheek. The final result is both fun and a little different.
Moving to the stage themes, “Minuet in Magic” paints a vivid picture of an organic fantasy world with its mellow woodwind focus and frivolous triple metre. It’s not as outwardly catchy as many of the other additions here, but makes up for it with its rich soundscaping and vast scope. “Fearless of Fangs” and “Crank It Up!” revert the focus back to punchy, brassy melodies, both having a more vigorous exterior and darker undertone than their counterpoint. Such tracks really pump up players during the game and are also pretty catchy outside it. It helps that Whelchel employs relatively realistic samples and balanced mixes throughout.
Wind-Up Knight takes the awards for the most harpsichord-focused game soundtrack out there. The instrument appears on every major track on the soundtrack, usually as continuo. In “Funky Spelunky” and “Torchlit Toccata”, the instrument even receives the opportunity to take the lead. Though Whelchel is no J.S. Bach, his use of the instrument is both thoughtful and entertaining. It’s particularly fascinating how he daringly shifts from using Baroque-inspired counterpoint to more conventional musical approaches. This approach works well in context to convey different scenes and mood, while also sounding quite refreshing on a stand-alone basis too.
Whelchel demonstrates a more eccentric side with “Weird Waltz” and “Coin-Purse”. While the former isn’t all that zany, it does put the spotlight on yet more delightful woodwind writing. “Coin-Purse” creates a frivolous tone during the in-game shopping with its assortment of extended instrument techniques and random shifts from consonant to dissonant phrasing. It won’t appeal to everyone, but many will find it an amusing experiment. There are a few unremarkable bonus additions to the soundtrack, including a victory fanfare, some aquatic ambience, and even a ringtone.
The Wind-Up Knight soundtrack is only 18 minutes, but they’re 18 great minutes. Josh Whelchel packs the soundtrack full with interesting stylings, memorable melodies, rich moods, and, of course, lots of harpsichord. He manages to fit the period platformer well, while offering enough music to have a stand-alone appeal. Though this isn’t Whelchel’s biggest or best soundtrack, it is a further testament to his talent and well worth its humble pricetag.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.