Big AAA games studios have money. They can afford to hire big name composers, who produce hours of music, that's recorded by world class musical outfits like the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. This has never been the case for indie developers who are charged with the herculean task of creating meaningful music that will elevate their game's visuals and hopefully continue to engage their audience long after the credits roll... and all on a shoestring budget. But constraint breeds creativity and this pressure to innovate has driven a number of developers to turn to an army of underground musical pioneers who exist outside of the mainstream creating work that expands our understanding of what great music can and should sound like. In recent years a number of impressive of indie game soundtracks have emerged from partnerships like these.
Lumino City released in late 2014 as the sequel to State of Play's Lumino. The game is described as a handmade puzzle adventure and is unique in that the eponymous city was built as a real life scale model in studio. The artists crafted the city the characters and the machines puzzles that inhabit it by hand, using paper, lights and motors. The city was then filmed and digitised to create a rich and visually stunning game world. While this is impressive in itself, it is the game's delicate and melodic soundtrack that really helps to bring it all to life. The soundtrack was created by Ed GAPS, one half of Brighton based electronic folk outfit GAPS and this weeks featured track The Gatehouse (Theme) was also co-written by State of Play's lead designer and co-founder Luke Whitaker. It's a playful piece that mixes folk and electronic elements using sounds that feel small and intimate but intricately weave together to create a wide and colorful sonic world. It manages to sound both ambient and immanent all at once and as a result it feels representative of the game as a whole. Like a lot of good indie game music it also stands on its own calling you back time and time again for another listen. It is one of many pieces from the world of indie game music that we will be celebrating on this playlist.