Calamity

Bastion was a fantastic game with great visuals and gameplay but it is probably most well known for its wonderful soundtrack. The moment I heard the first few bars of the hugely Bjork-influenced "Twisted Streets" and the spiralling, hypnotic melodies of "Bynn The Breaker" I was utterly hooked. This was magical music, firmly rooted in the eclectic, experimental trip-hop spirit of the mid 90s - a musical period that I love with all my heart. Massive Attack, Bjork, Portishead, and Radiohead all come to my mind when I hear these pieces.

So it was an absolute pleasure for me to make "Calamity," a song that is just the kind of music I love to listen to, a love letter to the 90s. It was so easy and natural it barely felt like work to make it. The lyrics came easily too due to the game having such a beautifully bittersweet story and such lovable characters. I tried to use sounds that you would find in the game - a harp melody here, some acoustic guitar strumming there, some stabbing strings in the chorus, some 90s trip-hop beats and so on. The song is told from Rucks' point of view as he tells the sad story to the Kid. "You can't fix a broken heart in a couple of days" refers to Zulf and the Ura and the question of whether turning back time can fix all the hurt. The "turning back is bound to be, just another Calamity" is a reference to my choice at the end - to say any more would be a spoiler.

Again, this song got a great response, further solidifying the theory that I do better work about stories I care about.

Criticisms:

The eastern sounding parts didn't really fit the game.

Oh for fuck's sake, not this again ... what is it with peoples' musical xenophobia in my songs, even when it's completely in context?

I love Bastion's music, so when I say this is just as good that carries some weight.

Thank you. As a big fan myself I tried my best to do it justice.

I like how the first line is the same as the last one. Is that a reference to the ending?

It is a reference to the cyclical nature of the story, yes.

It was missing the Western feel of parts of the soundtrack.

That aspect of the soundtrack didn't interest me as much as the rest.

It didn't match the game's musical style.

As I have said many times, it is not my job or intention to "match" the style of a game. I take elements, sounds or atmospheres I enjoy and fit them into my own style.

It's not as good as "Build A Wall".

Well, that comment wasn't predictable at all.

The "Backtrack(...)Keep you on the right side" and "Cloudburst(...)Knuckles of your own hand" where too much of a shift in style and felt horribly out of place.

I grew up on music full of crazy curveballs like that. If that's how you felt, god help you if you ever try listening to Bjork, Faith No More, Massive Attack, Bowie, Opeth, Tool etc.

Don't forget folks, the Escapist Expo is almost upon us! I'll be playing Saturday night, doing a Q&A with other contributors and doing a songwriting panel on the Sunday with Susan Arendt! I look forward to meeting you guys there and saying hi!

RELATED CONTENT
Comments on