Square Enix Music Online Names Dust: An Elysian Tail Best Indie OST of 2012
Recently, Square Enix Music Online did a pretty extensive “Best of 2012” selection, taking a panel of judges and deciding on best Albums and Scores; Outstanding Achievements, Artists, and Productions; and Special Achievements, each for a handful of different internal categories. Right now, I’m listening to the Best Score to an Indie Game of 2012: the soundtrack to Dust: An Elysian Tail.
To start, take a look at “The Cirelian Trials.”
The song basically starts with the piano paired with the koto over top of some ominous and awesome-sounding metal guitars. The melody has drive and desire, while at the same time seeming to have a little echo that suggests something haunting it. I love it. At 1:10, you get a cool little riff with the the koto and the strings that probably has some significant meaning, but I can’t really focus on it over how cool I think it is. Later on, the piano/kato slows down, leaving persistent strings and intense drums that remind me of Taiko drums.
That song, I think, is representative of the album. The songs are complex, layered, and gorgeous, and each one is fun to listen to on its own. I also love the combination of standards; coming from a primarily Western background, this album seems to nicely balance Western music with traditional Japanese instruments and styles. For a game about a furry samurai made by Dean Dodrill, a guy from Colorado, this is perfect.
When I started listening to this album, I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I know that I enjoy listening to it. It balances Western and Japanese musical traditions, which is not a trivial task, and the end result is pretty darn awesome. Then I realized something – I have been thinking about this as a good AAA game soundtrack, and that’s not fair. This is a soundtrack to an indie game, made by a relatively small studio that I hadn’t heard of before (HyperDuck SoundWorks, with four tracks by Alex Brandon, a VG OST veteran). The fact that I’m automatically grouping it with its AAA brethren is significant.
I’ve been listening to this album non-stop for at least the last two days, and I’m still happy to keep listening. It’s a unique and interesting album, with so much creativity and passion – I think it absolutely deserves the title of Best Indie Soundtrack of 2012.