Review: Jack Foley
COULD it be that computer games are beginning to overtake movies
in terms of merchandising?
Having already attracted the talents of some of Hollywood's leading
names (Jean Reno, Pierce Brosnan, etc) to cutting-edge game releases,
the medium is now courting the attention of some of the best names
Hence, just as films have soundtracks, so too do games.
Theft Auto - San Andreas have already used the likes of Phantom
Planet, The Bellrays, The Raveonettes, Rage Against The Machine
and Cypress Hill.
But now Ubisoft's Splinter Cell series has signed on trendy
Ninja Tunes label stalwart, Amon Tobin, for a suitably rousing
mix of beats and breaks that serve as the perfect accompaniment
to its upcoming Chaos Theory game (released in April).
What marks Chaos Theory out from a lot of game soundtracks,
however, is the fact that it's an all-new score, which allows
the Brazilian ex-pat music maestro to realise a teenage ambition
- to make a soundtrack.
As such, it's an enticing blend of everything Amon Tobin fans
have come to love about him, albeit on a more progressively excessive
That means plenty of extended string arrangements and over the
top Hammond organ solos woven into the sounds, not to mention
a semi-orchestral backdrop to lend proceedings a more epic feel.
Gamers, no doubt, will love the accompanying music as they plot
their way through Splinter Cell's latest mission, particularly
as it frequently reaches crescendos that are designed to cash-in
on the action sequences.
But whether it works outside of the game zone remains something
of a debatable issue (much like a lot of instrumental scores for
When devoid of accompanying images, there tends to be something
missing - although Tobin does his best to create something that
has a life beyond the games remit.
Hence, tracks such as The Lighthouse deliver an aggressive,
edgy mix of atmospherics and bravado that could just as easily
find their way onto a Bond soundtrack or the new Jason Bourne
While the strings-laden Theme From Battery demonstrates
Tobin's ability to build things slowly, no doubt heightening the
more tense moments of the game - and providing an example of where
the soundtrack works less well as a listen in its own right.
Tobin does, however, redeem himself with tracks such as El
Cargo, which really bring the house down in terms of rapid
beats, spliced guitars and orchestral arrangements. It is during
such moments that the album could even be said to have dancefloor
All of which makes it another triumph for the Ninja Tunes label
that puts them and Amon Tobin at the forefront of new musical