Sound Byte: L.A. Noire Soundtrack

We have an exclusive track to share from the upcoming adventure game from Team Bondi and Rockstar Games.

by

The release of the highly anticipated crime-solving game is just around the corner, and soon you'll be able to walk the streets of a 1940s Los Angeles as Cole Phelps, an LAPD officer looking to move up the ranks. Many of you are likely excited to see how Team Bondi and Rockstar have teamed up to re-create the postwar city, where beneath all the fame and glamour is a town that is struggling with crime and corruption. L.A. Noire draws heavily from film noir classics during the 1940s and 1950s, and you'll see that not only in the narrative and the visuals, but also in the music. In an e-mail interview, we spoke to Ivan Pavlovich, the soundtrack supervisor at Rockstar games, to get more details about the soundtrack and how the music fits in the game. Rockstar has announced that the official soundtrack will be available on iTunes on May 17, as well as an album that features a collection of six jazz tracks remixed by today's modern DJs. We have an exclusive track to share with you below, so take a listen and let us know what you think!

GameSpot: Could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your role on L.A. Noire's soundtrack?

Ivan Pavlovich: I'm Rockstar Games' soundtrack supervisor. I work with the studios to ensure each game has the ideal score and soundtrack, whether by tracking down and licensing existing songs, or working with artists to create original new music.

GS: What can you tell us about the score for L.A. Noire?

IP: L.A. Noire's score was composed by Andrew Hale (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Getaway, and the band Sade) and recorded at Abbey Road studios in London, made famous by the Beatles. You will also hear jazz greats like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan on the radio as you drive around the city. In addition, we brought in Woody Jackson, who had done such great work for us on the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack, to create extra incidental music and sounds.

GS: What were the inspirations for the soundtrack?

IP: Brendan McNamara, head of Team Bondi, wanted to create something powerful and evocative that could comfortably live alongside the scores to great films--more specifically, the work of composers like Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, and Jerry Goldsmith. Going a little deeper, there are elements of the jazz-fusion sound as heard in work by composers such as Howard Shore and Ornette Coleman or Terence Blanchard.

GS: Do you work closely with the sound team to ensure all the music is integrated with the sound? Or is it separate?

IP: A lot of the time they are very separate kinds of work, and we have a separate team of guys that work on sound design. But ultimately, everything has to fit together perfectly in order to achieve the vibe and atmosphere we're going for. Certain things, like the two-note "clue-finding" sound, are designed to ride above the background score in a noticeable way without breaking the immersion of the game. Another good example is something like engine sounds: the sound design team went to huge lengths to make sure we had the right sounds for the cars of that period, but there's also a lot of detail work to ensure that those sounds then don't compete with the ambient score.

GS: What is it like working with licensed songs as well as original music? How do you balance the two?

IP: Licensed songs often complement an original score and trigger different kinds of responses from a player. You have less flexibility in using a licensed track, but there's often a sense of familiarity that is hard to get from creating new songs from scratch. Also, if you want to be sure that you get the perfect tracks for a game, it can often require spending a little (or a lot) more money. With an original score, it's yours from the beginning, tailored exactly to suit your needs, and will eventually become recognized as unique to the experience of playing that game. The balance is different for every game.

GS: What are some of your favorite tracks?

IP: I love the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan song "Stone Cold Dead in the Market." This will also be remixed by Ticklah for the Verve Remixed album. I like how 40s songs always had a playful, double meaning to their titles, which were related to the type of entertainment popular in those days: "Stone Cold Dead," "Murder He Says," "Pistol Packin' Mama," "I'm Confessin'." Ultimately, they were all about love and heartbreak.

GS: How is the score integrated into the gameplay?

IP: In L.A. Noire, the ambient score functions a little differently to our other games, such as Grand Theft Auto (which relies more on ambient sounds and radio stations for atmosphere) or Red Dead Redemption (which used a dynamic score that rises and falls depending on the action unfolding onscreen). Andrew Hale's score is used across the bulk of the game to evoke the drama of classic noir films, but the transitions between different types of gameplay aren't as rapid as they are in Red Dead Redemption, so we could focus on creating different moods for different kinds of crime scenes and gameplay.

GS: How do you approach individual tracks in the game to set the scene or complement the action?

IP: L.A. Noire uses classic jazz tracks on the car radio, but because of the unique design of the game that takes you from a crime scene to interrogations and then finally to tracking down a perpetrator, we can focus on creating very specific vibes at each point in a case. You will hear different kinds of music at a homicide crime scene, for instance, than that of something from vice. In addition, interrogations have their own recognizable atmosphere, reminding players that they're in for a challenge.

GS: Could you talk about the album L.A. Noire: Remixed and what we can expect from the album and how that was put together?

IP: Verve Recordings has a reputation as one of the most legendary jazz labels of the era, but through their Verve Remixed project, they have managed to reintroduce their incredible lineup of artists to a new audience time and again with great reinterpretations of their vault of classics. In that sense, working with Verve was a perfect fit. L.A. Noire carries on that tradition with surprising takes on classics from Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan.

GS: Any advice for aspiring musicians looking to get into the field?

IP: These days, it has never been easier to get your music out there. Getting financial support for making music is another thing. Make the music because you love it, not because you want to get paid.

GS: Thank you for your time!

Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers and discussions of new or classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below or e-mail us at soundbyte@gamespot.com. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here. Follow us on Twitter! @gs_soundbyte

Discussion

50 comments
Ace77765
Ace77765

Only have one comment about the soundtrack...SOLD!!!. Most of you are enthusiasts from fallout 3 when they put the 40's back into everything modern and futuristic and it was the best thing they've done to games in a long very long time indeed. This will be so amazing and I can't wait until this ships out to me.

jb17011
jb17011

I gotta have more cowbell.

HelloSociety
HelloSociety

@flamewagon agreed! The Charlie Parker Dial sessions took place in Hollywood in 1946 and 47, including the famous "Lover Man" session. He would have probably been in LA during the time frame of this game. I'm interested to see how the period music impacts the story, setting and characters of this game.

hypgnosis
hypgnosis

This song makes me want to slap a (word for female dog) and pound back a gin and tonic 40's style.

jddawg0808
jddawg0808

This game is my dream come true. I hope to see some Mingus on here too

berio2toru
berio2toru

Damn this is going to be mint!!!

Chavis02
Chavis02

Oh Yeah! Music Jazz Here I Come! :D

PS3gamer890
PS3gamer890

I have been waiting four months for this game and i preordered it for xbox cant wait to play it but sucks since it time for examens

pepitko
pepitko

Classy song, it's going to fit the setting very well, well done Rockstar.

Burritocakes
Burritocakes

What the hell, Claudia Brucken wasn't even born until 1963! XD Still a good beat though. :)

ZachBobBob
ZachBobBob

Nothing wrong with a bit of Jazz now and again :D

mikey1611
mikey1611

I love RockStar's new direction. Red Dead Redemption and now, LA Noire.

flamewagon
flamewagon

Nice song, wonder if there will be any Bop in the game. That was huge in 47 with the likes of young Miles, Bird and of course Diz!

magnificent7
magnificent7

Just hearing the beginning part of the song, I had this detective voice over going through my head like Chinatown or even the original Blade Runner. Something like "It all started when..." Can't wait to play this game, as I think it will definitely be one of the best gaming experiences available out there period.

Maysarah_Ru
Maysarah_Ru

what a soooooooooong!!!!!!! very nice

owermars
owermars

@Skargamer Sorry for mistake....... Yeap))) My respect to Team Bondi!... They did a good job and all we need is to wait for this cake!.... =) But Rockstar always will be my favorite!... They can feel and realize the gamers wishes!..... Keep it up guys!....)))

FobusMaximus
FobusMaximus

There is something about hearing great period music in a game that gets me everytime. Can't wait for this.

Skargamer
Skargamer

I gotta ask though, how many discs will this game be spread across on the 360? And will I be able to install it to my HDD should it be more than one disc? Sorry for the double post. :)

Skargamer
Skargamer

@owermars How many times has it been said... Rockstar didn't develop the game man. Team Bondi did. So give them most of the credit. But you gotta admit, R* knows what games it wants to publish. :)

Johny_47
Johny_47

This song 'Guilty' is as they say 'catchy' I look forward to playing this game and hearing the music, it was mostly 'chilled out' and cheery music back then, I like that just like 80's music just with a different 'feel' if you know what I mean(sorry for all the hyphens, hard to explain in words =P).

WhataName2
WhataName2

found it, it looked more like a heading than a link. Being all in grey.

WhataName2
WhataName2

Is it just me, or does n e one else have a problem playing the track? Can't find a link to click on anywhere.

Slykstus
Slykstus

I think that this game will be awesome, but developers can create on pc this game.

markjet23
markjet23

yeah i'm guilty liking this jazz song

KAM10000
KAM10000

This is superb for me. This game got Good songs also in it. This is the reason why people in 1940s were mad of Jazz songs.

rht992
rht992

welcome to jazz club. nice

ali_manslayer
ali_manslayer

@owermars team bondi is developing this game not rockstar, they are only publishing it

owermars
owermars

Rockstar is the best developer!... This game will be awesome!..... I just sure about it and can't wait to play........ =)

Ggarzona
Ggarzona

This shows how big companies like rockstar can deliver great original content and detail like this amazing song into games if they want to!!! i mean, rockstar allways have got quality content in their games, and it's a good example for other companies (pay atention activision, EA, etc.) to create something fresh and new even from scratch!!! If this is just a taste of the great content in the game, i really can't wait to get my hands on it, already pre-ordered it and will be first in line on the 17th to pick it up!

syam32245340
syam32245340

"Make the music because you love it, not because you want to get paid. " Nice one :D

heydudes
heydudes

@Deathraiderut2k the game takes place in the 40s not the 60s..

XeonForce
XeonForce

Wow, sounds very authentic and creative. I'm glad they decided to make an original soundtrack instead of just licensing songs from the 40's. The 17th can't get here soon enough!

Travis_Odell
Travis_Odell

Can't wait to play this on Xbox360, damn i wish i had a ps3 just for this game though.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Sounding great, can't wait to pick this game up

DeathRaiderut2k
DeathRaiderut2k

well not my type of music, but im sure the music cant be heavy metal for a game taking place in the 60's. but if this is the kind a music for the game im sure it will work great, really excited cant wait ROCKSTAR games rules!

cyborg21s
cyborg21s

Just finished listening to "Guilty" and I have to say I enjoyed it. L.A. Noire is going to be great and the soundtrack seems like it's on the right track to adding to this games greatness.

GATX131Calamity
GATX131Calamity

Very much looking forward to this soundtrack and this game. I've been really into jazz lately, so this is perfect! Can't wait for the 17th. Definitely on my must buy list of albums!

jacheat
jacheat

Great work Sophia I am so jazzed up for this game!

godofwar1229
godofwar1229

i can't wait for the game or to hear the music

23Jarek23
23Jarek23

Should have asked if you could change radio stations.

MrGoldfish1
MrGoldfish1

I wounder if they were talking about more modern music when they said the new scores would fit the atmosphere. I'm thinking of some fast paced music James Bond music for a car chase.