Sound Byte: Journey
Composer Austin Wintory shares a live performance of "Woven Variations" from Thatgamecompany's Journey.
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If you've played the beta, then you may already know the importance of sound and music in the beautiful sand-filled world of Journey. We'll have a more in-depth interview with composer Austin Wintory when we get closer to the still TBD release date, but for now, we have a musical performance to share and a few words from Wintory about the game, the performance, and his next projects. As always, leave your feedback below and follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates.
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GameSpot: Could you tell us about the recording of "Woven Variations" from the upcoming game Journey?
Austin Wintory: This recording is of a live performance done at a game music concert back in April. The orchestra is the Golden State Pops, playing in their home theater, the Warner Grand. They're the same orchestra who plays LA's Video Games Live concerts, and so this was their personal version for their home audience in San Pedro (which is a suburb on the south side of LA). I had performed with them before when I did "The World of flOw," an orchestral reinterpretation of my otherwise totally electronic flOw score: click here.
They're a really passionate and wonderful orchestra. And of course this performance features one of my favorite musicians of all time, Tina Guo. She is a cellist of the highest caliber, and heavily featured in many of my scores but especially Journey. The performance that night was a really special experience. The orchestra played at the top of their game, as did Tina, and most all of Thatgamecompany was in the audience. One of my life's highlights for sure, to share that performance with those people who I consider my heroes.
GS: Many composers will try to capture the mood and emotion in a game, and Journey provides plenty of that. When the storytelling is so abstract, do you find that it is easier or harder to work on a project like Journey?
AW: Honestly, I'm not sure if it's easier or harder. It's just different. I do films too, and so storytelling in some sort of abstract, parallel way is always part of it to a degree. Journey definitely takes that to a new level though. On the one hand it's harder because it places a lot of pressure on me. At the same time, it's very liberating because I'm basically just writing music that resonates along the same lines, and considering how much I love the game and am a fan of Thatgamecompany, that's really quite easy! So yeah, it's mainly just different from a "normal" job.
GS: How was your experience with Journey?
AW: I think I inadvertently answered that above, but in short it's been one of the greatest experiences of my career. Great game and great team…but we're not done yet, so stay tuned!
GS: We'll talk again before the game comes out, but what else are you working on in the meantime?
AW: This Sunday (July 31) I'm going to be conducting a choral concert featuring the very best of LA's singers (almost all of whom are full-time singers with the LA Master Chorale), plus a handful of noteworthy instrumental soloists. The concert consists of film, video game, and concert music such as Gerard Marino's God of War 2 theme "The End Begins," Chris Tin's "Baba Yetu," already a staple of video game concerts, plus a special solo piano performance of Garry Schyman's "Cohen's Scherzo" from BioShock. From films we'll be excerpting from John Williams and Danny Elfman, and in the classical realm some Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, plus two world premieres by colleagues of mine. And of course there will be snippets of Journey, though in totally reinterpreted ways. And what's more, 100 percent of the ticket sales are going to my nonprofit, Education Through Music (www.etmla.org). I'm very excited for it!
GS: That sounds great! Have fun, and we'll talk again soon.
Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music and audio in games, including interviews with top game music composers and sound designers, as well as discussions of new or classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below or e-mail us at email@example.com. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here.