I Love That Song! by Mike Ibarra

I Love That Song - A Journey with Austin Wintory

I Love That Song - A Journey with Austin Wintory


"Furious Filaments" by Austin Wintory

 

You won’t stop believing how amazingly great this guy is.

So the Grammys passed recently, and if you have not been paying attention to gaming news, the soundtrack for the Sony’s best title of 2012, Journey, was nominated for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. For many years, video game music aficionados have wanted to see something like this to happen for many years and now we thank Austin Wintory for it.

Granted, Christopher Tin already made it possible with “Baba Yetu” a few years back, but that was because it appeared in his album and not for being the main theme for Civilization IV. Still a great feat to be nominated AND win a Grammy, but now Austin Wintory has the opportunity for people to notice how great video game music can be!

And Austin has great merits behind his nomination. He has worked on many soundtracks throughout the years. His curriculum includes fl0w, Horn, The Banner Saga (to be released this year) and other games. He has also worked on independent or international movies like Grace and Captain Abu Raed, this last one was shortlisted for a nomination for an Academy Award! He has been praised by many experts and has won many awards, but never a big award like an Oscar or a Grammy.

But is the hype true? Not to say I was not a believer of Austin’s talents, but is his work truly great? And after all, I have not listened to his music before, not even Journey’s soundtrack to be honest. So I did not know anything about him or his music before the writing of this article (other than he was nominated for a Grammy), but I think it helped me judge his music in a non-biased way.

Now, I would review the Journey soundtrack (some of you have asked for it) but again for the same reason, I think I am not able to do so. But this pretty much gives us a reason to check out his other stuff, and that is what I did.

The album that caught my attention was “Spirit of the Cosmos”, mostly because it wasn’t from a soundtrack and it was a full length album. And so, I started with the first track called “Furious Filaments”. If I can describe what I felt when I heard that song, I would say that it BLEW me away. Seriously, I was at awe when finished listening to it. I could not believe how amazingly good it was. I can feel the passion that went through making this song. It starts out slow but quickly starts gaining some pace and turns into a truly epic piece. And that is how most of the song is, slow at times but turns the intensity up a notch to get it going, but it never feels repetitive nor does it get boring.

I just could imagine this song being in the climax of any film or game and fitting in perfectly. Many images and scenes went through my mind while listening to this song over and over again, I felt in love with it. And what surprised me the most is that this album was made while he was still in High School!

He may call this album “cheesy” and “derivative”, and I may agree with that. It is not something that I have not heard before, and some of the songs are not really that special, but that does NOT make it a bad album at all. If you can captivate someone and make them feel emotions so strong for something, then I say that it served its purpose.

If he showed that much talent at that age, I now can see why so many people praise Austin Wintory’s stuff. Not to mention that he has won so many awards in the past few months for Journey’s soundtrack. So I think he has a really great chance to win the Grammy and I seriously hope he does. Though it will not be easy since there are competitors like “The Dark Knight Rises” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, but being the first video game soundtrack to ever be nominated for a Grammy is already a big accomplishment for both video game music and Austin Wintory alike. And hopefully it will not be the last either for both.

If you want to check out more of Austin Wintory’s music, go to his Bandcamp page at http://austinwintory.bandcamp.com/. Some of the albums are “Pay what you want” and part of the earnings from each album goes to Education Through Music - Los Angeles (www.etmla.org), so I totally suggest giving some money, it is for a good cause.  The Journey soundtrack is also available on iTunes and other websites too. Also check out http://austinwintory.com/ for news on future works and concerts with Video Games LIVE!

Well, that is all for now on ILTS. Opinions, like always, are welcome and of course suggestions for future articles. You can either leave a message in the comments section below or head out to the requests thread too.

Until next time, keep on achievin’!

Mike “deft” Ibarra is a staff writer for the VOG Network. You can follow him over at Twitter at @act_deft

I Love That Song! by - 2/28/2013 6:18 PM474 views

Comments

TigerClaw
TigerClaw
3/1/2013 9:13 AM

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We will be seeing more Video Game Composers get nominated for a Grammy in the years to come. We have reach to a point where Video Game Music, No longer sounds like Video Game Music. They are beginning to sound more like Music that you normally hear composed in a movie, And that's a great thing. It helps bring out the emotion in the Games.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
3/1/2013 9:28 AM

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Great article, and it was too bad he didn't win but that was some tough competition.
Of course, myself knowing nothing about music, I thought the track you chose to feature was amazing and not cheesy or derivative.
You really should make an effort to play Journey. I know you don't have a PS3, but if you have a friend who does, it only takes 2 hours to play through and is so worth it. The music really stays with you, especially the climatic track Apotheosis.
act_deft
act_deft
3/1/2013 9:59 AM

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Well, the "cheesy and derivative" comment comes from Austin Wintory himself. And yeah, I am not a musical expert myself but I do stand by my point made in the article (I even told Austin Wintory that on Twitter when writing this article).

As for me playing Journey, I'll try to get a PS3 and play it. But right now, it's not a priority (money and time-wise) for me.

And thanks for the props =)
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
3/1/2013 10:12 AM

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Oh yeah, you shouldn't have to buy a PS3 just to play a 2-hour game, but I just thought you might know somebody that had one. If you are ever in the Sacramento area, let me know. :P
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