As we’re in Ori and the Will of the Wisps rejoicing mood (but also self-isolating), we’re revelling in its outstanding soundtrack by Gareth Coker.
Consider this part of our self-isolating kit. This soundtrack, at three hours plus, is a bloody masterpiece. That’s the complete thing right there.
We’ve covered it before—video game music has come a long way. And we often, in our game reviews, take time out to highlight a great soundtrack.
Coker’s music is so integral to the Ori experience it feels an active part of the world as you play along.
Reacting in real-time, becoming part of your emotional state of mind.
He views it as storytelling through music. In the way Mozart and his ilk did with operas of yesteryear.
The British composer lives in LA these days. He was also responsible for the soundtrack to Ori and the Blind Forest—the game he’s talking about there.
Of his style of composition, gareth-coker.net states:
"Gareth has developed a compositional style focusing on memorable, melodically-driven themes and motifs, combined with unique, and unconventional soundscapes. This approach, and his ability to apply it in a way that always serves to enhance the story earned him the attention of Moon Studios, which led to a highly successful collaboration on the acclaimed game Ori and the Blind Forest, released in March 2015 and reviewed as one of the highest rated games on Xbox One."
Certainly, it’s one of the most unusual soundtracks we’ve ever come across. But in a fantastic way. Charming and unique.
It makes us think of another great video game composer—David Wise. His use of sprawling, emotive themes really engage you into the gaming experience.
Over 100 ppl involved in the making of this. Will highlight talent this coming week. I’m very happy to have been given the opportunity to compose in this world again. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/0AOyqFDhwf
— Gareth Coker (@garethcoker) March 10, 2020
Since the game’s release earlier this month, he’s spent his time championing the various musicians who helped create his musical world.
And the great news is you can also get the whole soundtrack on a variety of platforms. At a cost, or free on YouTube.
If you’re not going to play it, the music is still more than worthy of your collection. Here’s a personal favourite—Dashing and Bashing.
The range of the soundtrack is impressive. It’s at times dramatic, melancholic, and uplifting.
Sanctuary in the Glades is a particularly highlight. A haven in the game that takes you away from the violent and oppressive world around you.
We didn’t highlight enough in our review that the Ori games aren’t twee romp alongs.
The story is pretty devastating, if ultimately uplifting, and the themes of death, anger, destruction, and disorder rage throughout.
It’s also capable of being frightening. The Shadows of Mouldwood section of the map is so intense we were holding our breath for large chunks of it.
Eerie whispering noises accompany the dark, bleak region. Its doom-laden music haunting your every step.
In the game, if you make the slightest error in Shadows of Mouldwood you will die suddenly—swallowed up by the threatening shadows.
Of course, have a listen to the whole soundtrack to find personal favourites. There’s three hours of brilliant music there.
But we’ll end on this shimmering end piece from the equally shimmering Luma Pools—once of the most vibrant parts of the Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
It’s quite the game! An remarkable experience in many respects.
And it’s the soundtrack that unquestionably helps to take it to such a level. All hail, Mr. Coker, may you receive many more projects in the years ahead.