Last time we spoke to Winifred Phillips she dangled a carrot over a possible secret EA project – well that carrot has blossomed into the wonderfully theatrical Spore Hero OST. The 18 soundtrack is out now and it’s a charming collection of music.
Opening with “Spore Hero Main Theme”, the mood is set with a playful, inquisitive but fully fleshed piece which is instantly listenable and ever evolving whilst not really having a big hook to keep you held. It’s the comical bumbling bass line that does it for me. “Home World” is rich with strings and tuned percussion. The way how it sways from warmth to potential troubled waters and then back again.
“Haven” is where the soundtrack really starts to stretch its legs. The theme is beautifully choreographed and effortlessly envelopes you into its various states of being. One thing that Winifred is able to do is to seemlessly blend all kinds of sensations and feelings into one piece. “Haven” is a perfect demonstration of a fantastic song that doesn’t sit still and has the cutest of embellishments.
“Sporeable” is dramatic in a cartoon fashion. You could just imagine Tom & Jerry playing out a chase with this music overlaid. It’s very cinematic in its tone and scope. “Sporaging” is similar in feel but with more pace and gusto. There’s a nice galloping beat in the second half that really pushes things forward.
“Spore Zone” is a beautiful six minute symphonic suite that combined with electronics and an eastern fusion set the tone for a quirky but atmospheric piece. I especially like how the drums sound like an animal walking through grass. The whole track has a moonlight feel to it too.
“Monster Mayhem” is the first fully fledged ‘battle’ track in the loosest of terms. The brass and timpani really give a great sense of urgency and demise yet the woodwind still keeps everything under a certain umbrella of quirky cartoon sound that the soundtrack carries through as a whole.
“Sporexplore” is a great mood track. It’s got the bumbling animal feel down to a fine art due to the fantastic use of tuned percussion and various instruments from different corners of the globe. The use of instruments from different countries is something that Phillips has really integrated perfectly. “Beast Brawl” is another action packed track that sounds like it should be on Yasunori Mitsuda’s “Box Garden” soundtrack. Anyone that uses a jew’s harp on a dramatic track gets my vote!
“Wanderment” is full of lush sweeping string sections interspersed with more pensive sections and Irish undertones of whistles and horns. This is the majestic track of the album. “Sporeward” is a more mystical track with an ethereal background that shimmers to the foreground in the latter part of the track. It’s strangely compelling to listen to on repeat and has become a favourite of mine from the soundtrack. It just has an understated beauty to it.
“Creepy Things” is no horror. In fact the track is just as much playful as it is pumpkin scary. It reminds me of the PS1 Medieval games scores – very cinematic and children friendly thus its full of charm and oozes a quirky personality. The harp deserves a special mention on this track. “Evolvable” which really needs to be put in the dictionary as a new word from…now… is a great track. It’s full of twists, turns and dramas. Nothing is left out of this track and the whole musical kitchen sink is thrown in and its all the better for it.
“Sporeabilities” is a warming track with lots of wood blocks, marimba’s and Irish flutes it leads nicely into “Nemesis” which is and out and out battle track. The orchestration here is superb as it really bounds out everything with big stabs of brass and bass. Your blood will be bumping at 130bpm by the end of the track. “Critters” then gives you a breather with a spacious track with the wobbliest bass line I’ve heard in ages.
This then leads into “Spore War” which is completely different to the rest of the soundtrack. This track stands out with its electric guitar undertones and choral samples layering what is already a fully fleshed string and bass accompaniment. It more of a battle cry to rouse you up and get fighting – a fantastic track. The soundtrack closes with “Hero Theme” which is a militant style track but with hooks a plenty and all the brass you can shake a conductors wand at. It has a large scale to it that really pays off and sees you finishing the soundtrack ready for another go.
Winifred Phillips is great at crating soundtracks that are more like cinematic scores than game scores. “Spore Hero” falls firmly into the cinematic animation category. It has charm by the bucket load and some really interesting uses of world instruments and tuned percussion. The battle tracks are really something special and there some great clumsy comical tracks here too. Winifred Phillips continues to blur the line between cinematic scores and computer game soundtracks and does it with aplomb with “Spore Hero”!