Remember Me has been one of my favourite games of 2013 and I’ve been playing extra slowly to make sure I soak up the atmosphere. To help craft that world Olivier Deriviere has sculpted a masterpiece of a soundtrack that combines old and new, traditional and technology to magical effect.
Opening with “Nilin the Memory Hunter” you are immediately immersed into the clash. You have an entire Philharmonic Orchestra crafting epic string and bass sections that have heavy sci-fi synths weaving through them. It also introduces you to the remixing of time as the notes flick back and forth like a skipping record or a computer crashing and freezing on certain notes. When this is an orchestra and synth combination the effect makes for an off kilter but frankly original and startling score. The scope just on this single track is astounding and sets up the soundtrack perfectly.
“Rise to the Light” has an angelic ethereal quality as the slightly detuned main synth voice doesn’t quite sit perfectly with the strings and creates an eerie side to the beauty. It then envelopes into a Philip Glass soundscape that washes over you in all its glory. “Still Human” feels like a broken waltz in places but its solemn and unsure limping forward makes the track all that more emotional when it slides into its climactic ending. “Fragments” on the other hand goes for electronic over organic as vocalised samples are bent and distorted over a heavily compressed and condensed bass line and flickering guitar samples.
“Neo Paris” has a magical manic feel to its flowing strings and brass much like a Tim Burton film. There’s evil and a slight bend in the notes to indicate all is wonderful but not quite all well. It then slips into frenzied string stabs that are reversed, forwarded, phased and ripped through an audio grinder. It’s an assault on the senses and I loved every second of it. “The Enforcers” twists things back into a steampunk distortion rock piece as various instruments phase in and out over a grim and oppressive rock beat. It feels dirty and metallic – something you’d get in Devil May Cry. “Chase Through Montmartre” takes the main themes and weaves them into a more tense version of the melody that when it gets going allows Olivier to really go wild with the chopping and changing of sounds and volumes of instruments. It sounds so fresh and unique yet has all the passion of the music in buckets.
“Memory Reconstruction” takes the record skipping style to a more sedate track although by sedate I mean not completely freaking out. There’s an undercurrent of tension in the dramatic strings but the long bass notes bleed over the top of them. It still holds some of the quietest moments on what is a very dramatic soundtrack. “The Fight” takes pitch bending to the extreme as it warps and twists the dramatic brass stabs in between the full orchestra melodies like you’re powering down for the evening. Along with a great use of the vocoder and a sample of a modem dial-up being fused into the melodies, this track is absolutely mind-blowing. “Our Parents” wisely takes the quietest and most straight forward track on the album – a lone horn player and some very regal string work that provides a welcome break from all the pyrotechnics and has a beautiful melody to it. There’s something French about it without pointing directly to it.
“Memorize” has an epic vibe to it because it takes great strides in-between the pulsating beats and timpani hits. It wastes no time building and evolving from a stomper to a more frenzied track by the end – constantly bringing in new sounds and electronics. This prepared you for “The Ego Room” which is a magnificent juxtaposition of serenity in the choir like vocals and strings against the harsh and cold drum and bass electronica. It hurtled along at a real pace and is one of the more creepy tracks on the soundtrack. “Remember Your Childhood” has a general lack of low end on the orchestra and that makes it a more emotive track as the strings flurry and fluff around the twinkling cymbal hisses and quite synths.
“The Zorn” rips you away from the beauty into the dramatic, gritty, dank world of distorted orchestras and twisted percussion. One of the best ways I can describe the percussion used in the soundtrack is take Bjork’s Vespertine music and then make all the little percussive blips angry and fierce. Combined with epic orchestrations, you have a superb track. “Hope” then closes out the album with some uplifting beauty among the cautious tale that’s been weaved.
Put simply Olivier Deriviere’s “Remember Me” soundtrack is a masterpiece. Easily in the running for soundtrack of the year and soundtrack of the generation – I was blown away with the complexity and originality of it, as well as the emotion that runs at full speed throughout. If “Journey” was your introverted gaming bliss, this is your extrovert.