Sometimes it takes a few listens for a piece of music to sink in. For you to truly appreciate it. This is especially true if something is a bit more abstract, purposefully missing a hook or if more of an ambient piece. Robyn Miller has a tendency to release game soundtracks that require a lot of repeat listens to “get” and Obduction for me is no exception.
A sibling in many ways to the Myst scores he has previously been involved in, Obduction is a sci-fi ambient collection full of metallic twangs, tight strings, mysterious piano and muffled timpanis. The opener “Not Worth the Wistful Sentimentality of this Moment” lays out much of the soundtracks foundations in the opening three minutes. From there a collection of tracks takes snippets of that track and expands upon it. The creepy “Welcome Music” harks back to b-movie classics with high tension strings whilst personal favourite “Caroline Farley” is a gentle and melancholy piano number does little to sooth you and makes you feel a little uneasy.
Elsewhere more electronic numbers create the sense of loss and lost. “Completing Your Task” feels militant but isolated and I appreciate the big drums and bent strings. Percussion is a theme throughout with the excellent “Mutated Clockwork” being a melodic percussive march into darkness whilst “Stepping Over Bones” lets the bass note of a piano become just as much the driving drum as the timpani itself. When added to the more experimental tracks like the buzzing “Hive”, the jazzy closer “Post Game Tristesse” and some of the more brooding bass guitar led tracks you have a really varied and intricate soundtrack.
It is however a soundtrack that I appreciate at a technical level currently more than I appreciate from a melodic and enjoyment perspective – and this is how I ALWAYS seem to be with Miller’s work. Over time, I slowly find a thread and work my way in. Myst was the same, Riven even more so. Eventually it clicks but it will take time. So my recommendation comes with a tale of patience. If this doesn’t get you on first listen – pop it away and come back to it at a quiet time and give it a second whirl. Each listen opens more up to you and it becomes more enjoyable the more you return. Funny thing music isn’t it?
Recommended track : “Completing Your Task”