Delightfully bombastic, Fossil Hunters’ game soundtrack is distilled into two very distinct sections that each evoke a sense of wonder, excitement, hope and intrigue. The first half consists of sweeping orchestral scores from Robby Duguay, the second half piano arrangements of those tracks by Trevor Allan Gomes. Both are excellent in their own way.
The “Fossil Hunters Main Theme” reminds me of Indiana Jones trapped in a Dragon Quest game with proud brass arrangements saluting all kinds of joy at its arrival. It’s not a militant brass and string arrangement, it’s got guts and emotion in it, and so it evokes a sense of wonder with each line. The flipside see’s “The Lab” as a place of solace with tuned percussion abound making a relaxed Maxis like tick-tocking as you tinker away. It’s one of the tracks you may not notice the first time around but the sympathetic woodwind makes it stand out. “Digsite” has an Eastern quirky snake charm to it with its playful bass and percussive side. Its richness played out by the Bulgarian Scoring Symphonic Orchestra is its strength, which carries through into “Fungi” with has a glistening jazz feel behind the initial arrangements. What I appreciate with these tracks is that the orchestra is really restrained – it doesn’t need to have huge swells at every moment – it’s about the constant evolving of motifs that feel like your discovering new music as you discover new depths. “Fire and Fauna” is a laid-back mysterious brooder which when paired with “Regolith” and that tracks airier, carefree and positive approach, makes both play out beautifully. The latter track ends with a solemn brass solo like you’re placing your flag in the Earth and having a quiet moment – completely the opposite to what the main theme may have lured you into.
Trevor Alan Gomes provides lovely piano renditions of all the tracks bar “The Lab” and each arrangement translates over beautifully. Everyone on the site knows I’m a sucker for a piano collection of game music and this works really well and stay very faithful to the source material. My particular standouts are the melancholy “Fungi” and the truly tear-inducing delicacy of “Regolith”. Between these selections is the hilariously out of place “Elevator” – a one minute interlude of elevator music. It’s there in all its glory with dodgy organs, cheesy electric piano and a radio speaker sound that sounds piped in. It’s easily one of the best inventions for making something a blatant side A/side B.
Fossil Hunters’ soundtrack is one of percussive and melodic intrigue. Robby Duguay has crafted a restrained and cavernous soundtrack that doesn’t need, or want, to scream in your face. This is all about the atmosphere of burrowing deep and this soundtrack has it in spades and with a piano collection to boot.
Recommended track: Fungi
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