Nabeel Ansari hadn’t composed a game soundtrack before composing ‘Sole’. You’d never have known. This tender and mysterious collection of ethereal orchestrations are rich and full of life.
The Way Nabeel balances beauty and mystery is what defines the soundtrack for me. Take ‘Time Still Grows’ for example. The woodwind and strings play out a slow and gentle melody. Meanwhile the piano, ambient effects and a secondary string section shimmer and quiver – alluding to untold thoughts in the shadows. This duality of light and dark personifies almost every track.
The entire album is produced with a distance to it. The strings, bass flute and oboe have an echo to them and the entire soundtrack is quiet. Ansari then moves all the small detailed atmospherics to the front of the mix. You’ll be hearing the sombre but meditative mood of the main melody and then a piano furl will trickle down right in your ear. It is so unusual but very impactful. As a result, this is a soundtrack that I don’t really feel works reviewing it track by track. ‘Sole’ is all about creating intricate ambience and then feeling it slide and trickle from track to track.
That being said there are a couple of tracks that really stand out. As the soundtrack continues other instruments join in such as harps and mallet, choirs and lots of chimes. ‘Memories Passing By’ is a playful piano-led flurry that really stands out. ‘The Answer Is Me’ also takes cues from Austin Wintory’s work on Abzu too. Intact fans of the Journey/Abzu style of orchestration will love ‘Sole’ too. There are some great dark sections too. ‘Faith Gone Betrayed’ sounds like a lost 4AD record from their gothic prime.
Nabeel Ansari has created such an intriguing soundtrack with ‘Sole’. Its unusual recording makes it stand out as an oddity but it’s melodies and feeling cement it is a beautiful work of art. Not bad at all for a debut! We have an exciting new composer in the game music world.
Recommended track – Memories Passing By
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