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scntfc – Gibbon: Beyond the Trees Soundtrack Review

A wonderfully lush collection of tuned percussion rhythms to swing to.

What does scntfc sound like?

scntfc is a video game soundtrack composer, often playing with a heavy cinematic synth feel, but this time things are different.

The review of scntfc – Gibbon: Beyond the Trees Soundtrack

If I could describe the Gibbon: Beyond the Trees Soundtrack in two words it would be Melodic Percussion. Everything about the soundtrack is built around the idea of tuned bells, marimbas, mbiras, tongue drums and gamelans. scntfc uses all these instruments and many more to build up momentum to each track and make it vibrant and full of life.

It’s quite difficult to call about specific hooks and motifs across the 55 minutes of sublime music but there are plenty of them about. Whether its the curious and mysterious shuffles of “Embers” that trickles away like tippytoes or the more dynamic and pizzicato attack of “Lion’s Den” – the melody is always there. It’s just often the pulse of the music takes centre stage as everything follows a meticulous beat. You’ll have the xylophone plinking away over kickdrums and rustic snares to begin with. Then some wooden percussion giving a secondary trill will be added over the top, or smaller toy or tiny percussion is amplified for a third layer of rhythm. Then you’ll get a swell of strings or folk instruments over the top. It makes tracks like “Home”, “New World” and “Reunited” blossom out with heart and gusto.

With all these tiny motifs and movements working in unison, scntfc crafts track after track of cinematic triumphs. The downcast “Endangered” swings from frantic to pangs of pain and anguish through strings, piano and odd percussion alone. “Fire of Man” moves from the melodic to the mechanical and back again, making the music feel sterner by hardening the mallets and removing the reverb for bells to up the tension. Then you have the playful “Liberation” with funky electric piano, childlike wooden blocks and tin whistles having a blast. It’s a lovely note to end on as the soundtrack has an underlying tension to its melodies and rhythms that totally dissipate here.

If you have even the slightest love for tuned percussion, South American and Southeast Asian inspired instrumentation, Gibbon: Beyond the Trees is an album for you to enjoy. The music works as a standalone story without the game (although it works fantastically with it too) and scntfc has done an excellent job merging the traditional with the cinematic. One of my favourite tuned percussion soundtracks since Papo and Yo.

Recommended track: Home

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scntfc - Gibbon: Beyond the Trees Soundtrack

8.5

8.5/10

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