04.03.20

Words by: Felicity Martin

The 10 Best Video Game Music Compositions, according to Brame & Hamo

"It's a breaky bomb!"

Music has always played a pivotal role in the video game experience. Whether it’s The Sims’ plinky Build Mode piano tracks or Nintendo’s 8-bit classics, we’ve developed intrinsic relationships with the soundtracks to our favourite games. Diehard fans of the video game composition format are Brame & Hamo. Hailing from Silgo but based in Berlin, the duo have been providing huge electronic anthems since 2014, charting a sharp rise that sees the pair now at the helm of a No Strangers residency at Dublin’s Wigwam, after dropping key releases on the likes of Counter Records, Feel My Bicep and Ellum.

The long-term friends cite the stirring cinematic scores and atmospheric soundtracks that have registered in their brains. “We choose this list as between us both we have spent countless hours playing video games,” Brame & Hamo say. “Game music in general is background music that sets the tone for the environment and generally goes unnoticed by the player, but there are some gems if you keep an ear out. There are so many great composers here on the list and some of the tracks are even playable in a set. A lot of game music doesn’t follow the typical arrangement rules so expect it to be built like a game level each with different sections. Here is some of our favourite stuff we have come across.”

1. Neils van der Leest (ft. Circle Percussion) – ‘To The Hunt’ (from Horizon Zero Dawn)

“Think this is a great song to start the list. This game can easily clock in at 50hrs and the whole vibe of the game, visuals and audio are stunning. It’s an epic composition of bongos/congas and dark synth atmospheres, well suited for any intro to a high energy techno set.”

2. Jesper Kyd – ‘Slaughter Club’ (from Hitman Contracts)

“So this is easily one of our favourite games composers. The atmosphere he created for the Hitman games are amazing. This track played throughout quite and intense fetish party in the level set in Romania. It’s a breaky bomb! For the less patient listeners, skip to 1:40 and get ready for a treat.”

3. Matt Furniss – Holocaust (from The Terminator)

“This is one of our favourites. Lovely hi-NRG sounds off this. Really energetic opener music from the first level of The Terminator on Sega Mega Drive.”

4. Masato Nakamura – ‘Green Hill Zone’ (from Sonic The Hedgehog)

“An absolute classic. Up, down, left, right A + start together for life.”

5. Naofumi Hataya/Tohru Nakabayashi/You Takada – ‘Old Map’ (from Golden Axe)

“This one is pure nostalgia. The soundtrack for Golden Axe is a classic and was recently reissued on vinyl. ‘Old Map’ is the one that stands out to us. Lo-fi hip-hop vibes all over it.”

6. Solar Fields – ‘Edge Flight’ (from Mirrors Edge)

“With this game requiring such high energy elements, ambient producer Solar Fields did such a great job of providing some high octane stuff, with the necessary slow atmospheric sections. He has been making amazing music over the last 20 years and the developer made a great choice here.”

7. Brian Tyler – ‘Bad Trip’ (from Far Cry 3)

“This was such a cool moment in the game, the player eats some mushrooms in a cave and has some heavy hallucinations while trying to escape. Brian Tyler makes it into and IDM journey.”

8. Michael McCann – ‘Harvesters’ (from Deus Ex: Human Revolution)

“The sci-fi genre can really be explored way more in depth in a game than a movie. This series is one that defined it for gaming. Michael McCann made so much tension and energy here. That vocal and overdriven lead combined together make for an epic goosebump moment.”

9. Yoko Shimomura – ‘Dive Into The Heart’ (from Kingdom Hearts)

“The Kingdom Hearts OST is beautiful. This track is an intense journey of choir chords and strings that varies in levels of tension and dissonance. The apex when these lovely fast horn/wind melodies come in.”

10. Jonathan Colling – ‘Theme’ (from Colin McRae Rally 3)

Colin McRae Rally 3 had a fantastic soundtrack. The main menu theme stuck out to us mostly… As one YouTuber commented, ‘Huge ‘Star Guitar’ vibes from it.’ Such a bomb.”

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