Today I've got a special surprise for you all - a guest post from our talented composer and music producer Yuval Levi, who'll share his notes from working on our new Retropolis game. So without further ado - here's Yuval. The Sound of Retropolis - Composer’s Log
Hello dear players, this is Yuval, the studio’s composer. Some of you have asked about when the Retropolis 2 soundtrack will be released. Well, here it is.
I’m very flattered by the love our music receives from you and feel privileged to be asked to write about the making of the soundtrack.
Truth I've learned; the making of the music itself is only half the job. Sometimes, it’s even the easier half, as difficult as it is. Learning the piece you compose for is the real coconut shell.
I think that the consensus of music in visual drama is to strengthen the emotions aroused by the picture and help manipulate our expectations of the plot and empathy for the characters, or lack thereof.
Also, in my view, the role of soundtrack is to be an additional dimension of aesthetics, which helps to reveal the real essence of the piece, like a “sonic concept art”.
For example, it's important that the music brings out the emotional state and inner world of Philip Log, but it's also crucial to create the context in which he exists. How would Philip Log exist if the world wouldn't?
It is not a coincidence that the Retropolis franchise sets a robotic civilization in a film noir-style society. It consistently deals with strong human emotions and the question of free will as an individual and society. This, I believe, is the core concept of Retropolis. The Director did not tell me any of this, but it’s my job as a composer to address these patterns and highlight them.
The Jazz elements of the music represent the daily emotional human-like aspect of the city’s consciousness, while the electronic elements represent the hive-minded machine side of it.
To represent the more dramatic human experiences, I went for classical film scoring, inspired by the Hollywood golden age of cinema. The reason for this is that the residents of Retropolis are obsessed with cinema. It is a drug for the mob, in which, unlike their indulgence with drinks and smokes, makes them feel for a time as if they master their own will. That they are more than cogs of a machine.
This sonic palette is used mainly from the end of the prologue, and onwards. The reason for this is that this aspect, while present in the prologue, becomes more important as the franchise progresses, in a very interesting way. I won’t spoil anything; you have to play to find out!
These are only a few examples of the depth of Retropolis. There are also other brilliant themes, like how the robots are the ghosts and legacy of humanity or the responsibility of the power over nostalgia. Retropolis 2 is a truly brilliant game, and I am honored to be a part of it.
So, to conclude my point: The 'sonic concept art' side of the soundtrack does not come directly from the script or visual art but from the same source as those, adding an additional layer that highlights the core of the art. The script and concept art dive in first, though, making the composer’s job much easier.
I’d also like to point out that the main source of inspiration is the studio itself. Working with the extremely talented crew is nothing less than a dream and a privilege. Every single note of the Retropolis soundtrack comes from the spirits of these people.
Thank you very much for reading!
Live long and prosper 🖖