Music Monday: Limbo
Fall is here and even in some warmer places signs of the changing season are apparent. Days are darker and progressively colder. Plus, we’re only 2 days away from everyone’s favorite day of ghoulish fun, Halloween. What better time than this to listen to and appreciate the soundtrack to a game befitting of this time of year? Take a listen to the haunting, ambient score of Danish game company Playdead‘s first and highly successful title, Limbo.
For those unfamiliar, Limbo is an puzzle-platforming game where the player controls and unnamed boy as he searches for his sister. Sounds straight-forward enough, but this haunting game is anything but. The art style is monochromatic, using only black and white. The use of film grain and sharp lighting contrasts reminds one of film noir or silent German expressionist cinema. When players fail to solve puzzles correctly, they see the boy die gruesome deaths including dismemberment and hanging. Depending on your perspective, the game’s art style either softens the violence or makes it much more menacing.
The music was composed by Martin Stig Andersen, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark. The style is ambient in nature, belonging to its own sub category called acousmatic music. It’s a highly unconventional form of music creation that is generated from sounds that have no visual source? Sounds abstract, doesn’t it? But it’s this strange composition style that makes its soundtrack standapart from your typical game scores or even popular music. However, some parallels can be drawn. “Menu” sounds like a cousin of the Radiohead track “Treefingers” from Kid A and “Rotating Room” could at times be right at home on a Nine Inch Nails album. This ethereal music is a perfect marriage to the highly stylized art of this game. Play this game with the sound cranked up on Halloween night–just don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to look over your shoulder and close the blinds just a little bit tighter.
What do you think of Limbo and its soundtrack? Is there a game you’d like to see featured in a Music Monday article? Let us know in the comments!