12 times jazz bopped into video games (part 2)

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“Main Theme” by Andrew Hale from L.A. Noire

Style: Cool jazz, 1940s film noir scores

Influences: Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Miles Davis

Fans of games should cry out for big-budget period video games. Yes, we’ve been spoiled by Mafia 3, Red Dead Redemption, and L.A. Noire, etc… However, as far as game music can go, it is wonderful to see more composers getting the budget to explore diverse instrumentation and genres rather than stick to bombastic sci-fi fare or Hollywood-ised fantasy.

Andrew Hale, Woody Jackson, and Simon Hale’s score for L.A. Noire wears its influences on its sleeve, tastefully pinching from scores to various 1940s films like those by Alfred Hitchcock and a rhttps://danielolsen.bandcamp.com/track/alpha-beta-cocktailange of mid-20th Century jazz. Despite the fact that L.A. Noire is set in 1947, the composing team didn’t doggedly stick to music from this exact period but preferred to go by general mood. Indeed, they absolutely nailed ‘lonely jazz’ with this cue.

“Alpha, Beta, Cocktail” by Daniel Olsén from Device 6

Style: Bossa nova, latin jazz

Influences: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz, João Gilberto

Device 6 is a creepy game: part interactive novella, part puzzler, which evokes an eerie blend 1960s spy and sci-fi films or shows, empty museums and the work of Belgian painter René Magritte.

Daniel Olsén was successful in adding a subtle atmosphere layer to the game, playing on café/lounge/lift musak tropes. We can guess that his brief for this particular cue was: “Imagine the ’60s office from Mad Men but all the doors are locked, everyone’s a mannequin and you’ll never escape the light bossa looping in the lobby.”

“Opening Theme” by Yasunori Mitsuda from 10,000 Bullets (Tsukiyo ni Saraba [Moonlit Shadow])

Style: Big band, jazz funk, R&B

Influences: Average White Band, Buddy Rich, Tower of Power

10,000 Bullets, PS2 third-person shooter, starts with a bang – two cool dudes wearing stylish trench coats with improbable hair run down the side of a building while firing at road-level goons to the sound of highly big band jazz funk. The incredibly prolific and talented contributions of Yasunori Mitsuda to the score are funky like a train.