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Soundtrack Review

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Days Gone
Original Game Soundtrack


Composer: Nathan Whitehead
Label: Sony Masterworks
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 19 April 2019

Sony Music release the original score to the console game Days Gone with music by Nathan Whitehead. The 25-track (1 hr, 19 min, 18 sec) collection also includes songs from rising artists Jack Savoretti, Billy Raffoul and Zander Reese, as well as 'Days Gone Quiet', performed by Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. In this open-world action game you play Deacon St. John, a bounty hunter, traveling through vast and diverse landscapes in the high desert of the Pacific Northwest. In a narrative that begins two years after a global pandemic, Deacon is facing a brutal struggle for survival in hostile environments filled with infected humans and animals known as Freakers...

Soundtracks to games are almost always interesting affairs. There's normally a good collection of memorable themes and engaging action set pieces. Nathan Whitehead's music for Days Gone is a little less focused on themes that you'll remember and more geared towards setting an atmosphere; creating an environmental feeling through the music.

This means that it adds an extra layer to the game, but as a consequence as a stand alone collection of themes you're going to have to spend quite a bit of time with it to really appreciate what Whitehead has crafted. In fact, a month down the line and I'm still getting to grips with it. Each time I play it through I find another segment or two that I really love.

Talking about the project, Whitehead said: "The ideas that define the score are the tenacity of the human spirit and the value of relationships. Early in the process John Garvin, creative director at Sony’s Bend Studio, described to me how the game isn’t simply about surviving, it also examines why we want to survive. When I heard that, I was instantly excited about all the places the music could go. I found it really interesting to be navigating the survival aspect and also this introspective aspect at the same time. The Pacific Northwest setting is absolutely beautiful and it really felt like the score needed to connect to this environment as well. Deacon and the environment seemed to call for an organic, lived-in sound with a touch of Americana."

It works well, and is essential in the game in generating the right atmosphere. It works too as a standalone album... but only just... if you're prepared to spend a little time with it. There's action and adventure and suspense in tracks like 'The Freakshow'; as well as reflective moments like 'We've all Done Things'; and the occasional beautiful track like 'Sarah's Theme'. Overall, it's a chilled and relaxing collection.


Darren Rea

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