Episode #212: Garry Schyman, Shadow of Mordor Composer

November 20, 2014 · 20:15

Fair warning, Lord of the Rings fans – Shadow of Mordor takes some creative liberties.

With that said, it is a fantastic game that contains a spellbinding soundtrack. Garry Schyman, whose BioShock Infinite score we featured back in 2013, served as one of the game’s composers and is responsible for much of the pounding brass and driving percussion.

With help from the Seattle Symphony and the amazing acoustics of the Bastyr chapel, Schyman showcases several brand-new themes that exist totally independent of Howard Shore’s original Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Encouraged to create a unique sound for the game, Schyman fused the live orchestra with music samples to create warmth and a distinctive musical color… and he likes distinctive.

Schyman always seems to be pushing the bounds of video game music. His use of aleatoric scoring in Bioshock Infinite, though not novel in general composing, challenged the video game norm. This style makes a reappearance in Shadow of Mordor, adding dissonance to a conflict-rife storyline.

Schyman shares insights into the video game music industry and, in his opinion, the mark of a promising composer.

This episode also features a guest appearance by the Los Angeles Fire Department.