Episode #231: Alexander Brandon on Creating the Right Soundtrack

April 9, 2015 · 19:51

You may struggle to remember gifts given last Christmas. But for composer, audio engineer, and voice actor Alexander Brandon, memories of Christmas 1987 remain clear. That was the year he received his first music composing hardware: the AdLib sound card.

Four years later, Alex composed for his first professional video game – Tyrian. This was the age when NES and Sega Genesis were in their prime, and a 6-channel sound chip seemed revolutionary. It was almost impossible to imagine the future: In ten years, Alex would audio direct for a soundtrack featuring the Northwest Sinfonia.

Many subjects are covered in this week’s episode, but near the end Alex poses a question facing most video game developers: How do you create a powerful, engaging and supportive game soundtrack? Most AAA games are turning to full orchestras, but in Alex’s opinion, supporting the game’s atmosphere is more important than a strong sound. A powerful emotional impact can be brought about by cleverly composing and mixing the right voices, even if those voices are few and far between.

Enjoy a glimpse into the world of video game music, from someone who grew up alongside the game systems themselves.