But I will gladly listen to Age of Wushu's soundtrack because it is simply wonderful. I was really just expecting very generic Chinese music -- you know, the kind you might hear as muzak in your local take-out restaurant. Instead, this is a score worthy of a movie adjacent to Jet Li's presence. Perhaps that's why he's shilling for this game.
I couldn't track down the composer for this, so if any of you know, drop me a line and I'll make sure to give you credit. What I do know is that it was a great pleasure to listen through this entire score, and picking out just six tracks to highlight proved a challenging task.
1. Main Theme
Seriously, can't you just imagine this track as being the main theme to an epic movie? Or even Mulan; it has that fantasy Chinese feel to it. Anyway, about a dozen or so instruments that I can't even begin trying to identify cascade through this theme, rolling wave after wave of uplifting wonder. I like how it gets its big moment out of the way up front and then eases back on the throttle a bit to set the mood. Excellent piece.
It's not a Chinese score if someone isn't pounding away at the regional equivalent of a dulcimer (a yangqin, actually -- I had to look it up). Chengdu sets a quick tempo from the get-go and is dominated by very fast yangqin work, supplimented by a slower background track. I really like how playful and easy on the ears this piece is.
3. Martial Instance
Do me a favor: Before you hit play on this one, imagine that you're walking down the hallway of your office or school and you see a frenemy approach. You strike a combat pose, which is mirrored. A long moment of silence stretches out... and then (hit play!) the music swells as you clash in awkward martial arts slap-fighting.
This is combat music done right, folks, with lots of rolling drums backing up an exciting melody, all without being too over-the-top obnoxious.
4. Twilight Village -- Fight 1
Here's another action piece, but unlike Martial Instance, this doesn't start right in the thick of the fight. Instead, it begins with worried noises that seem to go nowhere -- at least until an insistent beat starts up at 0:35 and gradually takes over the track.
I won't lie; it's not the best track on this list. The action is adequate but doesn't quite break out the way that it should. Still, there's something about it that caught my ear, and I think it's that beat that signals the end of waiting and the beginning of getting crap done.
If you're looking for a track to either play at a spa or while you're leaving your homeland for the first time to sail toward your destiny, Emei is your song. There's so much emotion going on through all of this while at the same time feeling tranquil as a sleeping panda bear. I like how it jacks it up around 0:46 for an additional moment of intensity before simmering back down. Variety is good in tracks like this, otherwise they become forgettable.
Let's conclude with another peaceful tune. From the title of this track, I imagine that this is the music of a school, one where intellect is prized more than brawn. There's an almost slow dance-like sound to it, perhaps as great minds match up over a chess board or in a discussion whilst floating on boats down a river. I don't know; my imaginary schools are always way cooler than where I went. The soundtrack to my high school would probably be a lot of Kid 'n Play and Nirvana.
MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!