Sunday, September 21, 2014

Soundtrack September: Silent Hill

Game: Silent Hill (1999)
Platform: PlayStation
Composers: Yamaoka Akira

When Yamaoka presented his concept for Silent Hill's music to his co-workers on Team Silent, he had to argue in its defense. His jarring, industrial sounds were misinterpreted as glitches in the audio program rather than music. In retrospect, however, most agree that his soundtrack was a large part of why Silent Hill was so scary.

To be fair, the series was also thematically unnerving; touching on themes like child disappearance and cult worship, and introducing visuals more nightmarish than gamers were used to at the time, it would have been pretty scary without music. But add Yamaoka's soundtrack (which might be described as "trip-hop act trapped in an off-kilter washing machine, heavy on the washing machine") and you've got yourself a sleepless night. Sleepless week.

The commercial release of the soundtrack, unfortunately, was questionable in its organization and left out a couple of the game's mellower tracks, but I appreciate this work because it does one thing more masterfully than virtually any movie soundtrack I've ever heard: It scares me.

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