A few months ago, I posted a feature on the Ultima X: Odyssey (2003) song “Gothic Combat” by Chris Field of Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings fame. Shortly afterward, the composer’s studio contacted me to let me know if I wanted a copy of the soundtrack to share. Due to my schedule, it has taken me awhile to prepare the album for release, but here it is in MP3 format (a FLAC version will be coming as soon as I can figure out how to get my software to properly generate a cue sheet).
UXO is quite the musical odyssey. Though the game was never released, its score provides a unique look into the aural journey of a quest never taken. Mr. Field takes us from rolling fields to the dark forests of Kingwood and up the ethereal slopes and dancing snow of Glacier Pass to Mount Bold, rising tall, majestic, and dominating. From here we reach the caves and fortresses of monsters, the looming darkness of “The Black Gate” and “Redfangkeep” with its minimalist, silent corridors and the brewing tension of ambush. While there does appear to be an epic confrontation in the “Mouth of Evil”, this opens up only a more distant land beneath the “Desert Sun” – there is no end to the quest of an MMORPG, no final credits, only more territory to traverse, more adventures to unfold.
The score of UXO is in many ways a step beyond Ultima IX: Ascension in that the score used an 81-piece orchestra conjuring sweeping vistas and epic adventures as opposed to the more intimate recordings of the smaller orchestra from Ultima IX. This is further enhanced by the tremendous acoustics of Bastyr University Chapel, whose architectural style is doubly fitting for the medieval themes of the score. The recording of this forgotten game was clearly a crowning moment in videogame history when art was exalted above all else.
Nobable is the “UXO Main Theme”, a proud, noble track opening the epic quest that lies before the player, beckoning them to follow this great odyssey through endlessly expanding lands. Read the rest of this entry ?