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Braid – Downstream (Shira Kammen)

October 24, 2009

Following last night’s VGM Daily is a second Braid track, “Downstream” by Shira Kammen. The song was originally published in Music of Waters, 2003).

Music of Braid – Downstream (Shira Kammen)

This track plays in the first game world, which is filled with lush greenery, flowers, and a lazy sky. The calmness also helps prevent the player from feeling frustrated while solving the puzzles.

braid_screenshot

Kammen describes the inspiration behind the song:

Downstream’ was written in the Grand Canyon; it is several tunes in one. I was camped on the Colorado River [with] a friend of mine who had to row downstream to meet somebody who was hiking in. It was twilight and he had a headlamp on and he was rowing away into the twilight, and all you could see was his headlamp bobbing, going downstream.

The game’s artist, David Hellman, was unaware of the inspiration for the original track and simply drew the artwork based on how the music made him feel. This is the opposite of the relationship between most game music and art: the music is often composed after most of the game world has been created, leaving the composer to match the music with the game world and gameplay. In this instance, the music was chosen because it fit with the mechanic and the art was designed after.

Incidentally, the success of Music from Braid has launched Kammen and Sieber’s albums to the top of Magnatune’s bestselling list, demonstrating how a popular game with a great soundtrack can make players interested in a wider range of music. Also interesting is that if you purchase the PC or Mac version of the game, you can access the music in OGG format, which aside from tags are as far as I know pretty much the same as what you get from Magnatune (unless of course you bought the music in lossless format!). Many CD-based games were like this as well and will even play in your CD player if they have Redbook audio – including a few that were later sold in an album!

This is it for Braid! (at least for now…) Tomorrow’s Daily should be something completely different.

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