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Pixeljunk Shooter – “Hidden Foto Banks” (High Frequency Bandwidth)

April 15, 2010

So I just completed PixelJunk Shooter (2009) for the PS3 and was delighted to find one of the catchier tunes, “Hidden Foto Banks”, is on iTunes, courtesy of High Frequency Bandwidth. It’s an extended version of the one that plays in Shooter The soundtrack should be out on iTunes later this month or May, but you can hear more free HFB works by signing up on their homepage (and they should send out an e-mail when the album is released). It’s really good stuff and got nominated for a BAFTA award in best original score. Jeriaska did a nice interview with the group.

“Hidden Foto Banks” is a perfect match for Shooter – the music is soothing to the mind of a gamer in flow and progressively bubbly, liquid sound, like the swirling water and lava that fill most of the levels. The percussion is soft and wooden as well, or perhaps like ice cube clinking in a glass while that bubbling bass line is mind-numbingly “happy happy joy joy”. And then there’s the whispering into the mic and radio samples. The mixing of voice clips (“I wasn’t there when JFK got shot…”) and camera clicks at the top layer of the piece provides nice texture. The lyrics seem a bit nonsensical in the game, used more to communicate emotion through the bits of meaning we associate with each word and sound effect. Journalists documenting world history. Taken in the game context, it’s got a different meaning than the music video!

In the game, the tracks are dynamically arranged so that if a particular action occurs, the music will adapt to fit – so if you think some of the notes are timed very well, that’s why! Just another way of bringing DJ style to games, and it’s something that fits very well with the nonlinear format. Here’s a clip of the music playing in-game.

The game’s loads of fun, but seemed too short, mainly because it doesn’t tell you the game is about to end after three worlds until the dreaded monster named ‘To Be Continued’ appears. The music is also both really catchy and atmospheric – a great combination.

High Frequency Bandwidth is made of two hip hop dj’s: Alex Patterson and Dom Beken. Alex has been mixing since the 80s when he started doing Chicago house style in England. The two have worked together for the bands The Orb and Transit Kings. Their new band has a penchant for naming everything with the letters HFB.

Most of the entire soundtrack will be released on iTunes. Anyway, look for the tracks “Hundred Forty Billion”, “Hill Film Blues”, “Happy Fucking Birthday”, and “Hell Fire and Brimstone”.  “High Flying Birds” might find its way onto the website as a special. I’m not sure which of those titles goes with this song, but it’s my other favorite:

2 comments

  1. Your second favourite is called “Hell, Fire and Brimstone”. Glad you like!


  2. Excellent! Is HFB doing the music for Pixeljunk Shooter 2? And do you intend to eventually take all the music and put it together on iTunes (or at least make it easier for us to tell which songs are from the game…) for people interested in buying the whole soundtrack?



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