*** Welcome to a Joint collaborative teaming-up together-y simulcast post thing with the lovely Sarca Sim on the game and soundtrack to the game Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture.  Read a review of the game right here ***

Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 01

After reading a bit about the game Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture a couple of months ago I decided liked the idea of a peculiarly English apocalypse, the end of the world as seen from a village in rural Shropshire, along the same lines as all the John Wyndham and John Christopher books I used to devour and so I investigated further.  I stumbled across an interview with Jessica Curry the co-founder of the game developer and found myself totally sold on her and their goals and ideals for the game, I was impressed to find that she had composed the BAFTA award-winning music too and liked what she had to say about that as well*.  So next stop was a trailer for the game, the visuals dazzled me but the music was what I was left with, it totally haunted me.

Anyway, bish bash bosh and 4 weeks later a very cheap** and very beautiful LP arrives for me.  It’s a really beautiful object too, a sumptuously appointed gatefold double album put together by Sony Classical and Music On Vinyl with a nice insert and limited to 500 copies on white vinyl*^, mine is #479.  I’ve long argued that there is a damn sight more creativity and care put into a lot of games these days than movies, certainly in the mainstream arena and increasingly too, in their soundtracks; but more of that later.

Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 08

The acid test of any soundtrack LP^^, movie or game, is whether it stands as a work of art without the ding-dong it was written to accompany in the case of Jessica Curry’s Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture that is a resounding big, fat affirmative.

Appropriately for a game which makes so much of its bucolic pastoral and quintessentially English setting, the soundtrack is rooted deep in the same soil.  I can hear definite shades of composers like Edward Elgar and especially Ralph Vaughan Williams work here, itself highly informed by his questing for peculiarly English sound which took him back to Tudor and folk roots, in the choral sections of this soundtrack.  Jessica Curry has said that she wished to tie the music into the setting by utilising English choral traditions, which of course takes us to church – not coincidentally of course as the traditional hub of a village such as Yaughton and as the first story we unravel in the game is that of the vicar, Jeremy – who off-puttingly, sounds exactly like me when he speaks.

Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 04

But it isn’t all choral by any stretch of the imagination, the likes of ‘Finding The Pattern’ present us with a really interesting palette of sounds and instrumentation which are not as traditional as might first appear – there are definitely synths and Pro Tools manipulations lurking beneath the wheat fields and the music is all the better for it as it means this is not simply a retooled, reheated modern melodic classical greatest hits, which could lean towards pastiche if Curry wasn’t careful.  There is far too much invention and vision here to ever tread that route.

Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 99 (2)Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 02

Without treading on a certain game reviewer’s toes and invading her bailiwick, I found playing Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture an intensely emotional experience, exhaustingly so at times.  The narrative arc takes you through the main events through a myriad of characters’ experiences but the overriding emotional concerns are loss, empathy, hope and uncertainty.  The soundtrack delivers this superbly of course, indeed, as any good soundtrack should be, it is the primary vehicle for conveying this in the game world.

Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 09

Shorn of the visuals I have found the impact increased rather than lessened by the music, how many minor keys and soaring string instrumentation can you take? on this evidence, for me, the answer is a lot more.  The soprano voice of Elin Manahan Thomas is a spellbinding thing, eerily almost genderless in its purity at times and it is a moot point whether you take hope, or sadness from the overall tenor of the songs^*.

She even writes wonderfully.
She even writes wonderfully.  Not fair.

Like any good soundtrack Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture functions so well as a seamless whole that it is difficult to single out any of its component parts.  Today’s favourites are the exquisite quiet glory that is ‘Liquid Light’ and the folksy lilting ‘The Mourning Tree’, which makes my marrow ache with sadness and ‘The Light We Cast’ which echoes elements of Fauré’s Requiem in its frank declarations of love and resolution.

Jessica Curry Everybodys Gone To The Rapture 03

This article was a fascinating read about Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture and the processes involved in the making of the soundtrack and the role perceived for it in the game.  I love the idea that because Curry was involved in the overall creative process in designing the game that her music actually influenced the look and feel of it, that the soundtrack was a totally integral part of the game’s foundations.

Interestingly this album has, I believe, had a great deal of success in terms of classical radio here in the UK, bringing this music to a wholly different audience from us gamers and vinyl geekoids – that it has done so, shows the strength and integrity of Jessica Curry’s musical vision and quite astonishing talent.  This is powerful, moving stuff and one of the best and most unique LPs I’ve heard in an ice age.  If you’d told me six months ago that I’d be spending a hefty portion of my listening time fixated on a modern predominantly classical soundtrack I’d have scoffed at you, patronisingly.

White vinyl too!

The rapturous sky above my house this evening.
The rapturous sky above my house this evening.

677 Down.

PS: I own two game soundtracks on vinyl, this and Wolfenstein: New Order and if I had the time, money and totally cold boring outlook I’d collect all the ones I can find, they’re just the sort of zeitgeist-y limited edition things that will be worth a fortune in 30 years time.


**fooled, wife?

*^there’s something really great about white vinyl, I don’t want to get too Freudian here it always looks so pristine and unspoilt, despite the ongoing depredations of my little tone arm.

^^and I mean soundtrack in the sense of ‘score’ here rather than the rag-bag of different songs type.

^*I just made a very erudite soprano / tenor joke there.  Sorry, just thought I’d point that out so you can all be sure to realise just how great I truly am.

27 thoughts on “Liquid Light

  1. Very interesting. Probably not my thing, though – I need big dusty sounds (like the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack) if I’m doing video game soundtracks. I’d love that on vinyl. But you’re totally right about the efforts that go into video games.

  2. Very cool. I love the collaboration as well(something I’d really be interested in doing, too.) I’m not a big game player, though not because I have no interest. More like I have no time to dedicate to it and appreciate them and all they can offer. As far as soundtracks go I do have one so far, the Fez S/T by Disasterpeace. It’s one of my favorite scores, actually. Mondo is releasing a 10″ of the Castlevania score as well later this year that I will own, too.

    I’ve just come to appreciate the art and creativity that goes into making an amazing video game. From the actual code writing to design, character development, and of course the score…it’s far more than I ever thought.

    I will have to look this S/T up.

    1. I was walking past a video game machine in a restaurant last week, and the screen had what seemed like an endless list of credits of engineers, graphic designers, planners, etc.
      It was real old school and outdated today but for the time was probably cream of the crop. It made me think about how much work goes into the making of these things. The average person has no idea.

      1. For a big, new game the cast of workers is vast – far more akin to a Hollywood movie’s credits. I think there are some immensely brave and creative things coming out of this area.

        My son’s generation are far more fired up by games than music and I can understand why – games are all new, all now; they are happening now rather than reverencing stuff old farts like me liked back in medieval times.

    2. I agree totally – Cliff Martinez did the ST for Far Cry 4 too, so they are now pulling in ‘proper’ artists to do them, which can only make them better in the long run.

      If I had the money to collect to invest, rather than just for interest – game STs are what I’d go for every time. In 20 years time that generation are going to be all nostalgic for what they played now and vinyl will be undergoing its’ 4th big revival.

      1. Martinez. The man is a genius. I’d love to pick up as many game scores as possible, for the reasons you mentioned. Could be our retirement fund.

  3. I like the other girl’s post better.

    I do like your dice collection.

    This does sound interesting, I don’t own any game soundtracks that I can think of.

    1. Me too! She actually finished the game – I tend to start it and then just wander around looking at the amazing graphics. A bit like my real life really.

      I’ve loved those dice for ever and a day, everyone needs a D20 in their lives.

      1. I don’t finish games. I get to a point where I just can’t beat a level so frak it.

        I don’t have crazy dice. I have lots of board games, but only one which is Risk 2210 AD comes with funky dice.

    1. Cheers Bruce – it is a great piece of work, just by itself.

      I knew you’d love the dice – I paid extra for crystal dice, I think they were 80p each instead of 40p.

  4. Well, I have to say I really enjoyed your take. The music was great, but to learn its origins…intriguing. The white vinyl is a nice touch.
    Anytime you want to do this again, I am all ears! It was fun.

    1. No, thank you – it was really hard to write about and i would have chickened out and written about something much easier, if you hadn’t set your 1am deadline!!

    1. It’s about 45 miles from me that way (points South East). It’s mostly just a very sleepy, agricultural county – very beautiful in some places, a bit flat and boring in others. Not really the sort of place where apocalyptic world-ending events tend to occur.

      The 80’s pop band T’Pau were from there – which is the only musical link I can think of (without Google cheating).

    1. It is really great, I was so taken with all Jessica Curry said about it all. It’s far more of a story-telling experience than a competitive game. I love it.

  5. White vinyl is very nice except for the whole, not seeing the dust thing.

    You have exactly 2 more than I.

    As for the picture of your house, I guess I will have to just visualize the drawbridge, crocodile filled moat, and separate quarters for the multitude of concubines.

    1. White vinyl is great (mind you so’s blue, red, yellow, clear … black).

      I took the photo standing on the helipad, the stable block is just visible at the bottom of the picture and the tennis courts and aviary are just to the right of that.

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