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Latest reviews of new albums:
Starhawk
  • Composed by Christopher Lennertz
  • La-La Land Records / 2012 / 57:07

From the makers of the popular Warhawk, Starhawk is an adventure game for the PlayStation set in a wild west-style “final frontier” in space.  Composer Christopher Lennertz has spent his career alternating between video games, films and tv (with some notable works in each) – it’s a bit odd that many of his film scores seem to be for comedies (at which he’s proven himself to be proficient – but which generally don’t offer many opportunities to composers to really flex their muscles) but then he gets to work on games and write complex, all-out-action music and prove how adept he is at doing that.

The setting of this particular adventure allows him to write a score of interesting contrasts, with heavy influence at times from spaghetti western scores (electric guitar and harmonica feature prominently) going up against very modern action music à la Brian Tyler.  I think the music’s at its best when he brings the two styles together (as in the terrific “Hawk Battle”); the more “straight” action music is decent, but feels pretty familiar.  There are enjoyable themes, the style is generally interesting, it’s all well-orchestrated; it’s a pretty good album.  It falls down only because it goes on a little too long – and in particular, not uncommonly for a game score, everything is so gigantic, sounds so important, that in the end it just doesn’t sound either gigantic or important any more (dramatic subtlety is not something required in the music for a third-person shoot-em-up, I know, but I’m only talking about the score as heard on the album).  The relatively contemplative synth choir section of “The Source” is a beautiful little diversion and I wish Lennertz had had more chance to explore that type of thing.  Still, I know that a lot of people aren’t bothered by all that and they will be greatly entertained by what’s on offer.  ***

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