From the 6th till the 20th of May ran this year’s Adventure Jam, a Cassie Benter & Stacy Davidson co-organized GameJam that invited avid game developers to create and showcase their best adventure themed creations on popular game sharing platform, GameJolt.
Its extended voting period, one that lasted between the 20th of May and the 1st of July, brought news earlier today that Luminy Studios’ submission of The Mystic Journey of Atriom secured an overall ranking of 36 amid 163 other adventure game entries. Contributing to this grade is its ranking of 14 within the Best Visuals category and that of 15 within the Best Music Category.
The game’s Best Music ranking bears special relevance to Higher Eclectic Ground by means of Network member Sam Oz; a France based musician proficient in a multitude of classical and modern genres, who had helmed the original soundtrack for the game under the request of its developer and friend Juanjo Barcelo Molina. Oz had first introduced the Network to The Mystic Journey on the 1st of June, wherein he described how the onus of developing up to three tracks, each of three variations, within a span of but a single week was picked up by him.
In doing so he debuted the game’s Main Menu theme on his Network Space — followed by variations of its gameplay and ending music on the 19th and 28th of June respectively — also describing their significance and his frustrations with them in the process. ‘As I was leaving on vacation at the time, I had to compose The Mystic Journey’s music without knowing anything about the game; I just knew it had to be Fantasy themed — I think it turned out satisfactory’, he had mentioned in conversation with Higher Eclectic Ground during the same time.
The Mystic Journey of Atriom fosters exploration and spirituality as its primary themes, narrating the tale of a young boy whose tribe demands that maturity be achieved only by making a Sacred journey to reconcile one’s soul with that of the Great Spirit. To this end, players are tasked with exploring the Sacred Forest in search of 10 Sacred Stones as the young boy — Atriom — amid inherent features such as hand-painted environments and day/night cycles.
‘I’m very happy with the result because is my first game with this aesthetics (handpainted textures), for me this JAM has been an experiment with a happy end!’, stated developer Molina who operates under the Luminy Studios moniker, when reached out to earlier today. ‘Working with Sam Oz has been a real pleasure, in one week he was able to create several themes perfectly synchronized with the history and atmosphere of the game; Sam is a great professional and a person with a lot of talent!’
In announcement of the rankings on The Mystic Journey’s GameJolt page however, Molina revealed that the game would unfortunately never be built upon due to him losing the game’s Unity files to hardware issues. ‘The only thing I can do is start over, but now I’m too immersed in important projects and do not have enough time to start from scratch’, he wrote. The game’s soundtrack meanwhile survives on both Oz’s YouTube channel and his Bandcamp, where from the entire album can be bought for a customer stated fee.
A member since February this year, musician Sam Oz has had the trailers of popular titles such as Valiant Hearts, Child of Light and The Division listed on his portfolio as an original music composer for Ubisoft. The years after his parting from the game development/publishing giant circa 2013 have seen him devote his energy towards conjuring the soundtracks of several independent game projects (Gadan Games’ My Last Friday, Simon Mesnard’s The Black Cube), when not devoting time to his ongoing musical tribute to Studio Ghibli and other personal ventures that is.
Adept at both traditional and computer based instruments, he continues to promote his independent services as a musician of extremely flexible rates via the Higher Eclectic Network, while also being open to revenue share agreements provided a game piques his interest. One can freely observe a brief portfolio of his work thus far, his contributions to Atriom’s OST and even get in touch with him at any instance of time with their own commissions via his Higher Eclectic Space.
Don’t forget to download and play The Mystic Journey of Atriom only via GameJolt.
“This object in motion, will stay in motion. I’m willing this message to you through the void – I don’t know how it will ever reach you but I’m sending it with my head and heart nonetheless. I wish you could hear what it sounds like out here – My suit, my breath, my systems – and the symphony of creation playing all around me. “
‘Music To Die Alone In Space To’ begins with a heart-wrenching cry. Not so much loud and whining, as is deeply poignant – echoing from the lips of a human being left to wade out amongst the endless ocean of planetary forces that is Space, separated from the rest of humanity. You. Music has always been cited as a gateway to other realms and to most of us, it still is. But to put one in the shoes of another living being in that realm, take them through emotions previously hidden or unexperienced and bring them back to a reality so different, is a whole different act altogether. One that was commonplace in the psychedelic musical theatrics of entities such as The Doors and Pink Floyd. And one that music composer ‘Spruke’ tries to achieve in his latest musical expedition.
If you have stumbled upon this article on the internet, far away from Higher Eclectic Ground that has been excessively covering the album’s development and progress- ‘Music To Die Alone In Space To’ is an electronic album (currently on its final hours of a hugely successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign at the time of writing this article) that speaks of an astronaut – separated from their spaceship after having their tethering cable split by a wanton speck of space dust while on a spacewalk – in first person. What is promised is a journey through space from within their space-helmet, brimming with elevated heartbeats, occasional contemplations, the electronic beeping that accompanies the space-suit and the humming vibrations of constellations, all combined to form music.
With $12,000 pledged out of an intended goal of $2,000 that would provide for three ‘canonical’ albums for the internet marketplace, public response to ‘Music To Die Alone In Space To’ has been rave. This largely due to the fact that Spruke is providing certain classes of his contributors with unique recordings of the album – different musical tunes, patterns, sections, cover-art and even voice-actors as per their choice – meaning everyone gets to avail of an enthralling musical journey of their own. Moreover, he vows to have gone to great lengths to bring about a visceral yet genuine experience by avoiding the use of any earth-invoking instruments, all of which is part of an attempt to keep things purely digital and electronic. Even so, how effective is this modus operandi?
In the moments that ensued after ‘Adrift’ – the first track of the album that initiated this article, our astronaut’s heart-beat elevated to abnormal levels. This might very well have been due to the dwindling oxygen, although I got the sense that it was out of amazement at what was being perceived out there in space. The beeping of the spacesuit was still audible but only just, having been long engulfed by electronic waves and a mellow synthesizer rhythm that seemingly served to provide the false yet implausible assurance that perhaps the astronaut’s trip would end well.
This continued for an uncertain period of time before it seemed as if a sudden understanding of their predicament seemed to dawn over the astronaut. The music that was seemingly being created by their heart, spacesuit and space itself turned grim – before a voice arose, that of the astronaut, pondering on the ways they would meet their end. Out of the blue then, came a few moments of ecstasy punctuated only by a passionate cry of pain as the astronaut’s conditions worsened while the synth traversed from side to side. Yet in those moments there was enlightenment – an appreciation for the forces that existed beyond the fragile piece of mass called Earth and a respect for those that had brought the astronaut to life – before gradually fading away into uncertainty. Though not without the distant tune of a piano that seemed to have emerged out of nowhere, echoing perhaps a long forgotten memory before being swept away by the starry darkness.
Was I narrated all of the above throughout the course of the album? Strangely no, for all of that is but an account of the thoughts and imagery that surged through me over its course, each produced as a result of Spruke’s brilliant selection, placement and momentary inclusion of just the right musical patterns and pieces. Even the side-to-side transitions of the synth were deliberate to invoke a deep-rooted feeiling of nausea from the listener -no sound ever seemed too loud or unwelcome than it should have been. With tones so powerful then, it is very likely other listeners’ visual and emotional experiences with the album will differ from mine, unique copy or not, magnifying its significance all the more.
In the version of the album that was provided to us, I’d the opportunity of listening in on two of the voice actors that would be available to contributors to choose from – An Indian Female with a strong Hindi accent and Mikey Neumann, representing the American Male with an ‘Emotional Vulnerability’. Dialogues were few, enough and delivered by a performance so enveloped in the emotional situation they were in, that often I found myself wanting to reach out to them out of the very sense of loneliness they seemed to convey. The cover art that flowed across my Ipod added to the experience further, each so intricately and enigmatically designed to artistic perfection.
To regard ‘Music To Die Alone In Space To’ as another ‘Electronic’ album then would be to belittle its artistic significance. It is a journey of the senses more than anything – one that every artistic and self-conscious being should venture on, irrespective of their love for music or lack of it. It’s quite possible that you might have missed the crowd-funding campaign and the chance to avail of your own copy. While this might seem like a heart-burn, especially when the essence of this album lies in its unique copies, rest assured the trip you do set out on when you eventually get a hold of it on the internet marketplace- will be emotional. Introspective. Psychedelic.
If you would like to learn more about Music To Die Alone’s History and Growth, while staying in tune to the latest updates, previews and even an upcoming interview with Spruke himself, feel free to stop by the album’s Higher Eclectic Space.