Composed by
Petri Alanko

 

Published by
Sumthing Else Musicworks (2010)

 

Tracklistings
1) Alan Wake
2) A Writer's Dream
3) Welcome to Bright Falls
4) Vacation
5) Cross That River
6) Waking Up to a Nightmare
7) The Clicker
8) Deerfest
9) Taken by the Night
10) On the Run
11) Mirror Peak
12) Tom the Driver
13) The Night It All Began
14) Bright Falls Light & Power
15) Hunters
16) The Well-Lit Room
17) Water Pressure
18) Departure

 

Availability
- Amazon.com
- Something Else Musicworks

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn


Alan Wake

Developer Remedy’s Alan Wake has a troubled history. Originally announced for the PC, it was plagued by postponements of release dates before eventually surfacing as an exclusive title for Microsoft’s Xbox 360. The game is designed as a thriller in the tradition of Steven King’s novels and tells the story of writer Alan Wake whose wife goes missing while being on vacation in the quiet town of Bright Falls. His search for her slowly pulls Wake deep into a story of mystery and intrigue. The game’s atmospheric visuals, slick combat mechanics and professional storytelling made the game beloved by critics but for reasons unknown didn’t get much attention from gamers.

Composer Petri Alanko may be a newcomer to the world of big budget games but he certainly makes an impressive debut. His score to Alan Wake is a sparse but very dense and thoughtful musical effort. Its primary device is the solo piano with its haunting and pure tonality, often backed by a string section for dramatic weight. Indeed, Alanko’s music is mostly about subtle build-up. This is achieved by adding and subtracting musical colors or by carefully using solo instrumentation like cello or harp. As such, the score takes its time. It is music written for twilight. Once it picks up its pace to underscore the game’s action sequences, it brings together synthesized and orchestral elements to create excitement. “On the Run” stands out in its fast pacing, “Water Pressure” features addictive rhythmic constructions while “Cross That River” is an engaging cluster of pounding percussion, vibrato strings and eerie, synthetic effects. Not all of the cues are as accomplished, though. In fact, some of the suspense scoring tends to get repetitive or may even come across as uninspired over the course of the album, which is in itself a bit too long. The emotional writing in “A Writer’s Dream”, “Welcome to Bright Falls” and ”Deerfest” compensates for these flaws to a degree. Alanko goes all out orchestral in these cues with intimate orchestrations, a lush and warm sound and decidedly melancholic overtones. It is in these moments that the score truly shines.

All in all, Alan Wake is an accomplished work. Perfectly suited to the game’s subject matter, it features ambient, action and emotional writing on a high level. Still, in certain aspects the score leaves room for improvement. It will be interesting to see where Alanko takes his music in a possible sequel.