Composed by
Jesper Kyd

 

Published by
Ubisoft Music (2007)

 

Tracklistings
1) City of Jerusalem
2) Flight Through Jerusalem
3) Spirit of Damascus
4) Trouble in Jerusalem
5) Acre Underworld
6) Access the Animus
7) Dunes of Death
8) Masyaf in Danger
9) Meditation Begins
10) Meditation of the Assassin
11) The Bureau

 

Availability
- Amazon.com

 

Extras
- Game website

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn


Assassin's Creed

As a game, Assassin’s Creed is a mixed bag. The first entry in Ubisoft’s newly established franchise, it tells the story of the bartender Desmond Miles who gets held hostage by a staff of researchers. With the help of an apparatus called the Animus, they tap into Desmond’s genetic code allowing access to his ancestor’s memory, in this case Altair’s, an assassin from the Middle Ages. The game offers beautiful, technologically advanced graphics, an exciting combat system and a huge world to explore. Unfortunately, the unbearably repetitive gameplay, graphical glitches and a somewhat confusing storyline take away much of the game’s overall appeal. Still, it got positive reviews and has since launched a number of spin-offs on many different platforms including games for the Sony PSP and the Ninendo DS.

Jesper Kyd is among the busiest composers working in the gaming industry and has provided music for such diverse titles as Hitman, Freedom Fighters or Unreal Tournament 3. For Assassin’s Creed, Kyd would focus heavily on creating an ambient soundscape. To do this, he’d build primarily on the electronic side of his sampled library in order to support a very experimental style of writing. The result is a thickly weaved carpet of electronic effects including dissonant reverbs, droning, bangs and clashes. The harmonic and melodic progressions are stripped to its basics. In fact, there’s no thematic identity in terms of melody. Instead, Kyd solely depends on stylistic devices. “Access to the Animus” is most indicative of this. It’s a lengthy cue that solely depends on experimental electronics; it’s hard-core ambience. To reflect the setting the game takes place in, there are some interludes of ethnic harmonization and rhythm which he combines with alienated, ecclesiastical chants, especially in the two opening cues on the album. Melodically unattractive electronics dominate most of the pieces, though. It’s a highly artificial musical canvas with little variety or highlight.

In the end, Kyd’s score is a very disappointing yield for such an ambitious title of adventure and intrigue. It has little lasting value both in-game and on album. In particular, Kyd’s electronic arrangements offer little incentive for a stand-alone listen. This is an album you should definitely shy away from.