Composed by
Jesper Kyd and Pierre Földes

 

Published by
La-La Land Records (2005)

 

Tracklistings

DISC 1: HITMAN: CODENAME 47

1) Intro (0:51)
2) Main Title (Extended Version)
3) Hong Kong Themes
4) Jungle Exploration
5) Dark Jungle
6) Hotel Themes
7) Harbor Themes
8) Hospital Themes
9) Hotel Music (Early Demo)
10) Rainforest (Early Demo)
11) Atmosphere Demo
12) Main Title (Original Slow Version)

DISC 2: HITMAN 2: SILENT ASSASSIN

1) Hitman 2 Main Title
2) Waiting For Action
3) Action Begins
4) 47 Makes A Decision
5) The Penthouse
6) Japanese Mansion
7) Japanese Snow Castle
8) Streets Of India
9) Mission In India
10) 47 In St. Petersburg
11) Trouble In Russia
12) Desert Sun
13) Arabian Dance
14) The Setup
15) End Boss
16) Slow Ambience
17) Fast Ambience
18) H2 Exploration
19) H2 Action
20) Dreams Of Instanbul (Bonus Track)

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website

 

Availability
La-La Land Records

 

Review by
Steven A. Kennedy

Guest Review by Steven A. Kennedy (stev4uth@hotmail.com)

Hitman: Codename 47 / Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

One of La-La Lands services to score buffs is its Video Game Collection which is introducing some composers many may never have heard of before. It was through this series that I first heard Michael Giacchino’s music and that of award winning game composer Richard Jacques. The world of video entertainment has come a far cry away from the beeps and tones of the Atari days! Problems in the genre are often the need for continuous loops of music that either bounce along with great energy or land on static harmonies with the occasional burst of sound. The award-winning Danish composer Jesper Kyd will be no new name to fans of these soundtracks. He was the composer for the Minority Report videogame and has begun to write for films. He is currently slated to provide the score for the upcoming Daniel Hess directed thriller Stranger. And now fans of his most acclaimed scores will have a chance to hear them. In this two-disc set, La-La Land has pulled together substantial selections from the first two games in the Hitman series with a re-mastered disc devoted to music from the second installment in the series, Silent Assassin.

Hitman: Codename 47 is the premiere game in this series now reaching into its fourth new game this summer. The sounds here are all well-created electronics mixing between a Euro-techno sound and occasional string-based sections. There is the standard give and take between ambient music and percussive action sections. For this release, Kyd has placed together the themes for different settings into single bands making for a less disjointed listening experience. So we get substantial tracks of "Hong Kong" themes, “Hotel” themes, “Hospital” themes, etc. Also included are early demos submitted for the potential contract and some atmosphere demos which take up about thirteen minutes of playing time. Both an extended version of the “Main Title” and a slower version book end the selections. ***

For Silent Assassin, Kyd has employed the 110 piece Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the Hungarian Radio Choir, and the services of Bela Drahos who some may know from his recordings on the Naxos label. Drahos has an excellent recording of Beethoven overtures worth seeking out. The music from this game soundtrack has been featured in symphony orchestra concerts devoted to video game music as well over the past year. Gamers and those who pay attention to this musical genre have sung the praises of this score for some time and will find this to be the single most draw of this new release. The “Main Title” is definitely something worth paying attention to with its strong choral opening and classic orchestral writing combined with electronic instrumental sounds. Rather than rely on more minimalist techniques, Kyd’s score stands alongside the likes of film score writing with thematic ideas and a sound that is decidedly Eastern European in flavor. Unlike the electronic score of its predecessor, one can hear some of Kyd’s voice peaking through. Like his score for Freedom Fighters, Silent Assassin has a sound that comes from a delicious mix of ideas that is similar to Basil Poledouris action scores. This one sounds less like Media Ventures synth orchestrations. Tracks here are decidedly short averaging about two minutes each. To approximate the sound think The 13th Warrior combined with Brian Tyler’s Timeline score and The Hunt for Red October mixed in with a little of Air Force One. Not meaning to imply that Kyd’s score is derivative, but more to suggest that if those are among your favorite styles, this is worth checking out. The plot line of this particular game allows Kyd to explore a variety of ethnic sounds from St. Petersburg, to Japan, India, and Arabia. There are many tracks that are fascinating musical pieces, among them is “ Japanese Snow Castle ” which could stand beside anything written by the recent spate of Asian-influenced kung fu films by Shibayashi and Dun.

Silent Assassin is a demonstration of superior technique on display in keeping with the finest contemporary film score writing. Kyd’s brass writing is a little harsher and dryer along the lines of say Prokofiev with some of the sardonic horn writing of Shostakovich. Is Kyd in heady company? Absolutely, it is a place where he definitely can confidently aspire to belong as he continues to establish himself in the commercial music world. ****

While video game soundtracks may be a bit on the esoteric side, young fans looking to start their music collections with the earlier works of upcoming and newly arrived composers may wish to seek out this and other Kyd scores. It seems that rather than cutting your teeth on dramatic television serials, the video game is the one place where composers can experiment with a variety of writing. Samples of the score can be heard at http://www.lalalandrecords.com/Hitman.html. The set is worth seeking out for Silent Assassin and Codename 47 allows a chance to satisfy completists. It will be interesting to see if La La Land has plans to release the third and fourth scores from this popular series.

(also see our editorial review of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin)