Composed by
Bjorn Arve Lagim

 

Published by
Funcom (2001)

 

Tracklistings
1) Main Menu
2) Prologue
3) Main Titles
4) White Dragon's Lair
5) Venice
6) The First Shift
7) Marcuria and the Northlands
8) The Gribbler
9) The Subway and Hope Street
10) The Great Library
11) Reading Music
12) The Gargoyle and the Labyrinth
13) The Storm and the Sea
14) Alais
15) The Alatien
16) Inside the Ancient City
17) The Deep and the Old God
18) A Ship of Shadows
19) The House of All Worlds
20) Gordon Halloway
21) Death and Rebirth
22) Jacob MacAllen
23) Danger
24) Into the Wormhole
25) Desolation and the Will of Making
26) The Ghost House
27) The Tower
28) The Road Back
29) Epilogue
30) End Credits
31) Prelude in C Minor
32) Winterland
33) Dragon
34) Dolphin
35) Eagle
36) Shark

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website

 

Availability
Get It For FREE!

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

The Longest Journey

Adventure games, having had their bloom with both the Monkey Island and Kings Quest series, seemed to have become extinct by the end of the 1990s. To everyone’s surprise, it was the then little known Norwegian developer Funcom that would return the genre of adventure to store shelves. With their classic point&click-adventure The Longest Journey, they started a revival of the genre: with a deep and involving storyline, well crafted characters and addictive and intelligent gameplay it single-handedly set the standard for adventure games to come.

The game’s atmosphere would not have been so intense without composer Bjorn Arve Lagim’s magical and fascinating score. It is almost purely orchestral in style, but outbursts of orchestral power are purposefully rare. Apart from a few tracks, the approach of Lagim is subtle. The “Main Titles” consist of delicate percussion coupled with a female voice to create an ambience of mystery and magic. However, it is the flute in particular that Lagim makes strong use of as it often takes the lead accompanied by either strings or light use of brass. A good example of this is “The House of All Worlds”: A piano melody opens up the track and soon gives way to a beautiful and captivating flute solo. Another highlight of the album is the crescendo of strings in “The Deep and the Old God”. The music constantly rises and evokes an incredible sense of drama. The tracks “The Road Back” and “End Credits” feature a big-scale arrangement of one of the primary themes of The Longest Journey and provide an epic ending. Ultimately, it is good to have a fully-developed End Credits track, a feature often missed in both game and film music.

Although the score is subtle, it is rich in themes. The childlike and playful theme of the main character, April, immediately establishes an emotional connection with her. It is, in fact, first heard in the game’s “Main Menu“: At this point, we have not yet seen her, but through the music we already start to paint a picture of her in our heads. Both the “Prologue“ and “Epilogue“ tracks feature a guitar-lead motif that has a very cosy and home-like feel to it and is right on track to underscore the introduction and ending to the storyline. This story itself is worked out well and evolves around turns of plot, surprising moments as well as interesting characters and creatures. The music always manages to accompany these events: from the somewhat chaotic and modern sounding piece for “ Venice” to the shivery and eerie theme of “The Gribbler“, it always merges with the pictures. These compositions only appear at specific points in the game: such sequences were deliberately scored and not just filled with background music. It is this delicacy and stylistic focus of Lagim that is often so intense you can barely imagine the on-screen imagery without his music.

There are two bonus tracks by Lagim as well as four other additional tracks by Tor Linlokken: while “Prelude in C-minor” is an organ-piece that plays in the cathedral of the game, the other tracks are synthesized background pieces for the various bars and cafés of the game. They are a matter of taste, but are also easily skipped.

Sadly, the score is mostly done with synthesizers and the strings and brass sometimes disappoint in sound quality. The instrumental solos, on the other hand, like flutes or guitars are performed live and give the score an extra tad of emotion.

The score works wonderfully in the game though it might be a bit difficult to appreciate it as a stand-alone listen. Most of the tracks have a very strong connection to the pictures and events in the game, so that if you are totally unfamiliar with the game’s look and feel, it will probably not grab you immediately. Perhaps you will even be tempted to give it just one listen and dismiss it right away. With a bit of patience, though, you will eventually get to know the score and uncover the subtle beauty and fascination of one of the best game soundtracks to date.