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Soundtrack review: Supernova Volume 1: Through the portal (Olivier Deriviere – 2015)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Supernova Volume 1: Through the portal (Olivier Deriviere – 2015)


“Supernova” sounds like an exciting computer game set in the distance, space-faring future. It’s in the real time strategy genre and the possibilities for the players and endless. That future is ridden with technology and you can use unique technologies and alien powers to get ahead. Volume 1 of the score was just released and it’s titled “Through the portal”. It will focus on the first planet of the system and it’s written by a very acclaimed composer, Olivier Deriviere, who I am not very familiar with.

I connect instantly with this score because the opening, “Birth of a star”, has the same thoughtful atmospheric sound that’s forever imprinted in me since Elliot Goldenthal’s “Heat”. It’s a special kind of sound which soothes me and makes me dream. It’s not at all aggressive and it’s the kind of music you could listen to before going into a long space sleep.

The story of the game offers the composer a chance to use his imagination and explore all sorts of soundscapes. It’s the distance future, it’s science fiction and there are no limits. Since the players have all that technology available why shouldn’t the fans of the score get the same treatment? I get nostalgic as the score progresses because it reminds me a little of the music of the game “Rama” by Arthur C Clarke. I spent a lot of time in that lonely world and somehow Olivier Deriviere’s music sends me back there.

Both the dreams and the dangers of this score are treated with kindness. The music is never aggressive; it just changes volume and instrumentation. ‘Hostile planet” actually makes me think of Oblivion and this score must be doing something right if it springs in my mind memories of so many favorite things. There seems to be a secret brotherhood of space music and I feel like I am part of it.

If I listen carefully the music seems to follow a pattern. It changes mood and sound in tune with something I suspect should be the game play. “Supernova” really sounds like a game score, and an exciting one as well. “Battle of the braves” makes me curious about playing this game. A score like this one could be generic and background music and nobody would complain, but Olivier Deriviere goes beyond that and delivers 24 minutes of tight and pleasant music. I like it that it’s more orchestral than anything and even if the dreamy sound from the beginning didn’t return, that is still my favorite part of “Supernova volume 1: Through the portal”.

With all this, I am sure I will follow Supernova and listen to future scores in the franchise. Ambient music, exciting action cues and a dose of heroism. Do we need more in a score?

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 9 / 24

Album excellence: 39%


Birth Of A Star

Hostile Planet

Battle Of The Braves

The Heroes

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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