Film scores

Soundtrack review: TouchFish volume 2 (Chris Hueslbeck – 2015)

touchfish2

“Touchfish” is a very popular iOS game where you get to build and maintain a virtual aquarium. The spectacular graphics and the smart gameplay have made it a success. The music of Chris Huelsbeck has been released in three volumes and it’s time for the second one. Now “volume 1” was a real pleasure to listen to. It was a mellow and minimalistic retro electronic score, the kind I can’t get enough of.

This volume begins with “Dunes in the wind” which to me brings more nostalgia then all the cues from the first. That electronic beat reminiscent of “The neverending story” score just takes me by the hand and teaches me how to fly back in time. It’s as if the modern and chill edge from the first score was peeled off to reveal the true metallic alloy of the music.

This awesome start is a little deceiving though. The next two cues are too leisurely for me. They don’t have any nostalgic element and I just forget them as soon as they pass. They would work for lounge music at a resort hotel but that’s not what I’m looking for. Thankfully “A day at the beach” breaks that mood and somehow gets back to dark atmospheric, despite its title.

“TouchFish volume 2” is a little more divisive than the first one. There’s no middle ground and smooth sailing as it was the case before; great ambient electronic tracks alternate with feel good forgettable ones. This also means that I can pick favorite cues easier from this score. I will not return to it in its entirety but pieces like “Sailboats on the bay” and “Ocean travel” will remain in my playlists.

I wouldn’t call this score relaxing as I did the other one. This time it makes me feel more, it makes me think more and it makes me remember more. It also makes me impatient when the less interesting cues come up and excited when the purely atmospheric gems flow in my ears. I could explore Chris Huelsbeck’s sounds for hours and hours without getting bored. Volume 3, here I come!

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16 / 26

Album excellence: 60%

Highlights:

Dunes In The Wind

A Day At The Beach

Sailboats On The Bay

Ocean Travel

Riding With The Wind

About the author

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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