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Soundtrack review: Tom Clancy’s “The division” (Ola Strandth – 2016)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Tom Clancy’s “The division” (Ola Strandth – 2016)


“Tom Clancy’s The Division” is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Ubisoft, with assistance from Red Storm Entertainment, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. New York is in trouble. A devastating epidemic sweeps through the city and in the wake of the disease basic services fail one by one. Without food and water, the streets are in chaos and new factions rise to profit from the mayhem. Amid the chaos, a classified unit of self-supported sleeper agents known as The Division is activated and tasked with one mission: take back New York. Fighting to piece the city back together one block at a time, the agents of The Division will combat the chaos driving New York to the brink and be face not only the effects of the deadly virus, but the rising threat of those who unleashed it. New York is in trouble. And it’s up to you to save the city. The score for this game is written by Ola Strandth.
There are a few particular sounds that I am so addicted to that every score that’s written like that makes it on my favorites list from the first moments. I call this “sound” but it’s actually the general atmosphere of a score, the mood it sets, the instruments and style used. And I am not looking at this objectively; these sounds bring nostalgia to me and touch me in the deepest of ways. One of them is the melodic electronic heir of the eternal 80s synth sound. It’s the atmospheric sound of scores like “Tron: legacy” or “Oblivion”, the sound that wonderful composers like Joseph Trapanese are keeping alive and developing. I hadn’t heard of Ola Strandth before this score but I’m surely going to keep my ears opened for him from now on because “Tom Clancy’s The division” is music to my heart… The electronic pace, the dreamy feeling, the cold and yet warming metallic taste and glow….everything is familiar and dear to as if it was my favorite vacationing spot.
I listen to this score and I feel like the only warm blooded creature in a vast, beautiful and empty world filled with figments of my imagination, a world where the normal rules of gravity, time and space don’t apply. Every cue is a strange new creature or image developing in front of me in a way that enchants me and makes me realize that there are no limits to the imagination. Yeah, I know this game is about something completely different and I’m sure the music works great in context. Yes there are moments (like “Times square” for example) when my heart if beating in my throat because of the palpable tension… But as a standalone listen it affects me as if I was listening to the score of the most imaginative exploratory Sci-fi game. It’s not my fault that the composer wrote such a magnificent and limitless score. I dream and relax listening to this score, I feel motivated and inspired and above all, I feel as if time stops and I can do whatever I want.
For me this is already a candidate for my top ten scores of 2016. Listen to it and see how it affects you. I will keep it close and listen to it often.

Cue rating: 98 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 70 / 79
Album excellence: 89%

We Are The Division
Precinct Siege
The Garden
Times Square
Mall Rats
Power Plant
The Academy

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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