“Get even” is a psychological thriller video game where Black – an ice-cold mercenary and hired gun – awakes in a mysterious old asylum with no memory of his past. Under the guidance of his anonymous captor, ‘Red’, Black embarks on a form of treatment, facilitated by a unique technology – a headset that allows the user to relive their memories and experience them again in the present. And so Black tries to remember. Olivier Deriviere wrote the music.
In the past few years game music has gotten better and better to the point where sometimes I get more excited about a game score than a movie score; a good composer can make it so immersive that I don’t even need the game to enjoy it to the fullest. Olivier Deriviere is this kind of composer, I remember him from “Supernova” and from the first cue of “Get even”, the wonderfully string driven “Consequences” with what sounds like a doorknob being tried or a case being dropped to the ground peppered throughout it pulls me into the atmosphere of the game. My heart races (and the cue itself ends with a heartbeat) and as the strings morph into electronic I am all it. He takes immersive music to a different level as “Trauma” with its screeching and the clock ticking literally scares me.
I must admit I have rarely heard a score as visceral as this one. Usually for a horror movie or game score to get to me I need to be listening to it at night with the lights closed and the proper atmosphere but Olivier Deriviere creates all this with his music so even if the sun is shinning brightly I am still scared, worried, affected by his music. And it’s not just music; he uses sounds very effectively, things like distant bell rings or humming, all of them whispers of terror that make me feel like there’s no escape. The sudden breaks with a suave violin piece like “Rehearsal” or an equally sweet and poignant cue like “Good recollection” are just a dream, a siren’s song in a dark and dangerous ocean. That solo violin gets to me, touches me and it’s not often that I get to listen to such a profound orchestral composition for a game.
There are times when in game sounds or voiceovers don’t work in a score but for “Get even” the composer subtly adds them just to give the score listener a glimpse of what it’s like to play the game; the breathing inside “Reascending the tower” or the police car and ticking clock sounds in “Homicide case” make me feel like I am playing and as the music gets heavier and more industrial I feel like I need to get there faster because someone or something is after me. “Reascending the tower” cue is “Mad Max: Fury road” level intensity.
My favourite element of the score is the melancholic violin; every time it shows up I am just mesmerised. Olivier Deriviere gives it the spotlight enough times and I almost get misty eyed when I hear cues like “Cause”, “We’re family”, “Broken home” or “No turning back”; I am listening to a psychological thriller video game score and I get all emotional and I feel like I need to hang on to something; the music goes straight for the heart. Other times the violin gets angry and starts cutting and shredding like in “Homicide case” and I want to hear more, I want to play the game, I want to help. The music gives me a whirlwind of feelings and I feel emotionally drained after a cue like this or after the tender and heartbreaking “Fragile family”. A piece like “Broken home” where the strings alternate between stormy and quiet could find its place on any period drama score. With every cue that I listen to I am running out of words to praise how good the strings sound and what a storm they create inside of me.
For me film or game music is all about making me feel; I am not one for the mathematics of music, for the themes or for what notes and instruments are used. I want to feel when I listen to music and this score affects me from start to finish like a captivating book I can’t put down until it’s over. I was just stunned by how beautiful and intense this journey was. The music of “Get even” is much more than a video game score; it’s more of a chamber orchestra recital that lives, breathes and tells a story. From fear to love to regret it seamlessly goes through an entire palette of emotions and everything feels natural and honest and leaves a mark.
Olivier Deriviere should be on everybody’s list and I hope I will see his name on some even more important gigs in the future. Not forgetting to mention how good the electronic cues or the meaningful piano inserts sound as well, the way the violin is used in this score, from tender to furious, could work very well for any deep drama or intimate journey of a character. “Get even” is a complex and profound composition and one of the best scores I’ve heard in this first half of 2017 and I hope my words made it clear how much you would be missing by not listening to it.
Cue rating: 100 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 59 / 59
Album excellence: 100%
Reascending the Tower
Tracking the Truth
No Turning Back
Visiting the Past