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Soundtrack review: Trackless (Makeup and vanity set – 2017)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Trackless (Makeup and vanity set – 2017)

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“Trackless” is an atmospheric first-person exploration and puzzle game set in the distant future. Trackless uses text input that allows you to interact with characters and objects. Using your in-game phone will help you find clues and give you special abilities. Sounds like my kind of game. The score was written by Makeup and vanity set.

Do you know how magic sounds? Magic sounds like the first cue from this score “Press play”; magic is the purest and most beautiful retro synth game sound I could here and it’s in here in a cue that’s not even a minute long. I really don’t need more than this one pure nostalgic minute to make me dream and usher me into the immersive musical world of “Trackless”. Game scores are supposed to be immersive because the music is such an integral part of the gameplay and the gamer needs to forget all about the outside world but for me the nostalgia for the respective sound makes the experience even more intense as it enhances my emotional involvement. In the second cue “Iridescent” I can almost hear traces of Paul Hertzog’s “Bloodsport” which is one of my favourite scores of all time.

Both the nostalgia and tone quiet down from the third cue “Wasteland” as the music turns textural and I can imagine myself navigating the game and finding clues with music like this. I imagine the score substituting the sounds of the environment in a distant and lonely future. I am enjoying it, it’s a quiet and nice background sound to calm me down and set a reflective and pleasant mood without necessarily making me feel anything. Musically I like more the tracks that get a bit louder and more varied, like “The wanderer” which pulsates and gives me the illusion of outer space. I like that the cues are almost all of them 5 minutes or so long; usually little game scores like this don’t run for more than 20-25 minutes and at the end I am left with the regret that I didn’t get to hear more.

I don’t often say this at the end of a reflective and minimalistic game score but I think this one works better in the context of the game; I’m not sure what it is about it, maybe it’s too quiet, maybe it makes me long for some images but “Trackless” didn’t keep me invested all the time. I found myself drifting off and forgetting about the music during some cues as sometimes it crossed the line between immersive minimalistic and too quiet. When the music got a bit livelier and louder, or even darker but more varied like in the closing cue “The object” I enjoyed the score much more.

Cue rating:

Total minutes of excellence:

Album excellence:

Highlights:
Press Play
Iridescent
The Wanderer
At Sea
The Garden

Tags:
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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