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Soundtrack review: Impact winter (Mitch Murder – 2018)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Impact winter (Mitch Murder – 2018)

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“Impact winter” is a 2018 video game. A mysterious radio transmission claims that help is inbound. Assume the role of Jacob Solomon: leader of a makeshift team trying to survive the aftermath of a devastating asteroid collision. The world you once knew is no more – buried deep beneath the constant snowfall. Your goal: keep your companions alive until a rescue is imminent. Mitch Murder wrote the score and this is what caught my attention, since synth wave is my favorite musical gene and I am still listening to the last score they contributed to, the awesome “Kung fury”.

I think synth wave and computer games are a perfect match for so many reasons: first there is the retro vibe that always benefits games, especially since the 80s, the decade when the synths ruled is also the decade when the first computer games were released so there’s an emotional and temporal connection; then there’s the reflective, ambient nature of this musical genre and more than anything else, computer games need an immersive atmosphere, sound included, to keep the gamer hooked on that world. I always welcome an atmospheric game score as it hypnotizes me and makes me want to explore more, without overwhelming me.

Mitch Murder start with a very slow and shy piece, the title cue “Impact winter” which eases me into the musical world of this game. Nostalgia gets even higher with the second cue “BD-750” as it’s the kind of sparse, dark electronic piece that echoes straight back to the iconic first “Terminator” score. The composers know how to maneuver their sound and every now and then a warm melodic motif breaks the mood and it makes the music feel alive and reactive. I must admit that in its earlier stages the score is even quieter than I expected but it fits perfectly with the idea of an impact winter which is defined as a “hypothesized period of prolonged cold weather due to the impact of a large asteroid or comet on the Earth’s surface” so all about the cold, vast and empty. The music is still and slow burning, encouraging me to explore.

The strange thing about this score is that over all it has a smaller nostalgia impact that I was expecting; this slow burning ambient sound is something I haven’t often listened to, it’s minimalistic to the core but in the same time quite addictive as these soft, prolonged motifs act like threads from an imaginary spider web that, almost unnoticed, grips me tighter and tighter. This is what’s clever about the way Mitch Murder wrote “Impact winter”: it just pulls me in without me even knowing it and I realize midway through the score that I have found a warm, safe place to dwell in and that I don’t want this score to end; it’s so comfortable and hypnotic that I am glad the cues are all long.

“Impact winter” is a minimalistic, very atmospheric retro composition that is all about mimicking the world where the game takes place, and succeeding marvelously at it.

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Highlights:
Through the Ice
Sanctuary

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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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