Regardless of the split opinions on the No Man’s Sky video game, no one can deny that it boasts an impressive soundtrack, produced by noisy instrumental outfit 65daysofstatic. Anything involving spaceships and exploring uncharted planets undoubtedly calls for a sci-fi oriented soundtrack, and the band came through to produce something that ranks among any other sci-fi soundtrack.
Now, the group and game developers Hello Games came together to release a live video recording of three of the tracks from the soundtrack. The live session was recorded at 2fly studios in the UK and includes the three tracks “Red Parallax,” “Monolith,” “Asimov.”
“This was one of the first attempts at rethinking how to approach performing music that was written to be non-linear and lend itself to generative, infinite soundscapes rather than fixed compositions,” says Paul Wolinski of 65daysofstatic. Typically game soundtracks are situational, aka if a player is fighting more intense music plays while more ambient music plays during passive exploration.
While it is technically a live session, viewers might be taken aback to see one of the performers playing a…laptop?
“The first song is ‘live coded’ using open source software TidalCycles,” Wolinksi says.
“Code is typed, executed and instantly transformed into musical patterns. These are fed out to modular synths and hacked electronic magnets. The magnets rest on guitar strings, making them resonate. Each subsequent song smashes more live instruments back into the mix.”
The studio session also provided a chance for the band to experiment with song structure and performance on top of the laptop shredding.
“We ultimately took different versions of these songs on tour. In the context of a usual 65 show it made more sense than to lock them into more predictable arrangements. However, we are in a studio environment in this video…This provided an opportunity to create a system where every performance of a track would be unique.”
This new approach will also lead into how the band makes music going forward, says Wolinski.
“This is something that takes a bit of getting used to: unique doesn’t necessarily mean good. There is a future we want to explore in writing songs as recipes rather than as pre-packaged TV dinners. With recipes, both the person who wrote it and the person following it play a part in the outcome. Applying this to music feels like a step toward wiping out the ‘composerarchy.’ The listener is as vital as the musician in making music matter. Like musical socialism.”
If the performance has you wanting to get the full audio experience, the soundtrack is currently available on a deluxe double CD, a 10 track double vinyl and a deluxe vinyl collector’s edition featuring all 16 tracks across 4 LP’s in a hard-case sleeve.
The band will also be performing at this year’s Treefort Music Festival. Check out the live session below.