Label: Ubisoft Music
Released: October 30, 2012
Tracks / Album Length: 26 tracks / (63:43)
Composer: Winifred Phillips
Special Notes: n/a
For UBISOFT’s female-led spinoff game, Winifred Phillips composed a multitude of cues that carry forward the orchestral-electronic sounds of Lorne Balfe’s Assassin’s Creed III, yet typical of Phillips’ writing, there’s a wealth of thematic variations and a strong emphasis on orchestra detail.
It’s also one of Phillips’ most muscular scores, perhaps going a little further than Balfe’s material in the album’s first third with a dominant brooding quality, often through the use of bass pulses and percussion. Cues like “Stealth” are also emblematic of the little contrasts within several cues – looming danger, and some lamentation, as though the lead character has regrets for choosing a violent profession – while the main theme is evocative of the heroine’s French-African heritage.
That blend ensures Phillips’ score is quite distinct from Balfe’s, offering a mix of classical and African elements (the vocal ingredients in “Liberation Main Theme” and “Poverty”) versus the minimalism and slight Celtic tone of Balfe’s work. Phillips’ strengths have always been in the details, so while the score is based around a singular theme, her variations are diverse, and within each cue are finely nuanced orchestrations with solid production from producer Winnie Waldron.
Most of the instruments are synth-based, and Phillips flows from chamber to large orchestral sounds, and pulsing synth action sequences (“Abstergo Ops,” and the lengthy “Aveline’s Escape” with dense percussion textures and electro-pulses reminiscent of Harry Gregson-Williams). There’s also a short interval of period source cues (“Society Suite in 4 Movements”) which show off her classical leanings and provide a short mood pause before a switch to more suspenseful orchestral-synth cues, and a heavier use of an ethereal female voice. Average cue timings hover between 2-3 minutes, but it’s the details that ensure the album pulses along, recapping the main theme in progressive incarnations.
An interview with Winifred Phillips is also available.
© 2009 Mark R. Hasan
Category: Soundtrack Reviews