High Frequency Bandwidth
HFB: PixelJunked -
The Original Soundtrack to Shooter 1 & 2
While providing 2010 with one of its most acclaimed albums in their Hell Fire And Brimstone debut, the cinematic electronic sweep of High Frequency Bandwidth impressed the games industry to the extent that their score for PixelJunk™Shooter was nominated for Best Original Score at the 2010 BAFTA awards.
HFB duo Alex Paterson and Dom Beken were Q Games’ obvious choice to score the bigger and deadlier Shooter 2, the next stage of the rapidly-advancing game, especially as its creation was coinciding with the duo’s early steps in creating their second album. Due to overwhelming public demand to hear the strikingly atmospheric music away from the console, exclusively arranged tracks from both scores are being released on 12th April 2011.
The High Frequency Bandwidth story began when, after collaborating on Orb projects, Dom and Alex formed Transit Kings with KLF co-mastermind Jimmy Cauty and renowned session bassist Guy Pratt, releasing their Living In A Giant Candle Winking at God album in 2006. This paved the way for Alex and Dom to embark on a sonic journey which, while exploring long-time musical fixations such as hip hop, soul, funk, film score and electronica, took them through a panoramic looking glass into a gestating HFB world, where original songs all bore the same initials and the sound morphed into a bottomless swirl of shimmering keyboards, ethereal strings, rotund pulses and haunted dancehall ambience; perfect for the Shooter scenario which now seemed to be progressing in sync.
Even back in 2008, when the initial HFB demos were taking shape, the duo were approached by Q Games president Dylan Cuthbert, who was looking to licence tracks for the new PixelJunk® project. Several HFB sounds fitted perfectly, so the pair set to work with renewed focus, creating musical arrangements which worked dynamically with the game to produce a score controlled by the gamer, while retaining the translucent, other-worldly future-funk of their original template.
PixelJunk® Shooter was one of the most eagerly awaited and best received Playstation titles of 2009, breaking new boundaries in fluid animation and game play, but hardly a press review or gamer’s comment passed in the forums passed without mention of the exceptional soundtrack. Then came the BAFTA nomination, alongside such industry giants as Hans Zimmer (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2), James Hannigan (Harry Potter) and Jesper Kydd (Assassin’s Creed 2).
HFB’s debut album stunned music critics and fans, described by Clash magazine as ‘Fabulous. A project knee-deep in throbbing funk, dirty R ‘n’ B and East Coast rap’, while Q homed in on the ‘...booming break beats and obscure samples…dizzying alacrity.’ iDJ magazine called it, ‘arguably one of the most exciting records of the summer.’
With both HFB’s second album and Shooter 2 under way at the same time, the standalone release of the soundtrack music has come with perfect synchronicity.
HFB: PixelJunked contains 12 tracks; all six pieces of music from Shooter 1, including the disturbing brilliance of Hundred Forty Billion and spooked Moroder- Bladerunner soundscape of Happy Funkin’ Birthday [with vocals from Indian pop star and film score legend Aadesh Shrivastava], plus six exclusively-arranged tracks from Shooter 2. Highlights including the poignant Saturn cityscape of Nano Bytes [bolstered by trumpet from doyen of the British Jazz scene Quentin Collins], sublime clarinet from Lady Eve on "Come on Down" and hip hop hall of mirrors mutant More Or Less, featuring sublime rapping by European Ambassador of Afrika Bambaata’s Zulu Nation and prominent Rhyme Syndicate member MC Dynamax.
The album will be available on Malicious Damage Records from all good MP3 stores, and Sony Computer Entertainment America in the Playstation Store from April 12th 2011. The iTunes release includes a digital booklet with liner notes from game designer Shouichi Tominaga and HFB, along with exclusive additional artwork and a sneak peak at the original concept art.
Morphing in perfect synchronicity with a trailblazing game, HFB are creating a brave new world, vapourizing musical boundaries and dropkicking audio-visual action into the next stage.
Text © Kris Needs 2011
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