When agreeing to compose a soundtrack for a video game which revolves around exploring an infinite universe and its many diverse planets, Sheffield post-rockers 65daysofstatic were taking on one hell of a challenge but if any band is up to it, it surely has to be a band with such a proven track record of making ambitious music as 65dos.
No Man’s Sky is a game developed by British independent studio Hello Games which contains 18 quintillion (that’s right, quintillion is a real number) planets to explore, so it’s clear why the studio would want a band with such a history of creating bold, epic and at times beautiful music as 65dos. No Man’s Sky won’t be available to the public until the 12th of August which means when listening to this album right now one is perhaps devoid of the context of the different planets these songs were written for, but despite this No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is a highly enjoyable listen for fans of soundtracks or post-rock.
The first thing to note about this album is that it comes in the form of two very distinct halves separated over two disks. The first is more traditional for the band in the sense that it mainly comprises of songs of around 5-7 minutes which largely follow the sound seen on the bands previous album Wild Light. Whilst the second comprises of a series of soundscapes comprised of components of songs played out in-game.
Songs such as Supermoon on the first half of the album are driven by strings & piano and drums, the latter of which slowly accelerates in the tempo slowly driving the song to a more chaotic level which allows the track to build elegantly into the distorted guitars with 65dos are so good at and give us a real sense of lift off. Drummer Rob Jones really shines on the first half of the record with songs such as Red Parallax being held together by chaotic fast paced drumming to really give it a sense of anxious progression as many of these songs build towards their noisy crescendo’s.
Other songs on the albums first half such as Escape Velocity and Heliosphere remain much more ambient and haunting; it’s easy to imagine these style of songs creating a real sense of isolation and beauty whilst exploring the huge universe. The synth and piano on these tracks are quite simply stunning and among the best you’re likely to find in contemporary post-rock.
The soundscapes section of the album is much less like traditional 65DOS songs and are therefore harder to appreciate without the content of the game however there’s still plenty to enjoy here even if in places they feel too long to hold attention in places. The highlight of the soundscapes section of the album is NMS_exteriorAtmos1 / False Suns which is a very synth heavy track with a 80s sci-fi feel to it, it creates a real panicy atmosphere to it and I’m sure within the context of gameplay it’ll really help to make the game more immersive.
On the whole the No Man’s Sky soundtrack is fantastic, with 65dos putting together some of their highest quality material to date. Whether you intend to pick up the game or not any 65daysofstatic fan should listen to this album, After listening to this I can’t wait to see how this music works in the context of the game.
FFO: And So I Watch You From Afar, Hans Zimmer, Explosions in the Sky
Written by Cameron Law – @Deadend_Friend