Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! may have been a ways back in 2014, but four years later we’re trying to give some attention where attention is due: by taking a look at a brand new pressing of Jesper Kyd’s soundtrack for Claptastic Voyage to star-studded vinyl.
Y’all know Kyd. He’s responsible for those good sounds behind everything from the earliest Hitman games to most of the Assassin’s Creed series. While he isn’t the name behind the entirety of Borderlands, his sonic contributions are impossible to downplay. It’s just a real delight, overall, to be in a place where what’s getting pressed to wax theses days isn’t limited to just the most recent releases.
So let’s spin this Kyd adventure: what’s here?
Old school synths with arpeggiators layer atop more modern beds that all combine to be more mood piece than anything more or less. If you were expecting an 80s style horror soundtrack as done by 2010s artists, which is all the rage these days, then heckin’ wow are you gonna get what you wanted here. As per what gaming soundtrack fans want, you might need to adjust expectations.
The cartoonish fun of the game was set against a backdrop that takes its assignment seriously and literally. It works very well in game, but what does that mean for excitement/enjoyment when throwing a copy of the soundtrack on your turntable? Weird cross-evaluation here, but it’s a delight…. Just not how you’d expect.
So many game soundtracks include the base score but with the flourish event triggers and those are usually pretty great for me to listen to. This is just the straight-up base music level, and I find it to be quite excellent. These Kyd tracks are not what I’ve known or loved him for, but they’re engaging, lullingly enticing bits of digital sugar.
I have this weird pull-back where I want to offer some criticism of the end product, because if you threw this album on your player, I’d have no idea it was Borderlands-based. It has no defining characteristics that exempt it from the genre it draws from. It’s almost too innocuous to mean anything to anyone.
But the score here doesn’t need to be otherworldly. What was called for in this Borderlands supplement was just a very functional extension of what the tone required. The delivery here is, you know, flawless for that. And that makes this exceptional to own. I can throw this on behind anything I’m doing and it’s a perfect soundtrack. And that lacks the bloodlust of the type of soundtrack I would expect this from. It’s just nice and does what it set out to do, and that probably means it’s headed for more spins than the records of soundtracks I love much more.
The album is available in multiple places. Check out the gold vinyl printing of the soundtrack at ThinkGeek and listen to some of the tracks in the composer’s Soundcloud profile below.