Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Monday, October 05, 2009


Halo 3: ODST
Music by Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori
Sumthing Else SE-2068-2 (US)
Disc 1 - 9 Tracks 58:08 mins
Disc 2 - 8 Tracks 56:50 mins

Series regulars O'Donnell and Salvatori have returned for the score to the latest in the Halo franchise, which differs from the previous games in the series, being set on Earth during the events leading up to those in Halo 3, and this time the story is told through the eyes of an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper). Accordingly, though cut from the same cloth, themes from the previous games are not recalled here, the composers having come up with new material, with live parts recorded with the Northwest Sinfonia, and the addition of alto sax, piano and guitar solos.
Sumthing Else's generous double album presentation presents the music in suite form, so that one has to sit through some boring moments of ambience to get to the more interesting stuff, but these are thankfully quite few, and over all there is much to like about the score.
Disc 1 commences with the "Overture," which opens with a lonely alto sax solo piercing the sounds of a thunder storm, supported by strings, the melody taken up by woodwind. After a short burst of ambience, frantic strings lead into a more hopeful melody, which in turn gives way to Battlestar-like drumming. The lonely feel, established in the opening track, continues in "The Rookie," with piano taking on the role of the sax. The drums enter again, as the music builds tensely to a crescendo, before losing its way in that boring ambience. A kind of low-key, tribal feel sees out the suite. "More Than His Share" opens with beat-driven expectancy and later picks up a propulsive rhythm, with sampled voices adding to the mix. More lonely sax and piano open "Deference for Darkness," with emotional strings transporting us to a more hopeful place, before sax and piano return to close the first part. An urban rhythm then moves us along to an ambient conclusion. A beat-driven opening to "The Menagerie" eventually leads into some kick-ass heroics, complete with electric guitars. "Asphalt and Ablution" begins with lonely piano sound again, giving way to more drum-driven rhythms and then a jazzy passage for echoey alto sax and finishing in more of that boring ambience, which sadly continues into "Traffic Jam," before horns, joined by drums give things a weighty feel, which continues as the music takes on a more purposeful feel, with a fine electric guitar solo, providing one of the score's best moments, leading to a subdued martial ending. "Neon Night" sets the scene well with a twinkling piano solo, and softly whining guitar, before a percussive note of urgency is injected. Skipping over the ambiency that follows, the echoey alto sax returns, set against a repeating piano figure and light percussion. The final suite on Disc 1, "The Office of Naval Intelligence" opens with a passage for drums, which gives way to mournful strings, and then another percussive passage. A lengthy piece of ambience follows, with more drumming to conclude.
Disc 2 opens optimistically with "Bits and Pieces" flowing nicely to begin with, but its doesn't last and stark percussion leads into more ambience, before sax returns hauntingly over a propulsive rhythm. "Skyline" opens with a mix of bleakness and percussiveness, before the music takes on a purposeful feel, leading to a reprise of the kick-ass music from before. "No Stone Unturned" opens to more lovely piano-lead music, with delicate woodwind solo, but ends with yet more percussion. There's a subdued jungle feel to open "One Way Ride," followed by tense, beat-driven music, and then more ambience; a determined percussive rhythm ending proceedings. "The Light at the End" opens with a poignant piano solo, then an initially subdued electronic rhythm, enhanced by sampled choir, takes us to an ambient conclusion. "Data Hive" starts out with ominous electronics, before developing a pulse, which takes us to a dissonant crescendo, with an aftermath of strings providing some relief, if only temporary, before a percussive rhythm leads us to another ambient close. The penultimate suite, and lengthiest on the album, "Special Delivery" opens to more ominous chords, mixed with traffic noise, but soon things pick up pace with an electronic rhythm, supported by drum kit and electric guitar. The weighty horns and drums from before return, the music reaching new heights, before fading away briefly, before first sax, then piano lead us to a meaningful climax. The "Finale" first reprises the opening of "Bits and Pieces" before introducing a pacy and purposeful new theme which, for me, ties with the piece from "Traffic Jam" as the most enjoyable music on the album. As this closes, a drumbeat picks up and quickly reaches a climax, to be replaced by heavenly voices, but the mood soon dissipates, as the music builds again to a suitably powerful close.
Available on CD or to download, go to, or for more info.


Post a Comment

<< Home