April 9 2021
It took six long years for Petums, i.e. Tomasz Ostafin, to fulfil his dream and present his paper world in the logical adventure game Papetura to the gaming public. No wonder. From the scenery, through small details or the nebula, to the main characters of the friends Pape and Tura, everything was made from paper with glue and subsequently animated.
"It often takes many years to create games, especially the independent ones; we have been in contact with Tomasz for perhaps five years. At the beginning, we talked about him using music already composed by me, but when the project started taking shape, it was clear that full cooperation would emerge. It is admirable that Tomasz creates virtually everything, except for sound and music, himself. And so it may take a little longer. It was interesting to see how his concept deepened, how an innocent idea became an impressive realization. We have been working more intensively on the project for the last three years. The joint work took place in waves, periods of greater calm were followed by intense work which was alternated by reflection. We didn’t want to rush anything, we wanted to give it as much time as the thing needed," says Floex.
The topic could not be more current. Papetura is based on Ostafin’s life experiences, it tells about fighting loneliness and finding new friendships. The story without words speaks to the player with its breathtaking arrangement, play of light and shadow and, above all, Floex’s musical accompaniment.
Although the single Pape And Tura is quite dramatic, just like the effort of Pape and Tura to prevent monsters, darkness and scorching fire from destroying their delicate paper world, the whole album has rather ambient neoclassical feeling.
"Pape And Tura clearly stands out thanks to Tomáš Jamník’s violoncello and Eva Jamníková’s violin. The composition is very significant in the game and accompanies the crucial moments in its development. The name suggests that it has something to do with the central characters of Papetura, whose bond is being tested at the given moment," adds Floex on the single.
Pape And Tura is available at online digital and streaming services: https://lnk.to/papetura
November 20 2020
Prague-based indie games company Amanita Design released their new puzzle adventure Creaks this summer. This time they enlisted the help of Joe Acheson (aka Hidden Orchestra) to create the soundtrack, following in the footsteps of the duo DVA and Joe’s long-time friend and collaborator Tomáš Dvořák (Floex). For Joe this was a new challenge, which he was able to meet with an outsider’s perspective on the gaming music tradition, as a non-gamer doing his first soundtrack. In this brain-teasing game, players may have to restart levels several times, and the duration of each level depends on each player’s speed at finding the solutions. In order to avoid listener fatigue caused by constantly restarting and looping pieces of music, Joe decided to create an endless ‘living soundtrack’, using software primarily designed for sound effects and atmospheres. By creating numerous variations for every part played by every instrument, and choosing between them using randomised conditional logic, the game’s music is self-generating and infinite, with constantly varying arrangements - while each piece is clearly recognisable, it will never sound exactly the same twice.
The player’s progress through the game also controls the structure of the music, as each piece moves through its sections as the stages of each puzzle are solved. Joe also wanted to reflect Amanita’s trademark marriage of beautiful hand-drawn artwork with technology, which fits neatly with his own approach of using only real instruments and musicians, but treating them with production techniques from sample-based music in order to create an imaginary orchestra.
"Each of the characters in the game is represented by a different instrument – for example, a selection of different zithers for the main hero character. The genres of music in the game reflect the progression through time in the game's artwork" reveals Joe Acheson himself. The musical mosaic on Creaks is very diverse and offers a broad creative spread, which bears the recognisable handwriting of Hidden Orchestra. It offers a kaleidoscope from minimalist improvisations for solo piano, through more diverse orchestrations for winds and strings, to conceptual compositions driven in an electronic background. "We start in a primitive world, where the music is mostly created from simple ancient styles of instruments (zithers, flutes, percussion) and some home-made instruments (tunable chimes made from a deconstructed glockenspiel, a harp made from an egg-slicer). Then we go into a gothic/baroque world, filled with bells, organs and choirs. Then a Classical world, dominated by pianos and strings, and an Electronic world filled with textures, rhythms, bass lines and melodies created on a modular synth, finally ending up in a futuristic dark magical world full of bass clarinet”.
Whilst playing the majority of instruments on the record himself (including piano, basses, zithers, analog synth, flutes, percussion, harmonium and many more), Joe most prominently features the newest members of Hidden Orchestra on this release - Jack McNeill (clarinet, bass clarinet) and Rebecca Knight (cello) - and did not hesitate to enlist his traditional collaborators Tim Lane and Jamie Graham (drums) and Poppy Ackroyd (violin), with brief cameo appearances from Yvo Ackroyd Acheson (shakers), Ali Tocher (bells, zither-box percussion), Su-a Lee (cello), Phil Cardwell (trumpet), and the aforementioned Tomáš Dvořák (clarinet).
Creaks Soundtrack is the fourth full-length studio album from Hidden Orchestra, following Night Walks (2010), Archipelago (2012), and Dawn Chorus (2017). Other notable releases include Reorchestrations (2015), a collection of Joe’s reworkings of mainly classical and folk musicians, 2016’s Wingbeats EP, and several volumes of remixes of Hidden Orchestra material by an extremely diverse array of artists. The powerful and virtuosic live show has toured dozens of countries over the last decade, performing hundreds of shows with a fluctuating lineup of guest players and arresting live visuals.
Also available at online digital and streaming services: https://lnk.to/creaks_ost