In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Supergiant Games audio director and composer Darren Korb talks at length about the creative process behind scoring the cyberpunk-noir action-RPG Transistor.
“The main thing that I try to focus on when composing is vibe,” Korb wrote. “What should the piece feel like? If I start with a particular feel in mind, this dictates a lot of things about the piece right away, such as tempo, production aesthetic, tonal palate (happy, sad, major, minor, and so on), and gives me some useful constraints for how to proceed.”
According to Korb, the byproduct of his experimentation was a genre framework to work within that he dubbed “Old-world Electronic Post-rock”—a genre made up of the blending of electric guitars, harps, accordions, mandolins, electronic piano, and synth pads.
Korb also broke new ground for himself, as a composer, scoring Transistor—namely by developing multi-channel music that allowed Supergiant Games to manipulate the multiple “stem” in each track in real time. It’s through this, for example, that when players enter Turn mode, an EQ filter is cued that brings in a vocal track that’s otherwise silent outside of Turn mode.
Check out Korb’s full PlayStation Blog post for more behind-the-scenes info on Transistor’s development and its soundtrack intersected, including recording sessions with vocalist Ashley Barrett in Korb’s tiny, tiny closet.
Transistor is out now on PS4 and PC. For more on Supergiant’s sophomore efforts, check out Josh’s review. The soundtrack is available for purchase in MP3 and FLAC formats, as well as physical CD, through the Supergiant Games store.