An Interview with Alex Otterlei Feature - The Next Level

An Interview with Alex Otterlei

Hear from the man behind Xyanide's haunting soundtrack.

Article by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
November 24th 2005, 04:10AM

This all started with a mention of custom soundtracks in my preview of Xyanide. My personal views have changed since, but with the focus on user created content in the next console generation, as a composer what do you think them?

Alex: Well, like you said, things are changing. There was a time that the game's music simply started at the beginning of the level, and looped continuously until "mission accomplished." Even the best music can't keep one interested forever, and so it's all but natural to turn down the music volume, or replace it with a track of your own. But with all the new possibilities in next gen games, I'm striving hard to create music that will become so interwoven with the events of the game's story that you simply can't (or won't) do without. Most ideal to me would be a soundtrack that reacts in detail to specific moments in the game, heightening the tension of a specific moment or event. As in: a dramatic chord striking when a villain appears, creepy strings triggered when you open a door leading to a frightening event, a "hint of sadness" at a dramatic moment...Music that, just like in the movies, accentuates emotions and suspense, but not playing simply in the background forever. Silence between two dramatic events can be a better soundtrack than any kind of music just "filling it up".

We've talked enough about past and present. What's next for you in the future?

Alex: For computer games, I am now currently working on two projects, one is called Project Delta, which promises to be a first person shooter of epic proportions. For this next gen game, I am composing orchestral music and creating movie-like, highly realistic sound effects. The second game, Wizard of Funk, is an entirely different game, with funky cartoonesque characters in a musically driven world. The sound effects will be more over the top, manga-like, while the music will be in various styles, from rock to symphonic.

After the release of my two new albums, Xyanide Official Soundtrack and Horror on the Orient Express, I will re-issue my older RPG-albums one by one, in the course of the next two years. The idea is not to simply reprint them, but to give them the treatment I always felt they should have, both audio-wise as in the way they are presented (cover, inside artwork, accompanying story). So it's safe to say each and every one will definitely be re-released as a luxury, or Special Edition.

Here's the lineup:

Where Evil Lurks Special Edition:
The original recording of Alex Otterlei's performance in 1992 now digitally re-recorded and remixed. We used the latest technology to bring the original classic to a new height of listening-satisfaction. This CD comes in a special luxury boxed set, including a full colour mini-book with magnificent new artwork, and a brand new original story written by acclaimed novelist Rhianna Pratchett.

Arthur Redux:
The Legend of King Arthur, in the shape of a magnificent symphonic story. This is Alex Otterlei's very first release, now for the first time available in a brand new edition. New recordings of the re-orchestrated and newly performed music by Alex Otterlei. The music will be created using the renowned Vienna Symphonic Library, and recorded in 5.1 surround enabling the listener to experience this epic saga as if he himself stood at the battlefield, at Arhur's side. It will include a full colour booklet with brand-new artwork and poems illustrating this famous saga.

Thank you for being kind enough to answer my inane questions. I wish you the very best of luck, and I know I'll be hearing more of your work in the future.

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