Tim Larkin's music is filled with such wonderful ambience that sometimes you can get completely lost in it. His soundscapes are therefore ideal for a series such as Myst, of which Uru: Ages Beyond Myst is a spinoff to. For Uru Music, Tim Larkin gives us a range of beautiful soundscapes for our ears. Let's take a closer look from the very beginning...
"Atrus Open" is a spoken passage which ends with a flicker of epic string arrangement before the real music starts. "Beyond Gira" then takes us to the ambient outdoors with a surreal mixture of vocal layering, didgeridoos, desert percussion and distorted animal callings. The whole sound is organic yet little digital nuances are cleverly integrated throughout. This track won't grab listeners in terms of hooks and riffs, but just calmly sweeps people away on a journey. Delving a little deeper, "Yeesha's Theme" also takes listeners on a calm but not entirely settled journey. The balance of the beautiful and the unnerving is particularly well done here and the timbres never stays still.
"Badlands" brings Larkin's digital electronic side to the fore with some fun Eastern bass and percussion merging. Nevertheless the main tune is once again a pretty woodwind lead before string elements come in for the climax. "Gallery Theme" sounds similar in terms of bass and percussion, but is slowed down and muted. This provides a fantastic backdrop from female vocalist to sore from. It sounds very much like an Enya piece actually, which is no bad thing in this case. While retaining the digital focus, Larkin offers an entirely different ambience in "Spore Me" using just keyboard pads, akin to the ambience of Final Fantasy X.
There are some more worldly themes in the soundtrack. On one side of the spectrum, "The Bahro" presents listeners with deep ritualistic influences with its deep male chanting and creepy moaning drums. Similarly "Convergence" is written in an aboriginal vein with its tuned percussion (marimbas, barafones etc) and similar elements are showcased again in "The Well". On the other side of the spectrum, "Out of The Hive" provides something uptempo and exotic in its flavour and instrumentation. It seeps into your ears and I often find myself jigging in my seat to this one. "Air Stream" subsequently brings acoustic guitar to the front in a country western piece that is pleasant to relax. It's another rather different piece on an increasingly diverse album.
There are also some heavier contributions to the album. "Baron's Theme" is one of echoes and tension. It doesn't really grab listeners, as none of this soundtrack really has any major hooks, but it is haunting and well performed and falls seemlessly into "The Library". "The Vault" is a six minute epic though and through. Larkin brings out percussive bongos, electronic snippets, and all kinds of woodwind fun for a seemless journey off to somewhere barren yet full of wonder. There are also a few extras on the album. "Trailer Music" actually gives us the biggest music probably of the soundtrack in terms of pacing and drama as it works just like a trailer should. Its a very cinematic piece that borrows a bit from everything before it and rounds off with a nice climax. There is a "Bonus Track" too, which is possibly the most percussive track of all the soundtrack. It's a good way to fade out the experience.
Uru Music works best as a whole album. It's very much like the ICO soundtrack in that its beauty may well completely miss you if it's not your kind of CD. While perhaps not as subtle as the ICO soundtrack, it offers ambience from a different perspective — not to confuse and warp, but to provide ambience of the dead wastelands and unknown — and it achieves that with great success. I would recommend this soundtrack to fans of ambience and also fans of the more laid back jungle themes they've heard before. It's quite understated but unique and pleasant experience nonetheless.