Creation of Crysis 2 soundtrack
Every big blockbuster is always a set of compromises between budgets, creativity and degree of risk. As a rule, the last one is the major one and therefore large projects (both movies and games) can rarely boast an abundance of new ideas. Nevertheless, it’s always interesting to learn how such projects were created and what limits do composers get over while working.
Game-OST had opportunity to talk to Borislav Slavov and Tilman Sillescu about their work on the soundtrack for Crysis 2. What kind of the objectives and goals they were faced with, how tight were the creative limits and how Hans Zimmer was involved in project.
Greetings Borislav & Tilman, first of all, tell us about you.
Apart from being a Music Director and Composer I am also a veteran gamer, who would rather die than to stop playing computer games. My colleague Tilman is wondering how I manage to survive this rhythm, making music during the day and playing games in the night, but the truth is that this is the only way for me to save my lost and confused soul of a half-grown kid. Fortunately, my friend and colleague, Victor Stoyanov is sharing my madness for playing games and I don’t feel alone.
Tilman: My name is Tilman Sillescu, I am a composer for games and films and I normally tend to sleep at night;). I am co-founder and Creative Director of the company Dynamedion, which has specialized in game and movie soundtracks.
What is your first music recollection?
Borislav: Nice question. I don’t really remember my first music recollection in general, but I do remember my first soundtrack one.The very first movie soundtrack that hugely impressed me was the score for Mel Gibson’s movie – Brave Heart. I was speechlessafter I watched this movie. I still have vivid memories on how deeply amazed the scoreof James Horner left me. Even15 years later I can start humming it right away. :) The very first game I scored – “Knights of Honor” was greatly influenced by it.
Tilman: Well, concerning film music, I had a strong childhood experience: I watched Sergio Leones “Once Upon a Time in the West” in the cinema and there was this unbelievable soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, with the harmonica echoes and the epic orchestral music. I was so empotionally touched that I immediately bought the record and tried to play the music by ear on the piano.
Tilman: Yes, I had instrumental lessons as a child and later I studied classical and popular music at the Universities in Mainz and Frankfurt, Germany.
Borislav: I haven’t studied at a Music Academy. All my music knowledge I got through private lessons and experience. I am a Master of Computer Science by education and the funny thing is that shortlyafter I finished university, I realized that the real passion of my life was actually the soundtrack music. I have never regretted however that I studied for an IT specialist because this knowledge greatly helped me on my way to becoming a music professional. More than ever before, the music production is based on computer software and hardware and sometimes this gives me a pinch of advantage.
Borislav, we heard you have a big musical instrument collection. Tell us more about this. Also, what instruments are you able to play?
Borislav: I have always been keen on stringed ethnic instruments, but I actually started to play and collect different types when I was working on “Knights of Honor”. When I started to compose the music there, I was not satisfied with the MIDI samples. It did not feel the way I wanted it to be. The charm of the live sound was not there. The magic of the live stringed instruments is hidden in the passion of the performance. Since then my collection started to grow and now I have a dozen of different instruments. Some of my favorites are the mandolin, tamboura, cello tamboura, baglama.
One of the latest instruments I got is from the guitar family yet it looks and sounds quite different. Its name is cümbüş [dʒym’byʃ]. It comes from Turkey and it looks a bit like the American banjo but has no bars on the fingerboard and the playing style is similar to the Arabic 'ud.
Another interesting instrument is an Indian one with the name - Sarod. It is a fretless stringed instrument often used to perform continuous slides between notes, typical for the Indian folk music. It has both playing strings like the guitar and drone strings. What is really cool about it is that apart from the main wooden sound box, the Sarod has a second one, made of brass! It is attached to the top end of the neck and makes the sound unique.
Tilman, what instruments are you able to play?
Tilman: I play guitar and a tiny little bit piano and clarinet. And I am trying my best to play simple tunes on the flute as well – but I fear you would run away if you ever would hear me playing ;).
And what about your studio gear?
Tilman: I am working with a Mac Pro and I am using Logic Audio as a music program. And I bought almost all of the great sample libraries around - but I still think nothing can compete with a real orchestra:).
Borislav: My gear is modest, believe it or not and it is entirely based on Yamaha gear and PC hardware and software. Although it is known for not as stable as the Mac stations, I feel more comfortable with the PC platform, which is more open and I guess it provides wider range of music software. You would be surprised how useful even the freeware plug-ins could be sometimes.
How and when did you get into gaming industry?
Tilman: Well, after having studied music, I played guitar in several ensembles and bands and was a teaching students at the Mainz University (bachelor of musical arts, arranging and composing). I was not really satisfied with my job situation but somehow I didn’t have the energy to make a change. One day I had the luck to meet Pierre Langer, who was a teacher at the Mainz University as well at this time. It was Pierre who had the idea to compose music for Games. Soon we did some first very small projects and later founded the company Dynamedion.
Borislav: My first gig in the industry was the music for the computer strategy game called “Knights of Honor”. When Black Sea Studios (back at that time) announced the development of the title, I immediately applied for the soundtrack production with couple of tracks. The lead designer and CEO of the development teambelieved that I would be the right man for the job and I started to work on the project, which ended up being my first game love.
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