A Video Game Composer Used a Human Skull to Create a Soundtrack
Since its initial release this summer, a video game called Inside has been getting a lot of buzz. The eerie puzzle-based game by Playdead follows a young boy in a red shirt exploring an eerie, mostly monochromatic world filled with animals, nameless creatures, lifeless-but-mobile bodies. The player must thwart authorities, avoid danger, and move through the dreary world undetected. Inside is mostly silent, with the exception of some heavy breathing, echoes, and well-placed, surreal music. The score is about as hair-raising as the game itself and with good reason: It was all filtered through a human skull.
Composer and sound designer Martin Stig Andersen is responsible for the creepy tunes. After acquiring an actual human skull, he filtered the soundtrack through it to create some music that was initially "quite bad." After some tinkering, the audio designer was able to create the perfect ambient music to properly match the tone of the video game.
"Early on, as we were working on Inside, I had the idea of working with a human skull because I think it's very interesting how the sound of your own voice sounds very different in your own head," Andersen told Gamasutra. "People are often shocked when they hear themselves recorded, because things sound totally different inside your head. Things sound much softer in there, more full, in a way. This is because a large part of what you hear is your voice resonating inside your body, in your jawbone for example."
While playing creepy music with the help of an actual skull might seem a little on-the-nose, you can't argue with the results. The music captures the essence of the game perfectly.
"I think because of the game's aesthetics, I kind of felt it should be associated with '80s B-movie soundtracks—cheap yet cool soundtracks," Andersen told Gamasutra.
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