Saturday, July 12, 2008

Great Gaming Music #8: Silent Hill

Akira Yamaoka's music for Silent Hill is the pinnacle of the field of Japanese survival-horror soundtracks. While his Theme of Laura from Silent Hill 2 seems to have become the default franchise mascot, I vastly prefer his creepy musical introduction to the original game, featured here alongside footage from the Silent Hill movie.

I think one of the reasons why Yamaoka's work on Silent Hill is so memorable is the way he avoids a lot of cliches of horror music. He marries up genuinely creepy passages of music with traditional guitar to reflect the juxtaposition of nightmare and normal which is a running theme of the series.

Not only did Yamaoka compose the soundtracks for all four of the original Silent Hill games plus Origins, Homecoming, and the film: he also worked as sound director on the core titles. Wikipedia informs that he recorded over 200 different footstep sounds for use in Silent Hill 2. His music has also been featured heavily throughout Konami's Beatmania IIDX franchise.

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