Music Week: Understanding ‘music’s eclectic daredevil’, Olivier Deriviere

March 11, 2021
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Music Week continues with Bertie meeting a composer whose work had a powerful effect on him, and whose processes aren’t at all what he expected.

What is it about the music in Vampyr that appeals to me so much? I’ve played plenty of games with great music but this was the first to really make me think about it, to listen, to contemplate, to wonder. Maybe it’s the loneliness of the cello. There’s a powerful melancholy and almost yearning quality to it, in the way the bow sweeps the strings and makes that rasping, sonorous wave of noise; in and out, the sound lapping at your attention. And within it, there’s a sense of aching. The more I think about it, the more it seems to be Jonathan Reid, the vampire, alone on the streets of 1918 London. Alone while coming to terms with what he is, what this world is, and where he fits within it.

Not only do I love the sound and the associations of it, I love the confidence I picture behind it. A confidence to do things differently, to strip everything back and just present a naked sound. No orchestra, no overt demonstration of musical power, no insecurity fuelling a need to impress. Instead, a cello. A cello played almost improvisationally, with scraps of melody moving irregularly as if on a whim. A cello not afraid to be ugly, to squeak by being played on the bridge. Who does that? Who commands someone to make those sounds for a game and knows they will be OK, that they will be enough?

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