Musique florale

par Yome NetSan @ 9 avril 2010

Flower.pngOn reste dans la musique avec celle de Flower, l'expression vidéoludique d'un poème. Le jeu est sorti l'année dernière au moment de la Saint Valentin (ou comment offrir des fleurs numériques).

La bande originale avait été annoncé pour hier sur le Playstation Store. Visiblement, il est plus difficile de diffuser des mp3 en Europe qu'aux Etats-Unis car elle n'est finalement disponible que sur le store US pour 2,99$ (environ 2,30€). Je suspecte leur problème technique d'être lié au fait que, pour une fois, le prix européen est plus petit que le prix américain (1,99€ seulement). Ils ont dû avoir peur que tout le monde vienne le prendre chez nous, comme on ne se prive pas de le faire dans l'autre sens.

Mais bon, comme j'attendais cette BO depuis ma première partie, j'ai foncé sur le store US ce matin pour la récupérer. 2,30€ pour 8 pistes et plus d'une heure de musique (donc plus de 7min 30 de moyenne par piste, on est à l'extrême des 30 secondes de Sadness). Rien que pour ça, ça ne se refuse pas !
Voici la liste des pistes avec la première en écoute parce que je suis sympa.

  1. Life as a Flower (5:43)
  2. Splash of Color (9:15)
  3. Sailing on the Wind (7:30)
  4. Nighttime Excursion (5:35)
  5. Solitary Wasteland (11:39)
  6. Purification of the City (12:20)
  7. Peaceful Repose (9:23)
  8. Lazy Daydream (3:06)

Voici ce qu'a écrit Vincent Diamante, le compositeur, sur le blog officiel Playstation :

Looking back, a year-plus removed from working on Flower, it’s hard for me to remember anything but wonderful times with Sony and thatgamecompany. Then I think a bit harder and remember: the fights. Not fights amongst us developers, no. Besides, that comes part and parcel in the process of game development. Rather, the fights happened within the music. All-out brawls between themes, lines, instruments, harmonies as the music struggled to find identity when Flower was just this bud of a game.

Ostensibly, I was the one in control, penning each note in my music synthesizer as environment after environment demanded score. Not just any score, though; an ambitious score where the number of instruments present in the music ultimately dictated a different perspective on the game. From that simple directive, I codified a way of writing the music that would result in the interactive score I dreamt of.

In the beginning, however, there was nothing but fights. Instruments weren’t just masking or overshadowing their orchestral mates, they were outright demolishing them. French horns knocking bassoons to the floor, violins contorting cello lines, trumpets trampling over pianos. When I first started working on the music for Flower, I saw myself as being much like a conductor, gently urging sections of the orchestra into the space needed to fit the game. Instead, I felt like I had brought a conductor’s baton to a knife fight.

And then I started playing the game. And playing it. And playing it some more. I believe there were a few days in that year of working on Flower when I drove over to thatgamecompany and “worked” by playing the game for eight hours straight. Yes, I was having fun with the game, but I was also meditating, internalizing the rhythm, shape, and color of the world.

And somewhere in the process, I started writing Flower. There was no real struggle; just, suddenly, it didn’t feel like work to pen line after line of music. Each instrument in the score seemed to love each other, raising each other up even as they were added to the increasingly complex mix. Looking back on it, I can see exactly what changed in my approach to the music.

At the time, though, it all just felt magical.

It’s nice, now, playing Flower as just another player, reliving those bits of magic. That amazing exhale when you leave the canyon in the wind level. The drive that pushes you through a darkened city. The serenity of night that accompanies the post-game credits.

And while those magical parts were carefully composed and scripted for effect, the parts where the computer dictates the order of notes for a flower’s melody continue to floor me.

I remember one time, while playing the color level, a series of flowers set before the beginning of the third section of music played a melody so full of longing that I had to drop the controller to catch my breath.

When people speak of game development, they often describe it as a process of discovery. Though I’ve worked on video game scores before Flower, working closely with Sony and thatgamecompany was probably the best experience I ever had writing music. The music, ostensibly coming from me, seemed to keep on revealing itself to us from everywhere in the development. From level design, art, and mechanics to little things like the time needed to load a level and even the heft of the Dualshock 3; all of these had such an impact on the music composition that I couldn’t help but feel joy that the music was springing up from some space beyond myself.

And here I am, a little more than a year later thinking: I can’t wait to take part in that experience once again.

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