I love music in gaming. For me a compelling and suitably diversified soundtrack is one of the greatest accompaniments you can have. Even some of the worst movies often posses a repatriated compilation of eclectic notations. Whether it’s a grand orchestral accompaniment to some sweeping landscape scattered with vestigial structures or a more contemporary soundtrack riddled with gratuitous rhythmic pace that gets the adrenaline surging through your veins with accelerated velocity, it immediately generates additional immersion into any given situation, elevating your exploits beyond the simple receivership of playing and more into metabolic synchronicity between the situation and yourself. Today I’d like to introduce an artist that certainly replicates the latter without diminishing the former. Celldweller is a musician that I can conclusively speculate you are already familiarised with, without even knowing it. Every single song featured on his debut self titled album has been licensed to a movie, video game, commercial or other form of media in some capacity. His music has featured in Iron Man, Spiderman 2, Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol, Constantine, Mr & Mrs Smith, Pacific Rim, Assassins Creed: Revelations, Assassins Creed: Brotherhood, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Dead Rising 2, Forza Motorsport 3 and loads more besides. But I can hear your curious incredulity and I’ll admit that it’s a founded dubiety as much of his auditory contribution is ancillary, perhaps deliberately encouraged. It was only through rather fortuitous circumstances that I discovered his music at all.
It was Need For Speed: Most Wanted that introduced me to his amplified decibel’s, collating the symphonic gestures of a variety of influences into a clamouring fusion of synthesised reverberations. “One Good Reason” was layered with such profane intensity that it heightened the fraudulent depiction of being an illegal street racer, imposing a genuine plume of atmospheric catharsis to your illegal vehicular activities. Of course a tune of such percussive ferocity isn’t going to resonate with such platonic captivation for everyone, but his visceral fluency is profoundly modulated in his subsequent work, yet explores more ethereal thematic’s in his most recent productions. Refined with more melodic elements and infused with a more complex electronic composite, his album “Wish Upon A Blackstar”, released a full 6 years after his début album produced incredible feats of musical innovation by drastically contrasting his earlier work with serpentine layering of distinctive, automated instruments. Though the collection of distorted decibel’s generated a vigorous ascent of hypnotic balladry and intumescent severity, it also failed to replicate and apply an adaptive tempo that allowed an otherwise distinct sound to obtrude from similarly syncopated patterns that emerged from the highly prevalent and parasitical dubstep influence of his peers. It certainly wasn’t a bad album as it contained some of my personal favourite songs such as “Eon”, “Against The Tide” and “The Best It’s Gonna Get”, but it felt over produced as though he kept adding various alternating elements into a convoluted bridge of noise and distortion that subsequently belied his transmitted elegance. The long gestational period probably derives some influences for its deficient continuity, as it required 6 years to complete, but even something of such jutted abstraction it’s still an album that deserves respect for its experimental vision alone.
Since “Wish Upon A Blackstar” Klayton, the one man band behind Celldweller has produced some of his finest work since his fledgling debut. His episodic “End Of An Empire” standalone feels like a natural successor to his originated works, fusing elements of rock and electronica into a singulised tempos that exempts itself from its generalised form. Replete with hypersonic back beats, synthesised percussion and blistering metal integrated into one organic entity. The atmospheric shrill tempered into tracks such as “New Elysium”, “Down To Earth”, “End Of An Empire” and “Just Like You” provokes sensory impairment (in a good way), and an inert sense of being jettisoned to some isolated planet devoid of human life in the reaches of some distant, nebulous solar system. You can simply create restricted form of sensory deprivation by turning off the lights, laying down on your bed and go on a spiritual journey, with Celldwellers music utilised as the catalyst. Outside album releases are more standalone singles that quantify his diverse influences. As well as his fluent, synthesised rendition of the BeeGee’s anthem “Tragedy” it’s his synth, or perhaps that should be “Sith” heavy rendition of Star Wars “Imperial March” that demonstrates his unequivocal adeptness as a musician and artist. Also did I mention that he released the latter on May the fourth?
Of course there is general antipathy that his songs are very much regulated by repeated structural vulnerabilities, with suggested accusations that his songs rely on the repetition of the tempo. But when rhythmic beats are layered and delivered with such proficiency then a little repetition is placated. It’s like denouncing a 10 game winning streak on cod as being repetitive?! Though he hasn’t been gifted with lyrical affluence, the amount of ethereal inflections infused with complex aggressive cerebral structures that generates layers of percussive brutality without it becoming rhythmically congested mesh of decibel’s and distorted guitar riffs more than compensates. The way Klayton merges passive vocal sincerity with the deeply arranged beats is a credit to his historically meticulous extrapolation for perfection. And while there are obvious divergences influenced by exterior authorities, the purity of his stylistic monolithic continues without prejudice. He’s not simply bludgeoning the listeners ear with a cacophony of deliberate antithesis, but often delicately serenading with precise delicacy. There’s an earnest swagger about his sound that contributes staggering capacity for invigorating your game-play. You hear those distinctive chords, even in residual substantive ambiance and you can eviscerate throngs of the un-dead for hours.
There’s such a diversified range of genres meshed into music that no matter your musical preferences there is bound to be something in Celldweller’s catalogue that you can enjoy. Below our my top 5 songs I feel best exemplifies his range of music, but doesn’t necessarily represent my favourites. Let me know your thoughts and perhaps recommend other artists in gaming for others to listen too. Cheers.
The Best It’s Gonna Get.
The Imperial March.
End Of An Empire.