PAX 2019 Supergiant Retrospective

Less than a month ago, I had the incredible honor of arranging a bunch of Supergiant Games music for Darren Korb himself!

I played their first game, Bastion, right when it came out, over ten years ago. It stood out immediately in my mind in every positive way possible – the characters, the voice acting, the story, the gameplay and especially the music. To this day, I have several of these tracks on my workout mix because they were so near and dear to my heart. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work for the very same guy almost ten years later – and bring these tracks to life with a small orchestra no less!

The full set list included a medley from Bastion and several songs from Transistor, Pyre and one from their new game, Hades. I particularly had fun with Lament for Orpheus, which depicts the Greek Myth of Orpheus braving the underworld to bring his love back. My days of studying Greek myth were long behind me, but I still recalled that Orpheus was in fact a musician in story, and a harpist no less, so…I wrote a pretty  beefy Harp cadenza to kick it off, and for the song itself: very soft accompaniment by the Harp and a Duduk, the latter lending an air of austerity and a sort of ancient sound at the same time (I initially wanted Aulos, but Duduk is more widely played in modern times and sounds very similar!). This combo worked chillingly well with Darren’s insane falsetto chops. Listen to how high he goes!

Now where did we find a player to play Duduk? Simple, Kristin Naigus! She is one of a few Swiss army knifes in LA when it comes to wind players – that is, she can bring a bag of basically any instrument imaginable to a gig, which is of course an arranger’s dream.

There were two other songs of particular note. One was of course the Bastion medley, which included Spike on a Rail. I had so much fun with this, from the Trombone solo to the Bluegrass fiddle to Darren’s badass strumming to Kristin’s use of the melodica masquerading as a harmonica. It was one of my favorite tracks of the OST, but I was afraid it wouldn’t translate well. It turned out to be even more fun than I expected and I loved every minute of it! Here’s the original track:

Finally, there was Vagrant Song.

This was so barebones as an initial track – and I was getting notes from Darren and Austin (Wintory) both that I was clinging to the original tracks too much. So I went 110% balls-to-the-wall dramatic orchestral with it. They both loved it and it ended up sounding amazing on that stage. That’s even where I got the shout-out from that lovely, humble man, Darren Korb.

This was one of those times where this life – being a musician, sacrificing wealth and health and usually a healthy relationship or two – is all worth it. To be a part of this was nothing short of amazing, and I have nothing but gratitude for Darren Korb and Austin Wintory. They are two of the kindest, most patient and most talented people I have ever known.

Oh, here’s the video! 😛

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