Assassin's Creed 2 Original Game Soundtrack

Assassin's Creed 2 Original Game Soundtrack. Лицевая сторона . Click to zoom.
Assassin's Creed 2 Original Game Soundtrack
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Suite Veneziano

"Assassin's Creed" franchise has only two full-fledged games so far (versions for portable platforms do not count), but for a progressive video games composer Jesper Kyd it has already become not less important than a series about Hitman, which has made this Danish electronic musician an icon of modern game music. Like Hitman, Assassin’s Creed is a game about a killer though very ancient one. A medieval setting for Kyd is not a barrier but vice versa it’s an incentive. It’s not just a stimulus to step into a territory of unusual for him creative directions, simply to do something new but to reinvent a particular music style, to deconstruct music, take all familiar elements to pieces so as to reconstruct them later to his own taste, gracefully ignoring standards and authenticity. For the composer who has long gone beyond the framework of electronic sound and pure genres, in whose career there was both cold IDM, organically woven into the disturbing orchestration, and choir of the Hungarian Radio, performing pseudo-Soviet patriotic songs in broken Russian to the accompaniment of techno rhythms and vintage synthesizers, there are no obstacles and nothing is impossible. Each new Kyd’s work is not similar to the preceding, it has no analogues in the game industry and sometimes no analogues at all.

On the whole Kyd’s music solution for Assassin’s Creed 2 was rather radical. He completely abandoned the variety of music genres of the original game, which action was set in ancient Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus under a solid fusion of ethno-electronics, Hollywood symphonic music and chorals with a religious flavor, Kyd has adopted instruments and methods of the Renaissance and in a certain range of styles he creates an extremely delicate and romantic musical palette. Sequel’s events take place in Florence and Venice in 1476 with a meticulously recreated architecture of the cities and such historical persons as Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli as game characters. The music atmosphere in Assassin’s Creed can be described as neoclassic with tender keyboards in the style of avant-garde pianist Harold Budd and with viscous motives of a string ensemble similar to orchestra pieces by such famous minimalists as Philip Glass or Ennio Morricone as well as electronic music and mystical female vocals. Altaïr, the protagonist of the original game, is a best Assassin of the Assassin’s Order, who is tasked by his teacher with death of important persons getting ready for the Third Crusade. Btw, he doesn’t understand his actual role in what is happening. A young Florentine aristocrat Ezio is a main hero of Assassin’s Creed 2, who in its turn is seeking revenge for his parents’ death that’s why the sequel’s music has a distinct personal feature – it’s deap and emotional and sometimes even shrilly tragic.

Even with a complete change of style and music instruments Kyd’s melodies continue to serve as a slight background for a peaceful world of Assassin’s Creed. Moreover, the atmosphere of the second part is directly dictated by the time of the action – in the Renaissance times people used to celebrate almost everything with fanfare, fireworks and live musical accompaniment. In the original game the effect of the meditative atmosphere was achieved due to hypnotic music mood, that is a subdued electronic beat, special synth backgrounds and abstract voices. In the sequel the surrealistic atmosphere is kept mostly because of the overall minimalism and drawling string and piano parties.

But like in any other action game in Assassin’s Creed 2 peace is fragile and it’s its violation for that everything is constructed. Enormous open spaces, life simulation, expensive scenery and detailed sound landscape – all this loses any sense in no time when you’re surrounded by three dozens of bold-minded and heavily armed guards; when during a thrilling chase on the tiled roofs of Venice you understand that everything has been specially designed just for such moments – wild hack and slash, mad adrenaline rush, sophisticated curses from all sides and driving music. Background melodies in Assassin’s Creed 2 both for quality and quantity are giving its way to dynamic action tracks, once again stressing that surroundings unlike action are secondary. Though before it used to be the same.

A very powerful 9-minute suite Access The Animus from the first part is a piece of unreal magnitude and beauty (no doubts it’s the greatest electronic track since Vegas). It overshadowed the rest of the music form the game immediately, but in the absence of any analogues it sounded too often and as a result it became boring. In Assassin’s Creed 2 an approach to the plot has been carefully revised in favour of gameplay variety. The music now is used more rationally. Now there’s no such an epic and original work as Access The Animus in the game, but the composer did his best to give something instead – more action themes, more short ones but still effective. A music theme of the main hero Ezio can serve here as a consolation for the absent Access The Animus 2.0. It opens the album and extends for 3 pieces: Earth, Ezio's Family and Venice Rooftops, which being put together are equal to one Access The Animus timing (it also consists of three equal segments but they are cemented together in a chronological order).

The prologue to the entire album is a track entitled Earth, probably it’s the most significant and the most completed part of the soundtrack. The composition greets its listeners with melancholic play of acoustic guitars and sadness of female voices. But with the start of the second minute it rapidly begins to gather momentum - a few seconds later the emotional peak of the composition will come, like in the best moments of post-rock a dirty electro guitar and a string ensemble will join, and Earth will spin around in a rapid whirlpool of assertive percussion and electronic effects. Ezio’s Family is a calm version of Earth without rhythm and electronic part, but using the same leitmotif and sealing the vocal part. Here keyboards and solo strings also appear. Probably if these tracks had been a part of the one suite, then Ezio’s Family would have preceded Earth. However, Venice Rooftops, a wonderful end of the triptych, is strictly in its place - after a concise introductory part – you can hear dynamic rhythms as a basis and already familiar sound design: strings and violin, a drop of electronics and an abundance of vocal parts.

In general Assassin's Creed 2 is the first Kyd’s work, which has got into a serious dependence on keynotes, repetitions and variations of one and the same vocal studies, guitar riffs and other elements. Composer’s view is understandable – too much material has had to be written for the project. To some people it may seem monotonous: sometimes there's too much of acoustic guitar solo, and at the same time electro guitar should have been used more often. There’s no bass here – for one thing it is all right, cause too many similarities with the soundtrack to Splinter Cell: Double Agent from Ubisoft are no good – though Venice Fight sounds just like a tribute to one of the tracks by Michael McCann. For another thing, why not use the opportunity to the full? For the other category of listeners who welcome experiments, these two hours will fly by like 20 minutes: the structure of the album won’t get them bored – an airy Air Flight Over Venice 1 will be replaced by Back In Venice, delivering the spirit of adventure as well as it’s possible, and then a feminine Dream Of Venice - Best Choir composition of the album will follow.

Rationalism in Assassin's Creed 2 music is not simply in the increased number of sequences for fights and chases, but also in more successful allocating of background tunes for locations. While for the first part Kyd wrote only one song for each of the three cities, in the sequel even some areas of settlements have its own musical themes. Strong changes have affected percussion patterns too – percussion has become truly epic and awesome. It sounds in the manner of a choral hit Apocalypse from Hitman: Blood Money or like Bear McCreary soundtracks to TV series Battlestar Galactica. Also there’re some things which are more typical for Kyd, such as Venice Escape, for instance, - an aggressive track closing the first disc with a shocking techno base and sampled industrial rasp.

A gloomy track Darkness Falls In Florence sets the general tone of the second (the second, you heard that right - this is the biggest Kyd’s work, which saw the light in a form of a commercially released album), more abstract disk. But even here there are special, extraordinary discoveries such as Chariot Chase, which drag all the attention. However, I can’t say that the amorphous orientation of the second part of the soundtrack goes soft - ambient is too subtle and varied, gentle as in Sanctuary or panoramic as in Hideout and The Animus 2.0. It is nice that for the first time in a long time Ubisoft released a more or less exhaustive two-hour compilation of tracks from their game - the original Assassin's Creed hasn’t been honored this way - the publisher didn’t go beyond a disastrously short promo album. Hopefully in the future Ubisoft will only be praised for such gestures of goodwill, but now it’s too early - Ubisoft did too much it should not have. Still guilty after all these years.


Music in game




Assassin's Creed II the follow-up to Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed, is the latest video game score from Jesper Kyd (composed of the popular Hitman series). The game launched in November 2009 for various platforms. The first Assassin's Creed score was well-conceived, but didn't sustain enough interest as an album. This time around, Kyd moves in a more adventurous direction, adding symphonic and choral components to a diverse array of acoustic instruments, inevitably lending a grander scope to the music. It should come as no surprise then that the score is already receiving critical notice from within the industry and from fans of the game; Assassin's Creed II recently won the Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Score.


"Earth" opens the first disc with a plaintive female vocal on a beautiful melodic idea. It eventually develops into pulsing action music. This major concept recurs throughout the following tracks. Percussive, rock-like beats tend to drive the music forward, while Kyd's beautiful melodic writing weaves throughout the textures. The score is made all he more compelling by a vairety of folk-like melodic ideas and colors that feature intricate guitar writing reminiscent of Renaissance music. There are moments of ambient sound as well, but they are used far more sparingly than in other scores by the composer.

Other highlight of the first disc include "Home in Florence," an intricate coupling of piano and bass lines with strings that gives way to delicate harp writing. "Approaching Target I" works through subtle color changes to build tension, while the dance-like "Venice Escape" takes on more contemporary rock overtones and brings the disc to an upbeat close.

The second dic opens with the unsettling "Darkness in Florence," achieving a more mysterious sound and appropriately dark colors. "Sanctuary" follows with a dark, pensive feel in which different textures float over a string pedal. These blacker colors continue to flow through the better part of the disc. Disc Two also revisits scenarios from the first disc, here presented with some variation as befits their appearance in laer aspects of gameplay, where the goal is closer in reach. Overall, this disc features more drum machine work than the first, though it never really overpowers the acoustic instrumentation.


Assassin's Creed II is epic in scope and is probably the best score Kyd has written to date. Film score fans will find it a distant cousin to Howard Shore's music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, coupled with Joseph LoDuca's Xena material. Overall, this album represents nearly two hours of fine music making.


Music in game


Steven Kennedy

Music composed by: Jesper Kyd
Music produced by: Jesper Kyd
Orchestrator and Conductor: Jason Poss
Choir Contractor: Eyvonne Williams
Music Preparation & Score Reader: Danita Ng-Poss
Music Editor: Kevin Bassinson
Scoring Engineer: John Kurlander
Protools Operators: Steve Genewick, Aaron Walk
Music Mixer: John Rodd
Assistant to Jesper Kyd: Karl Vaudrin
Recording Studio: Capitol Studios [Hollywood], American Federation of Musicians [Local 47]
Instrumentalists - Bass: Steve Dress, Tim Eckert, Geoff Osika, Mike Valerio
Instrumentalists - Cello: Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, Trevor Handy, Victor G. Lawrence, Timothy Loo, Cécilia Tsan, Elizabeth Wright
Instrumentalist - Electric Cello: Lowell Pickett
Instrumentalist - Flute, EWI: Sal Lozano
Instrumentalist - Guitars: Brian Trifon
Instrumentalist - Percussions: Pete Korpela
Instrumentalist - Solo Violin: Alyssa J. Park
Instrumentalists - Viola: Robert A. Brophy, Gina Coletti, Andrew Duckles, Marlow Fisher, Cheryl Gates, Miriam Granat, Jeannie Lim, Luke Maurer, Aaron Oltman, David F. Walther, Rodney Wirtz
Instrumentalists - Violin: Charlie Bisharat, Caroline Campbell, Kevin Connolly, Nina Evtuhov, Sam Fischer, Endre Granat, Henry M. Gronnier, Songa Lee, Marina Manukian, Joel M. Pargman, Grace Oh, Alyssa J. Park, Searmi Park, Radu Pieptea, Mark Robertson, Neil Samples, Jennifer Takamatsu, Ashoka Thiagarajan, Yelena Yegoryan
Instrumentalist - Solo Tarantella Violin: Paul Cartwright
Choir: Stephen Amerson, Beth Andersen, Aleta Braxton O'Brien, Amick Byram, Elin Carlson, Amy Fogerson, Christopher Gambol, Michael Geiger, Walt Harrah, Teri Koide, Edie Lehmann, John West, Eyvonne Williams
Vocals: Melissa R. Kaplan
Custom Built Step-Sequencer by: The Analogue Lab
Step Sequence written and conceived by: Jesper Kyd
Additional Step Sequence Programming: Justin D. Scott
Step Sequence Treatments: Jeff Blenkinsopp

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Here you can freely listen to preview tracks from Assassin's Creed 2 Original Game Soundtrack. Album was composed by Джеспер Кид and was released on November 16, 2009. Soundtrack consists of 35 tracks tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by Ubisoft Music.

Sounds like Acoustic, Ambient, Classical, Electronica, Instrument, Instrumental, Score - that's what we can say about this album. Tracks preview provided by iTunes. If you like Assassin's Creed 2 Original Game Soundtrack, we strongly recommend to buy it. Support composers, artists and performers so they can release more music in the future. Furthermore, it's inexpensive. This album costs only 10.99 USD. Prices and shops where you can buy it are at the right column. Notice, YouTube gives you opportunity to freely listen to this album. Absolutely legal. Without violations.

CD 1

Jesper Kyd
Venice Rooftops
Jesper Kyd
Ezio's Family
Jesper Kyd
Florence Tarantella
Jesper Kyd
Home In Florence
Jesper Kyd
Approaching Target1
Jesper Kyd
Approaching Target2
Jesper Kyd
Venice Fight
Jesper Kyd
Florence Escape
Jesper Kyd
Tour of Venice
Jesper Kyd
Flight Over Venice1
Jesper Kyd
Back in Venice
Jesper Kyd
Dreams of Venice
Jesper Kyd
Home of the Brotherhood
Jesper Kyd
Leonardo's Inventions Part1
Jesper Kyd
Venice Combat Low
Jesper Kyd
Venice Escape
Jesper Kyd
Darkness Falls In Florence
Jesper Kyd
Jesper Kyd
The Madam
Jesper Kyd
Approaching Target3
Jesper Kyd
Flight Over Venice2
Jesper Kyd
Ezio In Florence
Jesper Kyd
Venice Industry
Jesper Kyd
Jesper Kyd
Venice Combat
Jesper Kyd
Jesper Kyd
Night Mission In Venice
Jesper Kyd
Chariot Chase
Jesper Kyd
The Plague
Jesper Kyd
Wetlands Combat
Jesper Kyd
Wetlands Escape
Jesper Kyd
Leonardo's Inventions Part2
Jesper Kyd
Jesper Kyd
The Animus 2.0
Jesper Kyd
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