The “Hyper Light Drifter” Official Game Soundtrack

I’m currently working on the third installment in our mobile game soundtrack series, and I’m discovering that some of my favorite in-game music at the moment isn’t actually available for purchase or streaming anywhere. (Looking at you, New Horizons and Sky…)

Anyway, since I won’t be able to complete that guide this week — 😩 — here’s a teaser entry taken from what I’ve gathered thus far:

The astonishing and otherworldly pixel art visuals of Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter are complemented perfectly by the haunting and melancholy 8-bit sounds of its official soundtrack.

Composed by the acclaimed Richard Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace), this synth-driven electronic soundtrack covers the gamut from minimal and somber to frantic and overflowing with emotion. It’s just as much a beautiful work of art as the game it accompanies, managing to be both mysterious and evocative. You don’t want to miss this one.

Vreeland was interviewed in 2016 by Lewis Gordon of FACT Magazine, where he offered a look into how the soundtrack was made:

“You basically have a suite of looping assets that cover all of these different locales that are connected to each other but are slightly different. So you get this sense of traversal — of moving from space to space — and then this sense of progression, like you’re building towards something,” [Vreeland] explains. “But because the game is sort of non-linear, it proved to be much easier to think of those sections in the piece as vertical, where you’d crossfade between them based on where you are.”

It’s a system that is able to handle the game’s dramatic shifts from reflection to destruction, and always under the direction of player agency. The score follows suit, giving the player space to digest the action on screen. “I was definitely channeling ideas about impressionism,” he says. “Composers like Debussy and Ravel – the way they extend traditional harmony into different places.”

That structure is married with contemporary sound design, too; “Chimera”, Hyper Light Drifter’s climactic track and one that accompanies the final boss fight, is a wall of crunching, distorted, industrial drones.

Get the soundtrack in these places: