Manifold Garden Vinyl Soundtrack Release Brings New Life To The 2019 Game

For people who aren’t video game fans, there’s actually a lot to like about the 2019 title. garden collector. Yes, technically it’s a video game. But it’s a video game designed, developed and published by an independent artist who really had a unique vision.

From a gameplay point of view, garden collector is a physics-based puzzle game. It’s abstract, it’s weird, and it’ll definitely make you think about when was the last time you took psychedelics. But more than anything, garden collectorThe atmosphere and mood of are as much a vision of modern art as they are of a modern video game – and with those visuals comes the need for a particularly unique soundtrack.

This is where Laryssa Okada came in. With a background in music editing and audio production for much larger titles (series like Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed and Halo) and a passion for creating her own music, she has produced a deep and diverse soundtrack. A soundtrack so good that iam8bit decided to go ahead and release a limited edition collector’s vinyl of the scorewith a full-fledged pop-up structure in the middle of it that both matches the game’s theme and sets it apart from any other disc sitting on a shelf.

SPIN spoke with Okada and iam8bit co-owners and co-creative directors Amanda White and Jon M. Gibson (via email) to learn more about the ethereal soundtrack and its over-the-top physical release.

SPIN: Musically, what brought the world of garden collector alive for you?

Laryssa Okada: About half my focus to score garden collector was how I could introduce human elements and emotions into this lonely and impossible world. The other half was focused on how I could create the weirdest, most uncomfortable, and unhuman textures. I manipulated recordings of everyday things such as laughter, buzzing or chattering teeth into unusual synths or soothing moods to invoke both a sense of familiarity and alien weirdness. I learned a lot about modular synths and how to design my own digital synths.

Given that you’ve worn many different hats in the video game industry, how did he score garden collector similar or different from your other work?

Okada: Whatever the role, understanding the game and good communication between or within teams is extremely important. There’s always more to learn that will inform your day-to-day responsibilities, and more often than not, someone is happy to tell you about what they’re working on.

Rating garden collector was extremely unique because I had so much freedom to experiment. [Quality assurance] is not a content creation role, nor an audio production role – and even if music publishing is, you must adhere to a pre-established identity for music. As a composer for garden collectorI had a lot more control over the sound identity of the game.

What was it like seeing your music released on this super elaborate and detailed vinyl release?

Okada: I’m sure I preach to the choir, but these days music as a physical form can feel distant. Artists go out on streaming platforms, which is like throwing a broken boomerang into the sky and never seeing a return. In some ways, it’s easy to forget that you, as an artist, released anything. I think it took me holding the vinyl in my hands to finally pause and realize that I had released a whole lot of work that other people could actually listen to. I am extremely grateful to everyone who worked on it.

Is there anything else you would like to share about the soundtrack of garden collector?

Okada: Perhaps a fun tidbit to share is that at one point I asked crew members to send in clips of them singing along. I recorded and sent some piano notes for reference as well as sheet music for those who could read music. It was pretty much an open invitation to anyone on the team at the time who wanted to give it a shot – no pressure. I then manipulated the recordings into lush pads and ambiences, all of which can be heard throughout the soundtrack.

As a company that seems to take great pride in its vinyl releases, what made you decide to do a pop-up for garden collectorrather than just a standard cover?

iam8bit: Of course, we’re very proud of everything we do, but also – let’s be real – we’re maniacs! We spend a lot of time thinking about the best possible ideas for the story we’re trying to tell, and what usually ends up happening is that the idea is totally crazy and may just be seen as impossible by a lot of people. .

Luckily, we’re crazy, and we think it’s definitely worth the blood, sweat, and paper-cutting to take something out of complacency and into the extraordinary. For example, when you look at Manifold Garden, you are instantly immersed in its fantastic geometry. When we initially spoke to the development team, they expressed their pipedream fantasy of representing this MC Escher-like geometry in real-world reality. Well, we’re no strangers to a challenge, so we’ve been to town – working with our best pal, Rosston at Poposition Press, one of the world’s biggest pop-up engineers, to help bring this to life. these dreams.

How do you capture a game through the differences and special features of a vinyl release like this?

iam8bit: The way we think about producing physical items is the same way a Michelin star sushi chef thinks about ingredients – source the best fish imaginable, the freshest wasabi, grind your own rice, etc. . We look at paper stocks, print characteristics, color theories, varnishes and embellishments as ingredients, and where we source these things from a ton of materials. Not all suppliers care about quality like we do, but when they do, they instantly transform from suppliers to collaborators. Everyone brings experience and love to the table when you collaborate with the best humans and artists possible, and THAT IS the magic sauce!

With all of these ingredients in your arsenal, you begin to craft a recipe for what’s most appropriate for the world you’re playing in. It’s not just about pasting key artwork on a blanket and then taking a nap. You have to really tap into the narrative, going beyond the obvious things on the surface. We approach everything we do with the aim of mythological expansion. If we’re going to put something in-universe, it will better enhance the existing experience and build on the narrative that already exists.

Is there anything else you would like to share about garden collector vinyl release?

iam8bit: Even if you’ve never heard of garden collector, this album transcends that. It’s a wonderful artifact of music and art, and we encourage you to try blindly, even without too much context for the game. It’s fun to experience things in a different order, so [listen first and] THEN go play the game. Vinyl as a vehicle of discovery is a pretty sweet thing.

Jack L. Goldstein