Tag Archives: Mark Mothersbaugh

Soundtrack Review: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (2021)

Milan Records has released Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Original Soundtrack) with music by Mark Mothersbaugh and Wataru Hokoyama.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Mothersbaugh and Hokoyama for the latest installment in the PlayStation® video game franchise that released on June 11, 2021.

Of the soundtrack, composer Mark Mothersbaugh says:

“It takes an army to create a soundtrack for a video game these days, and there are a number of writers, arrangers, orchestrators, players, synth programmers that were involved.  For games in general, you have to be aware that a particular level and the music embedded in it will sometimes be around for a long time, so you want to make sure your themes and melodies are iconic.  The video game genre is very satisfying because of the craftsmanship involved and the attention to detail. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is probably the best game score I ever got to work on.”

Of the soundtrack, composer Wataru Hokoyama says:

“It was just so much fun working on such an epic game like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.  The depth of the worlds that the game took place in allowed us to write in so many varieties of style.  Working with the teams at Insomniac Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment was so amazing.  They’re full of great people who love and enjoy what they do, and they welcomed us as members of their big family throughout the project.  The feeling of ‘Let’s have so much fun co-creating the world of Ratchet & Clanksound together’ felt so special, and it became one of the most memorable video game projects for me.  It’s important for me to mention that it was Mark Mothersbaugh who brought me on board with this game project.  Mark has been like a fatherly figure to me in my music career.  We’ve done multiple blockbuster films together, and it’s such an honor to have my name credited next to the DEVO legend.  I look forward to our future collaborations.”

Built from the ground up for the PS5™ console by acclaimed studio Insomniac Games, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a brand new, interdimensional adventure.  Go dimension-hopping with Ratchet and Clank and help them stop a robotic emperor intent on conquering cross-dimensional worlds, with their own universe next in the firing line. Jump between action-packed worlds and beyond at mind-blowing speeds – complete with dazzling visuals and an insane arsenal as the intergalactic adventurers blast onto the PS5™ console.  Join a cast of familiar faces and some new allies – including Rivet, a mysterious new playable female Lombax resistance fighter who is just as determined to take out the robotic scourge.

After listening to this soundtrack, I think I owe the Ratchet & Clank video game series a big apology. Now, to be fair, I don’t know what the earlier games sound like, but I do know I wasn’t expecting anything as epic and glorious as what I hear in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Mothersbaugh and Hokoyama have created some genuinely special music that instantly grabs your attention and pulls you into the story. And it must be quite the story, because this music really does feel epic, perhaps not to the same degree as, say, God of War or Horizon Zero Dawn, but it’s definitely attempting to push the boundaries of where the story can go.

One thing I really like in the music for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the musical continuity. There’s a distinctive main theme that recurs throughout the soundtrack, and it’s used to pull everything together. In that way, the music for this game is almost like a symphony in some places, as this main theme opens the soundtrack, appears throughout, and comes back in at the end in climactic fashion. For those reasons, I have to call out “Rift Apart” and “Culmination at Corson V” as two of my favorite tracks on the entire soundtrack. Both feature what is unquestionably the score’s main theme and they’re a lot of fun to sit and listen to (I can only imagine what hearing this music in the game will be like, as the game is a PS5 exclusive and I only have a PS4).

But it’s not all grand and epic sounds in this score either, which is another detail I like. For instance, in “Cascading Enropic Fissure” there’s a musical moment in there that sounds very retro, in fact it almost sounds like the composers are quoting music from an older Ratchet & Clank game (which may very well be the case). I like how this particular track seems to highlight the past. It’s a nice change of pace from the rest of the soundtrack.

And then, I absolutely have to highlight “Join Me At the Top”, the final track on this soundtrack. I’m not sure who all is participating in this piece but it sounds like a musical number that is being sung by the game’s villain and it is absolutely DELIGHTFUL. This is seriously like something out of a Broadway musical. I don’t know why this song is part of the soundtrack or how it fits into the game but after listening to it, I could honestly listen to a whole album of songs just like this one. What a fantastic way to bring the soundtrack album to a close.

I highly recommend checking out the soundtrack to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. It’s beautiful and one of the best video game soundtracks I’ve heard so far this year.

RATCHET & CLANK: RIFT APART (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. Rift Apart
  2. Festival of Heroes
  3. A Most Nefarious City
  4. Sweet Home Sargasso
  5. Ride Through the Omniverse
  6. Ode to Nefarious
  7. Meet me at Zurkie’s
  8. Urfdah Mesa Major
  9. Blizar Prime’d and Ready
  10. Molonoth Means Paradise
  11. Cascading Entropic Fissure
  12. A Tale of Two Cordelions
  13. Glitch in the System
  14. A Late Arrival
  15. The Battle for Sargasso
  16. Urfdah Mesa Minor
  17. Y’Ardolis
  18. Zordoom and Gloom
  19. Culmination at Corson V
  20. Join Me at the Top

Let me know what you think of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Video Game Soundtracks

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Soundtrack Review: The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)

Sony Music Masterworks has released The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by prolific composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of DEVO Mark Mothersbaugh. Now available everywhere, the album includes score music written by Mothersbaugh for the animated film, which follows an eccentric family in the middle of the robot apocalypse.  The soundtrack is the latest in a longstanding creative partnership between Mothersbaugh and film producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, having previously worked together on titles like The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and more.

Of the soundtrack, composer Mark Mothersbaugh had the following to say:

“Just thinking about working on this film during a once-in-a-century, world-wide pandemic makes you want to draw correlations between the story of the film and what was happening in this world (the so-called real world). Doing so really gave everything more meaning and added gravitas to an already amazing project to begin with. I will always remember this film for the added attention the pandemic allowed the directors and producers to bring to it, as we were able to work on an extended schedule. It gave us the rare chance to play with the parts, to get them just the way we wanted them and to make a dang-near perfect film!”

“’On My Way’ is a song about new beginnings. I really wanted to capture Katie’s sense of urgency to grow up and expand her horizons while still being grateful of where she has come from and the people that have gotten her where she is. It’s that push and pull of being on a path towards something new and exciting while remembering and celebrating what you’re leaving behind. I think that is something we can all relate to. ‘On My Way’ is one of my favorite songs I have ever worked on and I am so happy it has found a home in the wild world of the Mitchells,” adds singer-songwriter Alex Lahey of her inclusion on the soundtrack.

This soundtrack is a lot of fun to listen to. Mothersbaugh has created a delightful blend of several musical genres that make for a great experience. As near as I can make out, the music for The Mitchells vs The Machines is a blend of action music, sci-fi music, and family music. It’s really mind-blowing when the music switches over from the quiet-ish family music opening to the sci-fi music that enters when the robot apocalypse begins. That’s not the easiest transition to make given the wide disparity between those two styles, but Mothersbaugh makes it feel easy and the music pulls you along for the ride without hardly missing a beat.

The sci-fi music portion of the soundtrack is easily the best part (though it’s all good if I’m honest). It’s wild, it’s zany, you can almost picture what’s going on, it’s exactly what an animated robot apocalypse should sound like. What really surprised me though, is how quiet the soundtrack can be when the music isn’t focused on the robots. I won’t say if this is good or bad, but sometimes it feels like all of the energy is devoted to the music for the robot apocalypse, and the rest is just…quiet, soft, not as important (though I may be overthinking it).

All that being said, I can’t get over how much I love the way Mothersbaugh can switch between musical styles. There’s traditional instruments in there, there’s electronic music, there’s music that blends BOTH. This is a complex musical score, one that grows on you the more you listen to it. I certainly recommend listening to the soundtrack apart from the film if you get the opportunity.

Track List

  1. Columbia Opening / Apocalypse (1:15)
  2. Katie’s Life / Good Cop Dog Cop (3:17)
  3. Laptop Breaks / Home Movies (3:43)
  4. Rise of the Robots (1:30)
  5. Robots Falling from the Sky (1:25)
  6. Eat Laser Robots (1:15)
  7. Robots Capture Humans (1:36)
  8. On the Roof H (1:53)
  9. Two Dumb Robots (0:55)
  10. We Could Get Our Lives Back (0:13)
  11. Katie’s Speech (1:28)
  12. Drive Drive ! (2:07)
  13. Robots March on PAL (0:45)
  14. Foolish Human Air (0:53)
  15. Abandoned Mall ! (1:35)
  16. Mall Robots Attack (1:56)
  17. Furbies Attack_Router Knocked Out (3:29)
  18. Rick’s Pep Talk (2:21)
  19. The Stealthbots (1:21)
  20. Katie and Linda (1:56)
  21. Entering Robot City (3:05)
  22. The Pod Falls (0:51)
  23. They Capture Linda and Rick (0:57)
  24. Hiding in the Woods (2:36)
  25. Katie’s Video (1:52)
  26. Katie to the Rescue (2:03)
  27. Screwdriver Escape (1:47)
  28. Yub Tub (2:00)
  29. Linda Kicks Ass (1:35)
  30. Katie Explains (1:45)
  31. Katie and Rick Work Together (2:17)
  32. I’m a Mitchell! (0:44)
  33. Humanity Is Saved (1:17)
  34. Katie’s Dead (0:56)
  35. Arriving at College (2:32)
  36. On My Way – Alex Lahey (3:05)

Let me know what you think about The Mitchells vs The Machines and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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