Black Screen Records and composer David Housden have teamed up to release the original soundtrack to Mike Bithell’s meditative indie darling game Thomas Was Alone on 180g vinyl.
For those not in the know, Thomas Was Alone is a minimalist 2D platformer about friendship, teamwork and sacrifice. In the game you take control of Thomas, who is initially alone, but along the way you meet and control many other characters all who have special individual powers and differing personalities. Over the course of the game you guide your group of quadrilaterals through a series of obstacles, using their different skills together to get to the end of each environment. So far, so video game 101. However what elevates this game to multi-award winning heights is the stunning soundtrack which accompanies the beautifully wistful yet soulful narration read by comedian Danny Wallace. The story that's told is more complex than many AAA games I have played and the music accompanying it adds to this drama; I have cared more for these quadrilaterals than many other protagonists in other games, heck I even bought the 'action figures' when they were released a few years ago. Yup I bought a collection of 3D quadrilaterals because this game and its music connected with me on some profound level.
The soundtrack features minimalist pianos and ambiences fused with lush strings and ethereal synths. Although this album only has 13 tracks, which feature a lot of repeating motifs, the consistency and effective re-use of simple chord progressions and melodic phrases make each track seem different but complementary to what has gone before. As a whole the soundtrack feels like a tapestry, each track is part of a bigger whole with familiar themes and motifs.
My favourite track off the album is 'A Time For Change,' a powerful emotive track that is triumphant yet tinged with sadness. It is played at a key point in the game and so carries with it a lot of weight and power. I listen to this album daily, which at the point of writing is over 5 years old.
Sometimes in your life you find that you connect with something, it could be a book, a film or a track or album. It gets under your skin and becomes something more than the sum of its parts and I think this game and especially the soundtrack is that something for me. It's not something I can explain but this album and the majesty of some of the tracks gets me every time I listen to it.
The vinyl is a stunning release and I am extremely pleased with it. This album is a must have for any fans of shoegazing etherealness.