It’s rare for me to find a soundtrack with that whimsical, magical quality. I immediately am reminded of an anime or a music box. Innocent little melodies that can carry a latent darkness in them, perhaps attached to memory but mostly are just piercing reminders to us of the good things in the world. I had the pleasure of recently being introduced to a little indie game called “To The Moon” made by Freebird Games. Another video game Let’s Player, Chaoticmonki, did a playthrough of this game which I watched over the course of a few days. You can find it here. By the end, I knew that I would be buying the soundtrack, composed by Kan R. Gao. You can find that here. It doesn’t happen often when you find a game that emotionally grips you, that tells a compelling story and illustrates hard decisions and even more devastating themes to do so. This game is a jewel. And the music in it is spellbinding, keeping you involved in these character’s struggles the further into the story you progress. Today, I’ll be sharing six songs from the soundtrack with you and some of the things that I imagine when I listen to them.
For River (Johnny’s Version): Walking along a beach in the dark, she begins to wonder if he really had been right, if she should pack up and move away from this place. She stares up at the full moon, listens to the rush of the waves rolling into shore and thinks about all of the little things that made this place home. Then, there were the other things. The toxicity in that little house right on the shore, the omnipresent dread that she felt when she started each new day. Living there was slowly draining her, making her lose her hope that things would ever get better. “Come away with me,” he’d said. What was keeping her here, rooted in this place? Whatever it was, it didn’t seem as important now. She stops and gazes up toward the sky, tracing constellations in her mind between the stars. In the morning, she’d leave. It would be different from then on.
Moongazer: He kissed his daughter on the head and turned out the light. As he left, he kept the door open a crack so that light would shine in, so that she would feel an inch of protection in the darkness. He stepped down the stairs and stopped in the hall as his eyes fell on the family portrait. They focused on the woman in the photo, an expression that, in those few moments, didn’t seem as happy as his and his daughter’s. How could she just leave? How could she just up and go while he was gone, leave their daughter alone like that? He didn’t understand. He knew that things had been bad with the house lately, that his job had been keeping him away from home more and more often. He couldn’t help that. He needed to make a living. Why was he suddenly the bad guy? He moved into the living room and laid on the couch, staring at the ceiling. She hadn’t left a note or anything… she’d just emptied the closet and left. He shook his head, allowing a stray tear to fall. They were on their own now.
Anya By The Stars: She dreamed of a time when they’d driven out to the edge of the city to watch the lights and the stars above. In that memory, things had seemed so magical, so impervious to disaster that she had grabbed hold of the future and ran with it, like a kite trying to get it up off the ground. It had flown high above the land, to a place that seemed manageable. But it didn’t stay there. It kept getting higher and higher until it was just a speck seen against the clouds. And yesterday, the string finally broke. She woke up in the motel room with a start, thinking of her daughter and how peacefully she’d gone to bed when she’d laid her down last night. The last time she’d see her, she imagined, she wanted to see her like this. And her husband… she didn’t even know. Before any guilt could stab her, she closed her eyes once again, hoping to return to that dream where everything was still okay.
Lament of A Stranger: She drove, the anger and the fear pressing in on her from all sides. What was she supposed to do? How was she supposed to fix this? She was on the brink of losing her sanity. She had already lost him, and there didn’t seem to be anyone left. Where would she go? Was there even a way to survive this? Or was it going to drag her down, too? (This is a short piece but ultimately my favorite on the soundtrack. The darkness of it is quite piercing. It’s already inspired a pivotal scene in my apocalyptic novel that I’m currently working on.)
Born A Stranger: The house was so dreadfully cold that morning. She stayed wrapped up in the sheets and blankets on the bed, knowing that she would never be ready to leave them. This wasn’t her bed, nor her room… or even her house. She didn’t know where the people who’d lived here before were. She suspected they’d all died, or vanished like the rest of the population. Whatever the case, she was here alone now. This was the last shred of normalcy that she had left, those moments before starting the day where she could pretend that things were still the same. If only, if only…
Once Upon A Memory: The sun rose, a hot pink sphere in the orange sky. She watched it from behind the wheel of her car, waiting for it’s full power to caress the earth. It was somehow a soothing thing, a rejuvenating thing to watch the sun rise. It was a sign that things could begin again, things could be renewed, old hatreds shed, past regrets forgotten and former mistakes forgiven. The day would start over again, each one different, each one a way to move on. She knew the most painful thing she could ever do would be to go back to them, to tell them that she was sorry, to try and ask for forgiveness. She might not get it. But she also knew that deep down she had to try. Otherwise, this powerful guilt would eat her alive slowly for the rest of her life. She started the engine and backed out of the parking lot. Home. Going home.
Next week will be the last Inspiration Through Music for 2012. I’ll be choosing songs from the brilliant composer, Erik Satie. Stay tuned.