uru music


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Review by · September 22, 2006

Note: “Dirt” does not appear on the back cover’s tracklist, and appears to be a bonus track. The song is used on the enhanced CD portion of the album as background music.

Due to a delay in the print for Jack Wall’s Myst IV: Revelation Soundtrack, one would think Tim Larkin jumped in and out with Cyan for Myst projects. However, Myst IV was released slightly before “Uru: Ages Beyond Myst,” which was a game that fell far from the game’s traditional first-person point and click puzzle-solving adventures.

Larkin, who later went on to score Myst V: End of Ages, got his first experience with the groundbreaking series in this soundtrack, simply entitled “uru music.”

Robyn Miller, composer for the first two Myst titles, set a precedent for the entire series: ambiance. It’s the one word everyone uses to describe music from Myst titles. It’s very fitting for the games themselves, and it works well as a relaxing background hum and drone when resting or casually working on, say, a computer. I wouldn’t recommend listening to it while driving late at night.

Larkin, however, took things a step further than even Jack Wall in regard to tonality. Tim seems to have a background in jazz, and the appearance of saxophones and clarinets happens more often here than in Mr. Wall’s works. And, though some series fans decry uru as a terrible side-game, the music is definitely fantastic, a worthy addition to the series.

The album opens with a narrated little monologue from the series’ staple character, Atrus. He speaks to Yeesha, another important character for Myst IV, V, and uru. The music behind this opening track is superb.

“Beyond Gira” is a lengthy track: slow, but not boring in the least. After this is “Out of the Hive,” a song that strongly resembles one of Yasunori Mitsuda’s themes from Chrono Cross. The instruments used are familiar, as are the rhythms and the melody.

The rest of the songs, up until “The Well,” continued to impress me as much as these first three. However, starting at “Spore Me” (which sounds like Engrish, and I would think it such if the game weren’t developed in America), I found myself to become bored with the music. I felt like these were truly the “B-Side” tracks, where the music hits a slump. Things pick up here and there, and I do very much like the bonus track “Dirt.” However, “The Library” was like a slow scatter-brained attempt to copy Hitoshi Sakimoto, and the “Fall of D’ni” was more like noise than music to me.

However, it’s safe to say that not every song can be a hit with every critic, and Tim Larkin should be satisfied with his work. I hope he is, because I certainly am. If you’ve kept up at all with the Myst series, or even if you haven’t, the “uru music” album is certainly a worthy addition to your music library, even if you’re not an avid VGM collector. Just be forewarned: if you’re looking for catchy melodies with a clear surface substance (such as your average Final Fantasy OST), you’ll be hard-pressed to find it here.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.