Cobalt music: Main Theme of Cobalt

October 19th, 2010, Cobalt, Game Development, Music, Previews

Why hello there, let me introduce myself. My name is Mattias (also known as anosou) and I’m the composer responsible for the music in Cobalt. While this mainly means I’m composing the music for Cobalt I also have a lot to say about the musical direction and help take decisions regarding how the music is handled in-game. Nothing fancy really but incredibly rewarding. This also makes it logical for me to talk about the music of Cobalt and that’s why I wrote this post you’re reading! So, I suggest hitting the jump below for some inside info on the Main Theme of Cobalt!

This blog post is the first in a series (if all goes well) of posts about the music in Cobalt. Since we announced the game I’ve gotten some nice comments about the music present in the trailer. While this music will indeed be in the game it doesn’t exactly represent the overall “sound” very well. What does represent the overall “sound” though is the Main Theme of Cobalt so I thought I’d introduce you to this piece of music and share some insight on how it’s being used in the game.

The Main Theme of Cobalt basically consists of a simple melody with eight notes originally composed in E-minor. Originally this melody was composed for the menu/title track but since I’ve tried to incorporate it in other tracks to get a sense of cohesiveness. As a result, the theme appears in four tracks in the  IGF demo. Here’s an edited preview of all four appearances so you can hear the theme before I go into detail describing each use:

Main Theme of Cobalt (preview) by anosou

(in case SoundCloud isn’t being friendly, here’s an MP3 I uploaded)

The first track you’ll hear is the original titel/menu track introducing the theme. This is actually the first track you’ll hear in game, not counting the Oxeye Games logo jingle. The goal here was trying to capture both the character Cobalt and the game Cobalt. The game has an overall dark atmosphere and there’s much a fusion of the organic and mechanical in the world. Luckily the character Cobalt is also a fusion of organic and mechanical with an uncertain future. The combination of the electric bass and marimba with the synth sounds represents this fusion while the low register, minor harmonies and pulsating textures sets the mood for the game.

The second track is for an underground (but indoors) complex. The low growling bass and persistent drums attempt to both create an atmosphere and stress the player a bit, putting some rhythm in for the sake of movement. The use of the main theme here is less significant but rather just serves as a hint of the opening so you remember what you read during the opening sequence. Not directly but rather as a vague parallell.

The third track is quite different from the others.This music is elevator music and, not so strange then, it’s actually used for an elevator, the one leading up to Cobalt’s penthouse flat to be exact. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek going with such a cliché kind of music but I thought it’d put a smile on the player’s face as a contrast to the thick atmosphere before you arrive here. The track’s monophonic and produced to sound a bit old and like not the best recording since it’s coming out of the elevator’s speakers. By using the main theme here at your “home” I try to even more establish this theme as important to Cobalt the character.

The fourth and final track (so far) using the main theme is actually the first track I did for Cobalt while I was still applying for the position. It’s far an outside location I won’t tell you much about but this place is once again where nature meets constructions, thus the instrumentation once again uses both “real” and synthesized sounds. The main theme doesn’t play a large role here but rather serves as a hint towards the beginning, keeping everything cohesive. This level also ends the demo so I thought it’d be good to both open and close with the same thematic material.

That’s it for this time! We’ll try to be a bit more open about what’s going on with Cobalt. Though if you think it takes too long between posts you can at least take comfort in that we’re most likely working on Cobalt instead of posting about it. :)

6 Responses to “Cobalt music: Main Theme of Cobalt”

  1. admin :

    The elevator version is a stroke of genious!

    // jeb

  2. Ed :

    Beautiful stuff!

  3. Mikael Bauer :

    Awesome, very nice. Love to read more about the music behind Cobalt! Keep it up, both music:wise and game:wise, the game is looking great. :)

  4. Mattias :

    Thanks for the comments guys! There will be more blog posts like this but we need to rest a bit after IGF crunch time ;)

  5. Cobalt music: The Main Theme of Cobalt – anosou.com :

    [...] is a cross-post of a blog post I wrote at OxeyeGames.com regarding the music for our upcoming game [...]

  6. Mattias Gerdt Discusses Making Music For IGF Nominee Cobalt, Part 1 [Interview] « DIYgamer :

    [...] DIY: Was the idea or “thesis” behind Cobalt’s main theme yours? Mattias: There was no real collaboration when it came to the theme itself, though I do tend to show a lot of “work in progress” versions and similar to my colleagues. The actual melody I call the “main theme” just kind of happened when I composed the menu track. Then, I grew so fond of it. I re-visited a few tracks that I considered finished and added this little melody. Later, I also based the elevator music around the theme, which was the last track I did for the demo before IGF. [...]

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