AG Drive is a racing game by Zorg Entertainment which was recently made available for iPad and other iOS products. The game is fast, futuristic and fun, but fans are not only loving the graphics and speed. The EDM and techno-based soundtrack is also getting a lot of attention from gamers. AG Drive Soundtrack has thus been put into a cohesive album by AriTunes Records, and it is available on Soundcloud and the AriTunes website.
Movie soundtracks have been big business in the music industry for decades now, and some fans clamor even more over the score to the movie than the actual movie. With the growing popularity of video games, gaming companies have also looked to soundtracks to make the action more exciting, or to illicit emotive responses out of the players. With games like Grand Theft Auto and Bioshock coming out in the early 2000s, video game producers looked to up their music game, as it were, by bringing in talented and oftentimes famous producers to create their soundtracks and theme songs. Now just as in movies, gamers look forward to the soundtracks of their favorite video games just as much as the game itself.
Lead AG Drive producer Ari Pulkkinen created AriTunes Records when he started seeing comments and requests from gamers for a way to access the songs they loved on other video games for which he had produced music. Pulkkinen has produced and scored the soundtracks for such recent video game hits as Angry Birds, the Trine Sound series, Resogun and Dead Nation. Like the more hip hop-centric Grand Theft Auto, Pulkkinen names and gives credit to all the artists who contribute songs to the AG Drive Soundtrack. Many of the producers are first-time artists or seasoned gaming producers who have never been named for their work, so the release of the AG Drive Soundtrack has been novel in that it has been an electronic music soundtrack which recognized all the artists for their efforts.
The album’s music is almost exclusively electronic and EDM-based in order to fit the futuristic style of the video game. Most songs include robotic vocal samples and epic movie-like composition, but there are a few compositionally surprising tracks on the album as well. The album opens, unsurprisingly, with The AG Drive Theme, the song which introduces the opening credits. Produced by newcomer Burt Kane, this track takes its influence from the epic action and sci-fi movies of the 80s like Tron and Terminator, complete with movie announcer vocals explaining the concept of the game.
Another highlight is the progressive house track, They Call Me Speed, by Joanne Valtonen. This track introduces one of the characters that players can choose, and it is also one of the surprising pieces on the album as Valtonen, who also worked on the Final Fantasy series, is a classical composer. He uses his training to create the melody on this track, which is done with very futuristic-sounding synthesizers but is also easily recognizable as a gothic/classical tune of Valtonen’s own design. The vocals on the track are also very melodic and sung by a well-trained vocalist. The overall effect is a beautiful melody which also has the elements of techno and robotics needed to match the energy of the game. For gamers or would-be producers who love the vocals and melody of this song, the album closes with a more fleshed-out vocal edit of this track.
Pulkkinen’s own Drive is an extremely high-energy techno/house mashup of somewhat vintage rave style. This song is very versatile and while it fits in well with the game, it could also easily be played at a big rave or EDM festival. His other song on the album, Ride Me Love Me is a robotic techno fantasy house track done in the style of 80s electro, with robotic female vocals similar to Daft Punk or even Kraftwerk. It seems that while Pulkkinen is attuned to making tracks which fit in a futuristic car game, he also likes to add a bit of vintage techno flare to his songs.
Ari Pulkkinen has mixed and mastered all the songs from AG Drive into a well-proportioned full-length album so that gamers and music fans alike can listen and enjoy the full version of each song. With video game soundtracks becoming more popular on their own, Pulkkinen and producers like him are smart to create albums such as this to supply the growing demand for this cool and interesting music and to give credit to the artists who make it. The AG Drive soundtrack is available to stream on AriTunes’ Soundcloud page along with many of Pulkkinen’s other soundtracks, or to purchase on the AriTunes Records website. See “Sources” list below for the links.
Review by Layla Klamt