Composer’s talent finds its niche in video game scores

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Composer’s talent finds its niche in video game scores

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These days computer game design is now seen as a form of cyber art, and in many cases the job of composing music for the major domestic game software producers is farmed out to Hollywood composers.
In the past, NCSoft, the leading game software company in Korea, drafted Bill Brown, the composer of the score for “Any Given Sunday,” to write music for its game “Lineage II,” and hired the award-winning composer of the “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” soundtrack, Jeremy Soule, for “Guild Wars.” Another company, Webzen, signed up Howard Shore, composer of music for “The Lord of Rings” to create a feature film-quality soundtrack for “Sun.”
This time, however, NCSoft has picked Korean-Japanese “new age” musician Yang Bang Ean for its next project titled, “AION.”
Mr. Yang, 45, plans to record the music for “AION” at the Abbey Road Studios in London from tomorrow with 73 musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nick Ingman. Mr. Yang recently came to Korea before departing to London.
This is the second time that Mr. Yang has been hired to write music for a computer game ― he composed music for the Chinese online game-maker NetEease ― but the current project is a little different.
“NetEease asked me to compose a lot of 1-minute-long pieces in line with the game’s theme,” Mr. Yang said. “But NCSoft wanted me to create a single piece of music based on my feelings for the game.”
Musical scores for computer games tend to be repeated throughout the game, as it is never certain how much time a player will spend on each stage. Usually, 1-minute musical scores are repeated in different scenes, and the quality of work tends to be low, he noted.
“This time, I composed 3-minute pieces that are more powerful, and placed different themes in each piece that can be modified for different situations,” Mr. Yang said.
Producing music for games was different from composing music for film and animation. “I sent the music to computer graphic artists and then they modified the visuals to my music. Then I watched the updated visuals and came up with new ideas. It was fun to work on a world of fantasy together with other people,” Mr. Yang said.
Mr. Yang has had experience with various types of soundtracks. He composed music for the Jackie Chan film “Thunderbolt,” an MBC drama “Sangdo,” a KBS documentary “Dojagi,” and the Japanese animated televion shows “Emma” and “Juuni Kokki.”
“I have a huge appetite for meeting people. When I come across different people and their work, I see more possibilities in myself. I develop these factors I find for my solo albums,” he said.
Mr. Yang prefers to work on music for games and animated features.
“It is an artificial world, and there is no limit to one’s expression. I can insert strong rock-and-roll or techno music, or mobilize an orchestra,” Mr. Yang said.
No matter what kinds of methods he uses, beneath Mr. Yang’s music is an Asian theme. Asia has been a growing presence in the online game industry, and even gamers in Western countries like the themes.
“Composing music for animation and games, I’ve become interested in visuals. So far, I produced music based on visuals, but I feel that visuals can be produced based on music as well. In the near future, I want to create a work in which both music and visual aspects are in harmony.”
Mr. Yang has a house and studio in a remote forest in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, giving him the atmosphere to improve his creativity. He does everything from composing to mastering there. Mr. Yang is also studying graphics as well.
“I go all-out in something I’m interested in,” he said, adding jokingly that he doesn’t actually play games, because he is afraid he might not be able to quit playing.


by Lee Kyong-hee

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