Immediately on completion of ABZU, Director Matt Nava showed me some of his concept art for what was to be called THE PATHLESS. In every way, this was a more ambitious game than its predecessor, and the score ended up following suit. Musically, creatively, technically ... in every area, we tried to push past where we'd been and find something fresh. The result is a game and, I hope(!), a score which feels simultaneously ancient and familiar, yet utterly alien and new.
I've taken to calling it a "playable myth" as if Giant Squid has made a game out of the story we tell when describing an archetypal hero or character from a constellation. Yet there is no singular mythology it draws from. The seeds of the game and music both can be found all over the world.
It speaks to Matt's vision and especially the fact that, for all of the game’s grandeur and epic set pieces, the music is surprisingly intimate much of the time. As always with my writing, the performers are the heart and soul, but that's especially true in this case. Collaborating with the fabulous Tuvan trio of the Alash Ensemble yielded the backbone over which all the rest of the score is mounted. Between their effortless musicianship and the talents of the small army that followed them (104 musicians in total!), it might be fair to say that this is the most personally expressive score I've ever written.
I can't overstate my ongoing gratitude for the collaboration with Matt and Giant Squid. Their games are my dream projects and I only hope the music does justice to their outstanding work.
released November 12, 2020
Available now on PS4, PS5, the Epic Store and Apple Arcade.
Original Music Composed and Produced by Austin Wintory
The Alash Ensemble:
Bady-Dorzhu Ondar (vocals and igil)
Ayan-ool Sam (vocals and doshpuluur)
Ayan Shirizhik (vocals and murgu, shoor and kengirge)
Nyckelharpa: Morgan O’Shaughnessey
Dizi, xiao, bansuri, tin whistles, bamboo flutes and oboe: Kristin Naigus
Oud, lute, sitar: Tom Strahle
Double bass: Eric Snoza
Baritone violin: Paul Cartwright
Flute and alto flute: Amy Tatum
Bass clarinet: Andrew Leonard
Contrabassoon: Anthony Parnther
Viol de gamba: Malachai Bandy
Percussion: MB Gordy
Vocals: Uyanga Bold
Additional vocals: Psamathes
FX Vocals: Bastiaan Van Bentum
Additional guitar: Enoc Benitez
Additional guitar: Joel Finney
Additional percussion: Joshua Roberts
Bass Kazoo: Austin Wintory
Hunter Choir: Troy Baker, Scott Edgar, Adriana Figueroa, Steven Gates, Simon Hall, Caleb Hyles, Darren Korb, Malukah, Psamathes
Horn and percussion ensemble recorded at Abbey Road, Studio 2 (London, UK).
Conducted by Austin Wintory
Engineered by Jake Jackson
Contracted by Amy Stewart (Isobel Griffiths Ltd.)
Strings performed by the Macedonian Symphony Orchestra at FAMES recording stage (Skopje, Macedonia)
Conducted by Oleg Kondratenko
Textural chamber ensemble recordings performed by The Fifth House Ensemble (Chicago, USA)
Alash Ensemble recorded at John Kilgore Sound & Recording (New York City) and Bias Studios (Washington DC)
Orchestrations by Susie Seiter and Austin Wintory
MIDI prep: M.R. Miller
Music copyist: Steven Juliani Music
Score mixer and album mastering: Steve Kempster
ProTools recordist and music editor: Kevin Globerman
Assistant engineer: Matt Friedman
Digital album art direction: Cindy Liu
Vinyl album art direction: Elaine Lee
Special Thanks: Matt Nava and Giant Squid, Matt Fielding, Erica Ishijima, Annapurna Interactive, Sean Quirk, iam8bit, Peter Hollens, Joris Hoogsteder, Sarah Kovacs and Kraft-Engel Management, Dallas Crane, my amazing partner in SoundCrime Steve Green, my family and my muse, Angela Bermudez.