Machinarium Soundtrack, Tomáš Dvořák / Vojtech Zelinsky, 2009
Machinarium cemented Czech developer Amanita Design’s standing as one of the most creative and distinct indie developers, and its score was justifiably one of the most lauded soundtracks to emerge from the indie game scene in 2009. Tomáš Dvořák manages to one up his already impressive Samorost 2, writing a whimsically adventurous soundtrack that creates a musical world all of its own. There are similarities to Samorost 2 – entranced synths, psychedelic touches, a tendency towards ambient atmospherics. Ultimately though, this is a much earthier affair, as Dvořák mixes staggering amounts of vintage electronica with a small army of plucking and tinkling acoustic instruments, including percussion, harpsichord, guitar and harp. The resulting laid-back compositions have few precedents in Western game music, a lush but subdued combination of the mechanical and the hand-made – perfectly fitting the game’s lo-fi steam punk aesthetic, and full of subtly expressed, ambiguous and rich moods. On a separately released bonus EP, the Machinarium soundtrack displays its more extrovert side and even more of its bold genre experiments.