Grim Fandango Soundtrack, Peter McConnell, 1998
No matter if you get the 1998 (reviewed here) or the 2015 release of the Grim Fandango soundtrack, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best jazz and world music written for a Western video game. Peter McConnell tips his hat in style to languid, smouldering film noir jazz, although he’s not above adding a bit of humour to the proceedings through comically squealing trumpets. Moving further into the soundtrack, it becomes obvious that this is a chance for McConnell to explore the many facets of the jazz sound his small, excellent live ensemble can produce, from the down on his luck shuffle of “Hector Steps Out” to the upbeat swing jazz of “Hi-Tone Fandango”. McConnell’s compositions make the most of their short running times, focusing on alternatively seductive and snappy melodies that allow no space for filler. And if you’ve been wondering what happened to McConnell’s trademark genre hopping: convincingly integrated elements of klezmer, Mexican folk, mariachi exuberance and sultry tango turn the album’s last third into a finale that’s truly befitting of one of PC game music’s undisputed classics.
Purchase the remastered Director’s Cut of Grim Fandango on Sumthing Else Music Works.