BioShock Soundtrack, Garry Schyman, 2007
Like the stunning game itself, BioShock‘s soundtrack became a modern classic almost straight after release, propelling Garry Schyman onto the A-list of Western game composers. One of the most intellectually and emotionally rewarding Western game soundtracks ever written, the BioShock soundtrack is an unabashedly high-brow affair that takes its cues from early 20th classical music like Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto to appropriately underscore the complex nature of BioShock‘s themes and locations. The resulting emphasis on atonal material and harrowing dissonances fits the game’s horror stylings perfectly, but Schyman has far more in mind than to simply scare listeners. Instead, he achieves an astoundingly effective mix of terror and anguished beauty – the latter realised in breathtakingly beautiful solo violin and cello melodies that are among the best written for any Western game score. The almost overwhelming aura of aching yearning and tragedy that these melodies emanate leave an indelible, heartbreaking mark and make BioShock a challenging, but always emotionally accessible masterpiece, paving the way for similarly intriguing works like Dead Space 2.
Not commercially available anymore – try music streaming services or second hand stores.