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Interview with composer Jesper Kyd

January 3, 2012

Composer, Jesper Kyd, who recently scored the soundtrack to the mega-grossing video game Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, on his new album for the Fired Earth Music trailer library, ULTIMATUM (FEM 7).

ULTIMATUM is your first trailer music album. How do the disciplines of trailer music differ from writing film, TV or game scores?

First of all, trailer music is very specific in format and I always love learning new elements and taking on a challenge. The challenge with trailer music is to deliver as much impactful music in 90 seconds as possible which is never easy! I really enjoy writing epic music and was thrilled that I was given the freedom to express myself in this genre with this album.

So, what was the brief for ULTIMATUM, and what sound can we expect?

Fired Earth Music presented me with an initial brief and were very open to my suggestions, allowing me to be really creative in applying my own ideas and styles. For example, I worked with producer Jeff Blenkinsopp on treatments for the electronic elements and I think we came up with something really raw and unique - I’m also using lots of analog synthesizers as well as analog equipment. We recorded live orchestra in Budapest and there’s also lots of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, live percussion and live drums.

ULTIMATUM is packed with big themes: Gothic, Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Grand Orchestral, Show-Down, Sweeping Epic and Slasher are all covered.  Of all the cues on the album, which was the biggest departure for you?

Most of the tracks are quite a departure from what people might expect, since these tracks are designed specifically to fit into trailers. You may have noticed that I had already started moving in this direction with tracks like the Assassin’s Creed II E3 trailer and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood tracks like "The Brotherhood Escapes."

Are there any special contributors on the album that we should know about?

Melissa Kaplan (who provided the haunting vocals on the Assassin’s Creed scores) performed vocals on the track "Aphelion." I love working alongside with my current A-Team of performers – they were with me on the Assassin’s Creed series and other recent projects.

2011 was a busy year for you.  Aside from ULTIMATUM, can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to?

Yes, it’s definitely been my busiest year to date. I wrote 90 minutes of music for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and took the score in a new direction which was inspired by Greek influences as well as blending Middle Eastern elements. The Revelations score starts where I left off with the music for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood while adding new elements to reflect the new storyline. I have also updated music from the original Assassin’s Creed with the new epic sound for Ezio’s journey.

Work in progress also includes scores for the upcoming live action TV series Heavy Metal, aka Métal Hurlant, based on the French graphic novels by comic book artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud.

What can your fans expect from the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed: Revelations?

To reflect the story's multicultural setting of 16th century Constantinople, I composed a hybrid music score drawing on Greek, Renaissance and Middle-Eastern instrumentation, while combining the melodic writing approach and acoustic/electronic styles I’ve developed for the series.

Since Revelations also features Altair from the first Assassin’s Creed, I rebooted some of the music associated with this character with all the new aspects of the music that I created for Assassin’s Creed during the last six years. It has some of the same instrumentation while adding some dark, Middle-Eastern elements.

Finally, where would you like to go next with your writing, Jesper?

I’m always interested in working with new styles of music and enjoy a fresh challenge while focusing on new ideas. Producer Jeff Blenkinsopp and I are currently developing a new technology for my album, which also takes my writing in exciting new directions. All good fun!

ULTIMATUM is now available on iTunes

Ultimatum - Jesper Kyd

 >Listen to ULTIMATUM in MyAPM

  >Read more about Jesper Kyd



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