If American road movies, Blizzard’s composers’ music in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty or Christopher Lennertz’s Starhawk Original Soundtrack are your thing, you should definitely give Jack Wall’s new album a spin. Lost Planet 3 OST has an equally country-like, rebel-without-a-cause-ish atmosphere. It may suffer from a sub-par selection of tracks, but still, it has everything a soundtrack needs: good original idea, great execution of it and some sense for good measure. Or, to be more precise, it combines heavy strumming, old school riffing, clattering rattles and virtuoso performances on harmonica (!). Cowboy hats are flying around, instead of snowflakes, and it gets chilly only when it has to – the convention abides by its own rules.
Wall tames the ice desert with tunes taken from a Western flick or a Texan ballad. Instead of ice-cold minimalistic ambient, he gives us catchy (Swamp Thing), warm sounds; he confronts frosty atmosphere with hot-blooded themes full of fast strumming, harmonica licks and guitar duels. A clever, catchy and original idea. From Hoedown Showdown to Doug Legacy’s Travelin’ Man there are no weak tracks – all of them are amazing, both in terms of instrument choice and composition.
The typically “winter-like” pieces somewhat undermine the potential of the whole album. By balance, those frosty parts were created with the use of standard, time-tested sounds and tricks; the themes sometimes resemble Dead Space (You Give Me the Creeps), and sometimes draw heavily from your typical action score. “Shaky” electronic parts (Enbee, Research Base, Military Base, Power Plant) are the staple of these compositions, but the tracks also have a fair share of classical instruments (string and wind sections). Luckily, even clichés sound good when it is Wall who incorporates them in his music, and the vibrating, subtly mixed The Forgotten makes it all worthwhile with its good, old Myst atmosphere.
Jack Wall is like a wrench in the cogs of the winter machine. Rigid conventions give way to the sounds of drums, metallic riffs, atmospheric guitars and the warm purr of the bass. Country rock confronting the world of winter sounds – what an ingenious and perfectly realized idea it is. While raw, chilling ambient and dynamic, but sound-wise cold compositions are present on the album, they seem like necessary off-the-assembly-line products and they don’t do the album more harm than to make an otherwise almost perfect album “just” excellent.