Those of you who follow Musicalypse may have noticed that we throw the odd soundtrack review into the mix from time-to-time. One of the most recent of these was our review of the first half of the soundtrack to Finnish video game Noita, written by Niilo Takalainen and FROM GROTTO. Having absolutely loved the first half, it goes without saying that we were waiting with high anticipation for the “Noita (Official Soundtrack), Vol. 2” to be released.
In hindsight, my review of the first album was a bit sparse, so I’m hoping to elaborate a bit more this time around. First of all, this album is fully in keeping with its predecessor, meaning there is a unified ambience and atmosphere to all of the music from both albums. Largely led by groovy, laid-back bass lines to set the tone, the mood is then added with all sorts of psychedelic accoutrements, like echoing sound waves, wavering notes, and hints of tambourine and the odd ringing of a bell or chime.
The songs again feature strange, evocative, and delightful names, such as “I’m a Sheep and My Wool Protects Me from the Cold” and “The Walls Want Your Attention”; names like these make one wonder if there is a part of the game wherein the player discovers an important woolly sheep. The album begins with the funky and upbeat “Kick the Cart!” which a lot of peppy drumming and groovy guitar work, setting a good precedent for what is to come. Why is a kart being kicked? We may never know without playing the game.
The songs are largely quite short, with some only lasting about a minute in length and the longest, “Hiisi Ambush,” [hiisi is a devil or goblin] clocking in at 4½ minutes. While “Vol. 1” featured only one out-take, “Out-take I – herkku,” “Vol. 2” features no less than seven (!) out-takes on the 23-song album. Yes, that’s right. While “Vol. 1” was only nine tracks long, its successor has a whopping twenty-three pieces, clocking in at 57 minutes in length. Listeners can look forward to stylish drums in “Out-take III – Lupaus paremmasta” and deep and intriguing tones creating contrast and mystique in “Out-take IV – Orbin arvoitus”; I think there is a single tambourine shake in the song to add a lone blast of noise into the mix – it’s fabulously done. “Out-take VI – ei oo mitä järkeä” has the only words on the album, spoken briefly towards its beginning, and the bass and drums speed things up while the guitar gets to play around.
“I’m a Sheep…” has a fabulous bass lead with spacey guitars echoing around. “Stop for a Brew” features a strong guitar line throughout, built up expertly by the rest of the instrumentation, while “Three Eggs” slows things down a bit, with a slightly eastern vibe to its sound. “Burning Garbage Bins” has a more ominous, haunting, apprehensive tone to it; meanwhile “Tormented Staff” has a more peaceful mysticism present. “Ukko Has Other Plans” has a somewhat cavernous and cool/icy feeling. “Questionable Excavations” has some added brass into the mix and closing track “Liekkiö” is peaceful while maintaining the shamanstic vibe.
Once again, this collaboration between Niilo Takalainen and FROM GROTTO has born excellent fruit. Lovers of mystical video games or ambient music would hear this album and instantly be drawn to playing Noita just to hear the music in its place within the game. The whole album maintains an echoing, haunting mysticism that I can only imagine is perfect for a game about witches and magic. In fact, while I’m normally a console gamer, I’m tempted to fire up Steam just so I can try Noita and hear this music as it was meant to be heard – if the game is half as good as its soundtrack, it’ll definitely be worth checking out!
Written by Bear Wiseman
- Kick the Cart!
- Cobalt Worm Aftermath
- Out-take I – Taikasauvojen maa
- I’m a Sheep and My Wool Protects Me from the Cold
- Out-take II – Hiiden kivi
- Stop for a Brew
- Out-take III – Lupaus paremmasta
- Out-take IV – Orbin arvoitus
- Three Eggs
- Burning Garbage Bins
- Hiisi Ambush
- Out-take V – Leimuavat roskat
- Tormented Staff
- Ukko Has Other Plans
- Out-take VI – Ei oo mitä järkeä
- It Was All Written in These Scrolls
- Icy Bowels
- Kolmisilmän Koipi
- Another Ancient Ruin
- Questionable Excavations
- The Walls Want Your Attention
- Out-take VII – Kultaa jahtaan
From Grotto – instruments
Niilo Takalainen – vocals
Independent / Nolla Games