Saturday, 14 November 2009

Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 Soundtrack by Frank Klepacki

Album: Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 Soundtrack.

Released: 1997

Genre: Video Game Soundtrack, Industrial, Metal, Techno, Ambient, Trip Hop, Electronica, Orchestral.


1. Hell March
2. Radio
3. Crush
4. Roll Out
5. Mud
6. Twin Cannon
7. Face the Enemy
8. Run
9. Terminate
10. Big Foot
11. Workmen
12. Militant Force
13. Dense
14. Vector
15. Smash

NOTE: The Full Game soundtrack is much larger with its exapansion packs Counterstrike and Aftermath so not all tracks that I talk about in this review are here in this tracklisting this is the track listing for the Offical Game Soundtrack CD.

Sorry with not updating my blog in a while, I will try to keep up to date as much as I can. Anyway I was going to review Psyclon Nines first album but instead I feel like review this game soundtrack. I am reviewing this soundtrack because it is a very big influence on me, I first played Red Alert when I was six years old and is probably responsible for some of my taste in music that I listen to today.

The soundtrack was composed by Frank Klepacki who started out as inspiring heavy Metal drummer (he is also very skilled with guitars and keyboards) who started out in various Metal bands around Las Vegas. To make ends meet Frank began a game tester at Westwood studios and manage to get a job scoring some Westwoods early projects like Dragonstrike Dune 2, Lands Of Lore. He even worked on Disney's the Lion King Video Game soundtrack were made with the film composer Hans Zimmer who was impressed with his work on rescoring his work for the games soundtrack. Eventually got to work on Westwoods most well known Game the First Command & Conquer one of the most groundbreaking Real Time Strategy games ever made. Using only an Electric Guitar, Roland JD990 Synth Module, Ensoniq ASR-10 Sampler Workstation and a Roland S760 sampler, Frank created an unique blend of Industrial (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry), Heavy Metal (Metallica), Rock, house, Funk (Prince, Sly and the Family Stone) as well Ambient and Orchestral music.

Released in 1996 Command & Conquer was a successful release for Westwood including Frank's soundtrack which stood out from most game soundtracks at that time.

After C&C's release Frank began work on the soundtrack for next game in the series even though he didn't what the C&C game would be. The first track he composed was the Iconic "Hell March" a track that features catchy Metallica style bass and electric guitar riffs, swing march live sounding drums before changing into a techno dance track with dance beats, techno bassline and synthetic stabs. The track was extremely popular with Westwoods producers who wanted as the main track for the next C&C red Alert. Frank first wrote as a Nod VS GDI theme of Tib series but got used for Red Alert Instead.

Westwood Producers told Frank that Red Alert was set in a Alternate 1950's where Hitler had been erased from existence by Albert Einstein who went back in time to 1920's to remove Hitler to prevent WWII one of the most brutal conflicts in Human History. However Einstein forgot about the USSR and Joseph Stalin's campaign to conquer Europe which happens in the games story between the Allies and Soviets creating an even more brutal Second World War with exotic technology like Tesla Coils and Chornospheres. Westwood first want to make the game as a campy Cold War spoof based old 50's B movies (Ironically they did this Red Alert 2 and 3) but instead the game was much darker and serious with less unusual technology than the latter Red Alert games.

With this in Mind Frank decide to making tracks with campy spoof sound like an unused Tanya theme that sounded like cheesy 70's Disco (which got scrapped quickly). Obviously the Game Producers had conflicting ideas of the games direction which led the game to have a more serious tone which help Frank make the music more in the styles he was known for with the first C&C game.

Gear wise Frank Klepacki probably used the same equipment from the first game (Electric Guitar, Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler, Roland S760 sampler and a Roland JD 990 synth module) he may have also used a Korg Trinty on the expansion Pack tracks (which also used on the next C&C game soundtrack Tiberian Sun) mainly for Ambient pads and 'Analog' type sounds like basslines, leads etc.

I really like the range of styles and genres this soundtrack has for example Industrial on tracks like Bigfoot, Smash, Hell March, Twin, Workmen, Chaos 2, Roll Out. Metal on tracks like Hell March, Twin, Militant Force. Alternative Rock on Vector. House and Techno on Crush, Radio 2, Arazoid. Trip Hop on Mud, Fogger, Shut It, Traction, Trench, Snake, The Search, Float V2. Ambient Electronica on Underlying Thoughts, Wasteland, The 2nd Hand, Terminate, Running Through Pipes, Voice Rhythm 2, Groundwire, Gloom, Dense, Await, Backstab and Bog. Orchestral tracks like Face the Enemy parts 1 and 2, Run For Your Lives.

Here are some of my favourite tracks off the soundtrack.

Hell March: Just a briilliant track catchy memorable riffs nice techno synth sounds, samples of marching feet, chant of an Officer shouting often misheard as "We Want War, WAKE UP!" when it is actually "Die Waffen Legt An!" which is German for Ready Weapons!

Radio 2: Reminds of a track off Moby's first album only a bit harder, hard dance beats, 303ish basslines, techno stabs to me one of my favourite tracks off the soundtrack, used put this on repeat when I was younger. I prefer this over the first Radio track off C&C 1 because its a bit Housey than Techno.

Bigfoot: This track reminds me of Front Line Assembly, hard marching beats, pulsating rhythms, I really like the phased bass sound. If you play as the Soviets this is usually the first track you hear get you straight into the game.

Smash: Awesome track love the 'live' feel of the drums over the hard synth sounds. Great for listening to if your blowing the shit out of enemy base.

Fogger: Interresting track laid back nice piano parts, jazzy hit hats and 80's sounding toms, this track really stands out but in a good way.

Title Track (The Track that plays at the Games Main Menu): My favourite track from the whole game actually, love the phased synth sound, the agressive bassline (not bad for a ROMpler) ambeint chords and 'live' sound drums, interresting track. Brilliant should of been put in the games main soundtrack.

Crush: Great Techno Industrial track, great kick sound, agressive synths marching rhyhtms suits the game really well.

I like alot of tracks off this game but there is just too many to metion. For me this is one of the best game soundtracks ever made it even beat the first Quake soundtrack that was composed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in a PC Gamer for Best Game Soundtrack in 1997. This soundtrack is big influence on the type of music I listein today. It is also probably responiable for getting into Electronic and Industrial, influencing me into getting into Gary Numan's Pure and so on.

Fran Klepacki is underrated musican you can listein most of his works on his website:

Please Check His music Out.

Next review will hopefully be Psyclon Nine's Divine Infekt.

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