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View Full Version : New Assassin's Den podcast with Jesper Kyd (AC1, AC2, ACB, ACR Composer)



loomer979
12-08-2016, 09:04 PM
Hey everyone, hope you enjoy this new episode of The Assassin's Den podcast that I did with Jesper Kyd, who of course is a legend to those of us in the AC community. We are also giving away a copy of the new "Assassin's Creed: The Best of Jesper Kyd" Picture Disc LP signed by Jesper! Giveaway details are in the podcast.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIFnBpPSicg

Timestamps (these are clickable in the YouTube video description):

0:00 - Intro / How did Jesper get the job for AC1?
5:03 - City of Jerusalem / Flight through Jerusalem
10:44 - Access the Animus
17:07 - Composing Assassin's Creed 2
22:01 - Earth & Ezio's Family
27:42 - Use of Ezio's Family in recent AC games
33:17 - Dream of Venice
35:10 - Venice Rooftops
38:01 - Composing AC Brotherhood
40:42 - Echoes of the Roman Ruins
42:18 - The Brotherhood Escapes
45:13 - AC Revelations / The Crossroads of the World
50:28 - Greek influence on AC Revelations
52:39 - Altair or Ezio?
54:25 - Would Jesper compose for AC again?
55:26 - Is Jesper involved with the AC movie?
56:13 - The role of a composer in video games
58:35 - Thoughts on composing and writer's block
1:01:44 - Jesper's favorite AC compositions
1:11:15 - AC score influences
1:12:02 - Most challenging AC soundtrack?
1:15:08 - Releasing more unreleased AC music?
1:17:52 - Redoing or remixing any AC tracks
1:18:38 - Jesper's recent and upcoming projects / Goodbyes

Aphex_Tim
12-08-2016, 09:13 PM
Nice! This guy is one of the reasons I'm now composing video game soundtracks myself. (on a rather small scale yet but you gotta start somewhere!)
Very nice that you got a hold of him; this should be interesting!

Edit: Regarding my statement above, 1:00:06 was a good confidence boost for me as that is pretty much exactly my situation. Very good to hear.
Great podcast guys, I'm enjoying it a lot!

Ureh
12-09-2016, 12:47 AM
Nice! Thank you loomer. And of course, thank you to Jesper.

I loved it when he was talking about "Dream of Venice" and it was playing in the background. Just the right volume, neither was overpowering the other.

SixKeys
12-09-2016, 02:24 AM
Nice work, Loomer! I'm glad Jesper says he'd be happy to work on AC again should the opportunity arise, although it's even more baffling now why they haven't brought him back already if there's no reluctance from his side.

loomer979
12-09-2016, 04:37 AM
Nice work, Loomer! I'm glad Jesper says he'd be happy to work on AC again should the opportunity arise, although it's even more baffling now why they haven't brought him back already if there's no reluctance from his side.

Yeah this is something I don't understand either and it drives me a little crazy. Like, he doesn't have to compose every single game but at least put him back in the lineup!

Farlander1991
12-11-2016, 12:28 PM
Thank you for the podcast, was very interesting to listen to!

It seems from the podcast that Jesper wasn't necessarily involved in choosing where which piece is played necessarily, which actually explains a lot of weird music choices that fail to create consistent leitmotifs, and why quite a bit of soundtrack is actually unheard in the game.

What I mean is, Earth in the game sounds only for 40 seconds, in a kinda poorly cut way, never to be heard again. And Ezio's Family, if we don't count the end credits, sounds only once in the whole game - at the title screen. But at least it's the same leitmotif corresponding to two important life events for Ezio.

But then we have something like the moment at Bonfire, which is arguably Ezio's most important part of life in the whole game, and the theme that sounds is actually one of Venice's (more precisely Tour of Venice), which for some reason fans have started calling that particular variation (which was used in a lot of cutscenes in Venice or related to Venice, incidentally also being in some of Ezio's character defining moments that happened in Venice) Salvation of Forli (even though it doesn't have anything to do with Forli). I mean... that's like if in the Lord of the Rings when Frodo pulls out Sam out of water and he tells how he made a promise, instead of the Hobbit theme variation it would play Gondor's theme. Yes, it's a cool theme, but it's not what you base the emotional connection on between the moment and the music, and it's not what a composer would do - he wouldn't start creating emotional connection to one theme using particular moments, and then just... stop doing that. So, yeah, for the longest time I was baffled why Jesper would do it like that, and the answer is - he didn't.

Plus also explains some other weird things like Florence Tarantella, that was present in the AC2 soundtrack, not being used in the game at all until ACB.

But anyway, yeah. Nice podcast :) And I actually miss one of the things that Jesper talks about a lot in it - that the music is processed to make it feel more connected to the Animus, sometimes in little sometimes in bigger ways. Ever since the composers started changing, there was a clear distinction between modern day music and past music. And you know, it's an absolutely valid approach I feel, in a sense that it doesn't make it worse, it's just different (and some things can be done with it that can't with Jesper's approach, but this paragraph is not about those things). For example, if we take AC4, even though I love its music, all the past music are essentially period pieces - you cut out the whole concept of Animus and they still work. While in AC2, if you take combat music for example, while I don't particularly like to listen to combat music outside of the game, they don't work if you cut out the Animus, there needs to be that modern day technology for it to make sense. And that creates a narrative connection.

The exception to that post-ACR would actually be Unity which has got a lot of modern things in the soundtrack, particularly Chris Tilton's music... though some of Sarah's pieces as well.

SixKeys
12-11-2016, 08:46 PM
Plus also explains some other weird things like Florence Tarantella, that was present in the AC2 soundtrack, not being used in the game at all until ACB.

I always felt "Florence Tarantella" would have worked perfectly during the first fight against Vieri and his gang. The music is playful and energetic, suitable for that time in Ezio's life when his fights were still mere scuffles with no real consequences.

Totally agreed on the Animus stuff. AC4's soundtrack did have some nice mixing of modern and traditional elements, particularly in "The Ends of the Earth" (one of my favorite tracks). I don't recall where exactly it appeared in the game, though.

Farlander1991
12-11-2016, 09:24 PM
I always felt "Florence Tarantella" would have worked perfectly during the first fight against Vieri and his gang. The music is playful and energetic, suitable for that time in Ezio's life when his fights were still mere scuffles with no real consequences.

Totally agreed on the Animus stuff. AC4's soundtrack did have some nice mixing of modern and traditional elements, particularly in "The Ends of the Earth" (one of my favorite tracks). I don't recall where exactly it appeared in the game, though.

Yeah, I love that track as well. I don't think it actually plays in single player (at least I don't remember any place where it did, though maybe somewhere in Abstergo offices at some points?), but I did hear it in multiplayer menu.

Black_Widow9
12-12-2016, 03:07 AM
This is amazing! :D

LoyalACFan
12-12-2016, 02:37 PM
fans have started calling that particular variation (which was used in a lot of cutscenes in Venice or related to Venice, incidentally also being in some of Ezio's character defining moments that happened in Venice) Salvation of Forli (even though it doesn't have anything to do with Forli).

Actually, it does originate in Forli. The first time it's used is when Ezio is departing with Leonardo on the ferry, after having rescued Caterina.

But I do agree with you, AC2's soundtrack is fantastic, but strangely utilized in-game. "Salvation of Forli" might as well have been called Ezio's Theme, as it's used in all the places where a composer might think to cue a character's motif, and perhaps not coincidentally, along several beats of the monomyth, i.e. leaving home (departing Tuscany with Leo), finding supernatural aid (recovering the Apple in Venice), and death, plus a few more important moments of character development like killing Emilio and Savonarola that I'm too tired to try and cram into the monomyth framework right now :p

Farlander1991
12-13-2016, 11:20 PM
Actually, it does originate in Forli. The first time it's used is when Ezio is departing with Leonardo on the ferry, after having rescued Caterina.

Yes. And where they're departing on that ferry when that music plays? Venice. :p In the original AC2 without DLC, that's the only instance outside of Venice where the tune is used, and it's used as a foreshadowing of Venice as the heroes depart towards it (and that the players would see only after the modern day interlude, so it's kind of a 'musical tease' in addition to the plot tease of them getting on their way).

"Salvation of Forli" is basically a "Venice cutscene" music, being a variation of Tour of Venice that's a Venice ambient sound. One could even say an 'after-climax Venice cutscene music'. But because it's an 'after-climax Venice cutscene music', it also happens to sound at some important beats of Ezio's progression which makes it connect more to Ezio's progression rather than the city.

And you know, if we take just the original AC2 with no DLC, even though it's strange that Ezio's theme wouldn't be used anywhere, at least it's consistent in a sense that it follows the AC logic of 'location-based music' which it used a lot. But then comes DLC of Sequence 13 and uses that tune and now it's not about anything related to Venice, but about Ezio's character progression, and it transforms from 'weird that they did not use Ezio's theme there and there' to everything being messed up musically because wrong connections are created...