By Kevin Matyi
Yesterday, Dec. 13, Miracle of Sound’s long anticipated album “Level 5” released on Bandcamp following the release of the last song of the album “All as One.” Releases for other platforms such as iTunes and Amazon are pending as of this writing with an estimated latency of three to four days. There are very few reasons not to buy this 30 track album for $10. At worst, the sheer volume of material is a great value for the asking price.
Over the past four years, Gavin Dunne, the musician behind Miracle of Sound, has composed, produced and performed over 130 songs. Out of the six Miracle of Sound albums, five are almost entirely based on video games, movies and TV shows, with a small but growing fraction based on Dunne’s own life experiences. The outlier of the pattern is the “relaxing chill out music” album “Vistas,” which was released between “Level 4” and “Level 5.”
Some of the clearest examples of games inspiring parts of a song can be found in “Fires Far” and “My Revolution.” In the former, Dunne asked his Facebook followers if they wanted the song to be more inspired by the music from Dark Souls 2 or if they wanted him to use the more classic Miracle of Sound rock style. In the latter, the song is sung partly in French due to the game being set in the French Revolution.
Since Dunne did not know French beforehand, a friend had to teach him before he recorded “My Revolution.” This mentality even extended to songs like “Wake the White Wolf,” where he learned how to play an entirely new instrument purely to get the sound that he wanted for the song.
The album is so good that even non-gamers should at least try it. All but one of the songs is available in its entirety, most with a music video, on the Miracle of Sound YouTube channel. Since most of the songs are based off of video games, there is a preset story to convey through each song, which allows everyone to understand the context without needing to play the game themselves. In general, this is done via a heavy focus on the lyrics while the instrumentation sets the tone of the song in order to express the overall feeling of the game.
Dunne defaults to a mixture of rock and metal, as seen with “Into the Mind” and “Man and Machine.” However, he has no problem attempting styles that he is unfamiliar with if they would fit the game well. This is seen extremely well in songs like the synth-heavy “Dog’s Life,” the grunge of “Fistful of Concrete” and the upbeat “Messing With the Best.” Over time, this has led to a rich discography that is impossible to define with a single genre.
This is an album that you can buy and trust that every song will be enjoyable in some way, although the variety of genres means that it is unlikely that you will love every song equally. If you like rock, vocally driven songs or video games, then this album is a must have. Otherwise, check out each of the songs on YouTube and see if any of them interest you.