Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MIDI Week Singles: "Wilderness" - Diablo II (PC)

"Wilderness" from Diablo II on the PC (2000)
Composer: Matt Uelmen
Devloper: Blizzard North

Back when the soundtrack to Diablo II was being released via Blizzard's website, each track came with liner notes by composer Matt Uelmen, so before I go yammering off my half-muddled thoughts, I thought it best to lead off with what the composer himself had to say about his own composition.

"August 2, 2000
In all careers there are moments when everything comes together easily, coalescing in a spontaneous way where the right moves seem natural and self-evident. That was not the case here. This was the toughest tune of all -- a piece which went with the open pastoral feel of the wilderness in Act I (with the cows, farm fences, cabins and trees) while also being scary, exciting and distinctively "Diablo". It also had to transition well into not only the rogue encampment but also the various indoor slaughter-fests, as well.
My initial pass on this material, from November 1998 through to the following January, yielded a six minute piece which stayed in the game until January of 2000, at which point I was finally able to come back to it, giving it six new minutes and only keeping two minutes of the initial material. Those "lost" tracks will eventually show up here as outtakes. In the track that remains, everything but the kitchen sink makes an appearance. From 7/8, 11/8, 3/4, 4/4, to no real signature at all, twelve-tone lines, punky open chords and well-behaved waltz melodies all show up somewhere in these eight minutes.
My favorite moments on this piece come with the pedal steel lines supplied by Bernie Wilkens. Bernie Wilkens, of course, is the video game legend who currently runs our HR department. Few people know that Bernie also worked as a pedal steel player in Nashville back in his teenage years. He has a real gift for ripping off that great Dave Gilmour creepiness. John Carpenter and Johnny Marr also fight for space here."  
(Thanks to the Diablo II page for this).

What draws me into this song initially is the introduction of the guitar, then the rest of the song seems suiting to the world of Sanctuary, but then at 2:53, there's a hint of the melody from Tristram in the original Diablo.  Also the fact that I am currently replaying Diablo II and am on the verge of finishing the first act, so I have been hearing "Wilderness" a lot for the past week.

That is really all I have as I feel Mr. Uelmen's words say a lot more about this piece than I ever could.  But I like the song, which is why it is being shared.


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