Cinematic soundtracks – as well as those for other long-form stories on stage, on television and on film – might not always stand alone as audio releases, and even when they do they are often diminished without referencing the visuals, even if that reference is through the imagination alone. However, Santiago Bosch’s music for the album Galactic Warrior curiously needs no visual referencing to work on its own. We do know – or have been told – that this music was written as a soundtrack for “a video game”. The ten tracks work as songs that stand alone in a kind of episodic fashion.
Writers of soundtracks must de rigueur assign musical notes to convey action and emotion to accompany the visuals as and when required. This may not always be a continuous musical event as some music from a soundtrack is often incidental – i.e., themes, etc. Again this music on Galactic Warrior could easily be experienced as if it were the starting point of the story or series of stories.
If, however, you didn’t know that this music was written to accompany as we now know, a non-existent video game, you might be tempted to think it somewhat dated. It echoes a style of fusion of music with electronics that was highly successful in the hands of musicians such as Josef Zawinul in his incarnation with Weather Report and subsequent groups (such as Weather Update) which he led. But a completely different reaction is imminent upon approaching this music, more carefully, for a second time.
It evokes a kind of futuristic electronics-driven world in a very real way. Moreover, once Mr Bosch mixes in the so acoustic (as opposed to electronic) instruments in with his banks of synthesizers we begin to experience the magical moments that this music can bring thanks to Mr Bosch and a small group of wonderful musicians including the inimitable saxophonist George Garzone, trumpeter Darren Barret, guitarist Tim Miller and the incomparable master of the laouto, Vasilis Kostas.
The eminently visceral energy and excitement that is conveyed in these miniature episodes constitute stories in themselves. Mr Bosch cleverly melds the rippling effects of the synthesizers with the trumpet and saxophone, the bass and drums to take us on the “galactic” journey where the action and drama unfolds. The music is arranged in such a manner that it conjures the world outside it from “Perspectives” – which literally sets up the landscape – to “Transition” – leading to the creation of the “Galactic Warrior”, who then begins the odyssey through the drama where you engage in “Finding Your Way Out”… and so on until the endgame itself.
In many ways by the time you get past the halfway mark of the album, the music becomes the game itself. Meanwhile Mr Bosch is giving nothing away as he becomes “the force” and “the controller” behind both game and story. So you must navigate through the “Main Menu” through to “Level 8” until the end… when everything is revealed by Mr Bosch, now unmasked as “the mastermind”, whose carefully performed symphonic accompaniment creates not only all of the massive climaxes but more so, all of the subtlest expressionist colours that fill this audio story behind the Galactic Warrior, live and times of…
Here’s waiting for the next episode…
Track list – 1: Perspectives; 2: Living in the Past; 3: Transition; 4: Galactic Warrior; 5: Finding Your Way Out; 6: Main Menu; 7: Persecution; 8: Level; 9: Questions; 10: Why
Personnel – Santiago Bosch: Fender Rhodes, synthesizers and acoustic piano; Tucker Antell: tenor saxophone (1, 4); Dany Anka: electric bass (15) Juan Ale Saenz: drums (1, 3, 4, 7, 10); Vasilis Kostas: laouto (9); Jared Henderson: contrabass (9, 10); Special Guests – Tim Miller: guitar (2, 4); George Garzone: tenor saxophone (7, 10); Darren Barrett: trumpet(3)
Released – 2020
Label – Independent
Runtime – 46:31