Taking It All In

Probably the primary reason I’ve always cited for my love of the game Mirror’s Edge is its incredible atmosphere; something about the art style, perspective, and the entire world in which it takes place makes it feel uniquely immersive.  What really completes the atmosphere in both the original and its sequel/reboot, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, however, is the music, created by brilliant ambient composer Solar Fields.

I could cite a number of compelling, mysterious pieces from puzzle segments, or adrenaline-filled pieces that accompany tense action sequences, but the Swedish composer’s ethereal creations come alive most for me in the still, relaxed moments.  One of my personal favorites is taken from Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, the “default” music for one of the last areas of the game.  The soundtrack is constructed such that all of an area’s music is compiled in a lengthy medley; this one is found within a track called “The View District,” specifically located from about 2 minutes and 20 seconds until around 5 minutes into it.

It’s not an incredibly complex piece; calming ambience creates a backdrop for a simple, repeating riff, electronic drums and resonating synths filling out the rest of the song.  But it’s flawless in its simplicity.  It works perfectly as background music for the area it accompanies, which is called “The View” for a reason; cherry blossoms, spacious apartments with bright colors and modern architecture, and a view of the azure harbor make the area feel as beautiful as the music sounds, putting aside the game’s dystopian setting to breathe it all in for a minute.  (If you’re interested in seeing more of the context, here’s a lengthy video showing various parts of the area.)

Even outside of the game, its otherworldly calm is irresistible, making for an ideal lullaby or accompaniment to a quiet evening; I’ve found myself listening to it endlessly on its own (using a basic editing program to separate it from the 15-minute medley, all of which of course is gorgeous, but each piece of it has a different tone), and I can’t imagine anyone with an appreciation for this style of music not doing the same.

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