Brian Reitzell

Watch Dogs [Original Game Soundtrack]

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Shortly after the release of Brian Reitzell's debut solo album Auto Music came his music for Watch Dogs, a multifaceted video game revolving around Aiden, a hacker who seeks revenge for a family tragedy by using the city of Chicago as a weapon against his enemies. Reitzell's score is as expansive and evocative as any of his film or television work, setting a subtly tense mood on washy pieces like "The Loop" and a more fraught one on "Computer Underground," where his flair for intricate, expressive percussion shines. Indeed, Watch Dogs' greatest strength is that it doesn't fall prey to the clich├ęs surrounding video game soundtracks. Reitzell's palette goes beyond the expected electronics, lending a richness and sophistication to these tracks that span the itchy, unsettling guitar work of "Creepy Caller," the orchestral elements on the slow-burning "Revelation Number 3," and the taut guitar-and-piano interplay on "IP Tracking." That refinement also extends to the pieces grounded in electronics. While "Donovan"'s industrial tinge evokes visions of '90s cyberpunk, it's more streamlined; meanwhile, "Vigilante" evokes John Carpenter (as well as DROKK, the Judge Dredd-inspired project of Geoff Barrow, whose Invada label released Watch Dogs) in its nine minutes of pulsating dread. There's a haunting quality to many of the score's finest tracks that underscores the price Aiden pays for his vigilantism, whether it's the aching strings on "Hackers" and the poignant finale "Escape from Chicago" or the eerie undercurrents on the climactic "Ghosts of the Past." Subtler and more emotive than your average video game music, Watch Dogs finds Reitzell excelling at yet another form of soundtrack.

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