For the last year and a half I have been working with the kind folks at Uppercut Games on their new game Submerged: Hidden Depths. This is a sequel to the game Submerged, which I worked on with them 6 years ago. This time, the game has been released exclusively on Stadia
When I first started working on the game, I was offered to use a live string quartet. I had only done this in a smaller scale on the Total War Rome 2 Live Action Trailer previously and thought I would ask my friend Chris Larkin for advice on who to use to help with transcribing the MIDI tracks to musical score. Much to my excitement, he immediately offered to do it himself, along with the help of Nathan Cummins. I had never worked with Chris and Nathan directly before, and it was an absolute pleasure.
The initial plan was to record in Adelaide in a local concert hall, as Chris was more familiar with the local musicians there, and had recorded some of them previously. Things were progressing smoothly until the Covid Pandemic occurred. There was a lot of uncertainty around the health risks of recording the musicians in a group, and there were various restrictions that made the logistics of the recording near impossible.
So, we decided to record the musicians remotely from their homes over the internet. We spent a couple of months going through all of the various technical solutions and decided the best one was VST Connect. We did several test recordings and it was all going smoothly again, although I knew the quality of the recordings was going to be inconsistent as not everyone has a nice recording studio or concert hall at home.
A couple of months had passed, and I was getting close to completing the composition. As we were about to start the full recording sessions, covid restrictions started to ease. It turned out that I was allowed to travel to Adelaide, and we were allowed to have everyone in a group for the recording. At the last minute we decided to go back to the original plan of recording the quartet live in Adelaide! Scheduling everyone proved to be more challenging now as we were only booking people two or even one week in advance. In the end we needed to hire more than one 2nd violinist and cellist due to scheduling conflicts.
Venue availability was also an issue, so Chris widened his search and did a test recording at the Brighton Concert Hall. It sounded awesome. I couldn’t believe that this was a high school’s concert hall. It’s very well designed and records beautifully with it’s natural clear ambience and reverb. It immediately sounded better than our remote recordings and was clearly the right choice.
The recording process went smoothly and the musicians were super professional and played amazingly. Chris and Nathan’s transcriptions were true to the original, and they helped improve things that got lost in translation as well.
During the post production and mixing phase, I was lucky to have my wife Angela and daughter Ella sing some lovely vocals on a couple of the tracks as well. Angela is also the voice of the seed in the game, and Ella is voice voice of the lead character Miku.
Getting close to the end of the project, I needed some help with some extra sound effects and general mixing advice using Wwise, so I got my good friend Matt McCamley to help me out with some of his awesome sound design.
I hope you enjoy listening to the album as much as I did writing and producing it 🙂
Music Composer & Producer
Jeff van Dyck
Music Transcription & Preparation
Brighton Concert Hall
Adelaide, South Australia
Angela van Dyck
Ella van Dyck
Mastered by Matthew Gray at Matthew Gray Mastering
Released December 3, 2020
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