Long before Ramin Djawadi penned the score for “Iron Man,” the German-born composer was one member of a three-person audio team banging out sounds and music for the arsenal of PC games produced by the now-defunct Looking Glass Studios. He had a single instrument at his disposal.
“It was a good challenge,” he recalled recently. “I had to work with what I had in front of me, which was one keyboard. This wasn’t even that long ago. That was 1998.”
Things have changed dramatically for the Berklee College of Music graduate, whose soundtrack for Electronic Arts’ “Medal of Honor: Warfighter” was released last month in advance of the game’s Oct. 23 release. The 100 minutes of music in the game allowed Djawadi to experiment with symphonic and rock flourishes; Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda also contributed to the score.
Djawadi first signed up for the franchise with 2010’s “Medal of Honor,” taking a more modern approach to the score for the game, which abandoned the long-standing World War II setting in favor of present-day warfare. In a departure for the series, Djawadi opted for a small string section over a full orchestra to give the music a more contemporary feel.
“The previous ‘Medal of Honor’ of games had more of a traditional score,” he said. “The ones I worked on were more in the present — they had a different, more modern approach.”
Shinoda said he wrote in a way to accommodate Djawadi’s compositions.
“I had my own ideas about those couple levels, in terms of how I wanted them to sound,” Shinoda said. “I sketched them out and sent them to Ramin. I left some sonic holes in it so he can fill those areas. I intentionally left out melodies and left parts very blank because I wanted him to fill in those spots.”
Djawadi is just one of the many composers moving between film and television and gaming — the recently released “Dishonored” features an eerie, violin-heavy score from “Dexter” composer Daniel Licht. But Djawadi, whose work can be heard in the upcoming action film “Red Dawn,” says he doesn’t distinguish between mediums.
“If this was ‘Medal of Honor: The Movie,’ I wouldn’t have done anything different,” he said. “Years ago, I remember hearing people say, ‘Oh, he’s a TV composer’ or ‘Oh, he’s a video game composer.’ That’s gone away now. You can jump between any media. I look at them as equal projects.”
– Todd Martens
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