Back in late 2015 the game music publisher Sumthing Else Music Works announced that they would be releasing music from Assassin’s Creed on vinyl in 2016. A long time passed without further news, but in July 2016 Spacelab9 sent out a newsletter in which they announced the release of this – Assassin’s Creed: The Best Of Jesper Kyd on vinyl. And a year after first being hinted, the album was released in December 2016.
As the name implies this is a compilation album with picks from Jesper Kyd’s different scores to games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise from Ubisoft.
As usual I have a few disclaimers. First of all I must admit to not having played any Assassin’s Creed game myself, although I’ve watched my brother play through most of the second game in the series. So I’m familiar with the tracks from that game. Secondly, I should note that the copy I am reviewing was provided to me by Spacelab9.
There isn’t a whole lot to say for packaging for this release. If you’re familiar with Spacelab9’s previous picture disc releases for Mega Man and Fallout 3 & 4, then you know what to expect.
It’s a picture disc LP with game art on both sides with side B also showing the tracklist of the release.
It comes in a clear PVC* sleeve allowing you to see the artwork featured on the disc. And finally there’s a promotional sticker in the top right corner.
*A quick note should be added about PVC outer sleeves – if records are stored directly in these (as in with no inner sleeve or jacket between the record and the outer sleeve) they are very likely to be damaged through a chemical process known as outgassing. If you intend to listen to the record it’s advised to either ditch the outer sleeve or put the record in something so it’s not in direct contact with it.
And finally the most important part – how does all of this sound? At this point it’s not likely that Jesper Kyd’s music needs much of an introduction as his scores for games in both the Hitman, Borderlands, and of course, Assassin’s Creed series have received critical acclaim.
This release has a total of 10 tracks of which 6 are from Assassin’s Creed 2, 2 are from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, while the first Assassin’s Creed and Revelations are represented once each. Furthermore, two of the tracks from Assassin’s Creed 2 were previously unreleased. Additionally, I have read comments suggesting that some of the tracks have been remastered for this release (and its digital counterpart), so some tracks might sound slightly different than on their initial soundtrack releases.
Kyd’s composition for these are still as good as ever and are mostly orchestral, although with some nods to electronic music here and there. And it’s great, epic music for grand adventures. Well-composed and engaging.
Unfortunately this leads up to one of the shortcomings of this release – it does feel a bit short. Granted, the playtime, which is just short of 37 minutes, is fairly standard for a vinyl release. But knowing that the Assassin’s Creed 2 soundtrack alone is almost 2 hours, then I can’t help but feel that something’s missing.
That doesn’t take anything away from the individual tracks, though, which despite being taken from different games in the series still go together very well.
In regards to the length of this, I should note that there is a digital counterpart to this, which features a total of 23 tracks spanning almost 2 hours. If that sounds interesting, then you can stream the entire thing (legally) on YouTube.
More importantly, though – how’s the quality of the pressing? The release being a picture disc had me worried initially, but I’m pleased to say that they did a pretty decent job with thisl. I had a few crackles on side A even after cleaning it, but for a picture disc it is surprisingly quiet. And to me this is especially important seeing as most of the tracks are orchestral – a type of music that really seems to suffer more to unintended noise.
To sum up, I find that it’s a worthwhile release if you are a fan of the series as a whole or a fan of Jesper Kyd’s work in general. As a fan of orchestral game music I would have loved a little… more. Overall I would love to see the Assassin’s Creed franchise getting a similar treatment to Fallout which received both single LP picture discs and box sets containing the full scores.
Does this sound like something for you? Then this is still available via Amazon and several other retailers.