Neal Acree's music has provided the emotional underpinnings for cinematics for Blizzard's World of Warcraft and Overwatch for years. Recently he released One World, the first track from his full-length album, The Velvet Machine. Neal has also been expanding his soundtrack for Frostkeep Studios' Rend, a game inspired by Norse mythology. He tells me that both of these projects gave him a chance to spread his wings and try new things.
One World gave Neal a chance to collaborate with vocalist Uyanga Bold, who he's worked with before on the cinematic Two Dragons for Overwatch, and several games. He says he was thrilled when he expanded the melody he wrote for her into lengthy improvisations of different styles, allowing him to amplify his original plan for the piece.
Rend has expanded as well. The scope of the game got much bigger, and Neal was asked to provide music that would be a good fit with the new areas the player can explore.
As he expanded the soundtrack with an orchestra, Neal kept the raw, handcrafted sound of traditional Scandinavian instruments, including Nyckelharpa and Hardanger Fiddle, along with an ancient-sounding viola da gamba.
One World is out now, and a high-res version of the soundtrack for Rend is available on Neal's Bandcamp now. It'll be available everywhere on July 12, 2019.
All tracks by Neal Acree
Rend performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and featuring Einar Selvik and Celica Solstream, vocals; Rachael Nesvig, Paul Cartwright, Hardanger Fiddles; Eric Rigler, Uillean pipes and whistles; Philip W. Serna, viola da gamba; Thomas Roth, Nyckelharpa; and Neal Acree, Hurdy Gurdy, Kantele, pan pipes.
Rend: World Tree
The Velvet Machine: One World (feat. Uyanga Bold, vocals)
Rend: Stagswood; Highlands 1; Main Title; Bounty of Alfheim; The Hunt; Vafthrudnismal; Frystfil 2; Hearthhome 2
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Thanks to Dick Roberts for production assistance