Steve Kirk's "Period" Soundtrack For 'Bartlow's Dread Machine'

Nov 6, 2020

Credit Beep Games and Tribetoy

It's 1907 and President Teddy Roosevelt has been kidnapped! That's the premise of Barttlow's Dread Machine, a fantastic creation by Tribetoy and Beep Games, which looks as if the mechanical game actually dates from 1907. Now that the full game and soundtrack have been released, I caught up with composer Steve Kirk, who filled me in on how he created a (mostly) authentic soundtrack with period instruments including a temperamental banjo.

Steve says one of many challenges that composing the score presented was that the cues were quite long, in order to cover all of the action in each level, instead of the frequently-used little melodic stems.  Steve used ingenious ways to keep the cues interesting, including borrowing moving from key to key as Schubert did in much of his music. 

After spending a year and a half writing the soundtrack for Bartlow, Steve says he's set a high bar for incorporating the techniques he developed, and is looking forward to using them in future projects. And he wants to buy a better banjo!

The soundtrack is available on Steve's Bandcamp.

Episode tracklist:

All tracks composed by Steve Kirk, performed by 

Chris Grady trumpet

Rachel Nesvig violin and viola

Jeff Kashiwa alto and tenor saxophone
Greg Schroeder trombone
Tom Yoder trombone
Bob Lipton tuba
Bradley Hawkins cello
Amy Denio alto sax
Damien Masterson chromatic harmonica
Steve Kirk composer, banjo, guitar, mandolin, voice

Bartlow's Dread Machine: New York; Main Theme; Mechanical Terror; Into the West; Cinematic Cue Exposition; Game Over; Showdown in DC, Leviathan; Ending Choice: At Peace

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Thanks to Dick Roberts for production assistance