Recording under the moniker teevee, indie musician Dylan Hyman produced a soundtrack to a video game that was under development for Red Fox Game Studio. The game, though in the advanced stages of development, was canceled. The music, already completed, remained suspended in that space where art suspends itself. Now, Utility Tapes release teevee’s work. And it’s a thing of beauty.
Hyman developed themes around the structure of the game – the point of which was to craft tools in order to survive a harsh space environment – so track titles are utilitarian, “Inventory”, “Shop”, “Main Menu”, “Travel’ – to name a handful. However, Hyman also wrote this music to stand as distinct pieces. Isolated from the game experience they adopt new shapes. They feel out new purposes. They’re quite something.
Mixes of rolling melodic progressions aren’t usually this interesting. teevee manages to show the stillness in action and action within the stillness of things. Of course, he plays with atmosphere – and there are moments of tension and release.
“Desert Winds” is a moment that inspires apprehension as synths sweep beneath textured glitch – echoing off into the back of your mind. “Abandoned Mines” has a similar effect – darker tones, deeper reverb – and the sound of the wind that hushes reason.
Perhaps it’s a shame that the video game was cancelled. Though maybe not. Extracting the composite parts of an experience help us see how things are, and how we experience all things. The moods that teevee explore here, the suggested routes of travel through a difficult environment, now sit with the listener’s own associations. Perhaps in this way they are more reflective, and are free to answer questions of the listener that may have been previously overlooked.
A deeply pensive piece – Soundtrack to Expedition is a refreshingly pleasing oddity. teevee places us in the center of a landscape that we build. It’s no game.