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Gordy Haab's Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (2017)

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I was also thinking that could be turned into a kickass fanfare. It's one of the most stagnant and uninteresting themes with no variation, just repetition in AotC.

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1 minute ago, Disco Stu said:

Well look who got a profile in my local newspaper:

 

Former Richmonder and composer for 'Star Wars: Battlefront II' described as 'heir apparent to John Williams'

 

I had no idea Gordy was a fellow central Virginian.

 

EU GDPR prevents me from seeing the article.

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4 minutes ago, Gistech said:

 

EU GDPR prevents me from seeing the article.

 

Ah sorry, here ya go.

 

Quote

Growing up in Richmond’s Lakeside neighborhood, Gordy Haab, like many children of the 1970s, listened to a lot of the “Star Wars” soundtrack. He listened to “The Empire Strikes Back” so much, he wore out three copies of the soundtrack.

“It became part of my DNA,” Haab said from Los Angeles, where he lives and works as a composer for TV, movies and video games.

Now, 40 years later, he has scored over 17 hours of music for “Star Wars” video games.

 

So much so, he’s been called the “heir apparent to John Williams,” the legendary “Star Wars” composer, by such outlets as Billboard magazine.

Most recently, when Haab was working on the score for “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” he specifically set out to put his stamp on the John Williams classic.

“They asked me to write the B-side to John Williams’ A-side,” Haab said. “It was an opportunity to build that into my own vocabulary. I could write whatever I wanted to write. But I wanted to get as close as possible as I could [to John Williams].”

To start, he writes all his musical scores by hand. He recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios, where John Williams recorded the new “Star Wars” movie soundtracks. And like Williams, Haab recorded with the full London Symphony and an 80-member choir.

“Each time I went overseas, I tried something that hadn’t been used before,” he said.

He put a full ensemble on taiko drums to get that epic “Star Wars” sound. On another visit, he used the hammer from Mahler’s 6th Symphony.

“It looks like the hammer of Thor. It creates a cannon sound,” Haab said. It’s the first Mahler hammer to be used on a “Star Wars” score.

He wrote a theme song for the new “Star Wars” player character Iden Versio and a combat suite for her, featuring the taiko drums and Mahler hammer.

It took nine trips and approximately 900,000 miles to complete the score.

The effort paid off.

The finished product is an epic, cinematic score that has won rave reviews, including the ASCAP award for best video game score of the year.

“Gordy Haab is a gifted composer who puts his heart into every project. He studied the ‘Star Wars’ scores for years until they became part of his own composing vocabulary,” said Jennifer Harmon, from ASCAP’s Film/TV staff.

“That award means a lot to me because it’s nominated and voted on by my peers,” Haab said.

Besides the “Star Wars” video games, Haab created the scores for “Halo Wars 2” and “The Walking Dead” video game.

He has also created music for film and TV projects such as MTV’s “The Truth Below” and TLC’s “Little People Big World,” to name a few.

Haab grew up in Lakeside and moved with his family to Mechanicsville when he was 10. He graduated from Lee-Davis High School and studied music composition at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Doug Richards, the recently retired professor of jazz composition at VCU, had the biggest influence on him, Haab said.

“Everything I learned about writing music was from him,” Haab said. “He was very tough on me and my abilities. But he helped me become who I am today.”

At VCU, he studied and worked with many members of the No BS! Brass Band, including Taylor Barnett who plays trumpet for the band.

 

“In a lot of ways, I feel like Gordy was the same way back then that he is now: unassuming and humble, but also brilliant and the hardest-working person you’ll ever meet. The deadlines that he works under in the film and video game industry are crazy, but this is how he’s always done it,” said Barnett, who is now an assistant professor of music at VCU. “Since I’ve known him, he never just ‘got the job done.’

“He always went above and beyond in the level of craftsmanship and creativity in his compositions.

After graduating, Haab moved to California to study scoring for motion pictures and television at the University of Southern California.

Inspired by the music featured in Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg movies, Haab always thought he would be a composer for film.

“I never thought about getting into video games,” Haab said. But he after scoring his first video game (an “Indiana Jones” game), he was given a significant budget and realized that he wanted to explore that side of the industry.

He began attending developers conferences and worked to establish himself as a composer in the video game industry.

“This side of the industry really cares about high-quality music. They want the music to be great,” Haab said. “The budget for these games is on par with or larger than the biggest Hollywood blockbuster films.”

Haab can’t say exactly what he’s doing now, but he did say that he’s working on two AAA game titles, as well as a brand-new, large-scale film franchise.

He returns to Richmond regularly to visit his parents, who still live in the area, along with his wife, whom he met at VCU.

His favorite things to do in town: “Pop into my brother-in-law Lee Gregory’s restaurant, The Roosevelt, in Church Hill. And see No BS! Brass Band perform. I’m still friends with all those guys.

“Good food, good music, is always at the top of my list.”

 

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On 1/12/2019 at 6:02 AM, Manakin Skywalker said:

 

He's had that up for almost a year now. I uploaded it to my YouTube channel a while back as well.

Only some of his Battlefront tracks were. These new uploads are only a week old. Also the files to both soundtracks can be downloaded as 24bit 48kHz WAVs, which is a first for Soundcloud, I think (or just a huge mistake).

 

Some of the filenames have a "(Gordy Only)" behind them, so I assume these tracks are stripped of all JW material, to basically work as official soundtrack albums (both just below 80 minutes long, by the way), without going through licensing hell. Still haven't had a chance to listen to them though.

 

Edit: Skipping through both soundtracks there seems to be no Williams material in sight. "Han's Kessel Run" is a weird track though. I mean, they use so much of Williams' themes in the games, but Haab had to compose a sound-alike to Han's theme from Solo?

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13 hours ago, Laserschwert said:

Only some of his Battlefront tracks were. These new uploads are only a week old. Also the files to both soundtracks can be downloaded as 24bit 48kHz WAVs, which is a first for Soundcloud, I think (or just a huge mistake).

 

All of the Battlefront 2 tracks have been on his SoundCloud for months (just went through them to make sure). However, it appears he re-uploaded all of them 8 days ago, with the download option enabled. That's pretty cool, assuming he didn't just do it by mistake.

13 hours ago, Laserschwert said:

Edit: Skipping through both soundtracks there seems to be no Williams material in sight. "Han's Kessel Run" is a weird track though. I mean, they use so much of Williams' themes in the games, but Haab had to compose a sound-alike to Han's theme from Solo? 

 

According to Gordy, he actually wrote that piece of music a couple months before John was even asked to write a theme, and before Powell was even hired. He talked about it a bit on Facebook, saying he was very surprised when he heard John's theme in the cinema.

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2 hours ago, Laserschwert said:

What? How is that even possible? They sound so much alike...

 

I have no idea. All I can say is that we do know that John was given Gordy's sheet music in advance so he could approve it (which is done for all of Battlefront's music).

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I'm gonna bump this topic again (sorry if this is a no no) but I've managed to make a full soundtrack playlist for myself and I thought I'd post it to help anyone else looking to make a "definitive" listening experience to enjoy.

 

So, the game's soundtrack is a mess as I've before stated and I've been desperately trying to figure out what the extra music is that appears on Gordy's soundcloud page, and from what I can tell I guess it's music he's written for the game that the campaign developers...didn't want to use? Let me break down the tracks for you:

 

Encounters on the Battlefront seems to be a collection of music that is mainly used in the main menu, with a few out of place action cues thrown in the middle to balance out the calmness of the rest of the track. Cool.

 

Iden Versio-Into Combat is just a "concert arrangement" of Iden's theme, shows up almost exactly preserved in the End Credits Medley.

 

Prologue and the Escape is a severely cut up version of the same "Prologue" theme that was released with the rest of the ten minutes or so of campaign music way back when except with an action cue that surprisingly I've never heard played at all during the campaign. Very strange. I'll tell you what I did with this one once I get to the tracklist itself.

 

Home Planet, Vardos is half of a "concert arrangement" piece and half an actual score, with parts of it playing during the opening cutscene when the Corvus arrives over Vardos and Iden talking with her father. Some of it plays in a loop when you're on the ground exploring the planet. Either way this is one of the best arrangements IMO that he's done of his music.

 

The Battle Unfolds is an arrangement of the action cues from the soundtrack. It includes Falcon Flight, but I still include that as a standalone piece in the tracklist regardless of its appearance here.

 

Han's Kessel Run is Gordy's incredible piece written for the Solo update. The first half is the "Solo" theme that Gordy composed while the second half covers his music written for "Kessel". I almost enjoy this theme for Han more than William's and Powells and this is once again a stand out piece of scoring for Gordy.

 

Touring the Planets Montages--I'm including both here because it's redundant otherwise, but these are self explanatory. They cover the music for the planet loading screens. Without the John Williams, of course.

 

The Betrayal is a score piece and plays when Iden and Hask confront each other the first time on Vardos when Iden is trying to rescue the civilians from Operation Cinder.

 

Snoke and the Dreadnought. Here we reach a piece that I do not believe appears in the game AT ALL in ANY form. It's a brilliant piece though, and it gives us a First Order theme that is simiilar to Kylo Ren's theme from the films.

 

Hard Decisions and the Rescue Attempt appears in the game only once. The beginning part I know I've heard in the game somewhere before but I couldn't find it played during the campaign, while the "I Can Fly Anything" knock off in the second half of the piece plays when you're fighting on the Retribution in the Resurrection DLC.

 

Pillio Wasteland/Skirmish is an arrangement of a secondary theme that you hear all throughout the campaign and the Menu music. It mostly covers Dell's journey to Pillio.

 

Go. Survive. Live! is an alternate arrangement of sorts to "Iden Confronts Garrick" with a little bit of "Finale" thrown in (I think) at the end.

 

Iden and Dell is a love theme that I don't think is ever heard in game. It's very similar to "Han Solo and the Princess".

 

Last but not least we have Iden, Reborn, a part of which does play during the campaign after Leia confronts Iden on Naboo after the battle.

 

So there you have it. I've tried to do my best and I've poured over different gameplay of the campaign a million times to bring you this analysis of these tracks. Now onto the tracklist, which I'll post and then give a commentary for:

 

Beginning note: It's important to think of this as not just a "score" soundtrack. It's a soundtrack for all the music he has composed for the game put forward in a straightforward manner with the chronology of the story preserved as best as it could be while also allowing room for the arranged tracks as well. I'm also looking at INTENT. What did Gordy intend these tracks to represent? I think I did a fair job as far as that goes.

 

1. Prologue

2. The Escape (I kept the score version of the prologue for Track 1, took out the beginning portion of "Prologue and the Escape" and made it it's own thing. I think the action music here is supposed to represent her fight off the ship, but in the game this music was replaced with the Crait Loading Loop music and another action cue)

((The next three tracks are arrangements that I put here to fill out the blank space of non-score music. The Endor and Fondor missions are made up of mostly action cues and score from the first game))

3. Encounters on the Battlefront

4. Iden Versio - Into Combat

5. Touring the Planets - Montage 1

6. Pillio Wasteland

7. Home Planet, Vardos

8. The Betrayal

9. Hijacking the AT-AT

10. Iden and Dell (put here to represent the scene of Iden and Dell meditating on what to do next after Vardos. I thought this was a good place for it)

11. Iden, Reborn

12. Han's Kessel Run (once again, this doesn't actually appear in the campaign but since this track and Falcon Flight deal with Han Solo I thought it fitting that these two tracks are together)

13. Falcon Flight

((Again, I'm putting these next to tracks here to fill the void left by the borrowed score used for the next few missions. The incursion on Sullust and the Battle of Jakku missions use either Battlefront 1 score--the Sullust suite in the case of Sullust and random action cues in the case of the Battle of Jakku))

14. Touring the Planets - Montage 2

15. The Battle Unfolds

16. Fighting Hask

17. Iden Confronts Garrick

18. The War is Over (I retitled this from it's original title, "Finale")

19. Kylo Ren Arrives

((While these next two tracks don't appear in any concrete form in the game, I think the INTENT was that they appear frequently during the Resurrection DLC and they didn't. Their music reflects the soundscape and style of the Sequel Trilogy with The Rescue Attempt being a BLATANT, BLATANT knock-off of I Can Fly Anything and Snoke and the Dreadnought having notes of the feral Phasma fight in The Last Jedi))

20. Hard Decisions and the Rescue Attempt (even though parts of this track play while you're on the Star Destroyer, I put it here because I think the Rescue Attempt of the title is referring to the rescue of Zay on the planet Vardos)

21. Snoke and the Dreadnought

22. Go. Survive. Live! (the reason I put this here is that it has a lot of nice finality to it, seeing as it quotes the last two tracks in the campaign score.)

23. Credits

 

And that's it. The only unfortunate thing about the files I have in my library are that the story score tracks are 128 mp3s while the rest are beautiful WAV files, but hopefully one day I can run across score tracks that are at least higher quality MP3s. If anyone enjoys this music as much as I do and wants to use this as a tracklist, or if anyone has anything to add or criticize be my guest.

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On 6/16/2019 at 2:20 PM, TheAvengerButton said:

Second, I want to throw a fit about the soundtrack to the second game. Originally, Haab had uploaded 8 or 9 tracks from the campaign (Prologue, Hijacking an AT-AT, Falcon Flight, etc.) that I guess has been wiped from the internet altogether. FilmScoreMedia (hi Manakin) no longer hosts them on his Youtube page and they damn sure aren't anywhere else on the internet to listen to.

 

For the record, Gordy never uploaded those tracks. I mixed them using the campaign music. I never got rid of them, they are still on my channel, but under different track names. For instance "Kylo Ren Arrives" is one of the Takodana "loading loops" now.

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8 hours ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

 

For the record, Gordy never uploaded those tracks. I mixed them using the campaign music. I never got rid of them, they are still on my channel, but under different track names. For instance "Kylo Ren Arrives" is one of the Takodana "loading loops" now.

Ah, I see. I could've sworn a while back when the game was first released that there was some music released in an official capacity for marketing purposes and I thought those tracks were it, but I guess I am misremembering things. Thanks for the clarification.

 

Come to think of it I may be thinking of the first game and it's marketing.

 

EDIT: and by official capacity, I mean released by Gordy himself on his soundcloud or another such music service.

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3 hours ago, TheAvengerButton said:

Ah, I see. I could've sworn a while back when the game was first released that there was some music released in an official capacity for marketing purposes and I thought those tracks were it, but I guess I am misremembering things. Thanks for the clarification.

  

Come to think of it I may be thinking of the first game and it's marketing. 

  

EDIT: and by official capacity, I mean released by Gordy himself on his soundcloud or another such music service.

 

I have an archive of all of his Soundcloud uploads; I see he did upload 3 tracks around the time the game launched:

  • Combat Suite
  • Iden Versio Extended Suite
  • The Planets of Star Wars Battlefront II

He also uploaded 3 tracks from the first Battlefront when it launched, and an additional 5 tracks about a year later.

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In light of that bit of info, and with everything already there that he has composed (except, I think, the Crait loading loops and Geonosis music that I will assume he will upload as a Montage 3 when Felucia is released) I've decided that it's a bit silly to have the edits on the tracklist (though you did a fantastic job, Manakin)

 

My new track order is as follows:

 

1. Prologue and the Escape (in full)

2. Encounters On the Battlefront

3. Touring The Planets - Montage 1

4. Pillio Wasteland

5. Home Planet, Vardos

6. The Betrayal

7. Iden Versio - Into Combat

8. Iden and Dell

9. Iden, Reborn

10. Han's Kessel Run

11. Touring The Planets - Montage 2

12. The Battle Unfolds

13. Hard Decisions And The Rescue Attempt

14. Snoke And The Dreadnought

15. Go! Survive! Live!

16. Credits Medley

 

I tried to keep a vague idea of story chronology with where the tracks play, though with stuff like the "Montages" and the "Battle Unfolds" that's kinda impossible to do, so I put those where I thought it would bring out the best overall energy.

 

Also, I'm well aware that I'm insane and overthinking this and no one really cares as much as I do about this but I figured it would be fun for me to post this and whoever does give a crap can make good conversation.

 

I AM still disappointed that there is still a bit of music left missing besides what I previously listed above, from what I can tell. There's an instance of the Vardos theme that appears in Manakin's edited tracks that I don't think is on the release score, whereas a Vardos action cue can be found in "Iden Versio - Into Combat" (giving me an excuse to put that track after The Betrayal). I'm hoping he'll drop some extra tracks into the "Official Soundtrack" at a later date to give us what's missing.

 

For what it is worth I'm also tinkering with a re-numbering of his tracks from the first game, as well.

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I don't imagine he'll upload anything more, for one simple reason. He specifically wanted his release to be as close to an official release as possible (and I'm assuming that also means being able to fit it in a disc). A commercial CD can contain up to 80 minutes of music. Gordy's Battlefront 2 edit contains I believe around 78 minutes of music. So assuming he's dedicated to creating a John Williams-esque listening experience, I don't imagine he'll go over that 80 minute limit. Also, as Gordy had already confirmed, the recording sessions for the Crait and Geonosis material were the same sessions as the rest of the game's music (early 2017). So if Gordy intended to have another montage, he would have added it to his edit when he initially uploaded it. I honestly don't think it's that big of a deal anyway, considering we have all of the music from the game, and in lossless quality. Making a custom edit would be a fairly simple thing to do considering all of the material available.

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On 7/27/2019 at 1:38 AM, TheAvengerButton said:

My new track order is as follows:

 

1. Prologue and the Escape (in full)

2. Encounters On the Battlefront

3. Touring The Planets - Montage 1

4. Pillio Wasteland

5. Home Planet, Vardos

6. The Betrayal

7. Iden Versio - Into Combat

8. Iden and Dell

9. Iden, Reborn

10. Han's Kessel Run

11. Touring The Planets - Montage 2

12. The Battle Unfolds

13. Hard Decisions And The Rescue Attempt

14. Snoke And The Dreadnought

15. Go! Survive! Live!

16. Credits Medley

 

What is the Credits Medley? That wasn’t uploaded by Gordy?

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18 hours ago, rough cut said:

 

What is the Credits Medley? That wasn’t uploaded by Gordy?

From my YouTube channel I presume. It's just an unused suite of random music that I believe was supposed to accompany an end credits cutscene.

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