First of all, I have to give my thanks to composer Jamal Green (@JamalGreenMusic) for putting so much time and effort into his work for Skelattack. We have a good dynamic that leads to an endless loop of support and inspiration. I like to give him as many images and ideas as I can, and then step back to watch the magic.
So, one of the first things I said to him was that I wanted to avoid throwaway, cliche music.
With a game such as this, it’s so easy to toss a dubstep track over it and call it finished. People do it because EDM is bursting at the seams with energy and mood (some would even say coolness), and it can be used (sometimes sloppily) as a tool to give these emotions to the player when the gameplay is lacking. I want Skelattack’s music to stand as its own entity, almost like the music itself is a character! When you listen to one of the songs from the game, we want you to know exactly where you’d be inside the dungeon. We want certain memories to come rushing back, like your favorite movie/gaming soundtracks from the past. Music enhances the visuals. Visuals inform the music. Whenever Jamal is ready to write for a new area of the dungeon, I try to give him concept art, screenshots and text descriptions to put him in the room as accurately as I can. Try this out with your composer; they'll love it.
Jamal went above and beyond with his early demos, giving the music a mischievous/humorous action feel with some very appropriate instruments for the setting.
The slightly deadened wooden tone of a marimba reminds me of rattling bones.
Egg shakers and triangles/bells sound like scraping stones, shaking chains and water droplets falling from the ceiling.
The tunes are memorable, and numerous: every area in the dungeon will have a unique theme. I’ve been listening to them for a long time and am still as excited about them as the first day I listened to them. Follow Jamal on Twitter to hear all of his great work.