๐Ÿ•ท️๐Ÿ•ธ️Spider-Man Original Video Game Soundtrack Music by John Paesano ๐Ÿ•ธ️๐Ÿ•ท️ #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl

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Available at Mondo - https://mondoshop.com/collections/all/products/marvels-spider-man-original-video-game-soundtrack-2xlp

The first record we’ve covered from either Mondo or musician John Paesano, this double-LP of Insomniac’s 2018 hit pulls no punches with the sprawling filmic audio expanse that it creates.

Presented on 180g heavyweight coloured vinyl (red and blue/black) and featuring an action-shot of Spider-Man in a typical web-swinging pose on the cover with the tracklisting and credits on the back, and on the inner-gatefold - a very cool, sleek shot of Mister Negative brandishing a sword with the New York skyline behind him.

The packaging and artwork- by Craig Drake - oozes a minimalist style, with sharp lines, impactful images and bold colours taking centre stage. The vinyl are also great presses with striking colours in the red and blue - with a smoky thick black line running the circumference of the second disc - representing Spider-Man’s primary shades. Also, a high five to Mondo for storing the records in anti-static sleeves, always a bonus!

Whilst I’m familiar with John Paesano through his TV work – namely, Daredevil and The Defenders – aside from the relatively brief time I spent with Mass Effect: Andromeda, his work on Marvel’s Spider-Man is the first time that I’ve really sat down to dive into his style and it feels very much a continuation of the areas of orchestral music you’d find in large-budget movies, peppered with recurring motifs to represent characters and events, and more modern effects and sensibilities to keep the overall sense up to date and propel the idea that the music is character-driven.

Disc 1 Side A:

  1. Spider-Man – A gentle start, almost a waking - before light choral usage gives way to a very filmic and epic style. Bombastic, percussive punctuations open to the full scope of the track before finally fading out with some solo piano. 

  2. Eight Years in the Making – This one dives straight in, with a punch! Ominous, heavy drums with swift violin work – a hallmark of the first half of the album that reaches a sudden ending here.

  3. Inside the Numbers – a more laidback track that still has subtly dark tones, strings and more restrained violin/clarinet work drive this one. Almost an old, creepy horror vibe running through it as it brings to mind a swirling, spinning camera moving through a strange house. The latter section of the track features a return to the tuba motif of the first track, marking it as the aural representation of Spider-Man, adding a sense of narrative cohesion.

  4. The Golden Age – Those panicking violins have returned! The brass section and some marching snare work open the track before settling into more use of a choir to add a sense of grandeur. I had a real vibe of celebration in this one and at this point of the album, it dawned on me how much of a sense of kinetic movement the music was generating. This track especially calling to mind images of Spider-Man swinging high above New York City with each shift to more dicey musical stylings feeling like a threat down below, very evocative of the mood generated through playing the game (clearly due in no small part to the music!).

  5. Examine – low cello notes are at odds with the almost whimsical woodwind instruments here, a sense of unease is conjured and again, that recurring motif ties the track together.

  6. Shocking Turn of Events – An interesting turning point that introduces some distant guitar work and electronic beats, a nice change of pace to stop the album feeling too samey at this juncture. That’s not to say that the song is free of any orchestral work, as it very much comes into the second half of the song. I especially like the electronic ‘drop’ at the centre of this one.

  7. All the King’s Men – some more tension-based violin-driving tunage to round off this first side.

Disc 1 – Side B:

  1. City of Hope – Beginning with another variation on that now-familiar motif, the sense of celebratory exploration continues.

  2. The Man He Was– a delicate, thoughtful and somewhat plinky number, this track mellows the mood before building up – in an extremely ‘intro credits to a superhero movie’ way – to a piece of music that called to mind the Batman 1989 soundtrack, if only for a few moments. Good.

  3. Webbed from the Shadows – the casual electronica returns and the sombre mood runs through this one, as does a bass-heavy beat.

  4. Stone Cold – Shifting from slight sombreness to full blown threat, whilst the stabbing violin riff returns, the stop / start sensibility here and mood of the brass section along with thumping percussive moments signals a possible shift to a darker tone before rising to almost a gallop, this one has boss fight written all over it!

  5. City on Alert – Dropping back a little - but not too much – the yawning horn section gives off the sense of a wave of darkness overtaking the city with underpinnings of light panic, helped along by the incessant tempo. At the halfway stage, the song drifts down to plucked notes and single, held violin notes before again rising to a sudden ending crescendo.

  6. The Breakthrough – Very much a return to the sweeping epic style heard at the first stages of the album, this very much sounds like a breakthrough (not the Queen song) in audio format. Brief and effective.

  7. The Demon he Became – A pulsing beat kicks this track off, the violin-based motif makes a brief return but is cut off suddenly and the quiet beat continues until splashes of tom-work reintroduce the violins, almost as if the instruments are fighting each other off. I was getting shades of John Carpenter vibes in the more minimalist sections until the instruments all blast off in tandem. A raucous ending to the first record!

Disc 2 – Side A:

  1. Worlds Colliding – A mellow start to the first side of the second record (blue/back) and featuring an Eastern-inflected female vocal to get things going, as gentle keening music swirls around it. This track gave me a sensation of a Tomb Raider style, someone discovering an underground temple – until that violin rhythm comes in and the song opens further, returning to familiar, epic ground with a Spider-Man swing.

  2. Anything for a Story – Descending violin and ‘tip-toey’ music features throughout this one, alongside high piano chords rich with reverb. This screams very much of someone sneaking through a place that they shouldn’t be - at night.

  3. Chasing Down the Devil – ‘Chasing’ is very much the operative word in the title here, this calls to mind an image of a chase sequence that leaves destruction in its wake. The choir is brought back in and the string section, percussion and horns tumble ever forwards, menacingly.

  4. International Support – The pulsing electronic underbeat makes a welcome return here alongside a nifty rhythm on the strings, although that high-octane chase sensibility still lingers, we aren’t out of the woods yet.

  5. The Sinister Six – The descending note that signals the start of this, combined with the pounding bass drum and ominous, reverb-laden piano notes lurch into violin climbs and full-blown sections of doomy action, all is not well! Love the zipping, downward slides in the background on this track. The song switches between full-on drama and ‘sinisterly’ mellow segments that always leave a sense of growing unease.

  6. The Mastermind – The echoes of the descending notes from The Sinister Six cross over here, with unsettling harp plucks teasing relief over two-note cello work. Those shimmering, high violin notes hint that the moodiness may continue, though. As the track reaches its crescendo, the hint has turned into a full-on punch in the face.

Disc 2 – Side B:

  1. Negative View – This very much offers up a continuation of the previous track (The Mastermind) and moves along in the same vein, these last few songs combined really feel like they are building up to the main threat. Although brief, this one shrieks out “I’m a boss theme, I am”

  2. No Going Back – The first glimmer of possibility and hope we’ve had for a while, those descending notes are still sticking around but they are balanced out by a sense of relief and realisation, a breath of air after the ever ramping-up of the preceding tracks.

  3. Renewed Rivalries – It seems like there’s one more fight to be had. This piece of music seems to somehow reference all tracks thus far in a huge mash up, no easy feat!

  4. Destroying Your Own Creation – The ‘final hurdle’ thematic movement moves onwards with musical references to the prior tracks still present and various crashing crescendos moving amongst each other.

  5. The Final Lesson – A lessening to a gentler piece, this is all strings and thoughtful swirls of music, calling to mind a melancholic night sky

  6. Responsibility – A piano led track that feels like a drained version of an orchestral section, this really captures the sense of a weight of tired acceptance. Single, breathy notes fill out the background. The first true moment of peace in a while.

  7. Behind the Mask – The final track continues the relaxed, epilogue vibe and echoes the first track of the album, albeit in a more subdued fashion before the crescendo, which, whilst celebratory, feels like it’s been through a lot, as has Spider-Man by this point! A fitting end to the album, although I feel the tail end of the song could have been extended, to let the mood really get drunk in after so much intensity has been delivered on this second disc.

I enjoy how each character and key phrase in the game is seemingly given a musical motif, making the recurrence of them in the soundtrack feel like battles between enemies. It’s not surprising that John Paesano comes from a background in TV and film as this soundtrack could very easily be from a Marvel blockbuster as opposed to a video game. I know that a huge number of gamers enjoy video games becoming more filmic and I can really see this soundtrack appealing to them, as it very much blurs that line.

"Right, I’m off to swing through

the streets of Cardiff."

Available at Mondo - https://mondoshop.com/collections/all/products/marvels-spider-man-original-video-game-soundtrack-2xlp

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