Afternoon Breakfast to Write the ‘Sable’ Soundtrack

By himself words, Michelle Zauner, aka indie-pop artist Japanese Breakfast, didn’t grow up in a high-cultural home. He was not featured in fine art, foreign directors, or classical literature by his Oregon parents in the 1990s. What Zauner has are video games, first a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and then a PlayStation. He remembers playing in a cooperative JRPG, in 1993 Secret of Mana, at age 5 with his father. Because he was so young, less command in his hands, it took literally years to finish. “After we finished that game, it was like we really had something going on,” he said over the phone from San Francisco, the afternoon before a Japanese Breakfast show. “It’s a real journey.”

While writing the soundtrack of the open world adventure PROMISE, Zauner always came back to Hiroki Kikuta Secret of Mana soundtrack. “Ang mainstream music very special, ”he continued. “I really thought about that game, how it was short introductory animation and music made me feel – and I just wanted to provide that PROMISE

That Zauner had to mine his own childhood for inspiration with full meaning. PROMISE a story of a future age set in a vast, mythological desert filled with destructive spaceships, ruined monuments, and ancient temples. Its titular character, the young Sable, is about to go through Gliding, a ritual pathway to adulthood. He is small and brave but the world is big and scary. Zauner’s soundtrack of unfamiliar pop tracks, beautiful surrounding numbers, and character -twisted tricks deftly conveys the inside and outside journey.

Zauner joined the project in 2017 after a Twitter DM from Daniel Fineberg, the game’s technical director. He knows Zauner’s love of video games since the promotion for his second album, Machinery, including the so-called 30-minute SNES-inspired RPG called Japanese BreakQuest. Fineberg and creative director Gregorios Kytheotis also want an artist sitting outside the established pool of video game composers, someone who knows video games but can shape current tropes. and convention of a new. Zauner saw the game early GIFs on Twitter, one describes a hoverbike circling silently through the colorful hills. “The art was inspiring,” he recalls. “I feel like our taste is in line from the beginning.”

With a fierce understanding of the vibe of the game aligned with these images, along with some descriptions of the area in a Google Doc, Zauner started to work. At first, he composed in the back of his tour van with a laptop and OP-1 synthesizer. After 2018 and 2019, longer-recorded video clips are starting to arrive, helping to clarify if he’s on the right track. A year later, the game was sent to play, where the real work began. Most of the soundtracks were recorded while locking down his studio in the Adirondacks, upstate New York, but “Cartographer theme, ”A number that unfailingly recalls the subject matter of the character in Zelda game, cut to a week-long retreat in a hut owned by the parents of sound designer Martin Kvale. “That’s something I got there,” Zauner laughed.

He described the merging process as a “real learning experience.” While his songs for Japanese Breakfast are based on common pop structures, PROMISE means that Zauner has to compose the mood setting settings. To maintain a seamless state, these tracks must be written so that they can be repeated. forever to set how long a player spends in any area. This is not how Zauner originally wrote them, so he had to go back and tweak the MIDI files to make them “perfect environments in loops.” The composer gave sound designer Kvale to help him achieve this, but also for making them feel like they were part of the rocks and damaged architecture of the game.

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