In this episode, we turn our attention to the atmospheric soundtrack of Martha Is Dead, featuring the works of underwater music specialists Between Music and their Aquasonic project; The Town of Light composer Aseptic Void and his moody yet spinetingling tone and reimagined versions of classic tracks including Schubert’s Ave Maria, O Bella Ciao, with original tracks written and sung by Francesca Messina, AKA 90s disco star, Femina Ridens! This is combined with another blog from from Luca Dalcò himself on how the soundtrack came together.
Watch the new episode below and then read up on Luca’s entry!
For Martha is dead, immersion and atmosphere are key elements.
It goes without saying that the soundtrack is one of the most important elements.
That’s why I want to tell you how the soundtrack of Martha is Dead was born, a particular soundtrack, heterogeneous, not edited by a single composer. Similar to what happened with our previous title, The Town of Light.
If I said that this is a choice made at the table, I would be lying.
It is actually a consequence of the great attention paid to the contribution of music, which has always led us to want more than what a single artist can normally offer.
I do not say this to belittle artists, quite the opposite.
Each of them, at least those we have wanted to work with, has their own style, very precise and suitable for certain things, but not for others.
I like an artist who has a personal style, who is not too flexible, because it gives me the feeling that he has his own vision and that this vision can be a great contribution to originality and uniqueness.
I like less those who make do with everything because I think that very easily the work, however perfect and professional it may be, will be less inspired, at least for the kind of product that characterises LKA’s game,
It’s a personal point of view and I could certainly be proved wrong countless times, but by now it has become a modus operandi of LKA that, at least up to now, has perhaps made things a bit more complex, but has given us great satisfaction.
In the case of The Town of Light, Davide Terreni (Aseptic Void) took care of most of the musical content of the game and the relationship continued with Martha.
He succeeds in creating a disturbing atmosphere with tracks that are present but not invasive and that, for this very reason, get into your bones.
I want to underline this important and by no means obvious aspect. The ability to maintain a strong authorial character, a very precise vision of his work without ever going overboard and occupying too much space. A great quality!
In the moments when anxiety and anguish enter the scene, Davide’s work is fundamental.
Could I ask Davide to compose a light and cheerful melodic track?
No, I would never do that!
Nonetheless we needed to evoke the spirit of the times, as well as some more melodic tunes, and that’s where Francesca Messina (Femina Ridens) came in and did a fantastic job.
Francesca has also studied acting and we met by chance to record provisional vocals for Martha is Dead, to test that the writing worked.
Talking to her I discovered that Francesca was mainly a composer and a singer… we had a rehearsal, which was enough to understand that we were in tune, that we understood each other immediately!
That’s how all those 1940s Italian vintage-style songs were born.
Technically damn difficult in their external frivolity and simplicity.
In some of the articles about Martha is Dead I read “The team used original music of the period”, which makes me understand that we have achieved the objective of recreating the right mood.
But beware, this is not music from that time.
They are tracks composed from scratch for the game and the lyrics were written specifically and often have subtle references to Martha and Julia’s world.
The great thing about understanding each other is that the need to rehearse is drastically reduced and we took advantage of this to make lots of tracks!
They are fun and light-hearted, that form of almost forced lightness that in those years was necessary to counter the horror of a world gone completely mad.
These tracks create, precisely with their cheerfulness and frivolity, that disturbing contrast that comes from juxtaposing something innocent with something horrible.
Think of dolls, toys, children and how much they are used in horror productions for precisely the above reason:
The blunter the white, the blacker the black will appear!
Francesca did more, however, creating other tracks, some original, written by her for Martha is Dead, others inspired by famous songs such as “bella ciao”, of which she made a dystopian version with great impact, and a very special “Ave Maria” by Shubert!
Another chapter of the Martha is Dead soundtrack, after Francesca and Davide, was the result of a chance discovery by our technical director, who also has great artistic sensitivity, and who one day said to me: “Luca, look at these guys.”
On Youtube I saw a group of weird men and women playing and singing underwater, in big tanks.
I couldn’t believe it!
It was Aquasonic, a Danish band that plays underwater. Yes, underwater! With specially modified instruments and equipment.
The element of Martha is Dead is, without a doubt, water. Their sound was simply perfect for certain scenes in the game.
Our publisher, Wired Production, having faith in our artistic vision, always gives us a pass on these ‘whims’ and so the tracks we wanted from Aquasonic are now part of the Martha is Dead soundtrack!
Martha is Dead’s soundtrack has become quite substantial, so much so that it takes up 3 entire vinyls in the collector’s edition!
I sincerely hope that it will accompany you pleasantly during the game and give you the right emotions!
Alright, that’s it for this todays entry – be sure to keep those ears nice and sharp as you journey through Tuscany, we promise that the music massively enhances the atmosphere of the game!
We are a matter of DAYS away from launch now – and we hope you’ll be ready to celebrate launch with us on Thursday! We’ll be live in the Steam page with some insights from the developers, gameplay from localised content creators, and maybe a special episode of uncovered itself!
Until then, one last big push – we’ve been absolutely humbled by your support so far, and we cannot thank you enough! But if there is anyone who has even LOOKED at a video game before that hasn’t heard of Martha – be sure to send them the wishlist link below.