Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory OST
t’s always been pretty obvious that Amon Tobin would make a great soundtrack artist. In fact, it reasons that for many video game players, he has already been the soundtrack to many video games that allow players to utilize the mute button on a regular basis during gameplay. Tobin decided it was probably about time he started to collect royalties on the damn thing (and allow players to stop having to hit the mute button to hear valuable instructions) by handily scoring the third installment in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series of videogames.
Tobin’s music, as mentioned, is incredibly well-suited to the genre already, but particular attention is paid to mood pieces that don’t feature the chugging Brazilian rhythms that typify the producer’s work. As with any other Tobin-related piece, though, even when the rhythm is subliminal, it’s always there. Those are merely the moody moments when, it must be imagined that a character is stalking someone down a dank hallway. Those moments when someone is getting chased down that same hallway happen often enough to sate listeners who have only bought the soundtrack: more than half of the tracks here have that familiar factory-direct Tobin stamped beat.
What makes Tobin the perfect choice for a soundtrack like this is simple: the game, despite any video-game aficionados protests to the contrary, is shockingly one-noted. The game boils down to one major idea: go get this, so you can destroy this. Tobin’s music, similarly, has always been a one-note affair incapable of moving too far away from its self-imposed ideas, making owning more than one album of his a hardly profitable venture. He’s the type of artist that begs a greatest-hits compilation, but hardly demands one.
Tobin isn’t a stunning soundtrack producer. He’s never claimed to be, his music has merely been apt for playing video games to. The hallmark of a great soundtrack producer is versatility. Ennio Morricone, for example, was able to move between genres easily, creating something original and exciting in a variety of mediums. So, while the future doesn’t seem bright for Tobin to work on anything but the type of projects that are suited exactly for his already well-cultivated sound. While this isn’t a knock on him (few artists create a sound that can only be attributed to them), it’s hardly a reccomendation of quality for this particular soundtrack. If all you’re looking for is more Tobin material, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’re expecting anything more, you’d best look elsewhere.
Reviewed by: Charles Merwin
Reviewed on: 2005-02-15