This is a companion piece to Jake’s article, “What We’re Listening To — RuneScape: Original Soundtrack Classics.” If you haven’t read it yet, you should go check that out first! And now, on to the main event…
Out of all Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, No. 5 is by far my favorite. I’ve listened to it more than any other classical piece, and in reflecting on my personal tastes, it makes perfect sense. Bach was shredding before shredding was a thing. He was inventing the face-melting solo, and on a larger scale, creating one of the staples of progressive music.
At the time he composed the piece, he was roughly in his early 30s. By then, he was already an insanely accomplished composer and cultural force. His music was larger than the universe, and his body of work would weave itself into the annals of musical legend. It’s immensely intimidating to consider someone so established and renowned at such an early age–-and so, I find it important to remind myself that even one as iconic as Bach cannot lay claim to one of music’s most biblical achievements: “Autumn Voyage.”
That distinction belongs to RuneScape composer Ian Taylor, and his timeless score is finally getting the packaging treatment it rightfully deserves. Thanks to Jagex and Laced Records, the classic RuneScape soundtrack and the more recent orchestral versions are being released as deluxe vinyl and CD sets this December. Jake’s piece referenced above focused on the Original Soundtrack Classics set, and I’ve been tasked with discussing the Orchestral Collection.
With the launch of RuneScape 3, the game was given a massive face-lift in nearly every department—and music was no exception. Jagex turned to esteemed video game composer James Hannigan (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) to arrange orchestral versions of the classic score pieces, as well as entirely new compositions. The results have been collected into one definitive track list and released to streaming services everywhere.
While I patiently await my preordered vinyl sets to ship, I’ve been listening to the music via Spotify. It’s been as brilliant and emotional of a journey as you’d expect. The Original Soundtrack Classics set aims to preserve the nostalgia and integrity of Ian Taylor’s initial compositions and does so brilliantly––but the Orchestral Collection helps to highlight the true genius at work.
Something that can get lost in the Soundtrack Classics is the quality of composing at play, and Ian Taylor is undoubtedly one of the most overlooked and underappreciated composers in the gaming community. His music is cherished by legions of RuneScape fans and is beyond memorable. As Jake mentions in his article about the Soundtrack Classics, the Old School RuneScape songs hold so much power and ability to conjure up memories and emotions instantly. This can be attributed to the music itself, which is dripping in melody and atmosphere.
Taylor’s compositions translate remarkably well to a traditional orchestral arrangement, and they sound more grandiose and epic than ever thanks to James Hannigan. Hannigan expertly highlights the themes and motifs that have become iconic over the years. You’ll smile widely as you hear these exciting new rearrangements. Look no further than “Harmony” or the fan-favorite “Newbie Melody” to discover the true merit behind Taylor’s work.
The new tracks are just as glorious and enjoyable as the classics. You’ll find your mind drifting away into Gielinor as you listen to the soaring strings. Glorious images of pastoral fields and snowcapped mountains will flash across your imagination as you listen through all 33 tracks in this set.
Just hearing these digital versions is getting me so excited to experience this collection on vinyl. The warm, broader sound of vinyl will surely enhance what already is a satisfying listen. Hannigan’s cinematic style lends itself to epic fantasy, and it’s clear he has channeled the very essence of the world of RuneScape into his original compositions on this set. He respects the core fundamentals of Taylor’s work while adding his own voice to the atmosphere.
Both sets can be streamed right now via all major music streaming services including Spotify. You can preorder physical copies of these sets on vinyl and CD at the Laced Records website. Every vinyl and CD preorder comes with an instantly redeemable digital download certificate.
If you’re interested in these collections, we strongly suggest you preorder soon, as these types of collections are rarely released/distributed and often sell out quickly. Plus, it’s always great to support video game composers and video game music—they don’t get the attention and respect they rightfully deserve.
P.S. Shout-out to Laced Records for being so awesome and going through the effort to make these video game soundtracks available on vinyl. This is such a treat for gamers, fans, and music junkies alike. It’s amazing to see this surge of video game OST’s making their way to vinyl from companies, like Laced and Mondo. I’ll be doing a separate article to discuss that trend and why it makes me happy, but I just love these initiatives, and they deserve all the support!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. We’re just huge Runescape fans.