The majority of reviews to be found on this site are about original soundtracks, meaning that the music is to be used in the movie, TV show or game it was written for. On only a couple of occasions, I have written a review where this is not the case. So Say We All is, for example, a review of an album containing live versions of the music for Battlestar Galactica, and Mononoke Hime: Symphonic Suite is a recording of suites based on the music from Mononoke Hime. When Austin Wintory surprised all his followers with a new album on his social media, I knew this was another of those rare occasions.
The album Wintory released is called Traveler – A Journey Symphony, and it is a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the game Journey, which Wintory has written the music for and with which he launched his successful career. As you may know, I consider the score for Journey to be one of the best scores of the last decade, since it is mentioned in my Top 20 of the last decade, and I have written a full review on the original Journey soundtrack as well.
What makes this new album so special is that it is a new take on the existing melodies from the game. The music from Traveler does not contain any synth elements as the original did but gets a full orchestra and choir treatment, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Voices, who are arguably among the best musicians in the world. What I love about the album is that it is a wonderful blend of old and new. The music is performed by some of Wintory’s closest collaborators, like cellist Tina Guo, who performed on the original score, and Kristin Naigus on woodwinds, with whom Wintory has collaborated over the last few years.
The gorgeous melodies from Journey are very recognizable, but there are also many new elements on this album. First of all, Wintory was not restricted to writing music that fits the gameplay, making it possible for him to let the music and the musicians shine even more. Secondly, you can hear Wintory’s musical growth over the last ten years very well. Each piece contains lovely new elements that elevate the music to a higher level.
When I bought the album without having heard a second of it, I already told myself that the music must be even better than the original. After listening to it, that is in one way certainly the case, but on the other hand, I also kept going back to the original Journey score while writing this review. The original is truly amazing in itself, and I view Traveler – A Journey Symphony as a gorgeous, but different, representation of the music, performed by brilliant musicians. Hopefully, I will be able to hear the full album – or at least some tracks from it – live at a concert. It is truly a wonderful gift from Austin Wintory to his fans and other game music enthusiasts.
Listen or buy
- Buy this soundtrack from Bandcamp (recommended), Amazon.com or Apple Music
- Listen to this soundtrack on Spotify
The highlights are in bold.
- Nascence (2:03)
- The Call (4:59)
- Threshold (7:16)
- Road of Trials (5:31)
- Descent (5:34)
- Atonement (6:56)
- Confluence (4:38)
- Nadir (7:27)
- Apotheosis (7:25)
- I Was Born For This (4:54)
Total length: 56 minutes
T-65b Records (2022)