Odyssey soundscapes, guest post by Jessie Cattes.

Jessie was one of the story team behind Odyssey. This on Odyssey’s use of sound is another rescue job from Facebook’s walled garden.

“I’m putting up here some of the soundscapes I recorded that got used as backing in the Odyssey God audiences, and a little bit of writing about each one.

This was probably the most commonly heard and recognised soundscape I designed for Odyssey. At E1 or E2, Tony suggested using the song “The river is flowing” to be sung by the Sirens that we put onto the field to lure people out to interact with the Water Titan for the first time. After that, I put this track together. This was player’s clue that their God audience might have gone a bit Dagon-y around the edges; that whatever was going on here was probably being influenced by the Water Titan.


This track I’ve called “Isis Angry” and I can’t remember the circumstances for which I specifically recorded it, but it got used in Egypt audiences a fair amount.


This one I put together for Mithras. It’s based loosely around some genuine Roman music theory, and it makes me proper gleeful how much it sounds like modern film music anyway. It’s also the only one with any words in modern English – “Rise, sun, Victorious”.


This one was Dionysos’ soundtrack. The strange pronunciation of Dionysos’ name on the track was the same as the one used by the Minoans when they did their late night Lament before enough of their curse was broken that they could actually call on him…


I must have made this for something in specific, but I can’t remember what now – it’s based around a folk round from my childhood that has the lyrics “all things shall perish from under the sky; music alone shall live never to die”. Which leads me very much on to the next thing:


This is a recording of the oldest known tune and harmony we have. It is 3,400 or so years ago – Sumerian. Neither the lyrics nor the rhythmn were recorded in a way we now understand to reproduce. But two lines of notes are. This is quite possibly the most important recording I have ever made in my entire life – the only copy of this I could find on youtube was a midifile of disappointingness or an interpretation so far off the notes I couldn’t resolve it. So you can literally hear it as music here and only here.

One of the very last acts of Odyssey was a rendition of the Song of Seikilos – the oldest known song with lyrics, rhythmn and notes all recorded. That one is about 2,000 years old. It was sung by the Sacred Band and Nick Bradbeer in particular, in the original Greek. The lyrics translate to:

While you live, shine
have no grief at all
life exists only for a short while
and time demands an end.

One of the things about this game that has been hugely important to me is that these oldest songs have been heard, as music – music that lives, not as archaeology or curiosity, but as campfire folk that breathes.

Sing, heavenly muse…”

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