Olivier Deriviere slightly different this time. One of the most genuine composers of video game music created, compared to his previous pieces of work, an ordinary orchestral soundtrack. If you expected experiments known from Remember Me or at least his previous score for Vampyr, you might be fairly surprised.
11-11 Memories Retold is a production by a French studio DigixArt in cooperation with British Aardman Animations, published to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the armistice signed between the Entente Powers and the German Empire at Compiègne, France, which ended the First World War. The player takes control over two soldiers from the opposite sides: Harry the Canadian photographer who accompanies some major as a war reporter, and Kurt, the German engineer who works at a zeppelin factory and goes to the front line looking for his son missing in action.
The game depicts war from the human perspective.
Considering the historical and tragic context of the game, as well as the visuals that look like a living painting, the choice made by the composer seems rather obvious. This classical score is a tribute to the victims of the war that is not spoken much about. As Olivier Deriviere mentions himself, he also wanted to portray the vibe of that époque through his music. Inspired by the French composers like Gabriel Fauré, he made sophisticated, lyrical compositions which lack the heavy sound characteristic for the typical war productions.
The game depicts war from the human perspective. It does not shock the player with the images of blood and dismembered bodies or the nightmares of sitting for years in the trenches full of rats and water. It shows the drama of ordinary people being far away from their families, who often do not want to kill at all. Like Harry, a young boy who believes that by wearing a uniform he would win the girl’s heart and who sees going to war as an adventure, or Kurt, who wants to find his son at any cost. Hence the two main themes in the score: a bright and “naive” Harry’s theme (The Canadian Photographer, Paris – Harry’s Leave) and a dark, serious Kurt’s theme (The German Engineer, A Train to the Front), that lead the stories of the two characters.
Hence the distinctive trumpet call leading to battle and making Harry eager to fight (Mines) or beautiful, moving Unmarked Grave, which accompanies us in the military cemetery sequence, where Kurt finds the only grave that is unmarked. Both characters themes greatly merge together in the dissonant The Battle of Vimy Ridge, where the protagonists are thrown into the hell of war for the first time. My special attention also goes to nostalgic Kurt Seeks His Son, unsettling Death Impending, sublime Friends and Foes and the final Confrontation, where the fates of our characters are being decided.
This classical score is a tribute to the victims of the war that is not spoken much about.
You may think that 11-11 Memories Retold OST goes well only in context of the game but it defends itself as a very coherent soundtrack. It is probably the only score by this composer that could be performed live as a whole. I also have to mention the sound of the score – during mixing all the previously used effects were removed, so we have got an authentic sound of the orchestra and choir straight from Abbey Road, which is unfortunately uncommon nowadays. Referring to the previous review of Vampyr OST – yes, Deriviere has done it again!