Update, December 21: Jeremy Soule has released The Northerner Diaries, a preview of his crowdfunded original symphony.
Legendary game composer Jeremy Soule’s original symphony has been long-delayed, but now it’s finally time to listen to The Northerner. Or, rather, listen to an extended preview of it, and only if you happened to be a Kickstarter backer.
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The Northerner Diaries are a selection of “sketches” of what will become the final work, which Soule describes as similar to the concept art a painter would create before going for the oils. Soule performed the individual parts of this album himself, putting it all together through a digital workstation. The Diaries are only going out to Kickstarter backers, and there’s been no info about whether they’ll be available for a separate purchase.
You can get a quick low-quality preview via Soule’s Instagram.
You’re hearing one of the Northerner Diaries “sketches” from my new album. I have composed and performed this in my studio that you see here. The iPhone mic leaves a lot to be desired but I’m relieved to have this finally be heard by everyone. It’s been a long time in the making! Thanks goes to my very patient supporters!
Soule announced The Northerner Diaries a few weeks ago, seemingly in response to a Kotaku report reminding people that it had been a very long time since The Northerner symphony as a whole was scheduled to be completed. The liner notes for today’s release mention difficulty in delving into the Norse myth that inspired the album as one of the challenges extending the process.
You can’t rush art, but this project has taken and is continuing to take a very long time. Judging by the responses on Soule’s Facebook and Twitter, though, many of the project’s supporters seem happy just to have a small taste of the final product.
Original story, November 28: Jeremy Soule is one of the most legendary composers in videogames. Best known for his work on the Elder Scrolls series since Morrowind, he’s also contributed to games from Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic to Guild Wars 2 and Supreme Commander. He also ran a successful Kickstarterback in 2013, the products of which still haven’t been delivered.
That Kickstarter was for The Northerner, an original symphony Soule planned as his first foray into classical music. The goal was a modest $10,000, but backers contributed $121,227 by the end of the campaign on April 14, 2013. Recordings were set to be delivered in September 2013, but that date has obviously long since passed. Soule posted an update that month saying he’d need a bit longer to bring the project to fruition.
Updates slowed to a trickle in the years that followed, and the most recent update on Kickstarter is from February of this year, saying that the project’s scope had expanded and that Soule was deeply sorry for the delays and lack of communication. But as Kotaku reported earlier today, this is where the story gets weird.
Soule didn’t write that most recent post, nor did anyone associated with the project. The update was written by a backer, and mistaken for a post shared from one of Soule’s social media channels. Kickstarter doesn’t allow old post to be deleted, Soule’s representative explained to Kotaku. Besides, it apparently fit Soule’s sentiments so well that “it still rings true.”
In the wake of this report, Soule mentioned on Facebook that the Northerner Diaries would be released on December 20 of this year. Not the full symphony, this is instead a collection of vignettes based on ideas for the work.
Kickstarter has produced no shortage of interesting stories. Plenty of great games have come through the service, from FTL to Divinity: Original Sin 2, along with stinkers like Mighty No. 9. The true disasters – those on the level of the infamous Ant Simulator – are thankfully few and far between, and I sincerely hope they stay that way.