Sounds Of History - an original Assassin’s Creed inspired instrumental project by Gargudon: Influences and Inspirations
Save 10% on officially licensed Assassin's
Creed Origins merchandise with the code "TOWCB"
In this article, Gustav Poulsen (Gargudon) from the The Ones Who Came Before team talks influences and inspirations, for his upcoming original Assassin’s Creed inspired instrumental project titled Sounds Of History.
A unique fan project, never really seen before in the Assassin’s Creed community, featuring five original tracks written, arranged and produced by Gargudon, each inspired by different AC games. A tribute to the soundtrack, to sneaking, fighting and free running throughout the years, and the composers behind them who have shaped the sound of the franchise.
French Highlands - Inspired by Assassin’s Creed Unity
The project and the whole idea for it started with this track. I was sitting with my acoustic guitar one day just “noodling”, played this random shape, and just from those few notes I suddenly heard this whole piece in my head. Having found the remaining notes and playing the full piece, I realised it had this very cinematic, AC soundtrack leaning vibe to it, and hence the idea for an instrumental project inspired by the games was born.
I felt like it had this very prominent Medieval tone to it that reminded me of Unity specifically; the Medieval sequences of that game and various areas of Paris, from old (abandoned) cathedrals to the underground catacombs. To accompany the main guitar piece, I wanted an instrumental relying on a certain ambient soundscape - which among other sounds features direct in-game noise from the Paris catacombs - and all sorts of Medieval sounds and instruments, to really capture that dark vibe and tone of 14th century Medieval France seen and felt in the game, whether in old towns and fortresses or the vast surrounding highlands.
...Away From The Crowds... - Inspired by Assassin’s Creed 2 & Brotherhood
This is one of my favorite tracks from the project, and it was a lot of fun to write and work on. I knew early on I wanted this track to capture some of the most prominent sounds and vibes of Jesper Kyd’s iconic Assassin’s Creed 2 soundtrack, which ones and how I wanted to try and do that. Some very certain eerie and ominous ambiences, reminiscent of the old abandoned undergrounds and empty cathedrals explored in AC2 and Brotherhood, the dark secrets of which make the beauty and glamour of the Renaissance, but a facade for something larger. Ultimately, the track is quite simplistic, not relying on much to make it sound big, but achieves a lot and just what I wanted it to with just that.
Another major influence for this track would actually be Alternative Rock band Bring Me The Horizon, especially their 2010 album “There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven Let’s Keep It A Secret”. A lot of the sounds and production on that album remind me of Assassin’s Creed 2’s soundtrack; strings, choir voices, glitchy electronics, ambient guitars, big reverbs and many more that brilliantly capture the hidden darkness of the Italian Renaissance.
60’s - Inspired by Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Despite this track being the shortest, it was actually the one that went through the most changes, fully settling upon as to how I wanted it to sound. I did however know from the beginning I wanted something inspired by British Rock, specifically Oasis, their instrumental songs and that whole 90’s Britpop sound. A lot of that music has this certain attitude and rawness to it, reflective of the working classes of England at the core of
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
Originally I thought of just making this something along the lines of a regular song with the sound of a full band, but that ended up just feeling quite off. Then I tried taking that same idea but stripping it down to just an acoustic arrangement, but that sounded a bit bland. Then finally I got the idea of fusing that Oasis inspired acoustic instrumental, with that ambient Animus leaning soundscape that also comes across on other tracks, and that would turn out to be the best approach for this. Admittedly I might have free styled a bit with this one in some places, at least compared to the official Syndicate soundtrack, but still wanted to stay true to some of the sounds of that, some of which oddly enough also come across in Britpop, hence that influence.
Eagle’s Path - Inspired by Assassin’s Creed 3 & Liberation
While I have tried to stay true to some of the sounds of Assassin’s Creed 3’s existing soundtrack with this one, I have admittedly also free styled a bit with it, for example with the more Western sounding sections; all intentional though and with good reasoning. I knew I wanted one of the primary tones of this track to be very tribal, Native American sounding, and what better style for that to go with than among other some Western?
I also wanted a section of it to capture the tone of AC3’s add-on Liberation, and it’s southern Louisiana setting, hence the middle section that relies on more Cajun and African percussion, to capture the vibe of the bayous explored in that game.
In addition to the primary tribal aspects, I also wanted the track to be reflective of the
American Revolution itself, and American history overall to some degree, past, present and future from the time period of the game. Hence the section with big sounding horns, symbolising the fight for freedom, and once again the Western tone that’s also heavily prominent towards the end with the gunslinger-esque electric guitar, symbolising one of the next big eras awaiting the future of American history.
Tales Of The Winds And Waters - Inspired by Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag
This track has got to be my favorite from the project. I got to play around with so many cool ideas and sounds, capturing the spirit of not only my favorite Assassin’s Creed game, but one of my favorite games overall. I actually fully wrote and made arrangements for this one last, and as it would turn out the track would be a good chunk longer than anticipated, closing in around 10 full minutes; really I suppose it is 2-3 tracks all crammed into one big one. Oddly enough, that process was pretty easy though, and I built most of
the track’s foundations fairly quickly not too long after.
From the beginning though, I had a good rough idea of how I wanted this track to sound, and what styles I should be tapping into. Black Flag’s soundtrack is ultimately quite diverse, from traditional Spanish, electronic glitchy Animus ambience, Caribbean and tropical, to classic Pirate music with a touch of Celtic to it, so there were a lot of possibilities and I wanted to cover as many of these as possible in my own way.
In addition to incorporating these melodies and tapping into various styles, trying to capture the vibe of exploring the Caribbean and its many islands and settlements, I also wanted the chronology of track to try and be a representation of Edward’s journey throughout the game. From first wandering the lively and wild streets of Havana, sailing the vast waters at day and night, reaching Kingston, discovering the Observatory, to having eliminated the Templar threat, meeting his daughter and peacefully being homebound, taking the Jackdaw for one last sail.
As a tribute to not only the existing Black Flag soundtrack, which is one of if not the best in the franchise in my book, but composer behind it Brian Tyler overall, I wanted to implement some melodies from other favorite score pieces of his, which oddly enough have some of the same vibes and instrumentation as the tracks from the game. Featured in the beginning during the traditional Spanish section are the melodies from “Letty & Dom” and “Neela Drifts” from the Fast & Furious movies. Beautiful pieces and melodies played on classical guitar, which tones in some ways are similar to the tracks of the Black Flag soundtrack.
The Sounds Of History project is coming soon! Stay tuned here on the site and our social media channels for updates and previews!
About the Author
Gustav is an active community member, and the host of The Memory Corridor Podcast. By joining the program, episodes will now be available on our YouTube channel.
The partnership has also helped to revive the series, which had been offline for nearly a year. We will be working closely with Gustav to cover Assassin's Creed news, theories and relevant topics on the show.