Radiohead’s OK Computer Helped Define The Aesthetic Of Transistor

What do The Avengers and Radiohead have in common? They both serve loosely as an inspiration for Hades, Supergiant Games’ roguelike action RPG.

Composer and voiceover artist Darren Korb recently spoke with TheGamer to discuss his work on the studio’s latest title. Korb talks openly about his expansive catalog of work with Supergiant Games (Bastion, Transistor, Pyre, and Hades) — explaining how Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Avengers), the Beatles, and Radiohead have helped inform the aesthetic direction for much of his work.

Fans of Supergiant Games will likely not be surprised to learn that Korb cites Thom Yorke and, specifically, Radiohead’s 1997 album OK Computer as a major influence for the sounds found in both Hades and the studio’s 2014 action RPG Transistor.

“The aesthetic of OK Computer was important to me on Transistor for finding the sound of the game,” Korb tells TheGamer. “Particularly in Exit Music (For A Film) when the filthy bass comes in.” The opening track on Transistor’s soundtrack, Old Friends, mirrors the gritty, fuzzed-out synth bass that fills out the crescendo of Exit Music. 

The glitchy, ethereal atmosphere and distended reality of Radiohead’s OK Computer were introduced at a time when grunge bands and Oasis-esque Britpop controlled the scene. Korb’s work on Transistor and Hades may not pack the same subversive punch as OK Computer, but the soundscape gels perfectly with games that rely on musical scores that sound almost otherworldly.

For instance, Korb knew that he wanted In The Blood (end-credits for Hades) to be a song written by Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus, in Greek mythology, travels to Hell to retrieve his wife and muse, Eurydice. In doing so, he plays his lyre for Hades — the god of the Underworld — and wins his favor. Taught to play said lyre by Apollo himself, Orpheus is considered the greatest musician and poet in the world. His musical ability could even “charm animals and make the trees dance.” Thom Yorke is the natural real-world stand-in for a character like Orpheus, according to Korb.

“What kind of voice would move the gods to tears?” wonders Korb. “I imagined a ‘when Thom Yorke sings in falsetto’ kind of vibe for the stuff I might write for Orpheus.”

Korb finishes the discussion by reiterating that this same aesthetic found in Hades defined a significant portion of the music on Transistor’s soundtrack. If you couldn’t pick it out on your own, he’s here to let you know that, “the Radiohead influence is there for sure.”

Read the full interview here.

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