Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Northern Ireland record label bosses celebrate Halo 4 soundtrack success

The soundtrack to the new Halo game has received widespread critical acclaim

An independent label run by two Northern Irishmen is celebrating a record-breaking Christmas after releasing the highest-charting video game soundtrack ever.

The Halo 4 Original Soundtrack, released on 7Hz Productions, entered the US Billboard Charts at number 50 – the highest position in the history of game soundtracks.

The orchestral/electronic album was composed by Neil Davidge, best known for his work with British band Massive Attack and for co-scoring the blockbuster Clash of the Titans.

Davidge's award-winning services were snapped up by the London-based production company and record label 7Hz Productions, formed in 2007 by Northern Irishmen James Cassidy and Barry Campbell. The pair, who have both worked in the music industry for over 25 years, also co-founded JABA Music Management at the same time and count Co Down rock band The Answer among their growing portfolio of clients.

Davidge, who produced and co-composed Massive Attack's 100th Window, Mezzanine and Heligoland albums, signed to JABA Music in 2008 and landed his first major Hollywood movie score – said: “Halo is one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world and has sold over 45 million copies since its launch in 2001.

“Halo 4 is the beginning of a new trilogy and sets out a whole new evolution of the Halo Universe so it was a huge coup and honour for Neil to be chosen as the main composer from a short list of over 53 internationally acclaimed composers.”

Working in collaboration with 343 Industries, Davidge and his production team enlisted a 16-person hand-picked male tenor/bass choir plus 10 female Bulgarian singers, a full 50 piece orchestra and a whole host of other performers to bring the music to life. The score was recorded at four sessions at the famous Abbey Road 1 studios.

During the 18-month composition and production phase, JABA Music acted as creative liaison and project producers between the creative audio team in Seattle and Davidge's team in Bristol. It was through this close partnership that Microsoft then asked JABA’s sister company, 7Hz Productions, to act as the worldwide licensee for the Halo 4 soundtrack.

Coupled with the original soundtrack and remixes, 7Hz also created a unique and collectible three disk limited edition and individually numbered box set including the original soundtrack, all 14 remixes, a DVD of the making of the Halo 4 Music called “Composing A Universe”, a 12” heavyweight full colour vinyl, a 48-page book including exclusive art content and production and composition notes from Davidge.

“Together with 343 Industries, Microsoft, Neil Davidge and his team, we have pushed the boundaries to present this soundtrack in a new and exciting way. The Original Soundtrack, the remixes and the 'Special Limited Edition Soundtrack Box Set' are only the start of a very exciting new chapter in the Halo music universe.”

Story so far

The Halo 4 soundtrack has received global praise and worldwide Press coverage.

Nominated earlier this month for Best Original Score at the 10th anniversary Video Games Awards, it was singled out by Mixmag music publication as its ‘album of the month', while Drowned in Sound said: “The music is tremendous throughout”.

The company now plans to release more gaming soundtracks, while next year also sees new albums from Davidge and Downpatrick rockers The Answer.