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The Thematic Material of Gordy Haab's Star Wars Battlefront 2015

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by TheAvengerButton, May 5, 2021.

  1. TheAvengerButton

    TheAvengerButton Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 11, 2011
    Copied from an Original Post I made over at JWFan.

    I'm doing a series on the canon [Officially Released] Star Wars video game soundtracks, and I figure I'd start at the beginning with Gordy Haab's Star Wars Battlefront. The layout of the soundtrack itself makes its themes easily identifiable and listenable, but for those who only have a surface idea of this soundtrack's potential, this topic is for you. For Haab's first canon soundtrack release, we don't have to go too in-depth with our analysis, anyways. The thematic material presented on this album is pretty straightforward, and due to the format Haab doesn't get too much of a chance here to weave in subtle motifs here and there. Let's start with our first track, Walker Assault. Contrary to the title, the thematic material on this track permeates both of Gordy's Battlefront soundtrack and can be considered the series' main theme.


    The track's main melodic idea is as follows: (0:39-0:52)

    Walker Assault is this theme's main showcase track, and the track weaves this theme throughout accompanied by some bombastic Williams-esque action music, but we also hear it on this soundtrack in the tracks The Battle in the Clouds (2:31), Jundland Wastes (6:16), Rebel Resistance (2:57, 4:01, 4:48) The Graveyard of Giants (8:17, 8:31) and Jedi on the Battlefront (0:17). To me, it almost reminds me in it's use for how the Force Theme is used in the films, especially when it pops up in tertiary tracks.


    Next, we move onto Sorosuub Skirmish, the next track that features all original music by Gordy Haab (we'll cover the Original Trilogy B-Sides later). Right here is where we can hear the first instance of the overall theme for this planet. It's a three/four figure motif that moves from a D# down to a G, then jumps back up to a F# (roughly). When we first hear the theme, it's quiet, oozing in a sense. At around 3:25 we transition into what I like to call the ROTS part, mostly because it reminds me of the steady war march that happens at the beginning of the track of the same name. The main musical idea shows up again here in a much more bombastic context to make for some nice action music. At around 5:05 in the track we transition into a nice little dirge, where we hear a much more subtle variation of the track's main idea at 5:37. At 7:16 we transition back into some action-y music and we hear a nice big variation of the theme at 7:43 and then a doomy boomy variation at 7:51.

    There is also a B-Theme of sorts, but ironically it's the first part of the track you hear in the song. right at the opening you hear an eight note melody that you hear two other times in the course of the track, at 1:48 and 7:06. Sorosuub Skirmish is a solid track, although it can get a little too prequel-y in it's orchestrations in a game that is set in the time frame of the original trilogy.


    Next up is The Imperial Advance, our overall theme for the Galactic Empire in BOTH Battlefront and Battlefront II. You can hear the main musical idea for this track right off the bat played by some roaring brass. Oddly enough, I always think this melody reminds me of a corrupted version of Anakin and Padme's theme music from Attack of the Clones. At 1:12 in this piece you can hear another little stinger that is almost a riff off of the Death Star motif from the original Star Wars. This appears twice in the song, with the second appearance coming in at 2:50. I call it Imperial Victory, and I believe it is used in game as the stinger for the Imperials winning a match if I'm not mistaken, so the name is totally appropriate. My favorite statement of the track's overall theme comes in at 3:07. Haab turns his strong, if a bit busy melody for the Imperials and makes it slimy and conniving here, and I can almost imagine a smug, flop-sweated Imperial officers gloating to a captured Rebel.


    And now to my favorite track on the OST, Battle in the Clouds. Made up from the music Haab composed as a B-Side to various bits of music from Empire Strikes Back, Haab nevertheless puts some Big **** energy into the melody of this track's theme. The melody first appears at 0:21 in high woodwinds () then we get to hear a nice, regal sounding statement in brass just after that is absolutely beautiful. Eventually we transition out of the calm, peaceful part of the theme and into a more action heavy portion, where we get to hear a nice heroic statement of the melody at around 2:10. Afterward, we get into the second half of the track which boasts a more somber, darker feel complete with another musical idea that carries the rest of the track through, heard here in it's calm mode: At 4:16, this more mysterious theme begins to return in a big way before we get a nice grand statement of it at 4:33. The track finishes with a darker, slow and suspenseful string chorus, before a variation of the first theme comes in on horns to signal the end of the track.


    Next up is Approach to Landing Pad 13. This is an interesting track to listen to, as Gordy morphs the main idea you hear near the beginning of the track as the rest of the track goes along, and that main idea mutates into much more subtle forms of itself as the track goes on. At around 0:55 ( we hear the first statement of this little theme. The little run up you hear at around 1:02 will come back throughout the rest of the song in various forms. The March that appears at 4:23 that is an obvious riff on the Arena March is one such permutation, note the note run up at 4:30. We then go into a Torn Apart-esque piece that features several of the same sort of figure, like at 7:08. Also fun to note, the part that comes in at 8:33 is a take off of Follow Me and The Falcon from The Force Awakens. I think he was absorbing himself in that soundtrack at the time because some of the DLC tracks have a TFA-flavor to them.


    Now onto another great piece, Rebel Resistance, where we get to hear all the instances of Gordy's Rebellion theme altogether. The theme is heard here ( at 0:22 seconds. The first thing to note is how similar this theme is to the main Battlefront theme, which sure seems to not be a coincidence. A nice heroic statement appears at 0:45 shortly after. The main Battlefront theme comes in at 2:56, and when you hear them after you're more familiar with them you can clearly hear the differences. One is in minor key, with a different melodic tail that follows the 11 note main statement. The Rebels theme begins with a 9 note long melodic statement that has a bit more triumphant of a tail end. The Battlefront main theme appears again at 3:59. At 5:16, my favorite statement of the Rebels theme appears nice and bouncy and heroic.


    Fully Armed and Operational is another more consistently thematic piece. The main musical idea appears at 0:20 ( before launching into a very Kylo Ren inspired statement shortly after. This melody appears very plainly throughout the rest of the track, with a nice menacing statement of it at 0:55. At 1:30 there's another Kylo Ren-esque moment (Gordy absorbing TFA energy). At 2:22 we get a nice march variation which then empties out into a Resistance March-inspired bit at 2:50, which finishes with another big statement of Gordy's Death Star Theme at 3:12. At 4:30 we get another statement of the theme that leads into a stretch of music reminiscent of The Droid Battle from TPM. The song finishes off with a very doom-y little bit of music, complete with apocalyptic bell strikes before the song ends with a very quiet variant of the piece's theme on high strings and celeste or glockenspiel.


    Next up, Jedi on the Battlefront, our last of Gordy's tracks with strong thematic writing. We begin the track with some quiet ambience before we get another statement of the Battlefront main theme at 0:18, then at 0:40 we hear Jedi on the Battlefront's main thematic idea ( In game this track appears very wildly in completely different places, so it's very hard for me to understand what I'm supposed to associate with this theme, if anything. The title, Jedi on the Battlefront, suggests ties to the heroes, but I'm not sure that's a strong tie considering I don't remember the theme being associated with the appearance of the heroes in the game or the Heroes and Villains mode. Still, it's one of my favorites on the album. Past a souped up action-y variant and into a quiet variant, we really get to hear a nice full statement of this theme on low brass at 3:23. A nice March version comes in at 4:38 and continues through to the end.

    That's mostly it for Gordy's true blue thematic material on the album. Of course, there are about four tracks that we didn't cover: Pale Blue Orb, Survivors of Endor, Jundland Wastes, and The Graveyard of Giants. Those tracks are musically as strong as the rest of the tracks on this album, but there is not much if any thematic material to uncover in any of them that I can discern. If someone who is as well versed or moreso in this soundtrack has any insight on these particular tracks they can give, I would welcome the correction.

    I hope this was enlightening to those who are a little more uninitiated on this soundtrack. I was hoping to target people who have enjoyed the soundtrack but haven't let it's thematic material really sink it. This will make it easier for you to pick those ideas out of Gordy's sometimes overwhelming action music writing. I'll be covering Battlefront II next time, whenever that is. Hope you look forward to it.
    jamomc likes this.
  2. Darth_Accipiter

    Darth_Accipiter Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2015
    The two highlights of the Battlefront 2015 soundtrack for me are what can be demarcated as the themes for the Rebels and the Imperials. The rest I kind of glaze over as action tracks. Lots of variants of these two themes.

    Main theme/ the rebels

    Imperials - heard in the trailer

    sidenote, I think an inspiration for Haab's Battlefront theme is Michael Giacchino's Medal of Honor Airborne main theme, which perhaps not by coincidence is also an EA property. Do I think Giacchino had a hand in the Battlefront score? No. Do I think that at some point during the development of Battlefront 2015 that Haab might have looked to Giacchino's work for Medal of Honor to achieve a sort of familiar tone for a shooter/war video game with a neo-classical score? Absolutely.

    Last edited: May 11, 2021