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Need For Speed Carbon Music by Ekstrak :: Review by Chris

Need For Speed Carbon Music by Ekstrak Album Title: Need For Speed Carbon Music by Ekstrak
Record Label: Electronic Arts
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: December 19, 2006
Purchase: Download at iTunes


Need For Speed: Carbon featured a fairly multifaceted soundtrack. Like other recent games in the racing series, it was dominated by licensed music from various semi-mainstream artists. However, Trevor Morris was hired to offer some electro-orchestral themes for some of the more dramatic sequences, as featured on an official soundtrack release. Furthermore, Ekstrak was recruited to offer seven original tracks, mostly in electronic and urban styles. Need For Speed Carbon Music by Ekstrak features the less than impressive results of the DJ's efforts...


"Limited Slip" gives a taste of what to expect from Ekstrak's score. It's little more than four minutes of a distorted electronic bass line, coupled with some superficial ethereal overlays. While this set-up is tolerable for a slow-developing techno track, unfortunately it never develops to anything substantial. It's devoid of compelling rhythms, interesting melodies, or anything else remotely attractive for stand-alone listening. It's linear, repetitive, generic, and ultimately boring.

Some tracks have a little more to them, but they're still not good enough. "Bell" initially appeals with its groovy bass line and electro-funk line, yet essentially does nothing more interesting during its development. Elements such as the radio voice-over "We need to meet up" scream desperation and have nothing to do with the rest of the piece. It's just about effective to represent escaping danger during the game, yet is tedious when listened to otherwise. "Diesel Shift" has a more industrial focus and features punctuation from various percussion and sound effects. Again, it has a decent rhythmical impetus and timbral richness, but is not daring or varied enough to be anything more than background ambience.

The soundtrack ends with two variations of "Hard Drivers". These tracks are a little more interesting, since Ekstrack makes a reasonable attempt to integrate urban vocals on top. The vocalist sounds like what one would expect from an urban track while the lyrics are clichéd yet serviceable. While moderately accomplished, there are infinitely better tracks available in the mainstream urban scene. There isn't much to justify the inclusion of two variations either.


It's clear from this album that Ekstrak is a broadly competent electronic musician capable of producing functional background music for racing games. However, the DJ is clearly not capable of offering the colourful and creative electronic tracks most would associate with Need For Speed's finest soundtracks. His offerings here are mostly bland and monotonous, so can be safely skipped for stand-alone listening in favour of most other electronic game soundtracks and, indeed, original albums out there.

Overall Score: 3/10