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LittleBigMusic :: Review by Steven Kennedy

LittleBigMusic - Musical Oddities From and Inspired by LittleBigPlanet Album Title: LittleBigMusic - Musical Oddities From and Inspired by LittleBigPlanet
Record Label: 1812 Recordings
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: December 15, 2008
Purchase: Download at iTunes


LittleBigPlanet gained a steady stream of praise for its interesting design and also the music provided by Daniel Pemberton. Pemberton has been active in British television and film scoring for the past decade. He provided most, but not all, of the music used in the game. Most of the rest of the music was of the licensed variety. LittleBigMusic is a digital-only release featuring selections of Daniel Pemberton's contribution to the title, filled out with other bits and pieces that did not make the final cut for the game itself.


Pemberton was assigned to the project after the developers heard what became "The Orb of Dreamers" — the first track of this release. It is a wonderful little piece of music reminiscent of early Elfman crossed with a little Mothersbaugh. The sound has a gentle, childlike quality and engaging little theme that plays along rather innocently with wordless choral sounds. The later "Cries in the Wind" is also reminiscent of these artists, though the vocalise makes it seem a bit Morricone-esque.

"Sleepy Head" features a funky organ sound and a little groaning vocalise that makes the music a bit cute while the lounge-like 1960s style music bubbles along. Things move just slightly backwards a decade for the cute "Flirty Cha Cha" that could easily be mistaken for a number of light jazz releases from the period (as could "On the Waves"), though the percussion feels a bit more contemporary.

Things get quite odd as we enter the more electronic sound world of "Rock the Jungle". It is a bit like a hip hop rhythm track with ambient sound that only eventually adds a bare trance like musical line. "Rainbow Warrior" continues the odd sound in a somewhat post-Morricone musical mileu and features a bit more drum set and odd sounds. This is the key focus for the middle of the album itself where odd sounds and little riffs are layered against intriguing rhythm patterns. Fortunately this is offset by "Sepia Tones" where more traditional sounding melody returns to give the ear a break.


Quirky might be the best way to describe, in fact, the whole set of works as they appear here. There are odd sounds that would be easily at home in a children's animated program (especially, "The Appliance of Science") but with just a slight edge. The music tends to feature lots of repetitive ideas that are layered against one another. Sometimes this works quite well, and other times it doesn't. The length of tracks — fairly ample for the most part — may be partly the fault, but at least Pemberton throws in enough melodic content for these to be engaging as a listening experience on their own. It's all helped by the intriguing textures and odd sounds that provide further variety.

Overall Score: 7/10