Flower by Vincent Diamante
Spring has sprung here at VGM WAX! This week, we are taking a fond look back on one of the most peaceful soundtracks to ever come from the Playstation 3’s library of games. Pressed in 2017 by iam8bit, the soundtrack to thatgamecompany’s 2009 classic, Flower by Vincent Diamante, has drifted its way to vinyl. Pressed on blue marble & white with blue vinyl, Flower is here to lullaby you in its precious melodies and soft, playful grooves. Don’t let the wind carry you too far -- or do, you may just like what you find in your dreams there!
As an award winning composer, Vincent Diamante has helped deliver some of gaming’s most immersive and iconic soundtracks. From his work with thatgamecompany to helping score the epic Skullgirls soundtrack, Vincent has solidified himself as a skilled and invaluable force in this industry. When he's not crafting musical soundscapes for all of our ears to enjoy, Vincent is helping prepare future audio directors and gamers of the world by teaching his forte at the University of Southern California's Interactive Media Division. Vincent's work speaks for itself, and the grace he brings to the projects he works on is always a pleasure to enjoy. As of the writing of this review, Vincent and the team at thatgamecompany are hard at work on their newest adventure, Sky: Light Awaits. If it's anything like their previous work, we can all expect nothing but greatness!
Sailing on the Wind
The music of Flower is something you truly have to experience. What Vincent has done here is nothing short of breathtaking and is much deserving of its awards and nominations. Its pure and tranquil nature breeds a sense of calmness that is absolutely intoxicating; it's really quite a liberating experience. It can be quite easy to lose yourself in this album! The melancholic, symphonic reverie ushers in a dynamic flute that playfully swirls around the thrilling piano, which flutters like petals through the whole album. This soundtrack practically reverberates off the walls, and much like the wind from the game, completely envelops the room in smooth and airy sounds. Like fresh rainfall cascading over a lush landscape, your needle will wash over these succulent grooves and blossom life into this gorgeous colored vinyl duo with every revolution. Flower is not just a soundtrack, it's a state of mind that transports you to an entirely different realm, all within thirty-three and a third revolutions per minute.
The transplant of this gorgeous Flower to vinyl did bring some dirt from its potted home in the process. While I love this soundtrack to pieces, I have to say that there is an issue that myself, as well as many others who have had the pleasure of spinning this record, have experienced. There is definite noise scattered throughout the first side of this release, and slight noise on the B-side. This isn't the standard noise floor that comes with the medium -- it's a constant crackle that bleeds through the music that can detract from Vincent's score. I felt this was necessary to mention for anyone who is looking into acquiring this release. While it's only a minor issue for myself, others may find it to be quite significant.
Purification of the City
iam8bit are synonymous in the video game vinyl scene, known for their world class designs, and highly artistic finishes on classic and modern game soundtracks. This record label from Los Angeles, California, have released some of the best soundtracks in gaming on vinyl, and continue to push their own artistic envelope with each release. Pressing issues aside, the music showcased on this release is a breath of fresh air. Design here was carried out by the impeccable Filip Hodas, with art completely spanning the front and back cover in a stunning and highly-fitting render of the gorgeous petals that carry you through the game's world. Spot embossing gives each petal a gorgeous and shiny finish that compliments the artwork so well.
Overall, I feel that this release, while it may have gained a bad rap from the unfortunate pressing issues that affect some copies, is a wonderful release and one that I think anyone would be pleased to have. Let’s hope some more seeds get sown and we see Flower sprout to vinyl again soon!
Where to Buy?
Unfortunately, this release has long since sold out over at iam8bit. While this wasn’t labelled as a limited release by iam8bit’s standards, there has been no future acknowledgement or clarification on if, or when, we will get a re-press. I hope at some point this soundtrack gets born again on vinyl. The music here is a substantial work of art and something that I hope everyone can enjoy one day.