SteamWorld Dig by Jonas Kjellberg & H.M. Hammarin
“I’m no miner.”
Delve deep under the desert sands of Tumbleton in search of your uncle's lost treasure this week with SteamWorld Dig by Jonas Kjellberg & H.M. Hammarin. Pressed on “Dirt-Brown” vinyl by Fangamer, the soundtrack to Image & Form Games’ hit indie digging-platformer is here to tumble it’s way onto your turntable. Grab that pickaxe because it's time to dig!
With a deeply atmospheric and electronic take on classical western sounds, it's no doubt in my mind that Jonas Kjellberg and H.M. Hammarin completely solidified the SteamWorld universe with their unique sound. Their music is one of the reasons I enjoyed this game so much. This album is perfect for a short little listen, and will keep you coming back for more every time you spin it. While the whole album is a little on the short side, the ambient nature of the tracks allow them to be enjoyed for hours at a time while digging for treasure and discovering the mysteries that Tumbleton has to offer.
Although Jonas' contributions for this album comprise of the main theme and its extended version to close out Side A, I have to say his work here is superb. Harkening back to a classic tune like Ecstasy of Gold instantly filled me with nostalgia for spaghetti westerns and set the tone for SteamWorld Dig so beautifully. With H.M. Hammarin's work taking up the majority of the compositions on this release, their styling melds perfectly to create an awesome mixture of classical tones and steampunk electronic vibes that tie the whole album together.
There are a few moments in this album that absolutely stuck with me. In one moment, you're plinking away at rocks to the steampunk beats and western twangs, and the next moment the compositions give way like a pitfall into a dark and brooding, electronic earthquake of sound that completely engulfs the room. Floating around in this ambient abyss is so enthralling and is definitely the highlight here for me. Slowly, as the album spins along, you'll climb out of this electronic subterfuge and into its jazz-like western clutches again, as a muted trumpet lulls you out of the soot drenched depths and back into the sunny and cracked landscape above. The album is overflowing with amazing little musical nuances that really draw your attention along its short little ride.
The B Side of this release is filled to a 10-gallon hat's brim with fun little oddities and rarities from the SteamWorld Dig universe, including remixes, unused tracks, and demos from future SteamWorld projects like Heist. With songs from DDWIP, Philip E Morris, El Huervo, and Johannes Hedberg, there's really a lot to like here! Having the main soundtrack on Side A and all these extras on Side B makes this release feel sort of like a two-in-one combo, giving you a little bit of everything and really adding to the flavor packed into this release.
Fangamer has taken a little bit of a hiatus this year after their explosive 2018 catalog release, and I can’t blame them because of how amazing their releases were last year! This soundtrack came as quite a surprise for many of us in the video game vinyl community, and was definitely one of my favorite releases to come out of 2018. The bundled release with SteamWorld Dig 2 had a sense of cohesiveness that made picking up both an easy choice. Expect a review of SteamWorld Dig 2 in the future! 😉
The cover art for this release is absolutely stunning, featuring a western style painting of the game's main character, Rusty, from Agnieszka Mikucka. Layout was handled by Tony Kuchar, totally capturing the games charming western style and complimenting Agnieszka's artwork so well. You can tell a lot of love was poured into it! The vinyl itself is a totally atmospheric, clear “Dirt-Brown” that is so cool to look at, and often has twinges of amber that stick out in the right light! Mastering here was carried out by the talented people over at Telegraph Mastering. They brought so much clarity, depth, and tone to the compositions here. The western twangs and electronic hums just float off the turntable so beautifully; everything is so clean and the compositions are accentuated so nicely. A lot of love and hard work was poured into this release and it shows from every aspect of its music, design, and execution!
Overall, I'd say that this release is just a fantastic short little album that I couldn't help but be enthralled by. The short nature of the songs here make it a very easy one to listen to, as well as one that you don't have to dedicate a lot of time to if you're in for a quick listening session. The B Side has a lot of extra goodies that I think makes this album into an awesome package for fans of the SteamWorld universe. It is totally worth picking up for your collection!
Jonas Kjellberg & H.M. Hammarin
Remastered for vinyl by:
Vinyl produced & distributed by:
Where to Buy?
This album is still readily available directly from Fangamer, either by itself or bundled with SteamWorld Dig 2. For $23.00 you can't really complain, and it is just a fun little listen that will always bring you back for more. The vinyl comes with an immediate digital download upon ordering and is a nice little bonus for people who can't wait to hear the music. The album is also available on Image & Form Games' Bandcamp for streaming, as well as downloading in high quality MP3, FLAC, and more. The vinyl version does come with a few extra bonus tracks not present on the digital version, so if you wanted any extra incentive to add this to your collection, then there you go!