Disasterpeace has a claim to being one of the most influential artists of the decade; in a quiet, chameleonic way.
Though Rich Vreeland doesn’t usually do things quietly. His best known work is awash in digital decay and thumping kick drums. The horror sensibilities of John Carpenter fed through a Super Nintendo. His industrial by way of chip tune aesthetic gained him praise in the blissful to terrifying fuzz of Fez and the insidious lurk of It Follows.
Vreeland’s absurd prolificness has now led him to full orchestral work as he scores Under the Silver Lake, the newest film from It Follows director David Robert Mitchell. Looking back on his catalogue, there’s truly little that Vreeland hasn’t tinkered with to great success. So, listen to our interview with him, read our thoughts on Fez and see why we think Diasterpeace is one of the best of the ‘10s.
For me, the music in FEZ is more than just a beautiful soundtrack: it’s an experience. Diasterpeace wonderfully establishes different moods and emotions without distracting from the game or straying from FEZ’s central focus: creating a calm, relaxing experience of puzzling and exploring.
FEZ has very little story--which isn’t a bad thing. The lack of story allows you to fully concentrate on gameplay. The beautiful visuals shift between safe, comforting zones with warm colors and dark areas with graveyards, creepy statues, and ominous lightning. The soundtrack matches the ambience of these areas but also contributes to that ambience. It shouts “lovely” or “scary” but always remains slow and calm; even the haunting pieces are stress-free. The songs fluctuate in pace, volume, and sometimes mood, creating an “active” soundtrack that wants to be heard instead of blending into the background. For a game without story, that’s incredibly important. The music tells its own story and draws your attention to that story.
It’s the calm, living soundtrack that makes FEZ so enjoyable. Without music, the unpopulated world would feel empty, and the challenging puzzles would become infuriating. The music made FEZ not only relaxing but enchanting; I often stopped in the middle of a level to enjoy the incredible music and visuals. The soundtrack is wonderful on its own but, more importantly, adds to FEZ’s ambience and keeps players immersed and motivated within the game.