BY CHRISTOPHER LEON
Tripod – This Gaming Life
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Federation Concert Hall, 12 September
What’d you miss?
- In-jokes for gamers
- Moving orchestral scores
- A [hilarious] homage to the music of games
I have listened to Tripod since my high school days. The comedy trio would sing about things from sarcastic critiques of popular culture to the creation of unrealistic real-world scenarios. Its Triple J Songs in an Hour works were always a bit of fun to listen to…over and over.
This Gaming Life was a unique collaboration between award-winning American games composer Austin Wintory (Journey, Assassin’s Creed) and Tripod (Scott Edgar, Simon Hall, and Steven Gates), commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
When I arrived at the concert, the absence of any program notes left me unaware of what to expect from the concert. As I sat there waiting for the show to begin, staring at the smoky stage and orchestra bathed in calming purple lights, I began reminiscing over all the games I’d played, and the memories I’d formed playing across PlayStation to Game Boy and everything in between.
The performance began and I was instantly hooked, laughing at relatable gaming lines (how many times have you enthused over the latest game only to be “shut down by a loved one”?). The concert was a hilarious mix of common gaming scenarios from the lives of these three gamers, and a homage to their love of early arcade games (…and Simon’s love of games with guns).
This Gaming Life recalled some of Tripod’s most memorable gaming moments, from creature creation in Skyrim, their quirky original games compositions, to unfortunate multiplayer battles in Halo.
During the performance, I noticed the acoustic panelling on stage – consisting of thousands of squares – was a coincidental and fitting backdrop to the concert, adding a pixelated-looking element to the event.
This Gaming Life was written by Tripod, who sent the show to Austin Wintory and together they worked to bring their songs to life via a full orchestral arrangement. Wintory’s arrangements melded seamlessly with Tripod’s comedic performance, laying the foundations for a wonderful spectacle and an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience.
The TSO also performed Apotheosis by Wintory from his score to the critically acclaimed game Journey. It was a moment to appreciate the orchestral arrangements of Wintory and his evocative moving string lines, with the defining solo cello line filled with emotive vibrato.
The concert left me wanting more, with a keen desire to relive some old favourite games and to continue to enjoy the enchanting and wonderful world of gaming. As a takeaway from the concert, I found myself singing Tripod’s repetitive and simplistic Drive King song for at least the next week.
About Christopher Leon, CutCommon Global series coordinator
Tasmanian composer and music producer Christopher Leon was named a semi-finalist in the 2017 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards (arts). He graduated in 2013 with a major in Music Technology from the University of Tasmania, and has returned to study a Bachelor of ICT. In 2011, he worked on a team to produce the score for American feature film Christmas With The Dead, and in 2013 was responsible for scoring three TV commercials for the state government. He works as a casual production assistant with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Since picking up the guitar at age 12, Christopher has performed his own classical and Flamenco-influenced guitar compositions across Tasmania and has swept through multiple genres on his way to electronic and orchestral music production.