An Indie Game with a Hollywood Soundtrack? YES!!

Some of the most interesting and creative projects don’t have big studio resources. The independent video game “Hauntii” is one such project. Composer Michael Kirby Ward, developer Moonloop Games, and publisher Firestoke, assumed that Hauntii’s limited, indie-game budget meant their only option was to record the game’s song in Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, Ward contacted SoS to see if there were any options available for recording in the USA.

Examining the project, we realized that with some creative orchestration and careful planning, it would be possible to access Hollywood talent and elevate the music beyond expectations. Furthermore, we could record both the song and the soundtrack’s most important cues. Making this happen would be a challenge, but the talent available in Los Angeles would mean we could work quickly with a smaller ensemble to achieve very high quality within their budget.

Danita Ng-Poss and Jason Poss worked closely with Michael Ward to develop a strategy for orchestrating and recording. SoS handled all orchestration and music preparation, secured the recording studio, hired the musicians, processed union contracts, and coordinated payroll. The project was completed on time and within the tight budget.

Hauntii is now a rare indie game boasting a soundtrack with A-list Hollywood musicians. The results were so successful that, on some cues, the original samples were completely replaced by the live recordings; even though it was a smaller ensemble.

The video above shows a bit of the recording session with composer Michael Ward singing the song “Home to Home”.

For us at SoS, it was delightful to work with Ward on a contemplative soundtrack to compliment Hauntii’s unique artwork, gentle atmosphere, and more relaxed, thoughtful gameplay. This is far from the bombast of many game soundtracks.

Hauntii is available on PC, Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Hauntii’s soundtrack is also available on Steam.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Musical vocal transcription for 20th Century Studios

Symbols of Sound’s latest feature film project is “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”. This was another vocal transcription project for foreign dubbing. SoS transcribed the vocal musical performances from the film, and created sheet music for dubbing of the non-English versions of the film.

To avoid giving anything away, we won’t say what vocals are in the film. Nonetheless, we can say it provided some “hairy” challenges for the sharp musical ears at SoS.

The 5th Annual SCL Awards

The Society of Composers and Lyricists’ 5th Annual SCL Awards were held on Tuesday, February 13th in Los Angeles, California. The Awards were hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Siedah Garrett. Garrett opened the ceremony with a barn-burning arrangement of her song “Shug Avery” from the 2023 film The Color Purple. She closed with her song “Man in the Mirror”, made famous by Michael Jackson, which Garrett co-wrote with Glen Ballard.

The ceremony also honored the filmmaker-composer team of Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson with the Spirit of Collaboration Award, which included a performance of Robertson’s song “Between Trains” from Scorsese’s The King of Comedy by 6-time Grammy-winning recording artist, Jason Isbell.

In addition to accompanying these acts, the orchestra performed Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn”, and the song “Somewhere Out There” from the film An American Tail sung by Zola Odessa and Danny Duran III in a beautiful “In Memoriam” segment.

Symbols of Sound handled the hiring and management of the orchestra and provided music preparation services. SoS has had a role in the music of every SCL awards to date.

Wish Multi-Language Video

Asha sings "This Wish" in 29 languages

Disney created a multi-language video of the song “This Wish” from the film “Wish”. The video features vocal performances in 29 different languages. Each of the non-English performances, as for all songs in the film, was created with the vocal transcriptions produced by Symbols of Sound.

The video is an excellent example of how accurate transcription and sheet music creation enables dubbing that can match the quality of the original language. It also showcases the highly-skilled localization teams around the world working in conjunction with Disney Character Voices International. A dizzying array of performers, translators, engineers, cultural consultants, and many others coordinate to create Disney magic in dozens of languages.

Click the video image to watch.


SoS transcribes a Wish for Disney

Symbols of Sound’s latest film musical project is Disney’s “Wish”. The film contained eleven song tracks which needed to be transcribed from audio to sheet music for use in localization.

This was a project that spanned several months. Various countries needed to start preparing performers to create the localized versions before final edits on the film were complete. SoS had to work from versions of the songs in an early edit of the film, and review later edits for any changes that affected the sheet music. SoS would then provide Disney’s localization teams with updated sheet music and a list of any changes.

While this may sound cumbersome, and presents obvious challenges for localization; it enables films to be released to audiences worldwide simultaneously. Otherwise audiences in some countries would have to wait weeks or months to see a film until local language dubbing is completed.