This music tells the story of the legendary Orient Express,
embarking upon its fabled romantic, luxurious journey from
London to Budapest. The voyage however, gradually transforms
into a hellish nightmare as passengers one by one horribly
fall victim to an unknown evil, hiding somewhere on board.
was a little uncertain as to what this release was the soundtrack
to. When I first sat down to listen to it I couldn't fathom
out whether it was the music to an animated movie, a computer
game or just a fan's labour of love for a role playing game.
In all honesty I have to admit that I'm still not sure.
sleeve notes and illustrations make it look like an arty animated
Japanese movie and there is a line that states: "This
album is inspired upon the legendary Call of Cthulhu campaign
set Horror on the Orient Express, published by Chaosium."
But that really didn't mean anything to me. I am in my mid-30's
though, so you'll to excuse me if I a seem a little out of
to be quite honest, I don't care what this is the soundtrack
Otterlei's music conjures up images all of it's own. His score
stands as a work in it's own right. Close your eyes and you
can picture so many elements. Otterlei's score manages to
bring the Orient Express screaming to life - without
leaning on any preconceived clichés to drag you into
his world. Through
his music you can see and feel the most famous steam locomotive
thundering across the countryside, through tunnels, and rattling
been a soundtrack fan since the early 80s - and can be quite
a bore on the subject. But never have I been so moved by an
opening track as I was by this album. Arrival of the Orient
Express sent shivers down my spine. I could clearly see
a pitch black night, with a light on the horizon - a light
that got brighter and brighter until the Orient Express went
thundering past, sounding it's whistle.
Orient Express's theme is wonderfully constructed - you can
almost hear the sound of the track under the wheels and the
piercing whistle being blasted from the locomotive every now
and then. Other
tracks, like The Voyage Begins, conjure up images of
the train cutting up the track as it races across lush countryside.
though, tracks that should have provided dark emotions, like
Headless Lady in Topclass Bar, didn't give quite the
right atmosphere. This is nothing to do with Otterlei's score,
but the rather limited synthesised sounds. This recording
is begging to have a fully orchestrated recording. It's a
shame that this didn't have the financial backing of one of
the big studios. Although, to be fair, in tracks like The
Unnameable Undone, the limited use of a single brass instrument
is incredibly effective. The Horror Strikes also manages
to pull out all the stops too.
also loved the fact that just when you think it's all over,
Otterlei returns with an oompa-pa surprise - you'll know what
I mean when you hear it.
a stand alone soundtrack, this is a work of beauty. Keep your
eyes and ears opened for Alex Otterlei in the future - this
is one up and coming composer I'm sure we'll be hearing a
lot more of.