Track of the Day: 'Apotheosis' by Austin Wintory

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Reader M.J. has a wonderful find for the new series:

As a PhD researcher, it’s difficult to find the right kind of music to work to. Music with lyrics distracts from reading and typing. Absolute silence is just as distracting as a complete din. I’ve sometimes used one of the white-noise or nature-sounds websites, but they get boring.

After some searching, I’ve found that the classical music used in video games is very helpful. Thanks to sites like Bandcamp, it’s easy to find and buy music from indie games (ones that often aren’t focussed on shooting as many people as possible). My latest find is the composer Austin Wintory, especially the soundtrack to Journey. Highly recommended.

The video game and its music got many plaudits:

Journey won several “game of the year” awards and received several other awards and nominations, including a Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media nomination for the 2013 Grammy Awards. The music, composed by Austin Wintory, dynamically responds to the player’s actions, building a single theme to represent the game's emotional arc throughout the story. Reviewers of the game praised the visual and auditory art as well as the sense of companionship created by playing with a stranger, calling it a moving and emotional experience, and have since listed it as one of the greatest games of all time.

The full soundtrack is available on YouTube, and its most popular track, “Apotheosis,” is embedded above.

(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)