Some Thoughts on DVA’s Botanicula Soundtrack

I’ve had this sentence in my head for a little while now, it’s kind of facile and will require an explanation to even make sense — but since I’m just recuperating from a big project and have nothing else going on, I’m just going to write it anyway. Here goes.

The soundtrack to Botanicula is what happens when Brian Eno and the Polyphonic Spree has a baby, and that baby is raised by bees.

Let’s talk a little about that.

First off, “Botanicula” is a video game that I haven’t played. Its made by the same wonderful people behind the Samorost games, which probably means it’s a jolly fun romp through insanely creative surroundings, has some weird logic puzzles in it that are mainly frustrating, but mostly consists of clicking on strange things and watch what strange things they do. It’s probably wonderful — as I said, I haven’t played it.

But man, listen to the soundtrack.

Magical, right? So, let’s untangle that description I threw out earlier.

Brian Eno was a hair-metal guitarist at some point, and then became the worlds foremost maker of ambient music. He makes music to fill specific purposes, it feels more “designed” than anything else. One of his albums is filled with film-music, but it’s not to any film in particular; another is meant to be played in airport terminals to help soothe those scared of flight. One is meant to played in space. I like that one, it’s my favorite. Eno’s music is great in the same way that a great soundtrack is, like the Botanicula Soundtrack. Instead of screaming in my ears about lost love and grand adventures — it simply evokes a mood, and that is enough.

The Polyphonic Spree is a loose group of 20 or so musicians coming together to play joyful and almost-spiritual pop. It’s happy, larger-than-life and incredibly beautiful. The Botanicula Soundtrack is, like the Polyphonic Spree but unlike Eno, full of different sounds and weird instruments, and it fills me with wonder. It has the same kind of everything-is-amazing-i-think-i-must-run-into-a-field-and-dance-with-butterflies-or-i-might-burst effect on me.

The “bees” part is pretty obvious.