Tomb Raider: The Dark Angel Symphony, a remake of the Tomb Raider soundtracks from original series composer Peter Connelly, is now available on music streaming services.
The new studio album features remakes of Connelly's original compositions from Tomb Raider 4, 5, and 6, developed with the aid of a group of die-hard Tomb Raider fans who Kickstarted the project last year.
But it isn't a direct copy of the original Tomb Raider games’ scores, as the music has been rearranged using techniques that simply wasn't available 20 years ago.
"The Dark Angel Symphony is an assortment of four albums really," the project's co-producer Ash Kapriélov tells me over email.
"The main one (called The Dark Angel Symphony) is a collection of selected Tomb Raider tracks reimagined and rearranged by Richard Niles and then performed by the orchestra. The other 3 are remastered versions of the original tracks (remaster is a process when they make songs sound good on modern hardware etc etc, so the songs don’t change but the way they sound is improved) from Tomb Raider 4, 5 and The Angel of Darkness.
"The main difference of the tracks is that music from Tomb Raider 4 and 5 was completely synthesised so we have some tracks rearranged and performed by the actual orchestra. We also have tracks featuring solo from Tina Guo and Julie Elven. And one of the tracks (it plays in a nightclub in TR: the Angel of Darkness) got a remix by Pete Hammond."
Kapriélov first had the idea to develop the project late one night in 2016. "I was staying at my friends’ house in London – we had a big Tomb Raider sleepover. I got the idea of making a concert and album of Peter Connelly’s music then. I always get crazy ideas at night time really."
After tracking down Connelly online, Kapriélov messaged him at 2am with the proposition. "I eventually managed to fall asleep and then, at 9am, I was going into the living room where all my friends were having breakfast. I had a big Cheshire Cat smile on my face and a phone in my hand explaining what I offered to Peter and that he said YES!"
When I ask what drew him to the project in the first place, Kapriélov tells me just how important the Tomb Raider series has been in his life. By his own admission, Kapriélov grew up "in a very nasty place where it is illegal to be gay."
"I had a very rough childhood and teenage years. The place where I am from is not particularly open minded to an extent that I could get imprisoned for who I am so there was that and severe bullying in school."
It wasn't until he got his first PC in 2000 that things began to turn around for him. He bought Tomb Raider: Chronicles "which absolutely hooked me in," he continues.
"By this time my mental health and depression got much much worse and there were times when I felt quite suicidal. I literally had no friends other than those that I made online and playing those huge complicated levels in Tomb Raider series gave me the escapism I really needed. I think without Tomb Raider I definitely wouldn’t survive those years.
"I really doubt I would’ve achieved everything I have now if not for videogames."
Tomb Raider: The Dark Angel Symphony features a 38-song track list, all recorded at the prestigious Air Lyndhurst Studios, London. The album is officially sanctioned by Square Enix and Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics.