Yooka-Laylee is an unashamed love letter to platforming's past, appropriately evocative of the Banjo-Kazooie era given its makers, Playtonic, count a lot of the people who put that N64 keeper together amongst their staffers. Released on April 11th, across several platforms, Yooka-Laylee is authentically retro of design—for better and worse, as its reviews bear out—and while not the classic that some of its Kickstarter backers may have hoped for, it's certainly comfortable in its own, decidedly throwback skin.
While critics have been divided on many of the game's qualities, one area that's attracted consistent praise is the music, written by Grant Kirkhope alongside David Wise and Steve Burke. And we've got an exclusive stream of the Yooka-Laylee soundtrack right here, ahead of its release via UK label Laced Records on April 7th.
If you ever played one of Rare's games in the 1990s—such as GoldenEye 007, Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie—you'll have heard Kirkhope's music, as he was the studio's in-house composer for several years. His credits extend to Star Fox Adventures, Viva Piñata, Grabbed By the Ghoulies and beyond. Kirkhope's won and been nominated for many awards in his time, and tells us of his work for the Yooka-Laylee soundtrack:
"I loved writing music for Yooka-Laylee. It gave me the chance to pull all the most loved bits from Banjo-Kazooie and drag them up to date with everything I've learned over the last 20 years as a composer.
"I have to say that 'Glitter Glaze Glacier' is probably my favorite piece from the game. I'd originally written another piece of music for that area, without seeing it, so when I finally saw the artwork I realized it didn't fit. I re-wrote music for that area and I'm so glad I did, I especially like the trombone entry half way through the piece. It's my little John Williams homage… Well, I tried!"
David Wise, meanwhile, has an incredible list of games on his CV, from Battletoads to Snake Pass via the small matter of Donkey Kong Country. Steve Burke's past projects include Conker: Live and Reloaded, Perfect Dark and Kameo: Elements of Power. So, you can see a very distinct Rare thread running through the catalogues of each composer, which certainly comes to the fore in the feeling of the Yooka-Laylee music, which you can stream below.
Find Laced Records online here for all of your soundtrack-ordering needs.
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