“Assassins Creed III: Liberation” invokes the spirit and strength of African tribalism, exotic wonders of the New World, and the sophistication of an increasingly enlightened people – and you get a taste of all of that within the 2-minute ‘Liberation Main Theme’ that launches the soundtrack
Rather than ignore the foundation laid in the previous “Assassins Creed” by composer Jesper Kyd, Winifred Phillips actually builds upon that solid framework and adds a layer of atmosphere and more modern excitement to the franchise by way of her instrumental choices and composing style. She brings a sense of the John Powell / David Arnold white-knuckle thrill-ride brand of espionage action to the score, all the while remaining true to the time period and the locales in which the adventure is set.
And on top of all of that, she still has tricks up her sleeve, like the supernatural whimsy imbued in ‘The Docks’, where you can almost hear seafaring spirits singing shanties of ages past. Respecting the various cultures and time periods represented, even minimally in “Assassins Creed III: Liberation,” Phillips creates the ultimate melting pot of sounds, while giving the game a distinct voice.
For example, ‘Secrets of the Bayou’ is so rich with shamanistic spiritualism; it is hard to believe that this music was created for a video game! And on the flip-side, she gives a nod to the aristocracy in ‘Society Suite in 4 Movements,’ which is so chock-full of hoity-toity, Parisian, pinky-lifting, upturned-nosed-ness; it makes you want to powder a wig! And if you really want your breath taken away, just lend your ear to a mere moment of ‘Mayan Labyrinth’!
Because the soundtrack is so diverse, I almost get the feeling that it should have been released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records, given Phillips reverence to artistic authenticity. On paper, this soundtrack could very easily have become a confusing, muddled mess of textures and techniques, but given Phillips’ pedigree of molding musical order from visual chaos, it is truly a masterwork of sound.