Klyfta - Selections Review

Cover art for Klyfta - Selections

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Name: Klyfta - Selections
  • Label: Jay Tholen
  • Composer(s): Chris Schlarb
  • Number of Tracks: 4

You can read about the fantastic Hypnospace Outlaw and how I acquired the game by reading my review. As I backed the game at the "HYPNOSPACE GROOVEMASTER" tier this meant I was eligible to receive "the original soundtrack in MP3 or FLAC"; little did I realise that there's a lot of music in Hypnospace Outlaw which is probably why the soundtrack spans over five albums. The one I'm reviewing today is composed by Chris Schlarb (who also collaborated with Jay Tholen on the soundtrack for Dropsy) and is titled "Klyfta - Selections". "Klyfta" is a fictional band in the world of Hypnospace Outlaw that has an interesting history which is all chronicled on one of the in-game webpages called "Aldrin's Home of Sound".

There are only four tracks on this album that are meant to be samples of music from each of the four fictional albums the Swedish jazz rock band Klyfta worked on, from 1972 - 1985. I acquired the itch.io version of the album which meant the four MP3s were in 256kbps format (I'm not sure what format the Steam version of the soundtrack offers but I can only imagine it'd be the same).

Like many real-life bands, the story of the band Klyfta involves them harnessing their "true" sound in the early days of the band (1970s) and results in them selling out to a more commercial sound during the 1980s which results in the band dissolving due to "creative differences". The first track on this album comes from the first album released by Klyfta and is simply called "A" (all of their albums have similarly imaginative names). Their debut 1972 album is described in Hypnospace Outlaw as finding minor success in the USA despite performing poorly in Europe. The critics loved the album though, especially the violin and drum performances. "Cosmos Eternal" which features from the album "A" is definitely a jazzy number with a double bass solo that dominates the first minute and eventually resulting in some awesome drums kicking in at 1:13. There's a lot going on in this track and a lot to like here: Its overarching jazzy sound means it would fit perfectly in Jerry Martin's soundtrack for SimCity 3000 and its dreamy sequences give it a psychedelic rock feel similar to The Doors. Even the time signature isn't your typical one: I'm pretty sure it's 6/8 time since it almost sounds like a jig.

Moving on to the second track and we have probably my favourite track on this album. "Deep Cavern of Peril" featured on the band's second album "B" which was released in 1974. The album wasn't a commercial success but was again loved by the critics. Unfortunately, this meant the record label Klyfta was signed up with eventually went bankrupt, releasing the band from their contract. The band broke up shortly after.

"Deep Cavern of Peril" reminds me of early jazz-rock fusion bands or early instrumental tracks by bands such as Level 42 (which coincidentally, just like Klyfta, started to be come more focused on popular styles of the 80s compared to its earlier albums, i.e. a shortening of track durations, more vocals, more synths and less of the jazzy elements). Just like "Cosmos Eternal", this track would also fit well on the SimCity 3000 soundtrack, but it's probably no surprise considering the SimCity 3000 soundtrack contains music reminiscent of Miles Davis, a pioneer in the jazz fusion genre.

Fast forward to the third track and you can definitely hear the change in style; this is because in the world of Hypnospace Outlaw, this track came from an album released by (what remained of) Klyfta in 1979. The album was simply called "C" and was panned by the critics and I must say, this particular track isn't my favourite on the album either since the basic drum beat and wailing vocals, just doesn't do it for me. The bluesy guitar segments though, I like.

In the world of Hypnospace Outlaw, the final track on this album called "Sport Anthem" was apparently stitched together by audio engineers from recording sessions performed by Carl Sundberg, the last remaining member of the band. Sundberg did not approve of this as he had already left the project due to creative differences. This final piece of humiliation resulted in him quitting music altogether and becoming an automotive airbrush artist (who incidentally has a page you can visit on Hypnospace). "Sport Anthem" proved to be very popular, so much so though that it became the official sport anthem for the fictional sport of "trennis" (it's like three-way tennis).

Despite it being a great departure in style from Klyfta's usual sound, I like this particular track, probably because it reminds me of indie rock tunes like "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand or other catchy tunes that have been used in sports broadcasts such as New Order's "World (Price of Love)" and "60 Miles an Hour".

Score – 9/10

Despite there only being four tracks on this "album" you've got to keep in mind that the first two run for 10 minutes each, which is not surprising considering they've got a bit of jazz in them. Fans of jazz-rock fusion with hints of psychedelic rock, indie rock and electronic rock will find something to like with Klyfta – Selections; since I love all those genres, these tracks rank among my favourites for what makes up the huge Hypnospace Outlaw soundtrack.

If you're interested in purchasing the soundtrack, it's going to be tricky to find it standalone as I've only found them available on the Hypnospace Outlaw store pages. You can get it off either Steam for $14.50 AUD or itch.io when you buy the game for $28 USD or more.