Runic Games Q & A with Matt Uelman

Matt Uelman has been a favorite composer of mine for years.  His catalog includes Diablo and Diablo 2, as well as World of Warcraft.  Recently, Matt Uelman collaborated with Runic Games to bring us Torchlight.  His soundtrack to the game is stellar and evokes everything necessary to bring the world of Torchlight to life.

But this should not be a surprise to anyone who knows Uelman’s work: his music has always been understated but unforgettable.  The nostalgia of each of the Diablo games are easily invoked just by listening to Uelman’s tracks.  From the first time your Warrior stepped into Tristram in original Diablo to the vicious battle your Assassin barely survived to defeat Baal in Diablo 2:  Lord of Destruction, Uelman’s works were there invoking the darkness of the unknown and the taste of victory.  The world of Diablo and the music of Uelman are intertwined and inseparable.

Possessing the same sensitive and immersive qualities as his works for Diablo, Matt Uelman’s music for Torchlight does not disappoint.  He developed his music  based on the various demos of the game he had access to and was therefore able to fully understand “the world” of Torchlight.  The results of these efforts are tracks that fit the flow, character, and integrity of the game.  Here’s an example of his excellent town theme for Torchlight:

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Just… a perfect track.  His dark melodies are ponderous and bold and juxtaposed beautifully by his 12-string guitar’s haunting harmonics.  His grand dynamic swells and increasingly deep strings tell us of a tumultuous time in the history of the world of Torchlight.  Well done, as usual.

So you’ll have to imagine my excitement when I foundd out that Uelman would be brought back to score Torchlight 2!  I’ve been monitoring the Torchlight 2 website for some time as Runic Games has been posting “sneak peeks” of  their upcoming sequel to Torchlight in anticipation of E3.  To my delight, I discovered that one of these “sneak peeks” involves a comprehensive interview with Matt Uelman.  This article provides wonderful perspectives to a very underrated composer as well as insight into video game music creation/recording process.  Please check it out here.  It is a MUST READ for anyone who is a fan of the man and his work.

As a reward for reading this artcle, I’ll leave you with perhaps Matt Uelman’s most iconic track:

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As one keen commenter on this YouTube video points out:  I stayed awhile and listened.  Hope you did too.


About Classical Gaming

Steve Lakawicz holds an MM in Music Performance from Temple University as well as a BM in Tuba Performance from Rutgers University . His teachers include Paul Scott, Scott Mendoker, and Jay Krush. His love of video game music has lead him to form a blog, Classical Gaming, to promote discussion both casual and academic about the music of video games. He is the co-founder of the video game/nerd music chamber ensemble, Beta Test Music and regularly composes/performs chiptune music as Ap0c. He currently resides in Philadelphia where he teaches college statistics at Temple University. View all posts by Classical Gaming

3 responses to “Runic Games Q & A with Matt Uelman

  • Alex

    Matt Uelman is pure magic. I always found it fascinating, in Diablo 2, how the out-and-about (adventure/wilderness) themes never got in the way of the action. His music is so unobtrusive, so powerful, it is easy to miss the aural candy you are being treated to in the midst of battle. In WoW’s second expansion, the burning crusade, he contributed to the majority of ambient music which – while not being as iconic as his Tristram theme – is still dark and moving in its own way: (Blade’s edge mountains ambient music: Great find, great interview. Keep up the awesome work, for VG nerds and music-lovers everywhere.

    • progressivetuba

      If you haven’t played Torchlight, I really suggest that you do. It’s like… Diablo 2.5. Really great game… and with Uelman laying down the tracks? Oh man. I think I might go play right now, again.

  • Nic

    I’m sure Matt loves guitar arpeggios haha, fantastic. The town theme reminds me of Pink Floyd (Tristam too but far away into the melodies) with chord changes, bass lines, overall use of the guitar (echoed). This adds just more magic to the trip. Thanks, I really didn’t know his name until now.

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