Hudson Mohawke - Ded Sec - Watch Dogs 2 (OST)

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  • Watch Dogs 2 is a video game that centres on a rebel computer hacker bent on taking down a future San Francisco's all-encompassing surveillance program, ctOS. In the days of Anonymous and WikiLeaks, hackers can pass for superheroes, purveyors of vigilante justice who possess powers beyond those of normal people. Judging from the drama of Ross Birchard's Watch Dogs 2 soundtrack, he might agree. Ded Sec's stylized overtures are as subtle as a comic book, which might seem like an odd fit for the game's brand of 3D realism. But the Scottish producer takes to the soundtrack format naturally. HudMo beats like "Chimes" or "Hold On" already had a whiff of the cinematic, and on Ded Sec, he runs with that impulse, unencumbered by the rules of pop and hip-hop. Though some songs are obviously meant as interludes, Ded Sec still has meaty tracks that stand on their own. "Watch Dogs Theme" is full of the choral vocals, decisive strings and marching-band drums that define Hudson Mohawke, and along with "Shanghaied," which opens the album in an orchestral flurry, those tracks contrast the game's dark, dystopian themes. The most striking thing about Ded Sec is how colourful it sounds—from the deliriously happy "Burning Desire," whose 8-bit bleeps pay homage to early video game music, to "Play N Go," which turns the usually triumphant HudMo sounds bittersweet. Other moments hearken back to Birchard's past, like "Haum Sweet Haum," which repurposes the roaring brass of TNGHT as ominous sirens, with the drums sounding more anxious than uplifting. "Eye For An Eye" and "Amethyst" are closer to trap, referencing Birchard's days as a wunderkind hip-hop producer. Tracks like these show he's at his best with an open format, making the idiosyncratic beats—catchy, vibrant, unapologetically weird—that put him on the map in the first place. You'd never mistake this music for anyone else's, even the minute-long interludes. As a standalone album, Ded Sec is a bumpy ride, though it's also inspired. Long-time Hudson Mohawke fans let down by the patchy crossover attempts of Lantern should be satisfied with this album of pure HudMo. Considering how he's complained about the politics and hurdles of the mainstream music world, Ded Sec sounds like he might have found his calling. It's a return to instrumental music, a place where Birchard sounds as comfortable—and triumphant—as ever.
  • Tracklist
      01. Shanghaied 02. Burning Desire (Hacker) 03. W4tched (Cinema) 04. Haum Sweet Haum 05. Cyber Driver 06. Amethyst 07. Play N Go 08. Eye For An Eye (Reprise) 09. Cyber Driver (Opera) 10. Citrus 11. Balance 12. Burning Desire 13. Eye For An Eye 14. Robot (Finale) 15. Watch Dogs Theme 16. The Motherload