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Audio File FriThursday 'Sam Hulick'

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As promised, here's today's second Audio File Friday and, hopefully, the last one that isn't on an actual Friday for some time. The other days just don't have the same ring to them. Rebecca Black taught us that.

For today's feature let me tell you something: I love Mass Effect. It's one of the few new IPs of this generation to really grab me and make me spend countless hours on wikis and forums discussing the it. I fanboy for Garrus and Shep (hopefully soon to be consummated with ME3's addition of same sex romance) and I have a weird thing for the Hanar that I won't go into here. The point is: I really love Mass Effect.

So of course I have been dying. Dying. To get some Mass Effect music up in here. But despite my efforts I've been unable to find any good music based on the franchise. A shame when you consider how beautifully done its score is.

No wonder, then, that the first bit of Mass Effect music I stumbled upon perfect for Audio File Friday happened to be made by one of the game's actual composers: Sam Hulick.

Sam Hulick has worked on both Mass Effect 1 and 2, but sadly won't return for the third. With famed composer Clint Mansell is taking over from Jack Wall as lead, and now sole, composer there doesn't seem to be room left for Mr. Hulick but hopefully this isn't the end for him and the franchise that gave him his big break. He did, after all, write the series' now iconic main theme:

A Bloomington, Indiana native Sam Hulick has grown up surrounded by both gaming and music.

From his official website:

He benefited greatly from living in a creative and musically inclined household, with full access to his father's music studio with both electronic and acoustic instruments. After attending Indiana University, he entered the work force as a computer programmer and administrator, which he enjoyed initially, though in time he felt the pangs of a different calling: to combine his passions for video games and writing music, and pursue a career as a video game composer.

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The guy has got a knack for what he does, something anyone who's played a game he's composed for can atest to. With gaming music you want to enhance and be memorable without being distracting, and Hulick nails this with each piece he scores. His work can reach inspirational heights and depressing lows without ever feeling forced or melodramatic; not an easy balance to strike.

But his work on the games is already well known, so why is he being featured here? Haven't we heard everything he's made already?

Well turns out, we haven't.

His two song release, B-Sides From Another Galaxy, features two previously unreleased tracks that were ultimately cut from the first Mass Effect. One can't help but wonder where these songs, titled Of Stars and Dreams and Ghost Ship, would have fit into the final package were they included. Ghost Ship's steady build in the middle of the song has such tension to it; intended for heated combat or a dramatic exchange or something else entirely?

Now you might scoff at the idea of paying $2.19 for a pair of songs, but Mr. Hulick being the nice guy he is has given some extra incentive for you. Until December 24th, 2011 50% of the album's procedes will go to Child's Play Charity, who've bringing toys, games, books and cash to sick kids in hospitals since 2003.

So look at it this way, you're doing a good thing AND you get some unreleased Mass Effect music in the process.

You can also grab, for a mere $0.50, this track titled Shepard's Return.

So go do a good thing, check out the two unreleased tracks, and get ready for Mass Effect's upcoming guy on guy action third entry. And keep your ears open for whatever is next for Sam Hulick.

It so happens that he just released an entire score, all by himself, for Red Orchestra 2. Be sure to check that out as well.

As always keep up to date and find more of his work by checking out his official website, his twitter, his facebook, and his youtube channel.

We're almost there! The end of the week and Audio File Friday's return to a weekly schedule are both at hand!

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And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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