TORONTO, CANADA — (April 25, 2018) – Internationally acclaimed Danish composer Jesper Kyd will be honored with the 2018 Nile Rodgers Global Creators Award at Canadian Music Week (www.cmw.net) in Toronto, May 7 – 13. A true innovator and musical visionary on the frontier of video games, the BAFTA award-winner and Billboard / MTV VMA nominee has created brand-defining original soundtracks for multiple blockbuster franchises including ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ ‘Borderlands,’ ‘Hitman,’ ‘Darksiders’ and ‘State of Decay.’ Renowned for crafting unique cinematic and atmospheric musical scores combining a diverse array of instrumentation and processed sounds, Kyd is being honored for his nearly twenty-year career of extraordinary, innovative and unique body of work in video games scoring.
“I’ve been a Jesper Kyd fanboy for years,” says Rock and Roll Hall of famer and multiple Grammy Award-winning artist, producer, arranger and guitarist Nile Rodgers (CHIC, Daft Punk, David Bowie, Duran Duran), himself no stranger to the virtual worlds of interactive entertainment. In 1998, Rodgers launched Sumthing Distribution and Sumthing Else Music Works, a boutique distribution company and record label that’s found considerable success in soundtracks for popular video game franchises such as ‘Resident Evil’, ‘Borderlands’, ‘Gears of War’ and ‘Halo.’ Previous recipients of the Nile Rodgers Global Creators Award include entertainment industry luminaries Paul Shaffer, Spike Lee and Tony Visconti.
An original modern artist and musician for a new generation immersed in digital FX and interactive entertainment, Jesper Kyd first started composing music for visual media in the experimental European demoscene, performing at so-called ‘demo’ video game parties including a broadcast stint on MTV Europe. At 19 he became part owner of a video game developer which later evolved into IO Interactive, the studio behind the popular ‘Hitman’ series that chronicles anti-hero Agent 47’s missions to eliminate underworld criminals, and ‘Freedom Fighters’, an alternative universe depicting a propaganda-fueled Russian army invasion of New York. During this early period of Kyd’s career he composed and recorded some of the first live orchestral and choral scores heard in video games, including the symphonic scores for ‘Hitman 2’, ‘Freedom Fighters’ and ‘Hitman 4’ featuring the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Hungarian Radio Choir, while also blending operatic performances and signature electronic sounds into memorable hybrid scores.
A pioneer of fusing modern and retro synth music styles for the medium, Kyd’s pulsating scores elevated the genre to new levels; most notably his dense and moody ambience soundtrack for ‘Hitman Contracts’ received a British Academy award for its groundbreaking “evocative blend of electronica, dark symphonic themes, and choral grooves.” – Maureen Droney, The Recording Academy/Electronic Musician. As a gamer himself Kyd’s evocative soundtracks have always connected deeply with players, complemented by emotive standalone album listening experiences that further immerse audiences in the virtual worlds he’s composing for. “Many have tried to turn a video game soundtrack into a musical experience. But few have succeeded in creating a coherent, satisfying listening experience as well as Jesper Kyd.” – EQ Magazine.
Constantly inventing new sounds and pushing musical boundaries, Kyd’s iconic period music for Ubisoft’s epic history-inspired sci-fi series ‘Assassin’s Creed’ transcended the gaming experience with his melodic hybrid approach that has “defined the series for fans around the world.” – Official PlayStation Magazine. In particular Kyd’s poetic “Ezio’s Family” theme for the Italian Renaissance setting and story in ‘Assassin’s Creed 2’, combining rich instrumentation with a modern-day musical aesthetic and haunting, lush female vocal, has gained resonance with a massive worldwide audience and taken on a whole new life of its own beyond the game’s original inception. Widely considered the most popular theme music of the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ franchise, his music now features in over 25 titles, and continues to be adapted and marketed for new entries of the blockbuster property.
Kyd brings a unique signature to each of his creative projects and subsequently his journey as an artist is ever-evolving and reflects a penchant for experimentation. Most recently he channeled his Scandinavian roots to compose, perform and produce a Norse mythology inspired tribal acoustic score for the latest installment of ‘Warhammer: Vermintide’ based on the Games Workshop dark fantasy universe, as well as fusing rustic steel guitars with analog synth soundscapes for Microsoft Studios / Undead Labs’ highly anticipated zombie survival sequel ‘State of Decay 2’ releasing this May.
Combined with the dynamic global appeal of his music, Kyd’s non-traditional methodology is also attracting big screen collaborations with international filmmakers. He scored rising star Chinese director Lu Chuan’s #1 box office 3D fantasy action adventure ‘Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe,’ based on the best-selling Chinese novel ‘Ghost Blows Out The Light’. Kyd’s latest feature, ‘Tumbad’, is a dark thriller set in British colonial India produced by Recyclewala Films (‘Ship of Theseus’, National Awards Winner for Best Feature Film) and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Rahi Anil Barve (‘Manjha’). “I love exploring new music styles and mixing different genres together,” says Kyd. “Finding a unique approach adds depth, which can truly define the score and the game or film.”
JESPER KYD CREDITS:
Hitman: Codename 47 (2000)
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002)
Freedom Fighters (2003)
Hitman: Contracts (2004)
Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
Assassin’s Creed 2 (2009)
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010)
Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2011)
Borderlands 2 (2012)
Darksiders 2 (2012)
State of Decay (2013)
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (2014)
Borderlands: Claptastic Voyage (2014)
Warhammer: Vermintide (2015)
Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe 3D (2015)
Robinson: The Journey (2016)
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (2018)
State of Decay 2 (2018)
ABOUT CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK
CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK is Canada’s most established music industry conference. Now in its 36th year, it is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America focusing on the business of music. CMW brings together Sound Recording, New Media and Broadcast for one spectacular week of events – combining informative, intensive conferences, a cutting-edge trade exhibition, award shows, film festival, comedy festival and Canada’s biggest New Music Festival. All convention functions take place at the CMW’s host hotel, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel (123 Queen Street West, Toronto M5H 2M9).