Kate Remington

Jesse Harlin: A Little Bit of Everything in 'Yoku's Island Express'

Kate Remington
Jesse Harlin: A Little Bit of Everything in 'Yoku's Island Express'

Villa Gorilla, the small studio that created Yoku's Island Express, describes it as a combination of pinball and a 'Metroid-vania" tribute. The game follows a tiny postman, Yoku, as he tries to free a tropical island's god from a curse, and he gets through the world as if it's a giant pinball machine. That gave composer Jesse Harlin lots of leeway to create a soundtrack that's filled with homages to Pink Floyd, silent film pianos and bebop! Find out why Jesse told me this was one of his favorite scores to write:

The developers at Villa Gorilla told Jesse they'd be happy with whatever he wrote, which was a totally new experience for him, and it took him a while to come up with a plan, which eventually became a core sample of all the music that inspired him to become a composer.

Jesse describes his soundtrack as "everything but the kitchen sink," and instruments include trombones, classic electric guitars, saxophones, sampled Tuvan throat singing – even Jesse reciting the DNA of yeast!

Episode tracklist

All tracks by Jesse Harlin

Yoku's Island Express: Yoku Taidua and the Village

Caveland: Toku Tuka Tomba

Yoku's Island Express: Letting Off Steam; the Slug Gardener; Welcome to Mokumana Beach; Out Down in the Underdark; Flight of the Space Monks; Monk Stumpin' What Lies Beneath

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Thanks to Adrianna Perez,  White Bear PR and

Greg O'Connor-Read, Top Dollar PR


Music Respawn


Kate Remington

Jesse Harlin

Yoku's Island Express

Villa Gorilla