Sunday, 26 November 2017

My Hearing Is Augmented


I've mentioned in the past how much I adore the original Deus Ex's soundtrack. parts of it are limited and a little dated sounding tanks to being an unreal engine game fro m'99 but the atmosphere is there. Fast Forward to a couple days ago where I was made aware of this little project by OCRemix, I've heard of them in the past but never dug too deep. So I was interested a little, which only increased when I read that one of the original composers was a collaborator too. I checked it out and I'm digging it, so now I'm going to give a rundown of some of my favourites from it!

It kicks off with a drum & bass treatment of one of my original faves, NYC Streets. The original OST had bits and pieces of Drum & Bass style things in it, (after all games like System Shock 2, which was full of techno and drum and bass too also came out in '99) but it's still interesting to compare and contrast the difference in styles, both when freed of technical restraints of being implemented into a game engine and with the passage of time. Oh, and the download comes with a readme of artist comments too which I really, really dig. I'll be putting them in quotes before the players.

"zircon: As with the entire Deus Ex soundtrack, "NYC Streets" is extremely atmospheric and creates a wonderful, dark mood. With this remix, I wanted to expand on that feeling and create a sense of motion, energy, and action befitting of a cyberpunk adventure. Jill lent her voice to the track with airy pads, solo improvisation and melody to help add even more of an organic feel to the heavily electronic instrumental."




It's not limited to the first game however, our next one comes from the (not as well received) sequel Invisible War, which to be fair has a decent soundtrack also. I disagree with some points mentioned by Level 99 in the artists statement. It doesn't feel particularly 'Blade Runner' aside from the title (though I will concede going full Vangelis on this would have been a mite cliche). And second I don't think the tune's very hopeless feeling at all, I could easily (and have) chucked it into a cozy downtempo and trip hop playlist and it'd fit in just fine. Not to dwell on the negativity too much though, the tune itself is very gorgeous to listen to, and I absolutely adore that outro with the final key synced with the thunder.

"Level 99: "Tears in Rain," as implied by the title, was inspired by Blade Runner. Deus Ex has always had the feel of a Ridley Scott movie to me, and I derived inspiration from that as well as from the soundtracks of Thomas Newman, particularly Road to Perdition. There's this abject hopelessness throughout much of the series, and I tried to capture that here. While I didn't play Invisible War as much as the original Deus Ex, this song always stood out to me as being especially gorgeous in its mystique and sound design."




Returning to a more electronically oriented piece for my last pick. That sweeping into ticks all of my electronic, sci-fi and cyberpunk buttons in one stroke, Ma Chérie Nicolette incorporates both the theme of the eponymous Nicolette DuCLare's chateau but also the main theme of Deus Ex itself later on, which combined with the overall synthwavy feel of the thing makes for an interesting rework of the two. Jimmy Hinson doesn't have much to say about the tune in the accompanying artists readme which is a shame, especially given that this is one of the tunes with the original composer featuring too. I can relate though, it is sometimes difficult to talk about your process or any meanings behind your work. Still, the tune's a worthy addition to the compilation.



So those are my choice picks from the comp, I should have maybe started by saying this but here goes anyway: If you've like what you heard here, you can pick up the Sonic Augmentation compilation for the low price of absolutely *free* from this page on OCRemix. It even comes with album art (and multiple choices of album art to boot!) if you're a bit of a stickler for that like myself. I hope you enjoyd and I'll see y'all next week with more selections.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Not As Quiet

Tia Peltz - Personaje pe Calea Văcărești


Back again with another cross section of tunes for y'all. As a quick aside, I've updated the monthly selections over on the right there, there's a whole new track-list for November and I've extended the selections out to ten tracks from the 7 or 8 that it was. Also I'm going to start archiving previous months playlists over on my spotify too, taking it a little closer to the old grooveshark days. Here's my profile if you want to keep up with them.

Revisiting Perturbator's The Uncanny Valley (which as a forewarning is a super loud album, I've certainly jumped a couple times when it's come on my headphones.) Sticking with the album's title track, the cinematic influence on Perturbator's sound is plain to see here, and it doesn't take a massive leap in imagination to see this alongside a finale into credits roll, complete with a fade at the end for a teaser for the next installment of Perturbator's adventures.



Another piece from the Subhuman compilation this time. And it's a far cry from the fairly smooth sailing of Ginrei's Hello, Weather I posted last time. Depersonalization is the compilation opener and it spares no time setting up the gritty undercurrent of the whole experience, the glitchy opening slowly building into a thundering industrial style monster. There are some brilliant touches in there too, I love the small break at 2:15 or so, which gives you a small respite before building back up to the main structure again. The whole thing really hits its stride around the 4 minute mark, where another break introduces some lush backing synths that inject a nice contrast in sound to play us out.



And finally, some more of Apparat's IDM style work. This is another highlight of the Shapemodes EP for me, it strikes a lovely balance between the skittering chaotic nature of IDM and the smoother accompaniment as seen on Walls and the like. There's even some vocal cut-ups that make a brief appearance toward the end that I wish Apparat would have experimented with more on other releases, they compliment this tune so well and it's a shame they aren't around for just a smidgen longer. Not a huge fan of the title but when everything else is pretty much on point I think I can overlook that.



-Claude Van Foxbat