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."


zircon & Jillian Aversa - The Search For Ambrosia (NYC Streets) [click to download] |HTML5|


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."


Level 99 - Tears In Rain (Seattle - Lower Seattle & Heron's Loft) [click to download] |HTML5|


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.

Alexander Brandon & Jimmy Hinson - Ma Chérie Nicolette (DuClare Chateau, Main Title) [click to download] |HTML5|


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.

Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley [click to download] |HTML5|


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.

Gray - Depersonalization [click to download] |HTML5|


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.

Apparat - Get Out Of Your Krib [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Quiet Time



Another week another cross section of tunes for you. Keeping it fairly chill towards the end of the year, and kicking off with another archival installment. So it turns out there's a bonus track from FlyLo's Until The Quiet Comes that I wasn't even aware of, I managed to get my mitts on it after some difficulty so I thought I'd file it away on here once again, along with the hi-res version of the album art above. Yet again the Japanese bonus track is a very solid addition to the tracklist, it comes out feeling like a hip hop infused version of the Casino Versus Japan tune I posted last week. I'm totally in love with the sound of it, behind the lo-fi beats there's plenty of smoothness to get stuck into.

Flying Lotus - The Things You Left [click to download] |HTML5|


Had a nightmare run of bad luck earlier this week that left me wandering a train platform for about an hour. Gave me some time to think about tunes I was gonna talk about though, and this was going to be #1 before I managed to get a hold of that FLyLo. Give it time to get past the slightly dramatic sounding intro and you get some some Japanese trip hop styled thing circa '98. Not only does it perfectly describe the weather for November here across the pond, but it's pretty perfect musical accompaniment to being stranded on a train platform, just slow down for a little while.

Akira Takemoto - Cloudy, With Occasional Rain [click to download] |HTML5|


And with that in mind, thought I'd revisit Röyksopp's track of the month series again. Stronghold was the last one to come out, it was slightly delayed so was released in January, it totally first the winter aesthetic to a T as you might expect from Röyksopp. Pair it with Sparks from Melody A.M. if you're in need of some warming audio in these colder months.

Röyksopp - Stronghold [click to download] |HTML5|


Sunday, 5 November 2017

ComfyCozy

Balcomb Greene - Bois de Vincennes (1964)


Gettin' to that time of year here in England where the °C starts falling fast, so I spent Saturday dreaming up some tunes I think would fit in that very loosely defined 'cozy electronic' label I've mentioned a few times recently. First is a fairly recent addition to my stuff, coming from a compilation of Subroc Recordings. This is the tune that kinda set me off on making this post, it echoes with the same feeling that is present on plenty of tracks from The Flashbulb, and also resembles a slightly more sedate version of the Luke Vibert tune that lends its title to this post ComfyCozy.

Ginrei - Hello, Weather [click to download] |HTML5|


I've been holding off on going all in with Casino Versus Japan's album Go Hawaii for just such an occasion. As I mentioned before this album is the closest I've come to finding something that very closely resembles the work of Plone (which funnily enough were active at the time of Go Hawaii's release), but with a slightly more lo-fi feel than Plone. That nervous opening synth is gorgeous, and the tune overall is fairly lush with sounds. Stay tuned after the fadeout for an extra bonus slice of pure ambient around 4:43. A bit odd to have the 'hidden bonus track' format when this tune isn't even halfway through the album but I'm not complaining.

Casino Versus Japan - Metrobolt [click to download] |HTML5|


I spent a long time trying to narrow down which Boards Of Canada tune I think would best fit into this cozy electronic category.Though it was a strong contender, I've posted Olson enough times that I think it'd be a litte lazy (plus Olson is super short too). I hovered around Twoism for a while, but like a lot of BoC's backcatalogue, there are some small unsettling bits and pieces there to boot. I eventually settled on Left Side Drive from the Trans Canada Highway EP, which as it turns out is a fairly good intro to Boards Of Canada if it's your first listen; all the elements are there, the lo-fi analogue feel, the playing around with reversed sounds, and of course the lush synths and beats combo.

Boards Of Canada - Left Side Drive [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat