Wednesday 31 March 2021

Setting Sights

It's getting to be that time of month again where I start eyeing my Bandcamp list in prep for the upcoming Friday. And it seems like I've been busy, the Wishlist seems to have grown quite a bit with some things I vaguely remember putting on there. I think it's yet another case of me going 'cool cover!' and idly adding it to the wishlist as I'm known to do. Not the case for all of them though, and I'll be sharing a few of them with you today.

Kazuo Shiraga - Karin (1976)

A theme of the past couple of weeks has been me picking up stuff that I meant to and forgot about, or just for some reason never did. It's been a lot to be like 'Oh yeah this is fairly new still' and it's actually from 2017 or something. But I digress again - on that same vein though I am finally going to get my hands on Jasper Byrne's Hotline Miami 2 EP sometime soon. It's a bit of an odd one as it has three distinct release versions with a couple of extra tracks on each. The version on Byrne's bandcamp is the 5-track version - the version of Miami on here is a different mix to the one from the first game if I remember right, but it doesn't let you preview it so I can't say for certain just yet.

Despite the title this isn't just a re-tread of Byrne's additions to the actual soundtrack: the first two tracks did make it on the OST but the rest are tracks made for the Soundtrack but don't actually appear in it. I was really into the track I've picked way back when, a bit more dancefloor friendly than the usual slightly psychedelic neon vibes of what I normally associate with the Hotline OST. I may not be as into electro as I was back then but I still really like this kind of sound, Byrne has a distinct style when it comes to making them that still really fits the atmosphere while standing alone on their own as well.

Jumping forward to the present day next but keeping it on the soundtrack front. A few months ago I came across a game called Umurangi Generation and it looks like it will be supremely up my alley. Cyberpunk Photography? Hell yeah!. To my shame I've yet to actually get a hold of it, but I am reminded every time I see the artwork. It has a soundtrack by ThorHighHeels who I knew in passing from the online world, but a couple weeks ago I decided to check out their bandcamp. And I really like what I found there. There is a bit of... randomness to some of their releases for want of a better term - lots of one-offs with (deliberatley) naff album art, but there's good stuff on there. I'm sticking with the Umurangi soundtrack for now, the main game's OST isn't on their bandcamp but the DLC is - and it's 51 tracks of pure aesthetic perfection. I say that a lot when covering soundtracks I know but this time it feels more appropriate than ever!

The track I've chosen - Dancing At The Precipice belongs to a school of sound that I have little of but very much love, I can't really describe it beyond comparing it to some of the tracks from the OlliOlli2 soundtrack - that kind of slick and smooth but still sounding a little DIY kind of indie electronic. I get the feeling it would be an easy style to overdose on which is part of the reason I haven't really sought it out too much but I may have to start doing so at this rate. I will say one thing about this one though while a lot of the OlliOlli OST had this lovely dreamy vibe to it, Precipice has a ludicrously bouncy bassline backing it up that really sets it apart, evoking old memories of Speed Garage in me. A real shelf wobbler this one, definitely one that's high on my list!

And going retro once again as we bring things back down. Yet another album I had never heard of until I got deep into exploring the old 'recommended for you' side of things - Sun Electric's Kitchen. Being from 1993, I foolishly assumed it would not be readily available digitally, but it turns out R&S Records have a pretty complete archive available on their end.

It's very similar in style to the {Artificial Intelligence} stuff that Warp was putting out at the time, every time I mention the {AI} series I feel like mentioning that Warp weren't the only ones doing it around that time, here R&S have made that super clear for everyone to hear (and see, the design for this album was done by Warp mainstays The Designer's Republic whose work I adore.) I get that the Warp stuff can be a bit too ambient and sometimes a little experimental, by comparison tracks like Entrance play out more like techno of the era with just a slight nod to that ambient side. There's plenty of great moments throughout still - that bleepy break around 2:30 almost entirely summarises the sound of the era in pretty succinct fashion. It's perhaps a little more repetitive than some of the Warp stuff as well, but I'm very into it at the minute regardless, it's one that's wormed it's way into more than a few of my techy playlists.

A little bit more variety this time, that's a good thing though as for a while I was feeling like I was getting stuck in a genre rut. Here's hoping that you find some new stuff yourself based of these selections too, and in the cases of the soundtrack stuff if you like what you hear make sure to check out the respective games too! And as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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