Tuesday 21 June 2022


Forgive me, for I am about to do another one of my classic extended talks about the latest example of sounds perfectly suiting the aesthetics of what its soundtracking - like I did with VA-11 Hall-A and Hotline Miami before it. Today we're talking Neon White, a speedrunny shooter dealio from the creator of Donut County - a bit of a thematic shift to say the least. I was charmed by the demo a few months back, while I haven't gotten around to playing the full thing yet, I've been keeping tabs on it and more specifically, the soundtrack.
It's by Machine Girl, who have cropped up on my recommends a few times but as is so often the case with me, I haven't really bothered to check them out in any detail really - a quick browse through their discogs page will give you a quick visual rundown: a dazzling mixture of retro anime, PC-98 screenshots and vibrant colours, like a Vaporwave record dropped in sugar. Take Lillith for example, the track used in the announce trailer (or at least a tweaked version of it) - the first 20 seconds of which are a bit of a fakeout that gives way to a burst of breakcore that doesn't let up for the remainder of its runtime. A crash course in the world of Machine Girl, and setting us up for the sounds to come.

It'd be easy to assume that they'd just collect a bunch of tracks like that and call it a day, not the case here though - instead we have 51(!) tracks split over two albums to compliment the experience. We open with Glass Ocean, very obviously from the same school of sound as Lillith but a little bit softer, a bit more dreamy perhaps - more Drum & Bass than Breakcore. I also feel like Machine Girl are leaning into their videogame influences here something heavy, to be expected as it is a soundtrack to a videogame after all: the arcade-esque vocal shoutout of "Aim for the heavens!" and the wild synth noodling at 1:50 doing wonders to cement that feel.

It's not long before the intensity is ramped back up tho, next track on the list Virtual Paradise rockets back into that territory, perhaps even straying into more conventional IDM in parts as well. It too is the perfect soundscape for the gameplay, ripping through stylised environments in a flurry of violence; "Feel the rush!" as another well placed vocal sample says during a breakdown in the latter quarter. I've talked before about how soundtracks are a great way to introduce people to genres they might otherwise have missed, I'd love to see how many people find out they like this kind of electronic by playing the game!

I'm purposefully drip feeding myself tracks in order not to overdo it before I even have the chance to sit down and play it myself (likewise, expect more from these OSTs to come up in the near future) - thought I'd shift gears for my last choice to one of the more sedate tracks that accompanies the conversation parts of the game. Even then it's not by much, Heaven Central Authority starts out nice enough, but its not long before it all gets a bit shelf rattling with a deep bassline and some Trap trimmings. I've seen people mention in the reviews that these albums are basically really extended Machine Girl albums so if any of these tracks pique your interest you will find plenty more where that came from, and a reminder to myself to eventually check their fill discogs out myself.

And that'll be all for now, hope you like some of these cuts as much as I do, and even if the game doesn't interest you I would still recommend the soundtrack as it stands alone - there's even one review over on Bandcamp saying pretty much that. This week is shaping up to be pretty chaotic so it might be a little while before I'm back with more - but until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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