Sunday 28 August 2022

Retro wRitings

Postponing that planned spacey sequel for a bit, as with many things I've just been a touch scattered and working on other things - the best laid plans of mice & men and all that. I figured I at least owed something to tide y'all over in the meantime, and what started as a quick one/two track post became a little longer. So let's dive in shall we?
Frank Stella - Eccentric Polygons - Effingham (1974)

I've almost become a mirror of my younger self lately, dipping back into the world of emulation and nostalgia fuelled by the content creators I've mentioned in previous posts. Helped along as well by the Retro Achievements website I've been playing old favourites, weird imports and things I missed. That comes in handy from time to time though - case in point here as Kohta Takahashi has released an album on Bandcamp that is a look back at the Ridge Racer Type 4 soundtrack through a modern lens. As with Rom Di Prisco's similar look back at their old work there's a definite charm to it, and fans of the original OST will very much find things to love here. It's not a simple re-tread though, as Takahashi notes on the Bandcamp page this is more about capturing the vibe of Type 4: the whole genre gamut is on show here from the expected House to Dubstep and then back again. Surprising no one given my recent posts, my favourite of the bunch is this could-have-been menu theme.

It ain't all low-poly stuff though, I've also been revisiting Midnight Club 3, which dedicates a large chunk of its soundtrack to Electro, Detroit Techno and Drum & Bass (the latter not really surprising as Moving Shadow and Rockstar have been close since GTA2 back in '99, and they appear again in MC3). The Midnight Club series has serious pedigree when it comes to soundtracks: the theme to the first one was classic Techno/House anthem Strings Of Life. The second game dug deep for its intercontinental USA, French and Japanese settings, treating us to an absolutely choice selection of House and Trance - including some of Thomas Bangalter's solo work!

All of that to say I've been flicking back through my archives and checking out more techno and Drum & Bass. These are usually one of albums or EPs that I note down and then get lost with time, but make for a nice surprise when you find them again, like digging out an old jacket and finding some cash in the pockets. Enter The Silicon Dawn from Dan Curtin. I can't remember how I came across this record in the first place but it doesn't take long to see why it was on my list, from the title and cover art alone I could tell it'd be the kind of record for me. Lovely melodic techno with that sci-fi edge, if your taste is at all similar to mine then a dive into Curtin's work will do you no wrong. Once again surprising no one, I've gone for the track that sounds the most like it could be from Warp's {Artificial Intelligence} Series - It Tastes Like. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.

Now onto the second half of that upper paragraph, as we visit the D&B side of things. you'll be surprised some of the things you can find on Bandcamp! It's gotten to the point now where no matter how obscure the thing I'm looking at is, I'll give a cursory search just in case it's found its way there. Inperspective Records is one such example of that, having most of their backcatalogue available on there. I've noted down some bits and pieces from them over the years, and it's always a nice surprise when I look them up to remember why. In keeping with the theme here, Stature feels again very much like a credits or menu theme! Admittedly not quite as Drum & Bass as the other parts of the EP but you can still hear flecks of it now and then. Check out the A-side Windchime for some more intense breakbeat action, contrasted with some smooth hi tech vibes.

And that'll be all for this fairly quick writeup, we wandered around a bit but I think I kept it mostly on topic (though behind the scenes I have since fallen down several more rabbit holes that may or may not result in posts). That sequel post I mentioned last time is still in the pipeline so keep an eye out for that but until then - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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