Monday 19 June 2023

Pit Stop Hero

Mitch Murder is back at it again with another of his 'Fictional Soundtracks'. There's never a long gap between releases from Mitch but it has been a while since he's put one of these out. In an era where N64/PS1 nostalgia is king, especially the Drum & Bass side of things, I find it interesting that Mitch always goes a little more out there with his choices - there's a trio of Wii themed albums, but both this one and the first one I heard focus on the underdog of the console world in Sega - last time the Sega CD, this time the Saturn, rival to the PS1 and N64.

I'm not going to spend too much more time on the tech side of things, but one final thing I will say is it's very on brand for Mitch's work. It's safe to say he's nailed the vibe totally - the opening of the album immediately evoking Daytona USA with a bit crushed vocal sample shouting out the title. Laden with almost gratuitous electric guitar, it certainly feels like it should be blasting out of some really tinny arcade speakers over an attract mode video.

One downside to these 'soundtracks' is that all the tracks are fairly short - that's kind of understandable if you're emulating menu loops I suppose but can make it tricky to post like this. Select Course is one of the ones I knew I was going to put up upon hearing it though, keeping that trademark Mitch Murder sound while channelling that overall theme excellently - I can already see the low poly previews of the tracks spinning in my mind.

Mitch also gets to dip back into the vaporwave side of things a touch as well, again fitting given the style he's emulating here. Head Office has much more in common with the intentionally Vapor-as-hell Salary Man Simulator trilogy - All of which are on Bandcamp as well: One, Two - Corporate Retreat and Three - Remote Business. Coming out sounding like a hybrid of Japanese environmental music and soft jazz hold music, it's a great mid-point lull for the album that up until now had been full on arcade spectacle.

It's not long before we get back to that though, Victory Lap bringing a fittingly triumphant sound, loaded with the same MIDI guitar as the title track. Oddly enough it doesn't sound nearly as bombastically in yer face as the opening title, you can certainly hear the older-school Mitch sound on show here - I'm thinking Hollywood Heights style, which if it wasn't clear enough by now is something he excels at.

If I had one complaint other than the length, it'd be that the tracks feel a little... 80s? Kind of hard to pin down as I never owned a Saturn - but if it's emulating Daytona USA I can kind of understand as the arcade version of that is from the early 90's, perhaps we can head canon that this is a home port of Pit Stop Hero. That complaint goes by the wayside with End Titles which moves things forward in the decades a touch. Coming out a little more like the mellower sides of the Ridge Racer OSTs at the off, and taking things in a more house-y direction by the end. It would have been a perfect capstone IMO, but there's a little 40 second track to come after this one. A fun little release, it's pay what you want over on BC so you can scoop it for free if you'd like - it comes with some neat easter egg images in the .zip file as well!

Mitch has been moving away from Synthwavy kind of stuff recently, I can understand why, as I've mentioned a few times on here it's a genre that is a little oversaturated and can sometimes be a little stale - but I can't help but smile when Mitch drops something new, he's a real master of his craft. Saying that, his non-synthwave excursions have also been pretty special too, I might have to drop one or two of them here sometime soon. But that'll about wrap it up for today, I'll be back soon enough with more but until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Friday 9 June 2023

As is tradition

There's no shortage of tracks out there with dates attached - now, I'm not normally one for date-posting over here, but I usually make an exception for this one - It's not the only one the Boards Of Canada boys have either, but I like to shine a light on it around the date in question. Hailing from their early pre-Warp days on Skam records, it perhaps a little less known than their later works. Annoyingly, this also makes it very hard to post a legal stream of it.

Normally, I'd go for a hooky Soundcloud upload but I don't quite feel like it this time, so instead we're reverting back to the old tried and tested YT players. With a twist this time! The first video is from an old community video contest that was judged by the band themselves, which ended up coming second. The years passing (16 of them!) haven't been kind to it and it looks crunchy as all get out, but it makes a nice change from the usual cliché BoC fan-vid which leans heavily on the 70's nostalgia, but then again this track is quite different from your usual BoC affair as it is. It comes out looking a little more like the hi-tech Warp videos of old, think Chris Cunningham's video for Autechre's Second Bad Villbel.

Of course, I gotta follow that up with a newer upload, if only for the infinitely better audio quality. It was remastered/repressed in 2014 which in my head makes me think "oh that wasn't too long ago" before realising it's coming up on almost a decade ago... The rest of the Hi Scores EP is worth a spin, there's other bits on there that are more 'BoC' like in execution if the thundering tech of this one isn't for you.

And that'll about do it for today - I'll be back soon enough with more but until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Sunday 4 June 2023

Sealed with a kiss

Dropping by with a quick one for ya all - longtime readers might remember the name Magna - an alias of Jake Decoteau that he has since retired. I've posted about what he's up to these days, he's now making web 2.0 as hell things under the name Thorne which brings us to our tale today. About a week ago he posted a series of videos all to do with tracking down a 'mystery' house song', not entirely out of the realms of possibility, previous site owner Jordan would occasionally put out requests for rare tunes back in the day after all.

If you watch the other videos it's actually pretty impressive, leading to a found discogs page where it just so happens that there is one solitary copy available for sale. If you haven't cottoned on by now, the videos are actually an elaborate announcement countdown - with the final video revealing that it's actually a new release from a duo consisting of Jake himself and Owen Hobson.

And what a release it is - as you might have guessed already from that initial video linked above that specifically namedropped Stardust, this is a love letter to that specific kind late 90's house sound - you know the kind, it's gone by many names over the years and about as many revivals. I don't mean that to sound too negative mind you, it should be obvious to anyone reading that I have a massive place in my heart for that style, the blog was practically founded on it and I wouldn't have discovered it (and of course end up here now) if it weren't for it. Per the bandcamp description, the two are trying to recapture "that summer heat from the mid-2000s", which I think they've done admirably (at least for those in the northern hemisphere who are entering Summer that is!) I think it's a good time to drop something like this, after a bleak couple of years, I think we could all do to cut loose to some throwback house.

There's only one thing that I do hope, and that's that this duo doesn't end up too closely emulating that era of house and only putting out one release! Rest assured I'll be keeping tabs on any future developments out of that camp, and you'll hear as soon as I do. That'll be all for today, I'll be back soon enough with more but until next time - as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.