Being one of my childhood idols, I’m so glowing to see this on YouTube. Julia Child lives!!!
Being one of my childhood idols, I’m so glowing to see this on YouTube. Julia Child lives!!!
Stereo Alchemy is the product of twice Grammy winning composer Christopher Tin and Grammy nominated percussionist Kametron. God of Love is their début album together and showcases a broad spectrum of electro excellence.
“A Rapture” is a classic case in point. Starting out with ambient murmurings before breaking out into a stadium stomping wash of electronics and plush keyboard exploding seascapes. Equal parts isolating and warming, it blasts into epic chorus moments and shows real scope. “Unbound” is more gritty and crunchy guitar lead track and the pounding percussive nature of the guitar chugs really gets your pulse racing.
“God of Love” is the title track and where the concept of the album really fleshes out before your ears. Each song relates to a poem about Love or Death and they very much become characters during the album itself. The title track is simply mesmerizing. It’s a track that seems to spread far beyond the depths of the speakers the music blasts from and the drums and the vocals play together beautifully.
“She Walks in Beauty” is one of the more straight-laced tracks with some insanely catchy electronic work and sublime vocal work from a soulful male lead. It feels retrotastic in many ways yet it’s got a new pair of sneakers and is enjoying the ride. “Is It Possible” reminds me of Savage Garden – some of the best pop of the late 90′s – with extra funk! The percussion and beats in this track are unreal Kametron is definitely pressing hundreds of buttons a minute here and the ending minute is euphoria in a riff.
“Monster of the Sky” veers right across the edgy darkness that inhabited underground electronica in the 90s and reminds me of a crystal clean version of the band Curve. The chorus is rip-roaring and the guitar / bass lines added to reverbing vocals and nutty drum loops make everything tingle and explode like lit touch-paper.
“To Eternity” is a great hybrid of absolutely everything the album does wrapped up in one track. Starting out as a beautifully angelic number it slowly evolves into a riff rock disco track. In one way it’s got all the excellence that was the over produced 80′s way of musical life but the difference is Tin has managed to work everything into having its own space. Outstanding. ”My Hearts Fit to Break” is a more melodic track with lots of shimmering grit and glitz over fragile vocal delivery. The vocal performances of Melissa R Kaplan, Mozez and Lia Rose are spot on throughout and should be commended.
“Young Lovers” is so 1990 it is impossible to not smile and dance away to. Infectiously happy, delirious with its power chords and pumping beats – perfect for a sunny drive with the top down. “Love is Love” closes the album with a minimalistic chord swirl ballad that is both enlightening and understated in its beauty. The lyrics shine here, as they do throughout.
Stereo Alchemy have blown me away. The sheer complexity of some of the tracks is mind-boggling from the percussion to the little nuances and frequency changes in all the instruments as they go. It’s these things that elevate a good album to a truly great one. Quite frankly, God of Love is one long eargasm from start to finish and is firmly the first contender for album of the year on this site.
Wow is all I can say for this three track digital single. Omar Souleyman’s reworkings of “Crystalline”, “Tesla” and “Mawal” are simply a work of dense precision art. Each track has be transformed into a bouncing electro bollywood number as a digital sitar beautifully works its charm. With Crystalline Bjork’s vocal’s interact perfectly to make a bouncing but catchy track. Tesla has more of Omar’s voice chanting than Bjork but the two fit beautifully as they warp round eachother. There’s a lot of frequency changes throughout the single but that just makes the dense note changes even more mesmorising. “Mawal” closes the single in style with a third awesome vision of Eastern Iceland.
As if I wasn’t desperately wanting Biophillia already, now I’m positively panting for it. Single of the year by far.
Panic Maker is a bizarre game (known as Under The Skin over here in Europe) that I found quite a refreshing piece of fun to play. I was however slightly surprised it had a soundtrack and bought it really to see if I could remember the music more away from the game environment.
“Trick Scan I” opens the soundtrack as the title tune, the sole piece written by Daisuke Asakura. It’s a catchy house piece that’s inoffensive and playful. The song is reprised at the end of the soundtrack too.
The rest of the soundtrack is done by Chamy Ishi. “Are You Serious?” continues the cheesy house vibe before “Groovy Sonic Beans” gives it all a continental jazz feel in a quite funky refreshing feel. However we are then treated to random dance fillers “Yo Homie!” and “Dice A Carrot”. “Pins and Needles” is an ambient darker piece which breaks up the slightly repetitive tempo thus far before a fanfare of “Global Connection” leads us into the more meaty tracks.
“Missing Persons” reminds me of an AWOL track from Final Fantasy X-2′s battle tracks at times. There is some excellent acoustic guitar action here though. “Estado Del Panico” is a shorter more manic track as the name suggests before “Take It As It Comes” gives us an electro-jazz track. Once again the music is nice enough and you can listen to it as background noise (nice brite piano pieces) but it really doesn’t grip me at full pelt. Pleasant to the ear, but never enough to warrant a massive replay factor from within.
“Boundary Layer” is a fun hyper high-pitched organ dance piece but only lasts a minute thus keeping it fresh. “Hazard City” is a more industrial track but has absolutely no real melody in most of the places at all sounding like a dance version of the ambience of Metal Gear Solid! However “Western Jamboree” is a corker of a track. Light, cheerful, a great blend of cultures and doesn’t out stay its welcome, it’s an example of a track brought to its full potential.
“Flippin’ Over” is almost hardcore dance with its snares and podgy synths and urgency while “Relics Stone” continues the whole style of the elctro-jazz into a kind of 1970′s cop car chase song which is good fun to listen to. “Pirates of Bootleg” is another song that’s been done correctly for the majority of it. Its lead synth however sounds like the theme songs to the old Grange Hill theme song! Good or Bad? You Decide! “Inside Out” is another throw away panic minute song but “Horror Geek” is much more substantial with its typical b-movie noises, slower pace and cohesion. The soundtrack ends with a few short fanfare style pieces, “Space in the Space” a trip-hop keyboard fest, cheesy jazz piece “It’s as Easy as Pie”, the out-of-place oriental “Hanafubuki-Dragon” and the chilled out “Cool Down!”.
The problem with Panic Maker OST is that while the sound quality is excellent and there’s plenty of instruments thrown in, there is very little in the way of catchy melodies. As a result you listen but don’t take on board what’s going on and forget all about it about ten minutes later. The music is far from disastrous but it is almost completely forgettable unless the relaxed nature of the music is your genre specifically. To me, it just seems like an entire soundtrack of menu music.
To complete the Lamb-freakout here’s the fantastic video to their new single “Another Language”. I love these types of videos.
Higher Plain Music is delighted to publish our little interview with the fantastic Esselfortium regarding his new album “Seventeen More Times”. Read on for an insight into his new album, song writing processes and technologies involved in crafting an album.
For those whom aren’t familiar with you, tell us a little bit about Esselfortium.
I’m an electronic musician who enjoys writing densely layered songs with melodies and harmonies that build on each other. I love song arrangements that progress and build up from beginning to end, and playing with a wide range of styles and sounds. Fusing together abstract experiments with accessible melodies and emotions is probably a good way of describing what I do. I’ve been writing since 2003 and just recently completed “Seventeen More Times,” my second album.
A new artist this week for our video vault – Esselfortium combines massive industrial drum beats to the most melancholy melodies and arrangements. The result is something that always feels a whole lot bigger than you could ever hope to be. This is the beautiful “Andante”.
Fever Ray is someone who I’ve just recently discovered, and she’s already a heavy part of my daily listening already! Here is a live performance of “When I Grow Up“. Expect an album review soon
SqaureDance is a fan made project CD from OneUpStudios letting a group of people remix their favourite songs made by Square Soft and releasing them as a compliation. The result is something far better than just amateur works, these songs are very groovy indeed.
The opening track “Hip-Hop Corridor” is a fairly standard but highly produced remix from Chrono Trigger that uses various synthesizers to provide a mellow dramatic feel. The beginning is masterful as it comes across like a space odyssey. Following that comes the epic length of “Soulless Village” from Final Fantasy IX. This comes across as a dance floor mega hit, and if it were released properly I’m sure would do well! The song is faithful to the original and is very pleasing to listen to.
“Spacecat” from Chrono Tigger comes across like a space movie and then continues to send waves of sound through your speakers. The instrumentation in this song is very close to real life (especially the string sections) and makes for a complete change of scene in the album.
“Hello World” from Secret Of Evermore is a nice song in itself but I don’t think it has a strong enough main melody to really compete much with the surrounding songs. The instrumentation is still top class though. “Cyan” from Final Fantasy VI is geared towards grizzly old skool music from the early 1990′s and the songs chorus makes the song as it uplifts you and takes you on a journey – great ear candy. In between the chorus’ though is fairly cluttered techno-babble but on whole it’s a great song with a lovely ending.
“Forest Animal Groove” from Secret of Mana is done very much in the style of the how the Secret Of Mana’s OST would have had it. It has a beefy, grizzly baseline and some cutesy tunes, but never really gets going and so is the laid back tune of the CD. “To Far Away Times” from Chrono Trigger is a magical adventure trip with lovely fairy lights guiding the tune through with a dance beat bumping away. It’s a simple but very effective and enjoyable remix.
“World Of Ruin” from Final Fantasy VI is a gothic piece that has an almost jungle beat to it. The church organ though begins to get a little repetitive towards the end repeating the same 4 chords to the end but it is a bit more of a welcome quirk from the normal dance music you’d get!
“Adventurous Break” from “Final Fantasy Adventure” is perfectly pitched. It has regular chord changes, regular dips and rises in its song and the actual main tune is good. It comes across as a drama piece more at times with some excellent effects.
“Cecil’s Jinn and Juice” is mixing two songs from Final Fantasy IV and is done in a relaxing manner that rewards you with each listen. The lead is taken by wind instrumentation and is defined and superbly realised. The change over between the two songs is absolutely spot-on and marks this as one the real stand out tracks for the album. Put simply – this song is a masterpiece.
“Reiterated Inspiration” mixed from Chrono Cross begins with a lovely acoustic guitar that is added onto by other lovely instrumentations to make a beautiful dramatic piece. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect at the end of a film when you see the main character make their final goal. It’s another masterpiece on the album and really sticks in your mind. The best way to describe this song is a dreamscape.
“Magus” arranged from Chrono Trigger is a typical trance remix that is pleasant to listen to and has a rather scary voice in the middle of it. Apart from that its run of the mill stuff but done to top class quality.
“The Day Will Come” taken from FFV starts of beautifully with a lovely piano introduction that envelopes into a great piece of trance music that is faultless.
“Star Stealing Girl” from Chrono Trigger uses some excellent vocal samples to set the song apart from the rest and make it a unique experience.
“Forest Starlight” from Chrono Trigger also comes across more of a jazz pop song and slows the speed of the album down for a nice relaxing song that very intimate. The final track is “The Ultimate Being” from Parasite Eve that despite some lovely effects is just a bit too chaotic and cluttered at times.
SquareDance is all about how you like the genre. If you love dance music, this will be right up your street, but for the rest of the VGM listeners out their, you’ll be able to appreciate most of the arrangements that you’ve had first hand experience, but skip over the rest without a thought. Paying for this quality of remixes should never pose a problem however, there is so much original content that’s not even in the same ball park of SquareDance, even if I don’t always feel in the mood for the album. SquareDance is ambitious and somewhat the cement on what would become a great section of VGM, the fan remix. If there’s not a celebration – I don’t know what is!
Sudeki, a multi character platformer on the Xbox had the priviledge of having a soundtrack release as a double disc format. Disc 1 is the soundtrack itself while disc 2 is a DVD showing behind the scenes footage of the making of the game, the music and all things Sudeki!
However the soundtrack is why were here (although the DVD is a good treat!) with Tom Colvin, Rob Bridgett & Eamon Murtagh collaborating to produce a vast 13 song soundtrack (not 14 as is stated on the back cover!!!)
“New Brightwater” is a very dreamy American outback kind of song, loops of drums, etheral keyboards, punchy bass lines and swirling acoustic guitar riffs make this near 6 minute song a pleasure to listen to, especially on a breezey summers day. In stark contrast “The Temple of Mo” takes you on an epic seven and a half minute tribal breakbeat fest with some grizzly bass lines and some ear piercing screams. The song takes a while to get going but once it does you’ll be off and away. “Shadani-Mo” has some very exotic synthersizing going on with tablas and bongos for the opening which gradually get layered upon and layered upon for a completely different listening experience than the previous two tracks and once the vocal samples and guitars are added – it sounds like something from The Lion King or The Jungle Book!
“RumbleBelly Canyon” takes on from where the opening track left off, with a very Wild West feel to it, some excellent guitar workings and a beautiful soundscapes to continue on. “Theme From Cyantine” follows a similar style to “The Temple of Mo” but is slightly less successful and more ambient orientated but does have some lovely string effects and haunting lines, presumably from the game. “Nassaria’s Grotto” is another song that starts out ambient and builds up to another breakbeat song of noise, bass and echoy passages. However this one drags on too long for its seven minutes! “Cyantine Citadel” too starts off eerie and reminds me very much of the Medievil series of music, with a creepy overscore and a b-movie style underscore – the two playing off eachother very well. Once again this breaks out into a frenzy at towards the end but this time it really does suit the song as an excellent climax.
“The Tomb of Farex Lore” is very grand in its scale it tries to put across, slow but huge drum beats, brass blasting out and a bold score. It works well and it is nice to have something different on the soundtrack. “Devil’s Belch Canyon” has been the only track I just cannot get to grips with at all. It starts off on the hip-hop route and then descends into mass chaos but its disorganised and doesn’t sit well on the ears. Returning to RumbleBelly canyon’s signiture riff and ruining that doesnt help matters either. “Transentine Research Centre” starts off with a computerised voice before using some nice machinary noises to start off the percussive beat. However as nice and relatively original it is, this song struggles by trying to be a cross of ambient noise and breakbeat and although the overal effect works, the song goes on for at least 90 seconds too long for its own good.
However although I have been critical, the basic content is very good indeed. Nowhere prehaps is it more present than in “Crystal Reef” and beautiful uptempo but whimsical melody that does not outstay its welcome by a moment. Almost dare I say touching – this is my standout piece along with “Shadandi-Mo” and the closing track. “The Kulasaur Graveyard” returns to the ambient ala breakbeat manner in the same breath as many other tracks although it does contain a quite helerious low pitched moaning noise and some very apt tickings and wind howls. Some parts sound striaght off the original Silent Hill soundtrack so its far from bad! The closing track “The Halls Of Omnia” starts off sombre and regal before meandering through a beautiful orchestral and choral piece that would devour the heart of any warrior. Try to form it descends into a near techno fest but this time, by keeping some astounding string arrangements in it really does heighten the effect of the song. This put simply is cross genring at its peak. I could ahppily listen to this kind of music all day!
Sudeki is relatively underappreciated in the music world as a great OST – I do hope this review will bring it out into the open a bit more. There are several songs on here which are absolutely spot on and you could quite easily use on a best of VGM disc. Others arent far short of the mark and only one song fails to impress at all. Fans of more uptempo stuff (think Rez with more emphasis on the build up than the pure beats) will feel more at home here but I urge you to give it a try.