Composer 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier released a fantastic album called “Meteocrity Vol.1” which follows the traits of a classic video game soundtrack right down to the core.
Opener “Tempest Rush” is like an J-RPG opening FMV sequence full to bursting of energy and enthusiasm in a 16/32 bit Gust Team type way. It paves for pseudo menu screen “Caveat Emptor” which mysteriously meanders its charms through your ears. Sounding all the 16bit battle rage, “Bitter End to a Thatched Ray of Light” is an uprising storm the castle type track. A harpsichord synth leads the main melody with a complex percussive track going nuts in the background – it really is a celebration of classic old skool battle themes.
“Five is Average” seems to step back a generation to real 8-bits and less. It’s perfectly laid out across the speakers to avoid any hiss and the melody is complete with a synth solo and real charm. A favourite definitely. “Bright Dreams of an Empty Vessel” reminds me of the classic days of MIDI when vgmidi used to rule my days of listening. The fun harp MIDI and no thrills approach is endearing and it focuses you on just enjoying the melody. “Wealth of Knowledge” is a cute twee track with woodwinds and harpsichords chirping away. It’s as bouncy as it is sweet and strikes a perfect balance between a wall of sound and emoting a feeling.
“Asymmetrical Conflict” reminds me of Grandia. It’s the harmonic guitar lead and the organs over such a big stomping beat that really drives this track forward. “Lofty Goals for a Forest Epitaph” has a fantastic free-flowing guitar riff and an upbeat tempo which is unusual for a track that has all the hallmarks of a forest theme. As a result it’s another favourite from the album.
“Colosses of Eygpt” is an interesting track in that it almost tries to avoid making a catchy melody and chords in favour of more obscure chord progressions and offbeat percussion. “Need Insurance? Get a Bullet” aside from having an awesome title is a more straightforward 16bit techno rock battle track and is a riot. “Red Dim Lights and Old Stories” is panpipe led but also heavily drum blasted and the result is an unusual blend of the ancient pipes and an over powering drumbeat which don’t sit well together but still stands out as a viable concept. “Lunar Eclipse Millenium” is another slightly abstract track with lots of tuned percussion playing out the main theme of the piece.
“Isolate the Variable” is a great understated track akin to a profile overview piece or a mission quest music piece. I really like its futuristic/retro juxtaposition with the synths used. “Vestigial Dance of Blades” is another battle-type track but this time peeling off the rockier edges and veering more to dance side, this works much better as a more accessible piece to the masses. “Exploring the Temporal Lobe With a Bomb in my Mouth” is another fine title but is actually one of the shortest tracks on the album and more a mood piece with a banjo playing a little tune over moody keyboard pads. It’s actually a very tightly woven tune and quite enjoyable.
“It Was Written on Your Tombstone” is one of your typical two chord tension pieces but with fun orchestral hits, bells and neat tricks floating all over the place to keep you amused. “The Heavenly Integer” is a lovely warm track of soft pads, synths and melodic harps wrapped up in a beautiful chord progression and an appreciation for letting everything breathe. I have listened to this song on repeat as part of a mood relaxation track – it’s just sublime. The album closes with the upbeat “Starry Knights” which is a sweet track that reminds me of something Hiroki Kikuta would have written. It’s euphoric and celebratory while feeling final and reminiscent at the same time – a great job with limited technology.
Meteocrity Vol.1 is a real bolt out the blue. With no game to place the tunes against I always find composers who write in the game music style particularly interesting as they have to create a mood based purely on melody alone. As a whole 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier does just that with some outstanding tracks that take form a real journey. I felt like I’d levelled up by the time the music stopped.