Flying straight out from the left field is Zantilla with his latest album “Encounters” which from cover art to chiptune track name, appears to be discussing a variety of Alien Races!
Each track is labelled as a kind. The “1st Kind” starts things off with a synth heavy boss like track with b-movie undertones courtesy of theremin samples and thick sine waves for the melody and bass. It’s like Zantilla is nodding in appreciation and jest at the b-movie tropes of alien soundtracks whilst rocking out at the same time. I am very cool with that! “2nd Kind” is much more muted, warm and bubbly. There’s a warmth to the drums and a roundness to every synth used. It makes it quirky, bouncy and fun without ever being silly. It’s a complete contrast to the synth rock of “3rd Kind” which is like something from R-Type! The hard edge saw synths buzz at full rage as the rock drums pound the kick drum at the rate of a crazed loon. “4th Kind” goes for the spacious eerie b-movie electric theramin feel. It reminds me of something from Destroy All Humans! It then bursts into a multiple personality clash between rock and old skool schmup frenzies and laid back chiptune hip-hop. The effortless switches make it the most diverse track on the album.
“5th Kind” is another fun fuelled arcade shooter from the early 90’s sounding track, as is “6th Kind” which goes for a more stadium rock vibe than its arcade-themed predecessor. The only issue I have is the track ended too soon! I was rocking away and it came to a quick close. “7th Kind” continued with the hack sawing, layered arpeggios and heavy kick drum usage in a more freeform style to close the album out like some kind of escape from the Aliens theme which is dramatic and interesting although not the most catchiest of the album until it gets into the second half where everything comes together for a fantastic finale.
Zantilla’s “Encounters” is a curious album. It’s short, focused and very to the point on its sound and delivery. If you enjoy arcade shooter music or would like b-movie soundtracks given the 16 bit vibe, this album is definitely for you. Other’s will need to try a sample first but if you love that sample, you’ll love the entire album.