Hi. I'm JT. No, not that guy, the other one! JT Murphy (formerly known as JT IceFire). I'm kinda the Game-Of-The-Year-Edition bonus character around the Dtoid community.
I've shown up to a few NARPs and other get-togethers, and I still keep in touch with people like Jon Bloodspray and ArcticFox, and I regularly attend TF2sdays ("JT On The Radio" on Steam), but I've still mostly been in the background.
However, Apathy has recently been going through some personal troubles, and as such will be needing to take the next week or two off from this feature to handle them. So, I've volunteered to keep Stereotoid kicking until he's ready to return. I've got a review of my own I'll be posting in this space for next week, but in the meantime, here's this week's drop of music review goodness.
(and for the record, I'm partial to "I Don't Know" when it comes to MCA songs. Surprised this didn't get major airplay when he died- it sounds like he's delivering his own eulogy.)
To the reviews!
Album: The Legend of Zelda
Artist: Cory Johnson
Label: Self released
Released: May 12, 2012
Genre: Post rock, instrumental
*Sub-genres Space rock, video game
Sounds like: Some of the most famous game music gets arranged in a huge, beautiful way.
I’m a big fan of game music covers and remixes. It’s interesting to hear how different people interpret the well known loops from favorite games and make it their own. Cory Johnson decided to take his love of The Flaming Lips, Explosions in the Sky, and The Legend of Zelda and uses it to create epic, sprawling post rock inspired arrangements of music from the series. It’s a beautiful tribute to one of the most loved series of games.
Johnson first released a set of rough demo versions of the tracks last summer that were very well received across the internets. They provided a nice template for what he was going to do for the final version. Like other remixers, Johnson uses the familiar melodies as a base for him to expand on. He uses them to create rich, textured songs way beyond the scope of the originals. I can only imagine how much work it takes to make a lengthy song from a minute and a half or shorter music loop, but Johnson does it extremely well. It seems like a benefit for the songs, giving a central melody for the song to return to.
The way he uses typical rock instruments to create huge versions of songs burned into us from our youth is nothing short of beautiful. He covers the pretty much the entire series, from Link to the Past to Skyward Sword, with other bits of songs finding their way into his arrangements. I found myself smiling all throughout the album when those familiar melodies hit in the huge climaxes of the songs or when they would quietly creep up in the slower sections. There’s nothing quite like hearing Epona’s Song or Zelda’s Lullaby or the Dark World theme ringing out on massive guitars. It’s pure fanservice, and I mean that in the best possible way.
It’s clear Cory Johnson, like many of us, holds The Legend of Zelda games very dear to him. He’s used his superb musicianship to create a wonderful musical tribute to the series. His beautiful renditions of the classic songs will please any Zelda fan.
Album: A Creature I Don’t Know
Artist: Laura Marling
Released: September 9, 2011
*Sub-genres: Folk rock
Sounds like: Laura Marling paling around in her backyard
Laura Marling has become, in my opinion, one of the definitive voices modern folk. Ever since her debut album Alas I Cannot Swim she’s put out nothing but beautiful folk track after track, combining elegant vocals, dark lyricism and complex instrumentals. A Creature I Don’t Know is not unlike Marling’s previous records in its beauty but a greater emphasis is put on the band that is backing her. In the past it has often been a very Marling-centric affair that focused primarily on her voice and guitar. This time however there is a bigger emphasis on the band, including solos and jam sessions, that push the Laura Marling into the territory of folk rock for the first time.
Not that anyone is complaining. Opening with The Muse already sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s intelligent, fun and bouncy with pianos and guitars playfully dancing about to the tune of Laura’s smooth vocals. Of course there are still the dark splendors that the Englishwoman is known for and they are just as bittersweet as ever. Night After Night is a solemn story of pain and persistence told through poetry and an acoustic guitar.
A Creature I Don’t Know is yet another wonderful album that Laura Marling can put on her resume. She manages to constantly recreate her own authentic style in ways that will keep you entertained and thinking. Her poetry, her voice, her music, will all keep you coming back for more just as her albums always do. If you enjoy beautiful English folk and haven’t already begun to dig into Laura Marling’s works I urge you to do so. A Creature I Don’t Know is another masterful staple in the short but fruitful career of one of England’s best modern day exporters of folk.
Album: The Warning
Artist: Hot Chip
Released: June 13, 2006
Genre:Electropop, Indie Electronica
Have you ever had an album come into your life and just kick you in the face and say, “HEY! This is one of your new favorite bands! Get used to it.” I think we've all been there a time or two. Recently I've been revisiting such an album that came into my life back in 2006. That album being The Warning by London electro-pop masters Hot Chip.
Hot Chip have been around since 2000, bringing unique electronic music into the world's ears. What I especially like about Hot Chip is that they don't take themselves too seriously and their music is very unique. I honestly can't think of another band that sounds just like Hot Chip. This is also a very well timed review considering they have a new album dropping June 11th.
As I've previously stated, The Warning was the album that got me into Hot Chip in the first place. It was an album that I really needed to hear at the time. I was going through a bit of a musical drought, I just couldn't find anything that suited what I was looking for. Part of this problem may have been because I wasn't sure how to explain what it actually was that I was looking for. I hear “And I Was A Boy From School” on a sampler or podcast or something and I knew immediately that that was what I wanted and what I had been needing. This later lead to my obsession with ambient/chill music, but that’s another post.
The Warning is an album that explores a few different types of electronic music. Perhaps they're not different types, more like different styles. You have some very chill songs, like the previously mentioned “And I Was A Boy From School”, then you have the more upbeat and fast songs like, “Over and Over”. Then there's the lyrics, the lyrics are always interesting with Hot Chip. In this album you have a lot of juxtaposition of light charming high pitched noises with oddly, at times, violent lyrics.
This is the second album from Hot Chip and also a good example of the evolution of the band. The Warning is one part Coming On Strong (their debut album) and 1 part Made In The Dark (their followup album). Some songs sound like they could fit on their first album and some sound liked they’d be right at home on later albums. This is a great sign that a band is evolving, which is exactly what you like to see out of a group of musicians.
I honestly don't have a single complaint about this album, I would recommend it to just about anyone who even remotely like electronic music. I say I have no complaints about the album, but that doesn't mean it's a perfect album, there is almost always room for improvement. So that being said, I give the album a solid 9. Go check the links below and see what you think!
Album: SSX: Original Soundtrack
Artist: Various Artists
Genre: Drum and Bass, Triphop, Dubstep
Sounds like: The Electric Daisy Carnival. At least, all of the good acts.
If you want a review for SSX, you’ll even have to go to DToid or the website I work for. I won’t hotlink it because that would be selfish, but I gave it a good score. I digress; this is a review for the SSX soundtrack. Let me clarify some more. This isn’t the music you hear on the radio station on SSX. This is all new music, specifically recorded for this Game. These are all new tracks people, and they are sick as f*$k.
The soundtrack primarily consists of drum and bass tracks by now famous DJ’s Camo and Krooked. Other artists that contribute include Amon Tobin, The Qemists, and Raffertie. All the sounds on this OST are all the sounds you’ll be hearing while you attempt each of SSX’s 9 Deadly Descents, and each track is tailored to getting your blood pumping and have you on edge. Or in a non context related sense, anywhere from tense as hell to ranging up and down the dance floor.
The Qemists offer up a more serious and tone, sticking on the dubstep side of things(although they do DnB too), while Camo and Krooked go buck wild with the drum and bass. And then there’s Amon Tobin who goes delirious in what is literally one of the best “boss” tracks put out by an artists like him. Raffertie likes to titer on the side of the mysterious, and represents the music you don’t want to hear, because it probably means there’s a lot of shit coming down the mountain that’s going to kill you. And Konrad OldMoney just makes an incredibly fuzzy bass track that’s heavy and dark and just right for a Deadly Descent.
EA sure did pick the right artists for the job, because everything sounds like it should for this generations SSX. Lots of bass, complicated polyrhythms, supreme mastery of drums, and general just bumpin’ tunes.. You may want to queue this soundtrack up when you're doing anything extreme in real life, because I can guarantee you it’ll make that activity that much better.
Again, everything on this soundtrack is heavily based in the drum and bass/dubstep region, so if that kinda stuff tips you off, know that you might be better off with the games licensed soundtrack, which has a more even split of genres. But if you liked all of SSX licenced stuff, or you like dub n bass, this is the soundtrack for you.
... and that'll do it! I'll be doing one more of these most likely, but either way, I'll be bringing a review with me. Thanks for reading!