Monday, January 28, 2019

spasm #1

well that is pretty mad

a recommendation from my boy Kieran

he also likes this, which is not as manic but pretty peculiar, droopy, tone-smeary stuff

all unfamiliar stuff to me really, games music - i must have played a video game perhaps a dozen times in me life. completely bypassed me.


blankd said...

With your limited experience of computer games, I'd be interested on your opinion of the soundtrack from Silent Hill 2:

There's a few rather subpar hard rock/generic metal sounding tracks that I omit from my media player list - spoils the flow for me. Here are some choice cuts - I appreciate that you probably don't have the time or energy to listen to the whole thing!

This is one of the few game soundtracks I listen to relatively frequently and I've often wondered whether I appreciate it just as good music or because it evokes the experience of playing the game. I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in-between but I'd be interested to know whether the music stands on it's own to you, purely as a listening experience.

(I guess this provokes a more interesting question about seperating soundtracks from their intended visual or - in the case of computer games - interactive component. Is it fair to judge them purely on their own? Do you need to have at least some affinity with the complete package to fully appreciate them? Does this separation primarily serve to evoke the film/game that they're scoring? etc.)

Here's a blurb of the score by one of the authors of factmag's best video game soundtracks of all time feature from a few years ago:

"No blood and the occult here, only decay and loss are running things. Silent Hill 2 has the most stripped down and raw narrative in the series, one that gives you only what you need and leaves everything else you see and hear to fill in the gaps. Emphasis on hear: Yamaoka got the chance to pull a 180 from the metal-on-metal approach to the first game, adding trip-hop, piano, and lots of grieving drones that lean into the game’s story. Depressing, evocative, and still scary as hell, here’s the missing link between David Lynch and Burial you never knew existed."


yeah that first one is really pretty

very chill - hearing it without context, i wouldn't have thought 'videogames' because i tend to think of that kind of muzik as very hyper and hectic and also a little bit goofy

but that's probably just because i have limited experience of the range of games

the description of the game - "decay and loss" - sounds alluring

second one is rather lovely too - a bit of Satie in there maybe

it probably has some distant relation to the Japanese ambient of the 80s (very Satie influenced) that I just wrote about here

like the sound design on your third selection also

when each track ends though it does go straight in a fairly lame bit alternative rock from the same soundtrack!

yeah i missed on games - i had a friend who was the same age as me who got into them in his late 30s big time, and was always proselytising for games, "they've come a long way since pacman etc", and this chap (RIP, sadly) was a real literati / bibliophile, but i sort of resisted his attempts to lure me in, fearing my addictive / obsessive-compulsive traits would inevitably open up a whole new frontier of time-wasting.

blankd said...

You're quite right - there's a lot more variation now. Sure, the bleepy-bloopy stuff is still around but it's more limited to retro-ey indie games that evoke games from the 80s/early 90s (stylistically at least). Lots of soundtracks are much more comparable to film scores these days, especially for big budget fare ("sophisticated", fully orchestrated etc.).

I certainly do have a penchant for the pretty stuff. Here's some more from different games:

The composer of the first track certainly wears his influence on his sleeve!

Here's some stuff that's a bit more interesting:

This track is a favourite of many - very hypnagogic poppy/new agey.

Think you'll like this one - pretty bangin'!.

This was the subject of a factmag article from a few years ago, how it predates grime by a good few years. Seem to recall that the bloke was making jungle at the time as well.

There's a really good doc that RBMA did a few years back on youtube about video game music from the 80s and 90s called Diggin' in the Carts. Has interviews with Japanese composers as well as musicians influenced by them (seem to recall a lot of Hyperdub people).

I'm pretty ambivalent towards video games these days, for various reasons. Feel like listening to music / reading / watching tv or films is a better time investment. And I certainly share those addictive traits! Probably hereditary: can recall my dad having to snap the disc of a football management sim that he would stay up all night playing!

Nice piece - will definitely be checking that comp out. Pretty ignorant of Japanese music though I did go through a slight avant rock phase a few years back (Keiji Haino etc.). Been meaning to check out Yellow Magic Orchestra for years.

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