Soundtracks: Stardew Valley

If you’re a gamer like me, you have your own unique standards that you use when evaluating a game.  For me its the whole package. But above all, the plot, the aesthetic, and the soundtrack.  There are so many video game classics with amazing soundtracks: Legend of Zelda, every Final Fantasy, Halo 3, just to name a few. Although there are many amazing video game soundtracks, its not like I’d ever listen to them other than while playing the game.

When I got Stardew Valley I was surprised to find that the game included a soundtrack. I’ve never purchased a video game that came with a soundtrack, I thought it was quite strange. I also was not too keen on playing the game as it was taking it back to the old school 8bit style.  Not that I have anything against this choice, I just made the assumption that the game would be a very simplistic version of other games like Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing.  I was so wrong, it was a unique combination of the two. After 10 minutes of playing this RPG, I realized its depth and was amazed at its detail, all the way down to the music.  Indie games are special in that they put the time and effort into details like these, and these skills are beautifully highlighted in this game.

At the beginning of the game you inherit your grandfather’s farm.  You are entrusted with his legacy. Where you go from there is your choice, the game has endless possibilities and opportunities.  Its addicting.  I think that what makes it most addicting is the music that keeps you going.  Each unique track creates soundscapes that perfectly compliment the aesthetic.  At one point I was totally immersed and forgot the game was 8bit.  After playing the game for so long I realized why one would want to own a soundtrack.  Each song is unique with its own flavor of synths and drum kits; above all they are deeply relaxing.

The general musical theme of the spring months are bright banjos and guitars.  The summer is tropical and hazy. The fall has warm synths with hints of a cold brightness that follows.  Winter is by far my favorite season of music.  It’s melancholy ethereal synths perfectly compliment the magic of a white winter.

But my favorite song on the whole entire album is the 2:05 minute track, “Spirit’s Eve Festival.” If you’re not into video game music thats fine, but just give this track a shot, you won’t be disappointed.  The track  plays while you are in town  for the festival having a fun ghoulish time playing games while skeletons walk around in a large cage.  The song’s syncopated synths are so dark, I would want to sample this song if I were a producer for sure.

Eric Barone, under the alias of Concerned Ape, created everything.  The music, art, programming, and design.  Not only did he do all these things, but he was teaching himself to do all of these things while making the game.  Four years later it released on February 16, 2016 and sold one million copies in only two months.  I am blown away that one man could develop this game.

I personally don’t listen to video game music other than when I’m playing the game. But when I’m feeling own I throw on Stardew Valley while I’m drinking my coffee, and feel a bit better.

Listen to “Spirit’s Eve Festival,” on YouTube.

Listen to the album on Spotify.

Sources:

“ConcernedApe.” Stardew Valley, Concerned Ape , stardewvalley.net/presskit/sheet.php?p=Stardew%2BValley.

 

Seemingly Unknown Artist: Fragrance

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Genre:  Synth pop, dark pop, dream pop, cold wave

Get lost in a dark dreamy world with French group Fragrance.  Their underwater sounding vocals lull you into a colorful world of airy and grimy synths. I’m really starting to get into dark pop and this is a good segue into the subgenre.

Songs you might like:

  • “Malibu” – L’An2000
  • “Into those woods” –  Bragolin
  • “Lust for Life” – Fragrance

Artists you might like: Liste Noire, HoRD, Black Nail Cabaret, Paradox Obscur, Antipole, Geometric Vision, ACTORS, L’An2000

Listen to my dark pop playlist here.

Visit their Spotify page here. 

 

Music History: Dub

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One of my favorite things about music is the way that music evolves with time.  As time passes music genres influence each other, sometimes changing the genre into something completely different.  This is interesting to observe with dub music.

In order to understand dub history, we must understand some of socioeconomic aspects that impacted Jamaican society in the early 70s.  During this time period Jamaicans were not able to spend their money on records, they did not have the financial means to do so. Thus when record producers made records, they were taking their chances.  Thus they found a solution, play the records in dancehalls in order to observe the audience’s reception. This practice would open the doors for a new Jamaican genre, dub.

One of the dub pioneers was Rudolph Redwood. He would produce instrumental versions of tracks, and thus dancehall DJs would add their own singing or rhymes over the music.  This was given the name “toasting,” which would eventually give rise to dancehall music. Using these sorts of instrumental tracks in this manner was commonplace in the Jamaican music industry.  

The focus of dub were the instrumentals, not the singers.  Sound engineers would remove or rearrange instrumentals, they would never add.   These sound engineers are the ones who laid the groundwork so many genres that would follow.  If it were not for dub we would not have so many genres: jungle, house, garage, grime, and essentially any music driven by technology. Dub sound engineers were the first  to utilize sound boards as musical instruments.

This was just a brief synopsis of the history.  If you want to read more, be sure to check out the sources. Stay tuned for future posts about all different varieties of Jamaican music,  rocksteady, ska, and reggae and dub-a-dub.

This playlist will give you the dub essentials, from the master himself, King Tubby, to others like his apprentice, Scientist.  Sit back and relax and let this dub playlist lead you into summer.

Listen to the playlist here. 

  1. “Inna Mi Yard”- King Tubby
  2. “Root Man Party ” – Don Carlos
  3. “Your Teeth in My Neck” – Scientist
  4. “Overseas Posse” – Toya
  5. “Love and Unity” – Michael Prophet
  6. “Act of Affection” – Wailing Souls
  7. “A Who” – Michigan and Smiley
  8. “Seek King Ras Tafari” – Jah Melodie
  9. “Mount Zion Medley” – Morgan Heritage
  10. “Janet Sinclair”- Little John and Billy Boyo
  11. “Fattie Boom Boom” – Ranking Dread
  12. “Work On Mr. Farmer” – Edi Fitzroy

Sources:

Bush , John. “THE DREAD LIBRARY.” Debate Central – Since 1994, debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/bush.htm
Gil

l, Pablo. “Reggae – Origins Of Dub.” UDiscoverMusic, 10 May 2018, http://www.udiscovermusic.com/in-depth-features/reggae-origins-of-dub/.

International Artists Spotlight: Spain

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I’ll be visiting in France in a few short weeks and its the closest I’ve ever been to the land of my ancestors, Spain.  That being said, I decided to start another spotlight segment, international artists. I love a lot of international music, this is just a taste.  Stay tuned for a bunch of international segments like this one!

On this playlist you’ll hear a array of genres and influences: synth pop, synth rock, post-punk revival, dream pop, folk pop (with emphasis on the pop) funk synth and more! Even if you don’t speak Spanish you’ll love these melody driven tracks.

Click here to find the playlist on Spotify.

  1. “Girls”- Lost Tapes
  2. “Tu Casa Nueva” – El Ultimo Vecino
  3. “El Extraño Viaje” – Murciano Total
  4. “Tortura en los Bares” Trepát
  5. “Morado” – Sr. Chinarro
  6. “Dejame Entrar” Trajano!
  7. “Mató al Fary” – Anntona
  8. ” Mi Patria en Mis Gayumbos” -Anntona
  9. “Flor de Luz” – Joe Crepuscúlo
  10. “Chill Aqui” – Extraperlo
  11. “Peor Que Las Demas” – La Bien Querida

What do you think of the music scene going on in Spain?

 

Brooklyn Magazine, “The Musical Map of the United States”

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Brooklyn Magazine just released an intriguing new article about the unique genres that have come from various regions of the USA.  I discovered this article when clicking the discover on the WordPress homepage.

Geographers, sociologists, and anthropologists talk about the idea of “sense of place.”  Essentially “sense of place,” is the idea that geographic places have their own unique characteristics. These characteristics range from physical to conceptual.  Our geographical location has a relation to the way we think and live.  Our location develops our identify and our understanding and relationship we have to the outside world.

Observe how “sense of place,” changes regional music.

Read the article here: “The Musical Map of the United States”- Brooklyn Magazine

Sources:

Agnew, J.A.; Duncan, J.S. (1989). The power of place: Bringing together geographical and sociological imaginations. Boston: Unwin Hyman Publishers.

Greetings earthlings, let’s solve a mystery

First post! I’ve been thinking about starting a music blog since college, but I was always too intimidated by the many amazing music blogs out there.  My goal is to make this page easily accessible, with enjoyable playlists and new music. In addition to new music, I want to bring attention to some older music that is still relevant.

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Lets begin with a little mystery, a music mystery.  This mystery is something that I’ve been trying to solve for a couple years, ever since this artist blessed my ears with his music.

In grad school circa 2014, I stumbled upon an artist named “Dylan Hill,” on one of my then go to music blogs, “Indie Shuffle.” This Melbourne artist track listings were bare, only four songs.  But those four songs made an impression on me. I’d never heard melodies so beautiful, so well composed, the syncopation filled me with faith for the electronic music industry. The production was so crisp and the melodies had a driving force behind them that made you want to sway to the beat forever. His brand of ambient electronica was so perfectly executed, I could not understand how more people didn’t know about him.  I could not get enough.  I listened to “She Fell,” and “The Fall,” on a nonstop loop.  I even went so far as to find Dylan’s FB, add him, and tell him how much I loved and appreciated his music.  To my surprise he replied with great thanks. We chatted a bit more about mundane things.  I continued to listen to his music  and I  anxiously anticipated more music.

Then all of a sudden Dylan disappeared. Disappeared from the internet.  One day I went to his soundcloud page, and it was gone.  I scoured the internet for any signs of him or his songs, songs I felt I could not live without, songs I should have downloaded. All I could find were old posts from music blogs, with the tracks disabled and non existent. This is his only trace of his on the black hole of the internet:

https://www.thisismyjam.com/song/dylan-hill/she-fell-what-of-him

https://www.indieshuffle.com/get-people-back-to-dust/

http://www.ripemusic.com.au/dylan-hill/

This link actually has one of his old songs, along with a music video: https://vimeo.com/136590627

Since then I have been unable to track Dylan down, and trust me, I tried.  I even went so far as to email that random “Mysteries,” podcast to see if they could help. Whelp, they never answered, and here I am, still puzzled about Dylan Hill’s whereabouts.

Then a couple weeks ago, I decided to try my luck again.  I found that Dylan is now performing under the stage name “Casper Cult,” along with a girl named Alisha Lindsell. I was excited to hear this new music, but was disappointed with what I heard. Ambient electronic syncopated beats still dominates his style, but they are nowhere as original and catchy as his original tunes.

It seems that the song “Industrial Love,” follows in the same vein of his previous works.  Check it out here : “Industrial Love,” by Casper Cult

The mystery still lingers, why did Dylan completely scrap his beautiful music for new songs that are subpar? His old music stood out from the generic ambient electronica, while his new releases are anything but unique.  What happened, Dylan?