Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – 3/9 – Short But Sweet Edition

Ain't that cute!  It's Mozart!! Let me be honest with you, I’m not too sure who the artists are this week.  I’m not even sure it’s one artist.  However, this Jamendo page has all of the songs and lumps them into some kind of collection – which makes me think it may not be a single group.  Either way, I think it’s Dutch, and I’m using this MySpace page to back that up.  I tried to pull an R. Kelly and be all “There’s a mystery goin’, and I’m gonna solve it!” but I couldn’t.  I’ve given you the best information I could find.  Do with it what you will.

As for the music itself, the songs are all techno – and peppy techno at that.  The best part about them: their brevity.  I think the longest of them clocks in at just over three minutes.  It may not be perfect for a club, but it’s just right for surfing.  Read on for which bite-size rides are worth a sampling.


Look at how short those valleys are.  This one sounds a bit like Basement Jaxx without the edge.  There’s a wee bit of clapping, and I guess if I were taking some mind-altering substance I would be compelled to dance.  Instead, I’m compelled to ride this track through from start to finish.  As you can see on the left, it lives in extremes.  It does very little gradually.  This quality pops up in the other selections this week, but it’s most evident in “Endless Seven.”  When you reach the bottom of a hill, there’s generally an echoed drum machine cymbal crash, like a release of steam.  This isn’t uncommon in techno (think the rise and fall of “Sandstorm”), but it’s put to great effect in these rides.  The sound is accompanied by an immediate bounce feeling, as if you ricochet off the floor of the track and start zooming upward.  I’m a fan.

You say Melow, I say Mellow...Assuming Melow means Mellow (which I am only assuming),  this song does its title absolutely no justice. 
“Mel(l)ow 2008” is a crackling ride set to some surprisingly upbeat techno.  Like some of the other songs, it’s a mix of conventional techno beats, crowd noises (why?), and a combination of noises I would usually find annoying in other contexts (re: odd robot voice chanting something akin to “move your body to the beat beat beat”).  Not to say I want to listen to this song all the time, but it certainly does its job well.  At its fastest, the track moves at such a clip as to bring the camera extremely close in – if your car character had a trunk, the camera would be resting on top.  At this vantage point, the tunnels overwhelm the screen.  Planning is not an option.  The track is much more immediate.   Grab on to those white blocks and play this song.

In my fantasy, I know who the hell wrote these songs. For whatever reason, I went into this song pessimistically.  How wonderful to have my expectations exceeded! 
“In My Fantasy” also has moments where it shoots the track beneath you at near light speed.  When you hit a lightning block, the blocks fade instantly.  If you hit a paint, you’re already collecting more traffic before you can notice that your screen’s been cleared.  It’s epic.  Too bad the music is just a little on the annoying side.  With its insistent handclapping and annoying Hamster Dance-like melody, it sounds like the perfect soundtrack for an annoying meme.  I’m being harsh; it’s actually not that bad the first time through, especially since the ride’s so great.

Other selections
“Drachen Sollen Fliegen” fits in with the pack as a DDR-like quick burst of techno, generating same sense of immediate uplift after the end of downhill sections.  As it merely possesses but does not embody this collection’s merits as an Audiosurf act, I chose to leave it off the recommendations.  “Intro 2009” is a yawn of a song if I ever heard one.  Unwaveringly uphill, sub-100 traffic, blah blah blah.  It takes 7150 points to score a gold medal on this song.  That’s less than four white blocks.  Have fun skipping this one.

Author’s Note
All songs were played on the Pro difficulty using the Eraser and Vegas characters.  I need to pay more attention when I’m going through these songs.  At one point, I fired up “Drachen Sollen Fliegen” thinking I was using Vegas.  I was avoiding all sorts of colors and getting myself into trouble.  I slide off to the shoulder and, lo and behold, I can’t shuffle the board.  I was using Eraser.  This ride-ruining mistake may have cost “D.S.F.” a spot this week.  My bad?