Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – 6/23 – Techno the Redeemer Edition

Is this public domain?  If it isn't let me know. Back from the Editorial Summit, I was full of crazy thoughts for this week’s post.  Like making the – explicit links coming up – Shaq rap required riding or doing a theme week of all Mickey Avalon songs.  Instead I did what I set out to do: round up this week’s rides for you the reading public.

This week we’ve got the triumphant return of trance music.  I’ve been burned in the past, but this week’s gotten me excited.  If all future weeks bring techno this fun, I’d be happy as a half-baked clam.  Carlos Perrota, aka Synthetic Sinergy, brings the Brazilian psychedelic techno.  They’re Speedsound versions, just for clarification.  Unfortunately, it’s not all South American trance.  Ukraine’s Screamcore band To Leave A Trace is all about how loud Oksana Bugaiova can yell.   Please get your earplugs ready and hit the jump.


It may not be the Shaq rap.  But it's still pretty good.I reckon they call it Trance because they assume anyone listening is in some sort of alcohol/drug-induced altered state.   I don’t know how anyone could dance to this.  This is not music to grind to.  This is music to compete to (or at the very least make a very huge mistake [circa 1:30] to).  So it’s best to approach “Imagination” as a kind of aural puzzle:  “How can I survive this torrent of colored blocks?”  Just forget surviving.  Focus on enjoying it, and you can play this song.  How might you enjoy this track?  For starters, take some LSD put on some headphones.  There’s enough noise in this one that you don’t want any distractions.  Then use the Vegas character.  Sure, Audiosurf pros may put up high scores with Pointer, but Vegas is where it’s at.  Why?  On numerous phrase-punctuating downbeats, the Vegas character conjured one of its random power-ups.  Each time a tense phrase threatened to overload all of my lanes at once, an authoritative noise would sound, a hill would crest, and I’d receive a Shuffle to clear my board.  The synchronicity felt fated.  Then there was the time I wove through three lanes of traffic to snag a red Paint to save myself from certain doom.  And don’t worry about the running time.  This one shakes things up regularly.  You’ll be too busy holding on for dear life to notice the eight minutes go by.

No, it's not My Dick, but it's worth your time. Okay, so I rambled a bit about “Imagination.”  “Pure Dream” offers a similar experience – I just think it lacks the special kick (or Essence) I found in “Imagination.”  But that doesn’t mean you should avoid this one.  In fact, I think you should definitely give this one a ride.  It still ranks above some of the other techno nonsense I’ve slogged through.  The individual sounds definitely hint at real instruments, with extended runs of synthesized piano.  Something “Pure Dream” does quite well is something Dylan talked about way back when: the tension and release of long-form techno pieces.  He by no means said other genres can’t do it (one of his favorite bands to ride is Tool), but the typical Build-Build-BuildBuildBuilBuiBu-Ahhh of decent trance music is what he’s talking about.  And “Pure Dream” pulls this off in spades.  The traffic becomes less predictable as the percussive ambience rises in pitch until finally the wave crashes and you start climbing again.  Any other week and this one may have been my top pick.

Other selections
I feel bad for “Endless Song for One Day.”  It’s a serviceable track with some dazzling red tunnel curves and some slick Queens of the Stone Age-ish riffs.  But goddamn if this chick’s voice doesn’t make me feel awful inside.  I’m sorry.  Just listen, and if you can stomach it (aka if you can digest nails), maybe you should give this song a chance.  Regardless, I still could’ve done without the sentimental breakdown in the middle.  If you’re going to play thrash guitar and scream at me, you’re not allowed to mellow out in the middle and make me listen to your poetry jam bongo player.  “Fight Your Evil Side” is more of the same.  More adequate music.  More evil Kath Soucie imitations. 

Author’s Note
The Synthetic Sinergy tracks were played on the Pro difficulty at least twice using the Vegas and Eraser characters.  However, I couldn’t get through the To Leave A Trace tracks a second time.  If you think I’m just being lazy, I dare you to try it.  Go ahead.  Make my day.