Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – 8/11 – Endurance Run Edition

Just keep running. You know how the guy who ran the first marathon died upon its completion?  That’s kind of how I felt after this week’s surfing.

You may be surprised to hear, then, that there are only three songs to choose from.  All have been featured on a recent Speedsound release, which I presume means they’ve been remixed in some way – or at least made longer.  And man are these tracks long.  Each clocks in over eight minutes, with the last riding for an even ten.  It kicks off with a track by Mahadef, then there’s one from Team Radio, and we wrap up with Brazil’s Static Insane.

These songs were chosen purposefully to create astronomical scores, but can songs so long and difficult actually be fun?  As there are only three to choose from, I figured it’d be silly to divide them up.  So hit the jump for my thoughts on all of this week’s endurance runs.

 The Tracks

That track features some Mojo Rising! While “I Like Me” sounded like some kind of hedonistic empowerment, anthem, “Mojo” sounds like two robot insects doing battle. The whirring and clicking sounds like either the stuff of futurist nightmares or the beginnings of an über-successful feature film.  There’s a cool little synth phrase in the last uphill section that makes you switch back and forth between lanes real quick to collect traffic, no matter what the color.  It’s a nice, focused test of your agility, as opposed to the feeling of “Oh my god don’t let me die” that pervades the rest of the ride.  The tail end of said uphill section reminds me, in a strange way, of Disney World’s Splash Mountain.  For those who haven’t been, there’s a point halfway through where it fakes you out, sending you on a very steep but very short fall while playing audio of people screaming.  On “Mojo,” the track keeps climbing, with occasional steep drops that continually feel like they should be the penultimate downhill slope.  It’s definitely surprising, something few tracks pull of well, if at all.   Unfortunately, it kind of drags in the most intense section of the ride.  It’s not a question of traffic or steepness; it’s just too long.  I can only appreciate a crescendo for so long before it just becomes noise.  Shave off a few minutes, though, and this’d be one hell of a ride.

I like me?  I like Mr. T! The critics are split on this one.  Some members of the Audiosurf community found the drum beat too simple, spread too thin over ten minutes of track.  I’m inclined to agree, though I did find some of the heavier fills and transitions extremely satisfying.  Others championed the insane amount of traffic.  Rest assured, the traffic in this one will bowl you over if you’re not a top tier surfer (and I am certainly not a top-tier surfer).  And it’s deceiving, too, because traffic in some of the uphill climbs is pretty sparse, which inadequately prepares you for the torrent to come.  It’s like packing a hoodie because you heard it might sprinkle, only there’s a hurricane between you and your subway stop.  The final divisive aspect of the song was the inclusion of a voiceover from the illustrious Mr. T (of A-Team and “Treat Your Mother Right” fame).  Supposedly it’s from some no-name movie he was in, wherein he yells phrases of empowerment such as “I am woman!” and “I like me.”  Now, I have a personal connection to Mr. T – he visited my wing of the children’s hospital I stayed in as an infant – so I won’t fault the voiceover at all.  In fact, it kicks off a high-octane downhill slope with music perfect for dropping E and just dancing your heart out at a foam party.  I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the actual ride as much if a slew of Red and Yellow Paints hadn’t made the final leg manageable.  Honestly, it was like Sherwin-Williams had a roadside booth and was just doling out the power-ups.  If you play any of the three monsters this week, you should play this song, even if it’s just for the Mr. T.

Lots of people playing this one...I don't know why. I had high hopes for “Deep Connection” after I heard it’s opening.  It lacks some of the stereotypical techno sounds that populate the other two songs (it doesn’t sound custom built to melt your subwoofer).  But it quickly pulled the rug out from under me, bringing in the ever-present bass warbling.  I did enjoy, however, the use of the bass range in the following phrase.  The use of negative aural space – the inclusion of a rest, the unlikely extension of a note – helped break up the monotony.  Unfortunately, this rhythmic technique never returns, and we’re left with Daft Punk-esque robots singing about vodka or something.  It reminds me of the Rocket Riot theme song, but the similarities end there.  There’s just not enough variety here.  The final slope could’ve been hair-raising if I hadn’t been listening to the exact same melody for the previous nine minutes.  If you make it through this one without thinking of stopping at least twice, bravo, you’re a stronger surfer than I.

Author’s Note
All songs were played on the Pro difficulty using the Eraser character.  I honestly didn’t have the fortitude to go through “Mojo” and “Deep Connection” a second time, though I did manage a Vegas run of “I Like Me.”  That was mostly for the Mr. T voiceover, though.