Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – Leftover Stew Edition

YUM. I almost didn’t make it through this week, guys.  I almost spent the entire time I should’ve been writing just laughing my ass off.  Why, you ask?  Spanish Celtic Ska with Death Metal Vocals. 

Want proof that such a thing exists?  Head on over to the website of Ness, a Spanish band with a preposterously eclectic sound.  I’ve listened to some crazy music, but this is out of control.  I should admit that my knowledge of Spanish is…negative at best – meaning that I actually mishear more Spanish than I could ever hope to understand.  So I’ve no idea what these guys are singing about, but it sure sounds hilarious. 

Keeping things even-keeled is Kazakh guitarist Alexandr Filippov.  It’s some classical acoustic guitar, with some George Benson-y jazz licks thrown in.

Still don’t believe me that Ness exists?  Hit the jump and become a believer.


Yes, they probably named their band after that little boy. “Balboa” urges me to do a dance I have no business doing.  It’s some kind of mix between a mosh pit and the Highland Games.  You’ve got crunchy guitars, wailing bagpipes, and every kind of ska drum beat you can imagine (yes, all three of them).  Despite maintaining a fairly giddy beat throughout, the song manages to get pretty epic – apropos considering the bagpipe’s the premiere instrument for cutting through the din of battle (I read that somewhere once).  There are a few distinct sections to the piece: the straightforward choruses, a prog-rock build, and some sweeping curves that each end sharply.  It’s a surprising amount of variety for an aural palette that’s widely assumed to possess only one tone: drunk.

All i know is fuerza means strong.  Or something. WARNING: El Diablo inhabits this song.  In between the wailing and the Enrique-like pop vibrato, the singer channels Beelzebub.  It’s some kind of Demon Ska.  As Audiosurf user DFG Cenyx puts it, “Now we have an answer to the age old question: What if Judas Priest merged with Sublime having been raised Spanish in Dublin?”  He couldn’t be more accurate.  There’s a guitar solo in the Megadeth mold in the middle, meant to summon the Lord of the Flies, no doubt.  A choir of rowdy musicians often echoes the lead singer with an enthusiastic “Hey!,” showing their support for The Fallen One.  Toward the end, as a particular riff begins to wear on the ear, the track spirals.  I felt like I was accompanying Virgil through various Circles and we’d reached one with a ‘Failed Musical Styles of the 1990s’ theme.  If you don’t play this song, Lucifer will come for you.

I used to go to the mall on Fridays... I wonder what Mr. Filippov does on Fridays that made him name this track “Friday.”  Perhaps he goes to the mall (if Kazakhstan has malls) because I’d call this song really interesting elevator music.   He’s a talented guitar player.  There’s no disputing that.  And were I in the right mood, I could just sit and listen to this.  It’s so peppy, which is a big surprise considering Hollywood’s recent depiction of Kazakhstan.  The track is a bit of a beast thanks to the wisely-included Steep tag.  You’ll find no drum beats here, just three guitars generating a crapload of traffic.  If you’re a fan of aneurysms, have a go at Stealthing this one.

Other Selections

Filippov’s “Tango” is just that: a tango.  It should be ridden if you enjoyed “Friday,” and perhaps even if you didn’t.  I just didn’t feel right recommending both Filippov tracks when the Ness stuff is so damn insane.  I won’t, however, recommend “Fiesta” by Ness because it’s nowhere near as entertaining as “Fuerza Astur.”  It’s got all of the apparent hallmarks of a Ness track: primal yawp-singing, crunchy guitars, high-pitched bagpipe squealing.  But there’s a wonderful moment in “Fuerza Astur” where the singer’s wailing almost gets out of control, like if the Marvel villain Banshee somehow lost control of his mutant ability.  Go ride that one instead.

Author’s Note

All songs were played on the Pro difficulty at least twice using the Vegas and Eraser characters.  I can’t believe I made it through all that Ness material.  That stuff is insane.