Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – 12/7 – Blue Balls Edition

This guy's picture has been ALL over the internet. As Mick Jagger once sang (before he and his entire band turned into the walking dead), “You can’t always get what you want.”  It’s true.  No matter how hard you want something, sometimes it will remain out of reach.  Like an old flame.  Or a perfect job.  Or…you know.  I’m talking about blue balls here.

Speedsound specializes in techno remixes.  And most techno tracks culminate in some sort of electronic cacophony.  A conflagration of all the samples that came before.  Sometimes, they don’t quite make it.  You get to the end and go, “Wait…it’s over?  Where was the big finish?”  Oreste Fiengo is an Italian musician who – wait wait wait he has porn credits?  And one of the movies is called Robinson Crusoe on Sin Island.  Amazing.  Rounding out the week is Marle Kani, an artist with a miniscule Internet presence, though you should check out the hilarious Jamendo comment on “Tu En Mi.”

I’m fairly certain there will be less bedroom humor after the jump.  No promises, though.


Notice how it goes up and up and up?  I'd love an economy like that. “Dark Star” is a good, long ride.  However, you may notice on the graph that it lacks a prolonged downhill slope.  That’s because this song lacks any sort of traditional climax.  In all my months of riding Speedsound tracks, I’ve come to realize that the primary formula is to mill around in a rhythm/bass loop for a few minutes before building up to a loud, melody-driven climax.  (Allow me to acknowledge all of the sexual double entendres and just say that this song is basically eight minutes of blue balls.)  “Dark Star” never really breaks out of that loop.  What’s there is fun, though.  What hills it does have fall away from you quickly.  Traffic thins out at just the right moments to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.  Just don’t go in expecting a big bang.  (I also came away thinking this song would be awesome for a montage of someone doing something extremely mundane – like going to the bank – and making it look really intense.  First the pen wouldn’t work.  Then there’d be a huge line.  And the teller would be flashing all these nasty looks.  Whoops, now my idea’s out there on the Internet.  I’m sure it’s already stolen by now.)

Guys.  Porn composer makes something that sounds NOTHING like porn music. The opening beat of “Dyanah” is absolutely
batshit.  My primary play style (using Eraser) means I collect every block possible and then clear out the colors that get in my way.  Trying to keep up with the traffic in this opening was more punishing than an Opus Dei ritual (zing!).  I won’t embarrass myself by attempting to name the percussion instrument being played, but it definitely sounds bongo-like.  The rest of the track is a mix of strings, ambient sound, and wind instruments.  In the pregame notes, Lebeth said it sounded like something Titus Pullo might have listened to if Ancient Rome had had an equivalent to electronica.  She gets points for A) accuracy and B) a sweet Rome reference.  I do wish this one ended strong instead of just fading out.  Little bit of blue balls there, too.  See if you feel the same after you play this song.

I like guessing at foreign languages.  Karaoke means "Awesome at singing" right? I’m going to take a wild guess and say that “Tu En Mi” means “You and Me.”  A sweet little title for a sweet little song.  I don’t usually use the word ‘pretty’ in this column, but this song’s melody is just that – pretty.  The girl sounds cute, singing about someone she’s got a crush on or something (I’m still guessing here).  It’s reggae backbeat gives everything a day-at-the-beach or a walking-hand-in-hand-through-the-plaza feel (and I mean plaza in the Italian sense, not the King of Prussia sense).  It’s even got a vibraphone solo!   The Steep tag does some odd stuff to the track here, emphasizing the bass line to the point of Richter-scale registry.  The crazy hills and valleys seem at odds with the tune’s saccharine sound, but the exciting topography makes for a better ride.  Give it a shot, especially if you come to Audiosurf looking to put your feet up and relax.

Other Selections

The start to “Cornelia” is just as tough as “Dyanah” due simply to the demanding drum beat.  Unfortunately, the rest of the track just can’t keep it together.  It’s disjointed, oscillating between a great percussive line and some stale string sections.  A female vocalist floats blithely above it all, sounding quite bored.  The resulting vague Eastern flavor sounds like something from the recent reimagining of Battlestar Galactica – you know, before they started using that weird All Along The Watchtower cover in every freaking episode.  Feel free to skip this one and go ride “Dyanah” a second time.  No really, go ahead.

Author’s Note

All songs were played at least twice on the Pro difficulty using the Vegas and Eraser characters.  More on the new Eraser ability that I mentioned last week.  The main advantage I’ve noticed is that you can now freely clear a Red block to let a White score and then bring the Red back immediately.  Sure, this process gets a little hairy in the midst of thick traffic.  But it’s usually worth the hassle.