Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – Tripping Balls Edition


Let it be known that this week’s title is not meant to be some kind of coded endorsement of illegal drug use.  Do what you want in your free time.  I’ll make no judgments.  But if you’ve got the choice between crazy hallucinogens and video games, maybe choose games?

After some digging, I finally found a page with some actual text about Cypher Tales.  All I could find on the MySpace was a confusing location of “Paris London, France.”  Maybe he lives in London and commutes to France to shop around his electronica.  I won’t belabor the hilarious Franglais going on all over the IndieJam page (it’s no one’s fault, I suppose), but it’s worth noting that the man behind Cypher Tales started in punk, moved onto hardcore, and finally settled into techno. 

I love Dom the Bear’s website.  The header makes my day.  As does his dual language text.  He’s a college professor turned techno musician.  What’s not to love about this rags to different color rags story?  (I’m in theatre; I get to make poorhouse jokes.)  In all seriousness, he sounds like a nice guy who happens to like polar bears.  I can get behind that.

The Songs

My initial time through “Move Your Soul,” I dug it the entire way.  I loved the clunky, ear-battering bass.  I happily braced myself for the drum fills, which sound like they were played by a pissed off Goro from Mortal Kombat.  The second time through…not so much.  There’s just not enough variety.  I like the angry Basement Jaxx vibe, but it never quite breaks down into a sustainable groove.  It’s relentlessly in your face (think preschooler with way too much sugar).  The title “Move Your Soul” makes me think of dancing; this song just makes me want to rage.  Roughly midway through, the overused vocal sample falls away and the beat does shine for a bar or two.  But then we’re right back into the craziness.  If Cypher were to break down the individual components and ruminate on them a little longer, there’d be a much more captivating ride here.  As it stands, it’s a super aggro few minutes that would’ve been much more impressive at half the length.

“The Beautiful” hurts my head.  It’s not a terrible ride or song by any means.  It just hurts.  The traffic’s preposterously high.  The music is mostly organized noise that, while still possessing a discernable beat and rhythm, manages to overwhelm the ear.  I think Cypher has an issue with song naming.  I don’t know what’s “beautiful” about this one.  I suppose it’s beautiful in the same way that a mountain climber might look at the challenge of a sheer rock face and consider it beautiful.  Or the way whatever fireman is in charge of the Jaws of Life might regard a horrific car wreck as beautiful.  If you find difficulty attractive, prepare to be aroused.  “The Beautiful” also relies on a repetitive vocal sample – this time a woman says “Dah” – and some really loud beats.  Strings that sound like they’re being played back in reverse are the most unique musical element on display (and it creeps me out).  The more I say about it, the more negative I sound.  I don’t think I mean to sound negative.  I think.  It’s fun – the way reading Ulysses is fun.

“Oceanic 2010” is the exact opposite to everything else this week has to offer.  It’s spacious.  It’s slow.  The track is nearly as curvy and complicated as Rainbow Road.  And the name, whatever the inspiration, does indeed foretell an extremely wavy ride.  Musically, I’m not sure what to make of it.  Instead of having an uptempo, temple-pounding beat, it barely has one at all.  You’ll glide from one extraterrestrial hum to another, long tunnels syncing up with each turn.  I imagine it’d be conducive to tripping balls.  Where else would you find music like this?  A 60s space opera flick, maybe?  Or perhaps it’d better serve an airy, meditative hard science fiction film?  Why don’t you play this song and decide?

Author’s Note

Each track was played at least twice on the Pro difficulty using the Eraser and Vegas characters.  Thank the gods for Eraser on the Cypher Tales tracks.  I never would have survived such heavy traffic without the ability to clear some of my mistakes.

Someone in the Comments section connected “Oceanic 2010” with what they called “Land Before Time.”  Did they mean The Land Before Time?  I suppose.  But I think the song would be better suited for a dinosaur movie if they were, I don’t know, in space.

Again, folks not yet acquainted with Audiosurf should really get their acts together.