Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – Tropical and Swampy Edition

Sooner or later, Audiosurf is going to run out of artists I’ve already stamped with my seal of approval.  By no means am I complaining about becoming more familiar with acts I’m already taken with, but I’m worried about the future.  What will happen when I have to face the new again?  Will I enjoy it as much as the familiar?  Suddenly this became about more than a music-visualizing match-three game.  Getting back on track…

Funny story: I’ve actually reviewed The Dada Weatherman twice.  About a year ago last week, I raved about the bluesy folk of this Paris-born guitarist.  But back when the blog and I were still getting our sea legs, I declared a song by the same artist “boring.”  Not every track is a winner, I suppose, but you can hunt down all the good Weatherman tracks here.

Lest I forget how to review acts new to Audiosurf, Sentinel provides our electronica entry of the week – if you could call it that.  It’s certainly electronic, but whether or not that “a” (or “uh” for you phonetics fans out there) is warranted is up for debate.  Sentinel’s also from Hungary, which may explain the misspelling you’ll find just after the jump.

The Songs

“Hawai” kicks off with a big, loping bass brrrooommmm.  The iTunes Genius (no, I’m not sponsored) in my mind quickly called up a million hip-hop beats – you know, the grindy ones.  Alas, “Hawai” has other ideas.  No sooner am I sipping gin and juice whilst reclining than I’m in a synthesized tropical resort.  The claxon tones of MIDI melody play the role of seagulls, cawing above a digital surf.  Thing’s aren’t completely peachy on this vacation, however.  A progressive sense of melancholy – yearning, at least – drives the song forward.  Perhaps it’s the bleeps and bloops of responsibility, beckoning you back to the world of mortgages, dentist appointments, and mediocre Wednesday dinners.  Or it could just be some guy with feelings about a girl plucking away on his MIDI keyboard.  Either way, it moves and it’s fun.  The minimalist drum work generates most of the traffic in the third section, which creates some fun lane-changing scenarios.  I almost feel like I’m riding the drumsticks from surface to surface – if there were drumsticks and this wasn’t just a computer.

Have you ever gone to a folk or bluegrass festival?  If so, how often do you actually feel moved to dance instead of just sitting on your picnic blanket, sipping your IPA, and “appreciating” the roots of American music?  On the off chance that you are compelled to cut a rug on Nature’s carpet, it’s likely that something akin to “Circus Dream” was responsible.  The Weatherman, whose only main drawback is his propensity for whiny vocals, plays a mean guitar.  He can relax and pluck.  He can slip meaningful dissonance into an otherwise major chord progression, and his breakdowns are plain sick.  The instrumental phrase that follows each chorus is worthy of hollerin’ and boot-stompin’.  That he chooses to include the sparse drum and bass accompaniment only in these sections heightens their impact even more.  Though the traffic’s light, you should play this songI reckon you’ll have a good time.

I wish I could count how many songs I’ve ridden on Audiosurf Radio titled “Toxic.”  No really, I wish I could.  I swear I’ve played other such songs (not by Britney Spears) courtesy of Radio but Google and my folder of blog images refuse to corroborate my story.  I’m beginning to wonder if I can trust my own memory.  Why is this mental breakdown pertinent?  Because the Weatherman’s “Toxic” also starts with a bit of a brain twister.  Listen to the opening chords and tell me you don’t hear the funkified remains of “Money for Nothing.”  (Also, dare to tell me that and I’ll call you a liar to your mother’s face).  After you’re done agreeing with me, stop worrying about the chords.  Just let the song drag you along.  If sleep-swaggering is possible, “Toxic” does it flawlessly.  The swinging twang is dreamy, and the fuzzy guitar solo gives the distinct impression of a hot, stuffy bar in walking distance from a swamp.  I know the Weatherman’s from Paris, but he must have taken a trip to Louisiana or something for research.  This thing steams.

Author’s Note

All songs were played on the Pro difficulty at least twice using the Eraser character.  No high scores to report this time, then again I’m not as hardcore as many of the people who top those boards week after week.

In the comments, Skiddlywibble also made an obligatory Britney Spears reference before saying that “Toxic” caused him to “feel like [he’d] just witnessed a kitten being strangled.”  He says that like it’s a bad thing.

What do you think about metaphorical kitten-strangling?  Or how about the rides?  Sound off in our fancy new comment system.