Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – Daftly Punkish Edition

daft_punk11With TRON: Legacy but a few weeks away, it’s only appropriate that we get some Daft Punk-esque music on Audiosurf.  (You do know they’re doing the TRON score, right?)

Much of the electronic music I listen to comes from Audiosurf, video games, or the occasional bitchin’ film score, but there are exceptions – Daft Punk being one of them.  Why they’re so good I can’t really explain.  And – now maybe I just don’t listen to enough techno – there just doesn’t seem to be a lot like them out there.  Fans of the genre should feel free to comment below or email me with suggestions of similar acts I just don’t know about because this week has convinced me that I need more Daft Punk-like music.  Daft Punk simply doesn’t have enough time to provide all the Daft Punk I need.

Luckily, BertycoX is there to pick up the slack.  Head on over to the artist’s Facebook page for just a bit of information and a wealth of music (how did I totally forget that Facebook has embeddable music players now?).  You may even want to press that Like button should you find yourself a fan.

The Songs

audiosurf the signalOnce “The Signal” starts, you’ll understand the title.  The eponymous melodic siren dances around on a constant loop.  You’ll hear it set atop a variety of techno tropes, and it does well by all of them.  In turn, the supporting phrases keep the Signal from reaching Hampster Dance levels of annoying repetition (like that one time I got stuck on Splash Mountain for twenty minutes before a Disney employee mercifully shut off the ear-splittingly cheerful singing fauna).  I’m especially fond of the truly Daft Punk-ish sections.  Their analog growls just excite me in an oddly primal (considering the technology involved) way.  Rhythmically, the song relies heavily on a simple kick-snare beat.  It bores in some of the slower uphills, but when paired with the right musical line, it becomes determined, stately.  I picture very rigid, static dancing.  People standing perfectly straight, pumping fists with robotic precision.  For a track so low on traffic, it’s surprisingly intense.  White blocks and precious paints are strewn across the track like so many foolhardy opossums.  Pick your chains wisely however, as it’s easy to get screwed into a poor score by the low traffic volume.  But don’t be too disheartened by a bad initial performance.  The music merits multiple replays, plenty of chances for you to perfect your ride.

audiosurf utopiaI know I’ve used this setup before, but the opening of “Utopia” sort of terrifies me.  The beat is funky; the chord progression’s deceptive; it sounds like my computer’s just sobbing: it’s bafflingly awesome.  I actually can’t get enough of the chords, to be quite honest.  Whenever the ride just took over and my awareness of what had come before melted away, I’d find myself surprised yet again by the song’s perpetual postponement of tonal resolution.  It always comes, of course, just a bar later than you’d expect.  While I found “The Signal” to be a little light on the traffic, I felt almost burdened by the volume on “Utopia.”  The music routinely distracted me from the task at hand.  I’d refocus my eyes every few seconds and just watch another column overload and my score tick down by the thousands.  I suppose if a song makes you dance at your desk so hard you can’t play a simple match-three game competently, it’s more than doing its job.  That said, if I put this on at a party, you may just assume I’d found an obscure-but-awesome Daft Punk track you’d missed that one year in college you got really into Daft Punk.  For those keeping score, I mean that as a compliment.  Now go play this song and excuse me while I go get really into Daft Punk.

Author’s Note

All songs were played on the Pro difficulty using the Eraser character.  A few users were making noise about Erasers owning on the Elite boards.  ProTip: if your goal is topping the leaderboards, you’d do well to pick the character having the most success.

Quote of the week goes to JaguarFiend re: “The Signal.”  Addressing the similarities to Daft Punk, he writes, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  Sweet song, and I like the wild track shape.”  Always good for the soul to see some mild-mannered axiom recitation on videogame boards.

Given the theme of this week’s roundup, I feel it might behoove you to try your hand at some classic Daft Punk tracks on Audiosurf.  May I recommend “Around the World,” “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” and “Robot Rock”?