Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – French Cherub Edition

cherubAudiosurf is keeping it light this week with only two songs.  No need to gorge yourself on visualized song rollercoasters what with Turkey Day right around the corner, I suppose.

Kicking things off is Josh Woodward, an Ohio-born indie rocker whom I’ve written about twice before.  His style is eclectic and ranged, dubbing yourself an “acoustic rocker” means almost anything falls under your purview.  Woodward’s new album “Ashes” came out recently, and he’s offering it for free at his website.  Should you prefer your music a little more physical, you can, of course, purchase one of those CD-things your older siblings keep talking about. 

Chriss Onac is a contemporary French composer whose work I’ve also covered before on Radio.  It’s all strings this time, so the traffic could either be amazing or amazingly bland. 

Let’s see what happens after the jump.

The Songs

audiosurf cherubs“Cherubs” is pleasantly indie.  I see kids in chucks and skinny jeans smiling and laughing, their friends rolling in the nearest leaf pile why they sip chai and smoke.  (Wow, that’s a lot of hipster stereotyping.  I actually don’t mean any of that derogatorily; it’s just the image the song conjured for me.)  Woodward delivers his lyrics with the utmost earnestness, but the melody he uses to support that emotion occasionally takes him out of his comfort zone.  I can hear him straining in times when a shift into slight falsetto would make the whole thing easier for him.  Then again, that’d make him sound less unique, more like scores of other indie poppers, so I can understand his wanting to belt.  The bridge takes things up a notch, increasing the traffic and adding weight to the guitars.  Woodward then takes sound back to the chorus we’ve already heard, highlighting the song’s emotional journey from point A to point B.  Pure and simple, the guy knows how to write folky pop. Play this song, so that then Woodward’s stuff ends up on the actual radio, you’ll be able to claim you heard him before everyone else.

audiosurf moissons“Moissons” means “harvests.”  How that relates to this eerie little string piece I’ve no idea – unless all of the people working your farm are zombies, lurching through cornfields with scythes, hungry for the fall crop.  (I’m going to drop that metaphor, as it’s beginning to freak me out).  First things first: for that is almost entirely strings, the ride is super fun.  No big sweeping hills or blaring red tunnels, but the blocks appear constantly and in challenging clusters.  What probably forms these clusters are the disorienting string loops that play.  “Moissons” is no mere chamber piece.  It sounds like Monsieur Onac wrote some music, had it played on various stringed instruments, then chopped it up and reorganized it in Pro Tools.  Phrases abruptly clip off; others enter having already begun: there’s no strong sense of forward momentum, only a swirling, humming feeling of dread.  Filmmakers take note.  This kind of deliberate mess would be perfect for a dream sequence or a bizarre trip through some European underground.  It also happens to be pretty perfect for Audiosurf.

Author’s Note

All songs were played on the Pro difficulty using the Eraser character.  Despite the light song load, the Comments section was quite active this week.

I was surprised to find someone promoting their own music in the comments for “Cherubs.” Thankfully it didn’t drown out everyone else.  braddock1 said that it “sounds like a song you would sing when you go camping.”  I can hear that.  Someone has a guitar, starts playing that hot new Woodward track, everyone joins in. 

The unique vibe of “Moissons” had its detractors and its fans.  SurfinOnBeatzzz thought it sounded like “poor editing” with “some really rough cuts,” and JaguarFiend thought it looped a little too indefinitely: “It just felt like it went on forever…Woulda been neat if one way or another it mixed things up in there.”  Others loved it.  Maketheday7 said, “Makes me wish I had a tophat whilst playing.”  And I’m not sure if this is a compliment or what, but Kiddalee said, “Classical music being produced in this era seems to convey insanity and unhappiness.”  Whether you knew it or not, Kiddalee, you’ve pretty much stumbled upon the thesis of Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise.

Be sure to head over to Audio-surf.com if you still haven’t picked up this game.