Monday, June 30, 2014

MIXSET : "It's VideoGame Music!" Mixset 2014

It's been a while since the last one, so here's a new mixset!

This one is an .mpegasus mix, so it's primarily bleepy and videogamey (as opposed to 'normal' Binster mixes), although there's plenty of orchestral and 'real' instrument stuff in there too. It's two hours long, so get comfortable.

"It's VideoGame Music!" Mixset 2014 by Binster / .Mpegasus on Mixcloud

MP3 Download link
Cue SheetDownload link

Here's the tracklist :

01) Ben Rear Introduction - Inspector Vector & _ensnare_ (Defend Your Ramp)
...featuring "It's Videogame Music!"

This mix is dedicated to everyone who feels the same excitement as the woman in the video when they hear chiptunes.
02) Ben Rear With the Gear - Inspector Vector (Defend Your Ramp)
Inspector Vector's debut material is powerful and melodic, just the way I like my chiptunes.
03) Daybreak - Mitch Murder (Selection One)
Mitch Murder is possibly outside of .mpegasus' mixset remit, but it's too smooth not to include.
04) No Party Like a Mojang Party - Big Giant Circles (The Glory Days)
Big Giant Circles new album is crammed with this kind of intricate melodic treat. Snaffle it!
05) Door - C418 (Minecraft Volume Alpha)
Having lost countless hours in the early days of Minecraft, this piece takes me right back to my own private cavern...
06) Pressure Cooker - SoulEye (VVVVVV Soundtrack)
The ever bouncy VVVVVV soundtrack serves up more magic.
07) I Said Yes - Chris Remo (Gone Home)
If you've not played Gone Home, do so. It made me feel like a teenager in love, in a good way.
08) Metaphysics - Carlo Castellano (The Swapper)
If you've also not played The Swapper, get stuck in. An incredible marriage of story, theme and game mechanics.
09) Ballad Of Hillys - Christophe Héral (Beyond Good And Evil)
Beyond Good And Evil gets rightful praise, but not enough of that praise is for its wonderful soundtrack.
10) Indolence (Renovation Mix) - Kubbi (Original on Circuithead)
Strong melodic work on this one - particularly the lovely lead harmonies.
11) The Whirling Infinite - Jim Guthrie (Sword & Sworcery LP)
I didn't really get on with the game, but the soundtrack is great.
12) Flow - Disasterpeace (FEZ)
FEZ is wonderful - so elegant in its puzzley ways. The soundtrack is superbly fuzzy, like it was made in an alternate retro universe.
13) Rockmen (Battle) - Ben Prunty (FTL)
The 'bom bom bom bom bom bom bommmmmmm' bassline in this track tickles my pickle massively.
14) Adventure Jingle / Mines B - Eirik Suhrke (Spelunky)
...featuring Bananasaurus Rex

The Spelunky soundtrack scratches a curious itch - the nostalgic tones of the PC Adlib Soundcard of days gone by. Also featuring the pained scream of a man who I can confidently say was the first to single handedly throw an eggplant at Yama.
15) Configurate - _ensnare_ (No Carrier Rush)
Some early _ensnare_ with a rougher sound and some indecipherable but probably quite powerful lyrics.
16) Instanced - .mpegasus (Quixotica)
When I'd finished writing this track I realised it fit Regulate pretty well. This was not intentional...
17) Missing You - Trash80 (Icarus)
Trash80 has a distinctive sound and seems to nail the kind of chord progression that makes me very happy.
18) Atmegatronic - DREAMTRAK (Atmegatron Demo)
DREAMTRAK goes above and beyond on this track, written to showcase the fantastic new AtMegatron Synthesiser by Paul Soulsby. Check it out!
19) Rolling Down The Street, In My Katamari - Fear Of Dark (Motorway)
Fear Of Dark is simply the most melodic scene musician around. Everything he writes is overflowing with music.
20) Time Trax Music 01 - Tim Follin (Time Trax Genesis OST)
A rare treat - an unreleased Tim Follin soundtrack! Go listen to the whole thing in 50Hz, as it was meant to be heard.
21) Jamn - George & Jonathan (George & Jonathan III)
This is about as laidback and summery as it gets - not quite chiptune, more like an Amiga module.
22) The Machinery Pt. Two - Simon Stålenhag (Operation Smash)
An amazing track by Simon Stålenhag (who I first learned of through his excellent paintings) for a game by Steve Olofsson (who I first learned of through his excellent music). I think there's something creative in the water in Sweden.
23) Courtesy - Chipzel (Super Hexagon)
Gameboy fiend Chipzel nailed the essence of Super Hexagon with her soundtrack. Her new album is also available!
24) Houston - Big Giant Circles (The Glory Days)
I have a feeling this track is somewhat of a Chipzel shout-out... more brilliance from BGC.
25) Rounding Error - _ensnare_ & .mpegasus (Binary Opposition)
A special track for me this - I made it round at _ensnare_'s house over a weekend. He and his now wife cooked me a delicious stir fry, too.
26) Long Past Gone - Jami Sieber (Braid)
Superb cello music featured in (though not written for) Braid.
27) Broken Age / March in the Clouds - Peter McConnell (Broken Age)
I'm very happy that Broken Age turned out as well as it did (which is to say, excellent). I have strong affection for Lucasarts Adventures (Day Of The Tentacle in particular - bonus excellent Laverne cosplay!).
28) The Deluge - Joel Corelitz (The Unfinished Swan)
A wonderful and evocative soundtrack - this is a particularly up-tempo track.
29) Clockwork - .mpegasus (Quixotica)
Tooting my own trumpet here, really. Expect more .mpegasus music soon! (Although there'll probably be a Binster release first.)
30) U n ME - Anamanaguchi (Endless Fantasy)
Endless Fantasy is a mammoth album, and this track feels a little different from the rest.
31) Neon Mines - Module (Shatter)
Shatter's soundtrack sounded nostalgic on release 5 years ago - it has only improved with age.
32) There Is Always Love - _ensnare_ (Defend Your Ramp)
This is vintage _ensnare_ - the pounding bassline, the elegant melody. Dude's got skills.
33) Pop It - Anamanaguchi
This is probably the most marmite track in this list, but I love it. I'm a sucker for the fluffy tones and up-pitched vocals.
34) Crabs On The Rampage - Inspector Vector (Defend Your Ramp Deluxe Edition)
And finally, what is this I don't even. Inspector Vector's dnb tribute to some weird pulpy scifi novel of the same name is clearly the only way one can end a mixset in style.

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VIDEO : "Contemporary" by DREAMTRAK

By day, I animate robots punching each other. By night, I make beeps go beep. Somehow in between (so I guess around tea time) I made this colourful music video for DREAMTRAK's latest single, Contemporary.

DREAMTRAK did sterling work on mastering the Broken Lighthouse Initiative EP and his band Trademark's new album just came out (about which I recently waxed lyrical). Snaffle his single NOW!

For those interested in the tech stuff, the video was created in Blender using a plugin that responded to sound to drive a lot (though not all) of the motion of the shapes, which were white objects on black backgrounds that were used as alpha channels to drive hue shifts and brightness and stuff. The Blender scene had a bit of a messy noodle graph by the end.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

COMMUNITY : Trademark.

There's a new album out today, about which I am very excited. Here's the link, but I'm going to wax lyrical for a bit, too.

When I went to University to study computer animation a friend on the course used a piece of music on his major project animation. This piece of music sounded like nothing I'd heard before (or since) - it was cold and electronic, but beneath that surface was a broken, beating human heart. It was wonderful. (The animation was also good.)

That music was "Need Some Time" by Trademark. I was a fan from that point on. (If you want to hear it, the best I can find online is one of my old mixes - skip to 16mins)

It turns out Trademark was friends with Steve, the guy on whose animation I heard their track. Over the years I got to know all three of the Trademarks - Oli, Pros and Stu. They say you should never see how the sausage is made, but I found that knowing the band members only heightened my connection to the music.

Trademark's early work (such as Need Some Time) seems difficult to come by now, but their first album proper, "Want More", sets out what they're all about - clean electronic tones as skeleton, human emotion as flesh. From the sorrowful "Sine Love" to the triumphant "Trust In What You Know" Trademark wear their hearts on their labcoat sleeves.

They followed this with "Raise The Stakes" an altogether more adventurous and conceptual album. Tracks vary from the shimmering pop of "Come To Love" to the darkly thumping "Toe The Line" before the album finishes with full choral and orchestral pieces, contrasting the tight electronics of earlier tracks.

Trademark's albums are half the story - their live performances are legendary. Footage exists of their cover of The Beatles' "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" complete with guest monkey performance by nervous_testpilot. I think this highlights the wonderful approach that Trademark takes to all their music - balancing honest emotion with joyous catharsis.

In 2004 the band supported The Human League on tour - when they performed in Cambridge they stayed overnight at my flat (such is the glamourous life of being on tour). Their performance was as excellent as always. For me, Trademark was the main course, The Human League was the pudding.

Following "Raise The Stakes" the guys embarked upon a new-material-writing holiday in Scotland. Thus was born "At Loch Shiel", an EP of tracks covering the ennui of unfulfilled existence ("Someone Else's Dream") and filthy car metaphors about doing it ("Love You (Like I Love My Car)"). The standout track for me is "Brand New" - which sounds precisely like what I didn't realise I wanted the 80s to sound like while living through them.

Which brings us to their new album, simply titled "Trademark." This new album's release is cause for celebration, but it is bittersweet.

In October last year, Trademark member Stu died in an accident.

The last time I saw Stu was at the surprise birthday of the same friend whose animation introduced me to Trademark - a spot of karaoke in London. It was bizarrely humbling to be screeching out "Earth Song" in the company of my favourite band. I wish there were more memories of Stu to be made. I hold these memories dear.

If you are reading this the chances are high that you like my music. Trademark have massively influenced my music over the years, so chances are equally high that if you like my stuff you'll love theirs. This new album, from the tracks I've heard, is their finest work.

Treasure it.

Oli (Oliver Horton)
Proz (Paul Soulsby

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Sunday, June 01, 2014

MUSIC : Xenon Remix (Xoldin' Out For A Xero)

Dun a new remix.

Finished it on Amiga Day as well, apparently. Appropriate, seeing as it's a remix of the Amiga classic Xenon.


Download it on Soundcloud

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