While looking up music from Hotline Miami, I found Perturbator’s music. Via their label, Aphasia Records, I discovered Dynatron. While Perturbator is reeking of dark streets, neon lights and cybernetics, Dynatron is optimistic space-faring music. If you enjoy the far-reaching ideals of 2001 or Tron, Dynatron may be just the thing for you.
I’ve listened to Bobby Prince’s soundtrack to Doom for years now. I remember how excited I was to find the CD available online (this was back before mp3s kids), offering a far higher quality version of the music that was only heard via MIDI in-game. Drums, guitar, keyboards and more were now heard.
There’s been some negativity about the music in id’s games. While Quake had an excellent atmosphere thanks to Nine Inch Nails’ subdued sounds, most id games lean towards a hard rock/metal vibe. While that may suit the Quake games, it didn’t fit quite as well in the Doom world. This dark and brooding world needed a soundtrack to match. It would receive it in its Playstation port.
For the Playstation port, Williams Entertainment turned to Aubrey Hodges for a new soundtrack. I don’t know the details of why a new soundtrack was even created. Never the less, what we have is a soundtrack that matches or possibly outshines Quake’s. That soundtrack is now available for purchase from Bandcamp here. I’ve been previewing the album from the website for a few weeks now, and it’s great background music. Whether you need some good atmospheric background music while writing or coding, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better. There’s also other albums available on Bandcamp from Aubrey, and they are all excellent atmospheric pieces.
Have you heard the soundtrack to Hotline: Miami? You haven’t? Well listen to it here, for free! Now, after you listen to it, if you’re like me, you’ll think that Track 5 is the best one. When I listened to this soundtrack, I immediately had to find more music from Perturbator. Their main page on Bandcamp is here. If you are a fan of cyberpunk, science fiction, industrial, etc. then I think you’ll be a fan of Perturbator.
Yes, another Kickstarter post. This time for the second solo album from Free Dominguez, lead singer of Kidneythieves. This Kickstarter has already met its goal of $30,000 and still has 27 days to go. Unlike her first solo album, this one will feature electric and electronic instruments. I’m excited for what this album will sound like. I haven’t listened to the new Kidneythieves albums yet, but Free has always had a steady output of music, both with a band and solo, and so I’m glad to see her continuing to evolve and to use Kickstarter as a way to get her music out there.
Since the release of Nightwish’s album Dark Passion Play, when their new singer debuted, I’ve been eagerly awaiting their second release with her to see how well she integrated with the band. But if you go to their website, you’ll see almost more about the companion film than the album itself (this has changed a bit since I first wrote this post’s draft as the album has been released). I can’t say this is good. Another band, Within Temptation, also felt the need to have a story(ies) to go along with their latest album, and they’ve released several short films to go along with it.
For decades we’ve had the concept album, where a story is told from song to song. But it was still an album. And from the ones I’ve listened, some have been very good. My personal favorite would be Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime, followed up by Fear Factory’s Obsolete. Concept albums can be powerful; hell, they can be absolutely epic.
These albums are good because the music comes first, and provides a strong foundation for a story to go on top of. The story is the icing on the cake that is the music. If the music sucks, I don’t care how good the story is (or how good the band may think it is). I can read a book (or even watch a film) for that. That isn’t really why I want to sit down with a new album, put on my Grados, close my eyes and be taken away. That is something neither books nor films can do, and that’s the reason music still has a very important place in today’s world, even with all the “wonderous” advances technology may have provided for films, games, etc.
I have only listended to brief samples of Within Temptation’s new album, and it’s terrible. It’s nothing like their previous albums, and most of the “metal” has been stripped out and replaced with pop. I began listening to a preview of Nightwish’s Imaginaerum with the same trepidation. Unfortunately my fears were confirmed for the most part. Disjointed would be an understatement. This is not an album at all, and unless the film is a miraculous splendor it is barely a serviceable soundtrack either.
Each song is completely different. One track tries to emulate jazz. As snobby as Europeans can be about “true metal”, as a full-blooded American I must reply about “true jazz”. This track is not a salute, and is a failed emulation of jazz. It should have been left off entirely.
If there’s only one strength on this album, then it is Jukka’s drumming. One of the first to get me really motivated about playing drums, Jukka has always had fantastic tone and great chops, and that shines through even on this album. Unfortunately he’s the only one who’s shining on this album. Emmpu’s guitar playing is boring and monotonous. There is very little melodic work or soloing; it’s constant chugging. On one track he does pick up the acoustic, and just like the track “The Islander” on Dark Passion Play, this track is a stand-out. Perhaps it’s because it harkens back to Nightwish’s origins of acoustic songs. I would love to hear an entire album of acoustic songs. The band has gotten as “high-concept” as music can possibly get (or at least that most people can stand). It’s time for them to come down and sit with us around the fire again.
So how has Anette progressed on her second album with the band? It’s hard for me to say. She certainly sings with a bit more range, but still no-where near what Tarja could belt out. I consider that neither good or bad. On the “jazz” track, her vocals were not too bad. On other tracks the notes are just too far apart and strains the definition of what a melody is and should be. It’s almost more jarring than the constant change in song styles. On one hand I really now want to say “well let’s wait til the NEXT album to see how she and the band progress”, but you know what? I’m busy. There’s far too many other bands worth a listen. Just as I had to end my aural affair with Within Temptation, I think I’ll have to say the same for Nightwish now.