A trip through Team Teamwork's Katamari Da-Emcee with the prince of all hip hop

katamaridaemcee-teamteamwork

Let's just get the track listing out of the way first. Feel free to look up the lyrics, and track down the original sound versions if you must. Then follow a new story of the prince of all hip hop.

katamari-da-emcee-tracklist

It's clear from the over-the-top opening, Can't Tell Me Anything, that this prince is from the streets of all cosmos. The aggressive energy of the intro track bleeds into a surprisingly laid back remix of Busta Rhymes and the memorable piano driven "The Moon and the Prince."

The third track, "I'll" really sets the tone for the album with the glitchy tones of Blue Orb highlighting Danny Brown's lyrics from I Will. Probably one of my favorite songs on the album, too bad I can't sing along with it in public.

One thing I love about mashups is the fact that I can learn to love a lot of songs I originally disliked or just didn't give the time of day to. More Than Twenty Questions is a great example of that, since I spent a few years thinking 50 cent was beyond wack. Toss down some of his lines over the dreamy sounds of Katamari Stars and I love this track. 50 cent is okay.

The love is over quickly and it's time for a young prince to move that katamari. Wonder how the King of all Cosmos got so powerful, maybe "Move Drugs" provides a hint. If you got high on some intergalactic kush thanks to the last song, then you'll really feel the follow up song, Tachyon, a nice anthem track to get you pumped for the final stretch of the album. 

So far it has been difficult for me to decide what I like better, the thug prince of some tracks, or the surprisingly forward suave lover of a prince, but if the track Butts Everywhere could be lumped into a broad definition of 'romance,' then the sauve prince wins by a hundred miles. I'm sorry but I think songs where the chorus is a catchy reference to asses and possibly what asses can do, then I love it. So if you want a great album review from me, then have a song about butts on your album, and make it catchy.

The penultimate track is the one I was most excited for when the tracklist dropped. It didn't matter which Katamari song it got paired with, I knew DMX' vocal track from "X Gon' Give it to Ya" would be a definite highlight of the album. Even with all my expectations I didn't expect "X Will Give it to You" to be this catchy. I can only picture DMX in a suit performing live with a big band in a high class casino.

Ever since falling in love with the ending track from Team Teamwork's Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis album, I've payed close attention to the way this man ends albums. This one does not disappoint. "International Anthem for Players" is a perfect ending to both the game and the album. Teamwork deftly mixes in the original vocals from "Katamari of Love." Though those vocals by Shigeru Matsuzaki (and lyrics by Yoshihito Sano) are in his native Japanese, I'm sure he' s dropping some real pimp game.

Hylian Lemon & friends - Essence of Lime compilation release and review

A few months back, An amazing album was organized and released by VG remixer Hylian Lemon. Along with a few folks from the video game remix, and cover community, they organized an expansive tribute to the music from the often overlooked Game Boy Color game The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages. That album is available now for free download as Essence of Lime.

Essence of Lime is a well put together album of over 40 remixed tracks covering the entire library of music from Oracle of Ages. Hylian Lemon takes the forefront of the album, remixing and contributing to nearly half the songs, which makes sense, as this was originally set to be a solo project. The other half of the album is composed of many other enthusiastic Zelda fans and musicians who, once hearing about the project, jumped on board to be part of it. Essence of Lime coming together in this way gives the album a novel, cohesive feel.

The album kicks off with the orchestral fanfare of title track Essence of Lime by Hylian Lemon. The mood starts out somber and reverent, but quickly fades into a funky adventurer's beat, with great use of sound effects that don't become distracting. Not Bad for a Diva shows Hylian Lemon take a different approach, creating a soothing piano movement that starts washed out, before leading into a slightly more ominous jazzy affair. Moving forward a few tracks, we hear from ProtoDome with one of my favorite tracks on the album, the amazing chiptune styled funk of Past, Present and Future Perfect.We hear vibrant effects and piano swirling together to create an upbeat foot tapping rendition of the well known Zelda field theme.

Bound Across Time is another stand out piece, arranged by Chickenwarlord and Hylian Lemon. The track starts out with a soft lilt of piano, then leads into a driving piano fronted piece that is equal parts catchy and foreboding. With its fading instruments and great piano work, the track really has a distinct feel. But just when you have a grip on it, you are shoved through the ages again and we are met with a comfortable melody of strings which gently lead us to the end of this piece.

At this point it gets tough deciding which tracks to decide to pinpoint in this short review, as many of them are quite good. The tracks are well produced and solid. The arrangements themselves are interesting, and add a new flair to some older Zelda tunes that have seen their fair share of remixes. The website also boasts plenty of great Zelda inspired artwork for the album, including alternate album art and wallpapers. I must admit that I am most partial to the main album art by Maverickk though, He has done a fantastic job capturing the playfulness of the Zelda series in his art, and I think it stands out as some of the best artwork I have yet seen for any album this year.

Back to the music though, we hear from Hylian Lemon again with a worldly piece simply called Really Big Tree. The track combines synths, percussion, and piano into a marching tune across the land, even paying homage to classic Zelda as the song comes to a close, resonating with the sounds of a lone piano. Things don't stay low key for long thanks to the industrial sounds of TheKrow and his arrangement Tombstone Factory which is quickly followed up by Sockpuppet's first of two tracks on the compilation, Ganon's League of Evil, a tension building fusion of violin and metal.

Cart Track Switch Back kicks off with the best track intro on the album, this quickly transitions into the rushed and hunted mood of the main track. Chickenwarlord and Hylian Lemon bring together a ton of ideas for this song, created a varied piece which still transitions smoothly through the environments and textures of the track. DJ Mokram steps in with his track Gimme Some Hearts Fairy!, a moody synth track that shifts around in an increasing panic until the maddening close.

Hylian Lemon teams up again, this time with the prophet to create Eyes in the Deep, an amazing glitched out electronic jazz piece that has a lot of layers, all appropriate to a Zelda game. The trumpet and piano slide drearily along as the percussion and effects add great variety to the piece. As we approach the end of this album, we hear Hylian Lemon going solo again in Endless Eclipse, a track with some great drum work, and an amazing ominous arrangement, continually pushed further to the edge of a great abyss (in a good, Zelda way) by the percussion.

Things take a turn for the unstable in CopiousX's contribution to the album, Horses Eat High, a swirling, psychedelic trashy effect laden rave tune that wavers in and out of consciousness before fading away into the next track. That next track is Enter The Ganon by Dj Mokram and NintenJoe 64, another guitar drenched track, which recreates the intense final battle within the world of Oracle of Ages.

Waves of nostalgia hit us thanks to Sockpuppet, and his track Linking the Legends the genre blending fusion gliding song through a classic Zelda theme. This is another stand out track on the album, and well worth the wait. The finale is an amazing rock epic, Essence of Melon by none other than Girlz Melon. He lays down another one of his well known blistering guitar tracks, paying homage to another classic Zelda tune. Girlz Melon invokes a kind of Hyrulian anthem mood with the tracks marching like drums and crashing cymbals. With a smash of drums and a bit of feedback and this album has come to an end.

I am sad to say that I did not have the chance to listen to this amazing album the moment it appeared online, which is what prompted me to do a review on it now. Hylian Lemon has culled a great stable of musicians to work with, and has created an immense, cohesive album thanks to them, as well as his mastery over several genres and styles. The album was also able to maintain the mood of the game, and the tracks, which is something that can sometimes be lost in rearranging music. Though I may not be as big a fan of the Oracle of Ages game as Hylian Lemon appears to be, this album has definitely made me a bigger fan than I was before. Diving into this sometimes overlooked classic and recreating the amazing soundtrack definitely brings the game into a grander perspective that belies the tiny Gameboy game. Once again, Essence of Lime is available free, so download it, and let the sour sounds of limes and lemons fill your ears.

Also, because I love the artwork for this album so much, here is a picture of the also amazing second disc cover art!

Jay Tholen - The Great Hylian Revival EP release and mini review

Often times you will hear a music writer spill some words about a band or artist that "defies categorization" and "transcends genres" or what have you. Usually it doesn't mean much, as they all fall into fairly broad genres none the less. For me though, I can finally use such cliche language in one of my own music reviews. I am referring to the latest album by one of my favorite musicians in and outside of chiptunes, Jay Tholen.

If you head over to his website right now, you will be greeted with the download link for his latest effort, an odd mixture of personalized lyrics, remixed VGM, and religious currents that weave an amazing, and infectious ten minutes of music. Starting appropriately enough with Song of Creation, a relaxing ballad to the heavens. The short song starts with a recognizable Zelda theme, quickly building on it with inspired lyrics and a calm atmosphere. From there we are met with the memorable menu music from the Zelda series, along with notes of chiptunes and lilting bass in the song Fountain Drinking. The song builds a slightly more tense mood than the intro, with crunching effects and warbling back up notes, creating a more enclosed, darker atmosphere that is reinforced by the forlorn lyrics and driving rhythms.

A cacophony of sound effects rise up above a simple movement in The Spirit Descends on Kakariko Village, a relaxed, atmospheric piece that is over too soon. This leads right into my favorite track on the album, the funky, bass laden, analog tinged Windmill Stomp. Taking the memorable Song of Storms and laying down additional instruments and vocals to create a catchy, yet eerie piece of music that defines this album. Tholen reaches past the nostalgic tug of VGM and warps this track into a simple, inspiring piece of art in his own right.

As we come to the last leg of the album, I have to mention that this album is from a completely different plane than most VGM. Jay Tholen's influences, both musical and not, shine through at almost every step. Lullaby starts acoustically, as we hear strings build and fade like ripples on a pond. As the bass comes in, the music moves fluidly like brush strokes, slowly building up to a softly sung chorus at the center of this piece. As the song slowly fades away, we hear a delicate clattering of instruments fall around the melody. After this relaxing piece things suddenly get amped up for the straight ahead rendition of Saria's Song, bringing the album to an upbeat, yet odd close.

This album plays with VGM as merely a starting point along the way to a larger picture, and I feel it succeeds. The minimalist lyrics even feel like they would belong in the silent, unspoken world of Link and Zelda. It's quite easy to imagine these songs performed by a travelling musician in the world of Hyrule just as easily as envisioning it at a small church basement in our own world.

To reiterate: Jay Tholen released an album available free here. Go download that album, and be amazed once again by the versatility of Jay Tholen.

Konjak - Legend of Princess indie game soundtrack release

Thanks to the ever vigilant folks over at Nobuooo I recently learned of both an awesome soundtrack and game by the name of Legend of Princess. What we have here is a simple, but fun Zelda inspired side scrolling platformer created by Joakim Sandberg AKA Konjak. Both the game and soundtrack are available via the appropriate page on his website. What sets this PC title apart from other 2D platformers is the interesting use of weapons and how they shape the difficulty and layout of the stage, so even though the game is quite short, the replay value is huge.

As you start the game, you will be asked to choose two secondary weapons of varying difficulty. You can see the Zelda influences in the items as well, such as bombs, arrows, and a feather for jumping. Each item even has it's own difficulty rating, from the beginners boomerang to the noble chicken. Now if you are anything like me, you will gladly be taking different weapon combinations into the game to see what changes and what stays the same throughout the level.

Then there is the graphics, which I definitely found myself enjoying as I explored. The art of the game is a clear homage to SNES era graphics, and specifically Link to the Past, but adds it's own artistic flair through it's more stylized sprites and movements. I could go on about this game at some length, but you can simply experience it yourself, as the game is free to download. Today we are focusing on the (also free to download) soundtrack for the game.

The Legend of Princess soundtrack kicks off with a pompous introduction, which leads to a somber piano track to set the mood for the game. As the Title fades out, we get a catchy refrain for the Menu which really hints at the Zelda influence in the opening notes. The Stage theme has some more enchanting call backs to classic Zelda compositions, but still maintains a wholly original air about it as you fight and jump your way through the level.

A funky battle cry is heard as we reach the Miniboss, a catchy eastern piece that gets the heart racing and ready for combat. Though I may be mistaken, I believe we hear some more SNES inspired influences as well in the desolate and extravagant Battle Themes 1 & 2 respectively.

The album comes to a close, portraying the result of the only two outcomes of any game. We hear the Death jingle first, a short reprise of piano for a fallen hero. Afterwards we hear the lively grooves of the Saved music. This track ends the soundtrack with a catchy theme like movement that definitely remains in your head well after the notes have ended.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this game recently, and have been enjoying both the game and soundtrack since. If you haven't yet, head over to Konjak.org and grab both right now! I do expect to hear more from this fellow in the future too, as it looks like his game Noitu Love 2: Devolution was just recently picked up by Golgoth Studios to be released on WiiWare. I hope to be writing about that game soon as well, since, if the trailer is to be believed, it is going to be something amazing.

FuturNari - Another Unlikely Hero EP release and mini review

There is a new denizen in Beep City, and he is quite the story teller. He came into town one day speaking of kidnapped princesses, a kingdom full of living mushrooms, and that he alone was the savior of such a world. The man called himself FuturNari, and the founders of Beep City have committed his strange tale to tape, and that tale can now be heard by the world as the album Another Unlikely Hero.

Immediately we are sucked into a high-pitched storm of perilous notes with Breaker of Bricks. The track has a fast paced yet ominous tone to it, with an interesting building and breaking down throughout the track, before fading away into the slower, almost melancholy mood in Devourer Of Mushrooms. This track takes on a similar tone to the first track, but with a more organized, almost marching like beat that creates a thumping, hard to resist rhythm.

Next up is my favorite track from the album, the epic,l over the top tones in Conjurer Of Fire. This track builds higher and higher and creates a lively, heroic theme, as if the visitor to this world has come to terms with it's nuances and can now harness the strange properties of this world to his own benefit. The final track in this sadly too short EP is, Saviour Of Toadstools, a track that layers sound effects and glitched out sounds over a serene foundation of music, creating a fluctuating, adventurous track, that somehow still remains just as ominous and foreboding as all the tracks preceding it.

It is very hard to quantify this album. It is like if you played Super Mario Bros during an alien invasion. As the music plays you can imagine the extra terrestrial's ships floating across the city, and individuals peering in your window with their inhuman glassy black eyes. It is a wholly unnerving experience, but a musically amazing one that has to be heard. All I can say, is this is a great album (which you can download here), but do not listen to it while on psychotropic drugs...such as mushrooms.

Monster Hunter 3 Tri Original Soundtrack review

The sun shines overhead, you take a deep breath and prepare yourself for another peaceful day of farming, sheep herding, and various other simple daily tasks. Suddenly, the sun turns to shade, and overhead you see the endless trail of wings darkening the sky as a monstrous scaled beast soars effortlessly across the sky. This is the world of Monster Hunter. Then there is the music that echoes behind you as these monsters streak across the sky, stalk the land, and periodically lurch out from the ocean's depths.

More specifically, we are listening to the recently released soundtrack of Monster Hunter 3 Tri. I assume many are familiar with the beast fighting, resource gathering world of Monster Hunter, and this newest iteration, which was released on the Wii earlier this year. The album, obviously enough called Monster Hunter 3 Tri Original Soundtrack was recently released in the US from Capcom and Sumthing Else Music Works. The music itself is best described as a worldly orchestral style symphony. Composed by Yukko Miyama and Tadayo Shimakin, with a handful of additional arrangements by Akiyuki Morimoto, and Masahiro Aoki. It has all the normal trappings of symphonic albums, alongside intriguing rural instrumentation. In many songs you will hear from simple flutes and heavy percussion, as well as acoustic guitars, xylophones, and more. The album certainly sets itself apart from many western soundtracks with it's leanings towards more playful moods, as well as the clear influences from the music of several cultures.

The album kicks off with the over the top opening theme. Monster Hunter 3(Tri) softly begins, swelling into an adventurous fanfare surrounded by heavy percussion and snappy horns. The production value and adventurous nature set up the rest of the album well, as we travel through the fields, oceans, and mountains of the game. Each track evokes the moods and themes very well. Songs like Village to the Sea, Moga, bring a serene, small ocean town feel to them with the soft strums and sweeps of the instruments. We also hear the tense movements of monster hunting in Usurper of the Deserted Island / GreatJaggi with it's rushed violins and suffocatingly quick notes which can easily get your heart rate going with a short listen. I like to point out this track as well, because I am quite a fan of the way the strings swirl around each other in this piece.

There are also more playful and upbeat arrangements, such as The Sprouting Farm, that creates a carefree festival mood in it's bouncing wind instruments and gentle rhythms. Some tracks, such as the short jingle, Well Cooked~3(Tri)Version, are so playful as to be a bit absurd, as is the case with several of the short jingles that are spaced through out the album. For a soundtrack with 52 songs to it's name, it was surprising to see the amazing length to many of the tracks. As mentioned before the album is two discs. It spans a little north of two hours worth of music as well.

The first disc comes to a close with the eclectic sounds of Everlasting Words, the only track with singing on this collection. From there we move into the rousing track To One With Life, an upswell of music creates an enlivening song that really drives home the idea outlined in the notes. The ecosystem, and the interconnectedness of life. The themes and music of this soundtrack revolve around that idea, and it is certainly something to keep in mind as you listen through the main pieces of the album.

Disc two starts out in a far more subdued manner with the rhythmic but simple pulse of The Great Desert Post, Loc Lac. We hear more soothing town like themes across the beginning of the second disc in this manner. It really sets a great variety between the discs, as if one was for monster hunting, and this second disc is for the relaxing nights safely walking about town. Disc two really stands out when it reaches the samba flair of Cazador Del Monstruo, a catchy track filled with a very distinct style on the album, and a pleasant surprise to hear.

On the whole the second disc has a lot more fun, laid back themes, with titles like Even Hunters Want to Dance, and A Moment of Rest, you can imagine the soothing melodies you'll hear. Although this disc is the calmer of the two, it still ends with two raucous ending tracks. Triumphant Song is a flowing parade of music, gently weaving and ducking along. Testamanet of a Hero/3(Tri)Version brings the soundtrack to it's grand finale, and does it with all the pomp it ought to finish it with. The piece thunderously builds and soars, offering a reprise to the game, and album's opening theme. The song builds to an abrupt but satisfying end. We are at a close.

Monster Hunters 3(Tri) hosts a ton of music, well orchestrated and easy to listen to. The album is quite diverse in influences which is a breath of fresh air compared to games who tend to focus on one style throughout an entire soundtrack. The two discs are also arranged in an interesting way, so that they each have their own musical vibe to them, with the first disc having more of the triumphant main themes, while the second disc, as mentioned, lies back with more eclectic and relaxed orchestrations. I think the album is well worth a listen for fans of orchestral music, and the Monster Hunters series. I, being the former, and not the latter, enjoyed the album quite a bit myself from that perspective.

If you order a physical copy of the album, you'll be presented with some nice casing. The back and inserts are worn brown, like an ancient artifact, and helps evoke the mood of ancient monster hunting. Unfortunately the cover doesn't follow the same aesthetic, and has an okay, but clashing blue cover which I would have enjoyed in more of the faded cave painting style of the rest of the art. The CD also comes with a short piece of liner notes from the composers and creators of the game, which is a very nice addition. I also want to add that the bright pink CD art stands out nicely against the neutral browns of the inlay as well, and would definitely make an awesome Monster Hunters shirt if Capcom is listening.

The album is available to purchase as both a physical CD as well as a digital download over at the Monster Hunter 3 Tri Original Soundtrack page at Sumthing Distribution.

Note: This album was sent to GM4A from Sumthing Digital as a free review copy.

Pause release compilation - Magnetic Sumo

In their usual fashion, Pause has gathered a cavalcade of incredible artists to create some amazing works of chiptune music. This time the compilation is called Magnetic Sumo and for a description simply states...

Where the laws of attraction and the eternal battle for the title of Yokozuna intertwine.

What that may mean musically is anyone's guess, but what I do know is that there are tons of artists, both new and old to Pause that come together for this compilation. Kicking things off is the band I spoke very fondly of in the past, Yakuza Heart Attack (in fact I am still listening to their most recent album fairly often). Their tumbling upbeat signature style is in full force with Bionic Boiz. From there we hear from chiptune mainstay Alex Mauer with Terraforming Mars, a melodic, simple tune that builds into a mesmerizing drum laden piece with some pumping leads. Combined these tracks set the back and forth precedent of this album from over the top funkiness to laid back dance rhythms and more.

Speaking of funky, some catchy clapping bring us to Rico Zerone and his piece Spheredivers, a deep sea, high fueled adventure, as if taking a submarine down into the otherworldly depths of the ocean floor while working on 3 hours of sleep. Moving ahead a few tracks we hear from Joshua Morse, and his atmospheric jazz track Meteor shower pro which starts off slow, but builds an incredible momentum as the song progresses into a whirlwind of musicianship on all fronts. That number moves us along to the sometimes tough to describe, but amazing to listen to vibes of Zan-zan-zawa-veia with hushhush. Another soft flowing track to lie back and reminisce to before jumping into the catchy drum and guitar styled world of Temp Sound Solutions and their cover of Alex Mauer's Floating Point, which takes an already funky tune and cranks it into high gear with some great guitar and drum work.

The album comes to an end with Give us the green light, an amazing and catchy track from Spiny Norman which brings the album to an amazing ending with it's uplifting vocals and chip pop stylings. As to be expected from Pause, we have here a compilation showcasing the many talents, styles, and instrumentation of the netlabel roster and friends. I often tell people that chiptunes is as varied a movement as the people who create it, and nowhere else is that idea shown than through compilations like this one. Once again, if you didn't click that link in the opening to grab this album, the compilation is free, and available right through here.

Jay Tholen - The Usurper Must Die!!! EP release

One of my long time favorite artists, Jay Tholen, has switched gears again, shifting from his chiptune adventure Danny's Incredible 8 Bit Voyage to a new album he describes as an "AVANT-POP, PROG-HOP ONSLAUGHT OF RIGHTEOUS RAGE"

The Usurper Must Die!!! is a short EP filled with a cavalcade of genres, moods, and sounds. The album kicks off with the antiquated musical turned grunge techno sounds of An Apocalyptic Toast. This song slowly shifts into Broadhead Fillmore Comes to Town. A haunting yet excitedly sung tune that keeps a catchy tune even as the narrator of the songs emotions shift from excitement to darkness through to frustration and acceptance.

We take a break after the last emotionally tiring song with the soft instrumental We're Just Kids, We're Just Children followed by the softly sung tune That's Not You, which breezes along a glitchy acoustic track. We are then introduced to the hip hop style beat of Whoever, Really!.

Throughout the album, even with all the shifting moods and styles, Jay Tholen brings a cohesive story along through the eight short songs, which culminates in the final track Bezalel's Song. We are met with a foreboding piano movement that slowly fades into a reprise of voices rising and rising, then like everything else, fades away in a wash of anachronistic sounds and songs.

This album isn't chiptunes and as such there is no definitive connection to video games with this album, but this is an amazing listen to fans of multiple genres and styles, and of interesting song writing. You can grab the album free over at jaytholen.net. He also mentions that he does have a new chiptune album in the works though, and of course I am highly excited for that as well!

Beep City Presents: Love Songs From The Future Vol. 1 album review

You may know Beep City from an earlier trek through the local 'burb. But if you haven't visited lately, you'll notice that things have changed quite a bit!

Beep City has released their first compilation to rousing success. The lovingly titled free download known as Beep City Presents: Love Songs From The Future Vol. 1. The album includes many heavy hitters as well as incredible surprises from up and comers from the scene. Let's hit the road to Beep City and find out what this "Love Beam" is all about then!

We drive up and down the streets to hear 12 incredible, brand new tracks from the town denizens. Starting off with it's smallest of creatures, the lowly but noble mouse, or Bit Rat as it were, and his show starter Warm Green Something. Things start off with a fuzzy step to it, as if heading into early traffic on the way downtown amidst the fog and noise. Things start to clear up though and a star like pulse infiltrates the song creating a more childlike atmosphere of beeping cars and breezy open roads. The song holds it's upbeat blips until the very catchy fading ending. This leads us right into a demon! No wait. Daemon. Daemon9623 no less, and his track Battle For Bifrost. Yes it seems we have stepped right into a climactic battle for the unclaimed souls of the city. A foreboding drum/lead riff quickly break into an over the top RPG like battle theme. With swirling highs and heavy lows all moving at an ever increasing pace. We hit a break of glitching riffs and double drum pedal badassery that builds into an ever escalating tension. This comes crashing down in the last 30 seconds of the track, as the music suddenly takes another turn. As if Daemon9623 has taken on another form, and makes his escape to battle another day.

The town slows down for a bit thanks to local highly respected citizen Alex Mauer playing the laid back Nicole Shippo. The song has a nostalgic windswept quality to it, reminding one of those hot summer days gone by in Beep City. Crunchy drums along with a relaxing lead and many small flourishes create a wonderful song to just purely enjoy. And now that you are nice and relaxed, let Nario tell you The Tale of A Pirate. The thumping bass/chip intro quickly throws you into the tale, with it's manly melodies and ship swaying rhythms. This song is certainly one of many highlights of the trip, especially as we get about a minute in and things get a bit fishy, and very funky for this band of pirates. This is one of the longer legs of our journey, but the song remains varied and entertaining through to the fantastic ending of this tale.

Enough dawdling though, time to get back to work! Who's work? Moldilox of course! What work? why he's a beekeeper at the Honey Hive! This song is quite fast paced, and upbeat, just like one of many buzzing bees zipping around. Perhaps my favorite track here as well. Things start smple enough with a catchy riff, that much like a hive, continues to gather layer upon layer to it's well made foundation. At about the 40 second mark, in comes a great wailing bit of chiptunery that that continues to build and wrap around itself as ever more layers are added throughout the song. Everything comes to a halt in the end though, save for that lovely little riff we started off with, but even that heads out too, and work is done for the day.

Looks like we aren't done with our labors yet though. We reach the longest part of our day with the lengthiest track on the album. This is Temp Sound Solutions, and it is time for Infernal Shell. Things start out glitched out and scratched up. an ominous cacophony of sounds that may catch you off guard at first listen, but as you descend further into this cave of sounds, you rely less on your eyes, and every one of the many complex sounds starts to find it's place among the others as we head further along the song's path. At about a minute and a half we reach a relaxing cave of crystals and open air, and are surrounded by a mellowing silence. This does not last for long though, because it's as if the cave wanted to give you a breath before the darkest depths are plunged. Two minutes in and things have taken on a deeper more sinister tone. The song ebbs in and out of it's foreboding moods until we make it to the other side of the caves.

Here we run into the intrepid explorer Norrin Radd to escape and Never To Return. Somehow evoking both a cosmic race through the stars and an old western shoot out and train heist, the track really blends an incredible amount of thoughts, ideas, and elements into one short, fast paced chase song.

Now that we escaped though, where are we? This is a part of Beep City I have never seen before. We need some help. We need Captain Tortilla. He'll help us escape with the power of Kludge. This track evokes the feelings of a classic NES side scrolling platformer taking place in an urban cityscape well past dark. Captain Tortilla takes us across roofs, through back alleys, and over chain link fences in this track. The low ends of the song, along with the meandering highs evoke a dark mood, as if seeing the seedier side of Beep City most folks try their best not to acknowledge. As the song continues things kick into a faster, more fearful tone. Like we have run into an end of stage boss in this alley's dead end, and judging by the track, we lost.

Now it's as if we are in a dream, brought to us courtesy of Prizmatic Spray. It appears to be the Flight of The Peacock Lords, and we are an observer to this rare spectacle. Starting with a droning buzz of sounds that quickly wrap around each other, shortening and taking form as more elements come together and create shapes and twists and tones. Things continue to build until the drums really kick in at about the one minute mark, and turn a dance like, dreamy atmosphere into a rocking out soundscape of bleeps and bloops battling it out. The song comes to close with an amazing breaking down of sounds, as if slowly stirring in and out of sleep.

We finally awaken, and take a look around. Appears we are once again in familiar territory. The dim atmosphere and glowing screens tell us we are at the ever popular Beep City arcade. We see a group surrounding one cabinet in particular. It appears that it's Zio and TEH LOLZ, and he is going for the world record in the classic game Air Raid The Ocean! He plunks a quarter in and we hear the familiar monotonous bass kick in, a woosh of jet fighters, the kick of drums, and we're off. The song hits home for fans of classic Shoot-em-ups with it's great use of sound effects, and driving, but continuously threatening sounds. Enter the final boss at about the two minute mark, and the song kicks into high gear for the maddening ending. HIGH SCORE! Enter Initials: Z I O

Stepping out into the now dark Beep City night, we take a longing look to the sky. THere is something you catch in the corner of your eye. A UFO? Nah, of course not. Beep CIty regulars notice your confused glance and assure you it is simply Wizwars launching another Sputnik. The launch starts with a scratchy lo fi beat that quickly kicks into a catchy soaring rhythm carrying a fast moving beat. Adventurous riffs define this ever changing track, like the sporadic movements of an alien craft, you never know quite where this song is heading. The song hits a very funky lead at about 2:15 which is impossible not to enjoy, before picking back up. As if the rocket just ran out of fuel and took a short slowing breather before making it's freefall towards earth.

It's almost midnight in Beep City. It's time to say goodbye to all the friends we have made today, and as the crowd gathers, who is here to see us off but one of Beep City's very founders, Djinnocide along with Jungle Jim's Jelly Bean Jamboree. Starting off a little somber as we wave goodbye, the song gets a kick in it's step as we set off towards the horizon. the soft upbeat tones and clapping drums create a fantastic, almost credit sequence like mood that create a perfect closer to this album, and to this fantastic day in Beep City. See you next time!

All kidding aside, This album is simply fantastic. All the tracks are of the highest quality, and make for a fantastic listen when heard all the way through. Beep City has been a great site for not only top notch tunes, but also a method of chiptune creation that is very original and always interesting. Head over to Beep City and grab Beep City Presents: Love Songs From The Future Vol. 1 right now! Here's to looking forward to Vol. 2!

Love SQ compilation album review

A new album was released a while ago from Square-Enix called "Love SQ" a mixture of various popular songs remixed from Square's top games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and of course Final Fantasy!  Featuring artists like Pe'z, Muzik!, and Pia-no-jac.  These artists took these old classics and brought them to life!  All cooked together with brass band, synthesizers, and a dash of vocals.  Here's a little bit of my thoughts on each of the songs.

Final Fantasy Main Theme  by Pe'z- This was a fantastic choice of first song.  It started off slow and calm but then a few seconds in it picks up into a full blown jazz band giving it a smooth night club feel.  It's upbeat, powerful, and keeps your foot tappin'.  This is the kind of stuff they should play at fancy hotels and restaurants. Don't you think?

To Far Away Times(Livetune Remix) by Livetune - An Electronica sensation!  It's steady beat and dance party feel will fill your ears with uplifting enthusiasm that continues throughout the entire track.  Any Square fan will get a huge hit of nostalgia while listening to this.

Chrono Trigger  by NOVOISKI- How to describe such an awesome track, where to begin?!  This is probably one of the most impressive remixes I've heard.  It will definitely get you wanting to get back in touch with Chrono and the gang to do what we gamers do best, saving the world.  A very badass track!

Frog's Theme~Fanfare 1(Sexy-Synthesizer Remix) by SEXY-SYNTHESIZER - The Synthesizer on this song is pretty sexy!  A wonderful classic given an extra boost in the lets-get-happy mood.  You can't help but smile when you hear this track.   It stays pretty steady then about 3 minutes in the mood is cranked up and hits the roof.  A pleasure to hear.

Chocobo's Theme by Good Luck Hewia - Not too impressive but a good track none the less.  It's chill beat with slow strumming and bits of piano that gives it a very relaxing feel.  Definitely gives you the warm fuzzy feeling of riding the cute big yellow birds! Kweh! Wark!

Thoughts of the Mana Tree, Far Away - Theme of Mana~Hometown of Domina  by Muzik! - Loved this track! Loved it, loved it, loved it!  I am currently getting into this series (loving it!) and I automatically saw that I adored the music so this was a real treat to listen to.  Muzik! did a fantastic job on creating a great 8-bit sound and chipper beat to this song.

Eternal Wind (Migratory Birds Mix) by DE DE MOUSE - I wasn't the biggest fan of this remix, which was a bummer since I really love the original song of this remix.   FFIII was fun to play and this song definitely brings back many grand memories of going against Cloud of Darkness.  I guess I wasn't a big fan of the singing.  Which was pretty I just wasn't feeling it with this track.

Romancing SaGa (Note Native Remix)Opening Dawn of the Romance~The Conflict~Coup de Grace~The Ending~The Saga by Note Native - Not sure If  I would be one to judge on this remix for I haven't played Romancing SaGa yet.  So with no personal connection I ventured out to listen to the actual OST of the game.  After listening to the originals and giving the remix another go I was, from an outsiders opinion, impressed!  This remix gave it a lighter feel and was a good all around medley! Gives me the motivation to go out and get this game.

Battle at the Big Bridge~Dancing Mad~One-Winged-Angel by Pia-no-jac - My favorite song on this album.  If I ever get the chance to see Pia-no-jac perform live, you can count on me buying tickets asap!  Phenomenal work.  Almost like a mini-FF villian medley if you will.  It starts off strong with Battle at the Big Bridge with a great drum beat in the back ground that continues throughout the song.  It continues with the great battle feel then it slowly goes straight into Dancing Mad.  The ending is handed off to One-Winged-Angel which begins slow and steady but then kicks it into full gear.  A wonderful track! (You'll hear it on the LVN ep 22)

Prelude by no. 9 - An all around classic, the Final Fantasy prelude.  You hear it on almost every Final Fantasy and is one of the few defining attributes of the series.  No. 9 did a beautiful version of it and was absolultely gorgeous to hear how all the flutes, strings, piano, etc blend together to re-create a song that gives off an RPG aura. Great choice for last track.

This album did not disappoint me, as I'm sure it did/will not disappoint you!  Square fanatics will love it, and even some of those are who aren't as hugely into Square might even get a good listen out of it.  It's only $9.90 on iTunes, you should definitely buy it now and support these wonderful artists and all the work they put into mastering game music history.