Jay Tholen - 2011 chiptune album 'Blood Fete'

Basically, swoon swoon Jay Tholen swoon, Blood Fete swoon. In other words, ominous glitched out folk funk.

Blood Fete is a celebration of surrender by way of self-denial and self-sacrifice. “It’s the Bloodiest party!”
— Ubiktune

Robobok's synthwave soundtrack Gamers

Fall into the abyss

I recently ran across a red hot musician out of Mexico, Robobok, so I'm highlighting his latest album. Aptly named, Gamer, this is the soundtrack to a show called Gamer TV, at least I assume as much. Considering that the show is also based out of Mexico, and is, therefore, in spanish, I won't be able to partake of what magic the show itself may hold. 

This album on the other hand, has everything I need to understand it. Space themed chiptune instrumentals are a personal weakness of mine, and I can hardly ever say no. Robobok makes it harder than ever though with ominous themes like the haunting Dragon Core, or cavernous Mystic Orb.

Urban Flow's latest album of remixes and originals, Melodic Bumps Vol. 4

A humble collection of hot beats

As I write this, and take my initial listen of the album, I am not quite sure exactly which songs are originals, and which are  remixes and covers (except for an epic Doom remix). This means I have failed the challenge set forth by Urban Flow, the album's creator. I think I might get a better score with some repeated listens. Those listens are happening.  It doesn't matter though, because any of the songs that aren't in a game (or anime, etc), could certainly stand among some of the best. 

From the remixes I do recognize, there is an unbelievable Mystic Cave Zone remix from Sonic The Hedgehog 2. That is my personal favorite theme from the Sonic series(Escape from the City is #2). Even as a person who actively seeks out remixes of this track, I haven't heard a take on it quite like this before. Not game related, even if I had games based on it for the PS2 and GBA, the YuYu Hakusho remix hits all the right Nostalgia buttons, while still getting me pumped for a battle. "Time to Fight definitely makes it onto my fighting game music playlist (although this whole album makes it on the list, technically).

Volume 4. In this one I deliver 17 original compositions. Can you spot them all? Shouts out to all the fam who support my jams.
— Urban Flow

Move that Dope: Rap duo Marcus & Rome drop Rated 'D' For Dope EP

Light it up. 

Technically sound, extra catchy, lyrically smart, AND with heart. Been looking forward to reviewing this album, because that means I get to call listening to this album 'work.'  The Maryland born, Philly based rap duo drop an eight track EP that burns hot straight through. This is the sort of album I created SUBCON to showcase. You can bet M&R will make an appearance on the show soon (like, the next episode soon). 

M&R lay it all out as soon as the album starts with an autobiographical account most retrogamers have lived in the Yoshi based, Bknapp produced opener, "Press Start." 

SHVKVZULU's glitched beats crack the album open, and quickly takes a dark turn to fit the mood.  The shot firing "HM02 as Fuck" may already got my new vote for best Pokemon rap ever (No, the official Pokemon rap does not even make top five).

"Ice Cap/Aquatic Mine drops the duo in the back to back sonic beats. The flow gets out of control before switching into a smooth, low key closer.

I review the track Gorrila Tactics on an upcoming episode of SUBCON. Get hyped!

"Hero of Rhyme" is another banger over fan favorite Legend of Zelda theme Gerudo Valley. Judging by the love shown at the end of this track, I believe more LoZ based M&R is on the way. Sounds like they got enough memories in them to go full Zelda on the next release. I say all this because the track is a teasingly short minute long without the closing speech.

"Ring Out" may be the  sneaky best track on the album. They bring back the grime, constantly dropping rings and some of the best lines on the album. So many replays for hip hop heads, with the fast pace and surprising rhymes. 

The duo go clutch and kill it on the finale. "No Johns Freestyle" is dedicated to all the smash players, even 'filthy casuals" like me.

Rated 'D' For Dope is stuck in my rotation as I write this. If you hit play, it can easily infest your music player as well. Keep your finger on the rewind button for this one.

‘D’ For Dope content is generally suitable for gamers, hip-hop heads, and/or filthy casuals. May contain suggestive rhyme schemes, immature humor, partial nudity, use of drugs, and/or frequent use of strong bars.
— Marcus & Rome

Nerdcore Emulation Station chapter 1 & chapter 2: Gamecube from 1-UP mini album review

Nerdcore Emulation Station is correct, featuring a who's who of nerdcore over two albums. A few name drops are the likes of Mega Ran, Ill Gill, Sammus, SkyBlew, and perhaps a dozen or more artists from every corner of the nerdcore kingdom. 

Te initial N.E.S. album drops beats from a variety of classic games throughout gaming history. Parappa the Rapper, Metal Gear Solid, Sonic, and Mario are all represented on the album. These are accompanied by flows from 1-UP and the aforementioned litany of amazing emcees.

One of the greatest things about this series, is the overarching storyline nature of the album layout. I think 1-UP explains it best, 

"In the distant future, Emcees live happily across different galaxies providing entertainment and joy through their story telling to their people. 

An evil force plans to put an end to all of that. The imagidrains and their evil leader devise a plan to feed on everyone's imaginations simultaneously through an all out assault on every galaxy at once with stolen abilities. 

The Emcees fight but cannot withstand this onslaught of newly found foes and their powers. A voice appears in their head and transports them all to a new world where they must venture through uncharted territories, learn new skills, and fight new enemies in order to level up. 

Follow 1-UP and many other Emcees as they fight through the worlds of Playstation, Sega Saturn and N64 defeating bosses and freeing them from the Imagidrains mind control, finding new items and leveling up so they can return to their worlds and defeat the imagidrains."

This album is a ridiculous 25 tracks in length, with two or more emcees on every track, you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger collection of new and old nerdcore and hip hop talent.

Despite the eclectic list of artists, the beats help hold the mixtape feel together over the immense amount of tracks. Remixes bring out the catchiest and most memorable parts of the video games they lift from, and keep the adventurous theme in mind as you hear the noble music of Zelda or the get moving beats from Super Mario.

Think that I post the album stream and we are over here? We got a whole second album to discuss.

A few months after the initial launch of the Nerdcore Emulation Station, 1-UP has gathered the emcees of nerdcore for another adventure. He even includes an update about where this adventure stands, 

"Join 1-UP In the second chapter of NES as he and his comrades venture to the Gamecube world in order to free the inhabitants from the Imagidrain army. 

They are currently pumping the planet's resources dry causing the planet to lose it's form and if nothing is done it will implode."

That's right, it looks like the N.E.S. is chilling on the GCN planet for a full album, with remixes of music from Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime and Pikmin, among many others. Sammus even reprises her role alongside Shammers (another one of my personal nerdcore favorites) as her namesake Samus in "Metroid Prime - Stage 7 (Ft Sammus, Shammers and W!SE)." The fusion of styles definitely makes this the stand out track for me.

You can grab both albums for free via the N.E.S. and N.E.S. 2 bandcamp pages.

Chiptune album The Mega Hyper Super Ultra Album Deluxe from hardwired

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An EP full of glitchy, hard thumping, piledriver chiptunes befitting of the name Mega Hyper Super Ultra Album Deluxe.

Five hard hitting, mildly threatening drum and bass to get you moving, all culminating in my favorite track, the spiralling chiptune madness of Violet Monster. 

Name your price to download the album now on bandcamp.

Arranging a Legend: A review of Cory Johnson's "The Legend of Zelda" tribute album

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I actually wrote about this album once before, but that was a couple years ago. They were trying times, what with trying to keep my website from crashing, back when I had to spend much more time focusing on the basic functionality of the site more than the actual content.

It's a new era though, and I am here to give the Legend of Zelda album by Cory Johnson the love and affection it so richly deserves, even if I am a few years late.

Having no formal training in music, I often describe music based on the mood or images it conjures up in my mind. This album would best be described as immense. This album is more an epic to be traversed than an album to toss on in the background while doing homework. Something about Cory Johnson's music grabs me by the ear and forces me to really soak it all in. Well I think two years or so of this album is long enough to get properly soaked, so let's get started.

The album is off to a great start with "Fairy Fountain," my personal favorite song from the entire Legend of Zelda series. Johnson's rendition of the well known menu theme starts off meandering, but don't be impatient as the song closes with an upbeat, drum driven rush of music that will take you back to your own personal favorite Zelda game. This is a good state of mind to be in, since we've got nearly two dozen more songs to go. The next song, "Hyrule Field," is an arrangement that one could imagine a wandering minstrel performing quietly under a tree just outside of town. The song rises and falls and rises again with inspiring waves of sound that create the feeling of an ever building adventure. 

Don't unsheath that sword just yet, perhaps it's time to remember what this adventure is all about, and "Zelda's Lullaby" is just the track for that. The song is less royal, and a little more gritty thanks to the rock arrangement Johnson provides. The track quickly goes from somber to driven as the instruments build and twist around one another. The album moves seamlessly into another theme. This time for Link's noble steed in "Epona's Interlude" which takes on much of the same vibe as the previous arrangement. If I owned a horse, I'd play this song for her every day. At about the halfway mark, I thought I heard everything I needed to hear from this track, but Johnson changes things up just past the two minute mark with a crashing of drums that leads into a sort of aged reprise, finally culminating with a hint of piano. The song gives way to "Zelda's Reprise", which excellently sandwiches the previous track, creating the feeling of a nearly fifteen minute medley of beautifully arranged music.

 

And as if this lengthy review wasn't enough convincing, you can grab the album on a pay any amount you want scale through Cory Johnson's The Legend of Zelda album bandcamp page.

Take a drink: Megalixir debut album mini review

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For headbanging VG remixes, inquire within this album. Right from the jump, the wall of sound crashes against my eardrums as my face is rocked by the outer space metal of the NES classic Ducktales "Moon theme".

After some damn fine double bass pedal, balls to the wall metal in "Blackthorne" and "Moves" comes a soft, laid back rendition of music from the most underrated game in existence in every aspect, Kirby's Avalanche. Just as I am lulled into a sense of complacency with this track, the group bursts forth with a ton of energy, morphing the nostalgic tones into a cascade of drum crashes and wailing guitars. This track is easily one of my favorite live renditions of any song ever. Live double pedal drums? Obscure video games? It's like a feast for my ears and my brain. 

As if this band had to do anything more to get into my good graces, they also choose to end their album with a faded out, drum driven remix of "Tal Tal Heights" from The Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening (GB). This finale hits all the perfect notes for a closing track, and is the perfect motivation to hit play on this album again.

What is even more mind blowing, is that this album is free to download. Grab the album free on the Megalixir bandcamp page.

From Sky to Surface: A Tribute to The Legend of Zelda by Bleeding Ink

from-sky-to-surface-tribute-legend-zelda-Bleeding-Ink

Legend of Zelda is certainly my thing, in case you had not noticed, what with all the consistent Zelda coverage. Despite that, Bleeding Ink stands out as a hard edged approach to the normally melodic and adventurous style of the series. Tracks like "Song of Time" and "Dragon Roost Island" are given some heavy metal rearrangements that will get your blood pumping.

I would definitely add this to my workout song list if I worked out.

After an album's worth of hard rocking instrumentals, Bleeding Ink changes things up with a vocal arrangement of Ballad of the Goddess, mixing the symphonic Zelda music with the hard rocking attitude of the album. The only issue I have is that BI didn't include lyrics on the bandcamp page.

You can name your price for this eleven track tribute to the renowned music of the Legend of Zelda series via the Bleeding Ink bandcamp page.

Listen to OCReMix track NBA Jam 'From Downtown' by ktriton, Mustin & Steve Lella

Image via  SB Nation  

Image via SB Nation 

I've had a hankering for NBA Jam as I always do during the best moments of NBA season, and NBA Christmas is one of them. As always, OverClocked ReMix delivers with an absolutely on fire remix from OCReMix's big three, ktriton, Mustin, and Steve Lella (all of which also appeared on the absolutely stunning Bound Together album). 

I plan to play this song in lieu of watching commercials during most of the NBA games today. OCR needs to get this track in the hands of some arena DJs, They already play Super Mario and Sonic noises in a couple stadiums, this tune should be jamming in arenas during every time out.

Get pumped!

(Also someone mash this up with the Space Jam theme please.)

ReMixers: ktriton, Mustin, Steve Lella
http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02111/
FREE at http://ocremix.org

• Game: NBA Jam (Acclaim, 1994, SNES)
• ReMixer(s): Mustin, Steve Lella, ktriton
• Composer(s): Jon Hey
• Song(s): 'Choose Your NBA Team'
• Posted: 2010-10-15, evaluated by djpretzel 

Listen to OCReMix 'La Samba de Agua' from the Super Mario Bros. 3 video game by Mustin

Back when I first heard of OverClocked Remix, I decided to grab every Mario song I could and slap them on a CD. Evidently it was early enough in OCR's history that the entire selection of Mario songs wasn't more than 80 minutes of music. Within that collection of songs was Mustin's phenomenal live arrangement of the oft overlooked world map music from World 3: Ocean Side.

To this day, this track remains one of my favorite Mustin arrangements, and OCReMix releases.

I also love that I don't have to state the name of the song, because the song does so itself!

 

http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00323/

ReMixer: Mustin

• Game: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo, 1988, NES)
• ReMixer(s): Mustin
• Composer(s): Koji Kondo
• Song(s): 'World 3 Map'
• Posted: 2001-04-19, evaluated by djpretzel

Full length funk rock album from Mutherpluckin' B - The Mushroom Variety Show

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Unbelievable free flowing funk rock jazz blues from the one and only, my favorite, and should be yours too, Mutherpluckin' B!

This album was years in the making and doesn't disappoint. Thirteen tracks of some of the funkiest VG remixes in the world. The album is masterfully formed into one master track as each individual song blends seamlessly with the next. Before you even know it, you've gone from the sewers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the music of Mega Man and Super Mario.

I really can't get enough of this album, and I certainly hope to have the chance to write more on both this album and MPin' B in the future!

Unfortunately, this impeccable album can not be embeded. You can listen to the full album streaming on MPin' B's site. So you aren't empty handed though, I have uploaded the opening track, "Flyin' High (part 1)" from this phenomenal album.

Pixels & Polygons Beat Tape Vol. 1 by Xionra & Rhapsody

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A collection of hip hop beats worthy for any flow. Beatmsmiths Xionra and Rhapsody come together over their love of classic 8-bit gaming, culminating in an album overflowing with hot beats from vintage NES games such as Castlevania, Legend of Zelda, and Punch Out.

Each game is mixed into a head bobbing beat thanks to the combined efforts of both Xionra and DJ Rhapsody. Since this is called "Vol. 1" that better mean there are more beat tapes coming from this due of DJs.

You can grab their beat tape free via bandcamp.

Black Ice by Mega Beardo, a black metal tribute to ice stages in video games

black-ice-mega-beardo-video-game-metal

Ice cold guitar covers of classic video game music.

I'm a fan of the slipping and sliding of ice worlds in video games. Those precise frozen platforms that take both skill and knowledge to traverse. Mega Beardo pays tribute to these treacherous stages in his latest album Black Ice.

The album kicks off with one of my personal favorite ice worlds in all of gaming, that of Super Mario Bros. 3. The disturbingly titled World 666 begins with the same haunting vibe of the original before going full on metal for the next four minutes.

The rest of the album also includes black metal arrangements of music from Sonic and The Goonies II. Also, guest appearances by two other VGMetal rockers in Viking Guitar and the one and only Stemage.

The album is available now for any price, including free.

Trigger Happy, an album of Chrono Trigger based hip hop remixes by Raisi K.

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Raisi K. casts Slow. Creates chill Mitsuda beats.

An album of banging beats crying out for some dope MC to spit hot fire all over. Could that MC be you?

Regardless of your notoriety in the hip hop game, this is one amazing beat tape. G.A.T.O. is a bass filled remix of the always catchy theme of everyone's favorite silver point dispensing robot. ASVP FRXG is an uplifting, almost overwrought homecoming style theme for Glen the cursed swordsman. 

The full album consists of nine tracks that span both space and time. You'll be using your epoch to rewind this one.

Do The RPG with 2 Mello

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Another hot track from the critically acclaimed (I'm a critic, so it's fair game for me to acclaim it) 2 Mello album the Game Center CX EP. A hip hop dance track is understandably rare in the nerdcore genre, but 2 Mello absolutely nails it with this track.

What I'd give to see a club full of nerds doing "The RPG."

Listen to Froskees' Final Fantasy V mashup Library Of Ancients (Childish Gambino)

Absolutely off the hook mashup of Final Fantasy V and Childish Gambino. This is some final boss battle level shit right here.

H.A. Sedda pays tribute to Koji Kondo & Motoi Sakuraba in new album 'Chosen Giants'

Guitarist's original album influenced by the Legend of Zelda and Tales of series.

Sedda has quickly returned to the studio for a follow up to his impressive VG tribute EP Vignettes from Millennia. In his latest, he continues his fusion of influences. This time, not just in tribute to two particular games, but two incredible pantheons of games, the niche RPG series Tales of, which began with one of my personal favorite games, Tales of Phantasia for the SNES. The second title is about as far from niche as a game could get, of course I'm talking about the wildly acclaimed and beloved Legend of Zelda.

Motoi Sakuraba and Koji Kondo have been the foremost composers for their respective series, and it's clear that H.A. Sedda has worked hard to provide music worthy of these influences.

Chosen Giants starts softly with "Melomakarono" (which Wikipedia tells me, is a type of Greek dessert). The song quickly spirals into a fusion of genres, including glitch, jazz, rock, and more. Once the song kicks into the closing half, the gentle tones give way to a foreboding shift in mood. The guitars cackle out riffs as the drums and deep bash push forward unrelentingly. This track goes from 'resting at an inn' to 'boss battle' in under four minutes, like a medley of songs from a game that never existed.

At this point I can't help but think of a few of my favorite scenes from Tales of Phantasia, such as the snow falling as Mint and Cless have a conversation outside an inn, or dropping to the depths of the ocean to find a now destroyed ancient civilization (as many RPGs do).

'Klutz Nicolette' follows. This theme takes on a much more positive tone, though no less adventurous. That's not to say that Sedda doesn't fill the song with his brand of eclectic instrumentation and mood. The songs finale builds, as if a great strength is enveloping the hero as the track comes to a close.

Title theme, Chosen Giants, brings the EP to a close. The guitar work on this track is vibrant, and ever flowing. It's easy to get drawn in, making this my favorite track of the clearly too short album. The final track evokes some of that deep dark dungeon exploring that is at the heart of so many classic adventure games and RPGs. It's easy to imagine descending deeper and deeper into the depths of the earth as the song pushed forward. This, of course, includes the requisite dungeon boss battle. The struggle builds and builds, with a single final note deciding the fate of the album. and possibly some grand mission by a group of ragtag adventurers.

The constant shifts of mood in each song create a varied and emotional trek through his music, surprisingly reminiscent of the games S.A. Sedda is influenced by. Thanks to this, he has quickly rose through the ranks of my favorite VG inspired guitarists. Now, I hope Sedda can find the time to nail down a full album. I can't imagine how many influences he could muster in a full 45 minutes.

No matter what musical endeavor H.A. Sedda takes on next, at least he can rest assured that Zelda fans are a patient breed thanks to Nintendo and game delays.

Download the album by naming your own price on the Chosen Giants bandcamp album page, or stream the full EP below.