WeastFellow’s Year End Music Recap
Writing this post reminded me again how much my brain is against the idea of making lists and ranking things in order or only mentioning a few things. Only occasionally it is clear to me that I like some one thing “the most” in some way or form, which is why I just create my own categories and mention the music I like to share under that. I’d like to think of this post as something of a recap of the year’s music I listened to and which I remembered till the end of the year, to share it with others so that maybe they too discover something new. There might have been some really good music I listened to but forgot too, so this is obviously not some kind of definitive “Best of”, even for the things I listened to, hehe.
I felt that this year 2013 was less diverse in terms of the new artists I discovered, but it was interesting nevertheless. Ubiktune still remained one of the top sources for music that I enjoyed, and I used bandcamp a lot to find out new music. Then of course there are the Game Music Bundles that come out periodically and shower awesome VGM goodness. I also created a twitter list that I put all the music people I listen to, most of them are active on twitter and share a lot of interesting things from the VG Music world. Discovered a lot of music through their recommendations and tweets too. Other than those, I listened to a lot of older music and radio this time around. This was also the year when I could tell who the artists of a song were by just listening to the instruments used, which surprises myself every time I am correctly able to do that. I also found out that there are quite a few VGM podcasts out there, but because most of my music listening happens at work and I prefer not having people talking straight in to my ears when working, haha. Maybe I will start listening to some on my commute this year, but there’s already like 30 hours of podcasts queued up on my phone right now, so maybe sometime later.
Soothing/Inspiring album – Motorway by Fearofdark
Released towards the end of last year. I really got in to the album this year, and so far this has been that album which never fails to set the mood right whenever I listen to it. The selection of instruments and their melodic sways make me want to go on a drive in moonlight. The album was made when the artist was still in their teen years, and the album was made in recollection of their transformative year of moving from home and starting at a University. That mood of going on long travels and new beginnings is definitely felt in the album. I still listen to it every now and then and it doesn’t fail to feel fresh, every time.
A Very Sega Album – SEGA SWING by The Flight Away
I often choose to listen to tracks without vocals, as I mostly discover new things at work and prefer to have them speak to me with their music than words, to understand which I require more concentration. This small album was featured in one of the Ubiktune posts earlier in 2013, which as the title of the Album suggests, consists of SEGA of tunes. The whole style of the composition and vocals also feel like something that would have released during the Sega Genesis days. I see the vocals being used as a melodic instrument in this album, hence could enjoy them even as I work away coding and thinking. One of the more refreshing and unique sounds from this year. There are varying styles to the songs would highly recommend checking out all tracks at least once.
Most Moody Album – Melancholy by WMD
For those quite afternoons, and for those times when I want to set a contemplative mood, or for just when I want to feel a different kind of tranquility, I found myself listening to Melancholy by WMD. The breadth of emotions expressed in this album is very impressive, then comes the fact that it is by someone who is 17yrs of age. The album has 36 tracks in total, which includes a cover here and there too. As is the point of this post, I felt like this was worth sharing, so that more could see what variety of talent is out there.
Interesting Theme Songs:
Both not necessarily from this year, but tracks that I heard for the first time this year. I don’t get to hear original and new “Theme Songs” being created now a days, but the ones for Noise Channel and Gun Godz had very anime/cartoon-theme song vibe to them. The Gun Godz theme feels just outrageous and funny to me, it’s either a smart parody of adrenaline pumping gun games, or just a plain good celebration of obsession. The Noise Channel, celebrates noicechan and her digitized tastes with a very fun vocaloid track.
YouTube Channel I listened to the most – Pogo by Nick Bertke
Found myself at various points of the year, especially towards the end, listening to the Pogo YouTube channel a lot. This channel is filled with trip-hop tracks from all your favourite childhood franchises. The style of cutting small clips from various pictures and then stringing them together to make a harmonic song is pretty impressive. Nick Bertke, the artist, also got to visit many localities thanks to funding from fans etc which allowed him to create some original works too. This is one of those good examples of youtube popularity leading to a nice self sustaining career, he even has a video about it.
Favourite Track – The Path of Machines by C-jeff, Danimal Cannon and Raz Ben Ari.
I really love prog-rock type music. Which is how I found Ubiktune in the first place. C-jeff released a new album this year, Big Steel Wheels, which is a themed album that to me sounds like the adventures of a trucker traveling through the barren roads, then meeting an adversary. The whole album is definitely worth a listen, however, my favorite part from the album is the 9minute long collaboration between C-Jeff, Raz Ben Ari and Danimal Cannon. This tracks embodies a lot of things that I like about progressive music, the track by itself feels like a complete story. It doesn’t fail to impress me whenever I listen. It’s not that I go out looking for long tracks, but this one is definitely one of the well composed long tacks I came across.
Instead of just creating new categories to give a specific mention to all, I would rather direct you all to my “This is My jam” profile, where I regularly share the music I listen to and like. At some point in time, I might just shift to their “Jam Odyssey” feature as a recap of the songs I do. I already always used to look at my Last.fm profile to recollect on all the music I listened to, and This Is My Jam feels like a more curated recap of what all I heard. Artists like Joshua Morse, chibi-tech, DJ Cutman, Yoann Turpin, coda, Blitz Lunar, Calum Bowen had some really good creations this year, I shared theirs and others work as and when I was listening to them at This Is My Jam. Go check it out, it’s a great way to share what you are listening to, and to look back on your music journey! Check out my Jam Odyssey of 2013 to get a taste of all the sounds!
Superest Duper Album of the year – The Black Box by Aivi and Surasshu
Black Box from Aivi and Surasshu was such a great project released this year. The album follows the story of Aivi the archaeologist and surasshu the eternal being that comes out of the Black Box that Aivi discovers. Diana Jakobsson also created a small comic series as a prequel to what happens before the story of the album. The album itself, with help from it’s track titles creates a lovely story. I listened to the album so much that at one point I was seriously considering writing up a narrative inspired by the tracks in the album, but much like every other thing I think of a lot, it ended up being a draft that never published. There is so much resonance between the two artists that their Piano and Chip music amalgamate wonderfully into a melodic treat. They even covered on of my all time favourite track. Seeing two artists that I like, collaborate, and then cover a song that I also like, was a great thing to experience. The album also got remixed by DDRKirby(ISQ), which itself is worth a listen. Aivi and Surasshu also went on to work on the music for new Cartoon Network show Steven Universe, which is a pretty awesome!
In Conclusion, this year was pretty fun for music too, there were a few late comers to my music playlists, like the Gone Home OST ( A very 90s melodrama soundtrack with 100% nostalgia inducing factor) and Risk of Rain OST ( very varied soundtrack with nice influences ) which I didn’t too much to yet to have a firm opinion on. Artists also maintained their defining traits, surasshu kept sharing a lot of new music and fun stuff on twitter, coda continued to be very dedicated in music making (He recently released an album by completing compositions on his 2013 OHC ). I got to play a bit more games than I did last year, still did not play many games that I wanted to ( and which have good OSTs). There is always so much stuff out there to experience and learn from, and here’s hoping games, music and everything that our mental self consumes, continues to invigorate us in 2014.