Ask…and you shall receive. This month, our rockers over at The Shizz deliver some sweet selections of Game Boy music via live instruments (electric guitars mostly). The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and The Pokemon series come to mind when thinking about good Game Boy music, yet surprisingly the former has not been covered this month at all. About half of the tracks are Pokemon, though. The other half consists of very obscure material and a few surprising classics. All in all, 10 tracks and some solid work make this month a hit. Some of the entries fall under the classic/progressive metal genres, which aren’t really my cup of tea to be honest. I appreciated a few of those yet loved the other diverging genres a lot more. Sadly, I didn’t have the time to vote or listen before the deadline in order to push some of my favorites up front. Nonetheless, this competition is more about the love of the music and less of the “winning/losing” mentality.
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Here’s my list of favorites this month…free to download as usual. You can check out the full results(individual tracks and included).
This is my favorite pick of the month and should’ve taken the top prize to be honest. No offence to Harjawalder, whom I’ve been a fan of recently and definitely deserves 1st place this month. I guess this is my LuIzA bias talking, or maybe it’s my love for Mario Golf and Motoi Sakuraba? Either way, this is one innovative track that Motoi himself would appreciate given that he’s a rock person too. I can’t really put my finger on the style. It starts off as surf-rock then evolves into other styles throughout the track, particularly punk which she’s fond of the most. Guitar playing and production is classic LuIzA…top-notch stuff. Another thing LuIzA has been doing with her past few entries is experimenting with different guitars and guitar sounds. With this one she debuts a new sound mid-track that really gives her a dynamic edge. Straight from her mouth, she calls it the EHX Bassballs and credits Hoobastank and Authority Zero for the influence. Whatever it is, I’m loving it and want to hear more of it in her upcoming works! My only nitpick with this entry is that it’s too short! Oh well, short and sweet is better than nothing or overstaying its welcome.
Metroid 2 is one of those addicting soundtracks that hasn’t been covered much for some reason. The series’ music is immensely popular in the game music community, but Metroid 2 doesn’t get much love. I guess it’s because it’s on handheld or something. I consider “Metroid Metal (the band) source tune before, and here we have Daniel Alm doing the same. I think I’ve seen the name before in DoD, but can’t quite remember. I gotta say, the quality of the track comes close to Metroid Metal’s take. Great vibe and progression. Nice playing and production. I especially love the guitar solo mid-track. Like LuIzA’s entry, being short and sweet keeps this one from the greatness of Metroid Metal’s version…but I’d take this over nothing any day.” to be one of the series’ coolest tracks, and luckily we have a couple of people who realize that.
Here we have something different. Some of you might know Ergosonic from last month’s successful debut, winning first place with his acoustic rendition of “Forest Interlude” from Donkey Kong Country. For some reason, the voters didn’t appreciate this month’s entry as much. I, on the other hand, am loving this. One of my favorite entries this month. The source tune sounds familiar, perhaps it’s one of the “Routes” in the game. Anyway, Ergosonic experiments with a lot of interesting sounds this month. The track starts off and ends with nice GB chiptune remixes of the source itself, which are really helpful to those who aren’t familiar with the source. Then, Ergosonic goes all country on us with some nice ambient piano and acoustic guitar playing of the source. I like the fact that he keeps the “march” vibe of the original alive with some more chiptunage intertwined with the live instruments. All in all, everything blends together really well here. Ergo’s production values have improved compared to last month’s track…I no longer hear any artifacts or clicks in this entry. Good stuff all around.
Yes…Tetris. Yes…Hat is back once again. You’re not crazy. Even though this source has been covered numerous times, you’ve never listened to a take like this. As I mentioned last month, Hat plays multiple instruments…and with this track he demonstrates his talent with the trumpets. The first minute is a straight-forward rendition of the track itself, while the rest is original/improv material. Jazzy stuff overall. Puts a smile on my face.
Master Hatchet grants us his rockin’ rendition of an obscure source. A quick wikipedia and YouTube search reveals the only vertical shoot ’em up (shrump) developed by Nintendo. I’ve never heard of the game up to this point…looks like one tough cookie though. Addicting music too. M-H’s version is just as creative as the name he picked for the track. Love the chill breakdown at the 30-second mark. Progression is pretty good. As you can tell by my write-ups I’m a fan of M-H as well. Production and playing are solid…truly 2nd place material, and could’ve been first easily.
Finally, we have the debut of a band called “The PokeMEN”. Let’s hope this band isn’t just a one-shot thing because there’s lots of talent to be found in this Pokemon Red/Blue medley. I’m not familiar with Powellman and Omnideth, who obviously handled the guitars and bass. Nario, on the hand, has been a DoD staple for years…playing keyboards. He hasn’t entered in awhile I believe…collaborating is the best way to come back from hiatus. The track starts off with your classic Pokemon Theme, then progresses to others that I’m not familiar with. Who’d think that Pokemon music would sound good when played on electric guitars? Transitions between tracks are abrupt, but there are a few areas that work well. For example, I loved the transition from and after that bass solo mid-track. Nario makes his presence known with some creative synths at the 3:40 mark and onward. He’s also responsible for the hilarious Jigglypuff voiceover at the end of the track. Spot-on.
So that’s it for my personal highlights of the month. Look forward to “Ninja Gaiden” music in next month’s competition. A lot of people will be covering the classic NES trilogy obviously…will someone have the guts to tackle some of the newer games?