On Saturday the Grand Robot Master Remix Battle at OC ReMix reached the second round of the Proto Man Bracket. All entrants for the bracket successfully submitted their tracks before the submission deadline. WillRock dipped synth arpeggios in echo for his “Bleets of Lightning”, bringing in soaring harmonies ¼ of the way in and complementing the source material with an e-solo. fredrikd accompanied the familiar Elec Man theme with acoustic strumming, strings and horns for his entry along with lead guitar noodling for Sheep Man. Chernabouge sent along a cinematic orchestral take that suggests he likes the smell of Napalm Man and Crash Man in the morning.
Main Finger’s remix filters its way into a throbbing beat with piercing trance leads, operatic vocal, a glitch section and rock guitar solo. Jakesnke17 starts off using heavily affected drums, widening things with a breakbeats and fat bass. Neblix paid tribute to Plug Man and Snake Man by offering layers of pads and hyperfast drums supporting a group of melodies set somewhere in the reverberated distance. pixelwave’s steady hi-hat and sub-bass form the peak and lowest points of his tripped out sonic spectrum, “The Toad Gang’s Heist”. Finally AeroZ used a synthetic drone to begin his tune, and then dropped in start-and-stop electro for the Toad Man and Jewel Man themes.
Lazy Sunday Compo held its second round for an enthusiastic if small crowd. My vocal recording of the night’s “Hope Within Chaos” theme contained more white noise than usual, as I spoke near an open window at the spur of the moment. Amphibious’s ringing low end is disrupted by reverse cymbal followed by piano and electronic elements, steadied by a sparse kick and snare. eilios put up synthesizer chords broken up by cymbal rides and settles on a swing-beat for the duration of the piece. Xarnax42’s entry is a scattered selection of woodwinds, brass and percussion that builds to cacophony of discordance resolving somewhat in its middle section.
On Monday, Soundevotion Competition round 58 met its submission deadline. With an optional “uplifting music” theme, the round featured a sample pack including a wide selection of instruments such as bass, woodwinds, tuba and a TR-808. chunter’s entry begins with filtered drums and industrial hooks giving rise to a steady dance beat and distorted lead. Hiss occurs for the first few seconds of keith303’s track, growing in intensity as a minimal percussive groove dominates the aural space. A cymbal crash cuts to the chase of Knetter’s tune and wastes no time to establish a mood of growling horn and dubstep influences. Marko went for a soft mixture of oboe, orchestral percussion and flute, building harmony with acoustic twangs and layers of melody. Shadowbane’s thudding bass notes support e-chords, shaker loops and high frequency riffs, ending with a series of splashes to round out the entries.
JHCompo on Tuesday was again welcome to a wide selection of participants, with over a dozen in attendance despite persistent site glitches. The theme of “The Buzz” may or may not have been inspired by the medication I was taking after I had undergone oral surgery earlier in the day. Following my gauze-muffled spoken word, Dash put up a set of violins pronounced by punchy drums, pianos, piercing organ and an undertone of wub-wub-wub. RAMPKORV created a brief foray into off-piste jazz with clarinet, e-piano and a distinct high end of distortion. Amphibious took a swinging journey “Down by the Lake”, noting that the music might have been influenced by an excess of Animal Crossing playtime. Dj RoboRob described his entry as a blend of electro, fidget house and chiptune, with the rationale that the “buzzy” bassline is in keeping with the night’s theme.
MisfitBYTE offered three minutes of avant-garde and ambient instrumentation lapsing into moments of chillout. chunter’s up-tempo funk is centered on a constant bass riff, and occasionally breaks into a second section. irrelevnt settles into acoustic strumming at the outset of his tune, padding out the empty corners with hand percussion before introducing a drumkit. ShinnyMetal felt that his composition was “QuiteSimple” using detuned electric piano, light pads and lo-bit melodic improvisation. CFX Music’s harsh lead lines meet up with hi-hat patterns and a stomping dance beat. Totaling under a minute, nysnamovois constructed an entry out of an assortment of Kirby’s Dream Land 3 samples. Finally Jarski took a page out of RAMPKORV’s book when titling his track and submitted a chip-centric sendoff for the listening party.
The theme for Thursday's OHC, "The Sacrifice" was inspired by a charity song by Big Giant Circles titled "You Can Have Mine". After my read-through of the theme summary, BrandonS put up recorder-flute drenched in effects for his "Turning Japanese" entry. Due to a scheduling conflict, CJthemusicdude was unable to participate and uploaded a clip from his worksite in order to explain his circumstances via the description field. OCRE made an "Offering to the Volcano God" using tribal drums, male choir and electronic lead. Obtuse chose to appreciate nature with a drum machine, dulcimer and the sound of falling water. diotrans appeared following a significant absence with an a capella performance of layered harmonies and lyrics. sci's composition features a lengthy buildup leading to an upbeat, chippy end section.
Arcana continued the lo-fi vibe with a constant kick and his vow to "save the city... again!" Amphibious settled for a minor key and oboe backed by strings, piano and hand percussion. Bren typed up an indecipherable blurb for his entry and showed off his usual moody combination of guitar chugs and synth arps. Jakesnke17 used the theme to display his philanthropic side, serving up chiptunes for a cause and topping things off with violins and drums. Fusion2004 joined the compo with some 8-bit melodies of his own in a rare appearance. With a surprised emoticon, jarski underwent "mechanization" including an acid bath and rigorous sub-bass treatment. At the end of the party mv exercised his vocal talents for a trip-hop ballad with a fair share of string sections and rolling guitar.
As the entrants mulled over the compo entries they were composing, I joked that simply appearing that night was deserving of an "A" for effort. After hearing the kinds of compositions that people here are capable of, I give them a hearty "A+".