Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taco Tornado

Sunday became the submission deadline of the Grand Robot Master Remix Battle’s climactic face-off following a 24-hour extension. The final battle pitted Mega Man against Proto Man; both remixers covered the Spring Man and Elec Man themes in their attempt to claim the tourney top spot. Despite the competitive nature of GRMRB, DarkeSword playfully admitted that “This is not actually a competition. I just made this thread to trick all of you into making Mega Man mixes. In total, the tournament brought about 57 arrangements. prophetik’s track made use of tribal drums offset with glitched synths, carried by Spring Man and then cooled down with Elec Man in a minor mode. WillRock also took Elec Man into minor territory, putting in a bass growl as the arps continue to the left of the stereo field; the melding of both themes is aided by this panning separation, particularly as the beat drops and the remix goes for an extended solo.

Monday Night Madness took off after a false start, since the previous round jumped forward one week due to lack of entrants. The theme for the night was “Amnesia” providing an excuse for my spoken-word “Intro Reminder”. zorg’s track involves a man who “forgot how to use his DAW” along with a drummer who suffered brain trauma; the result is expectedly disjointed digital tunage. Xarnax42’s “Wisps of Remembrance” starts with a flourish of piano and follows up sparsely on the keys for its duration. Akogare Zephyr made another rare appearance, serving up arpeggio and filtered drum loops under her echoed pop vocal. coda experienced “GameNesia”, which apparently involves a four-note vibraphone motif, continuous buzzing bass, strings and crushed percussion. MisfitBYTE raced across varying and frenetic riffs, the effect of inputting "Amnesia: Lost My Mind" as notes in binary. swordofdestiny submitted possibly the thinnest waveform ever seen in SolidComposer, consisting of sporadic hand drum strikes.

Soundevotion Competition round 59 reached its deadline for entries on Monday. A samplepack served as the basis for the tracking compo, including a wide palette of instruments. Despite SDCompo being a month-long competition, andyray decided to restrict himself to a few hours; his entry carries gated chords with an industrial sound that gives way to funky drums. Chotoro’s pads swoop in for an atmospheric jaunt supported by a repeated melody line and several stylistic change-ups. chunter used the singing speech synthesizer UTAU for his electro pop tune garnished with guitar licks and a diverse collection of textures. cralias’s “Reaching for Stars” begins with gentle, rhythmic ambience and assembles layers of harmonic elements, peaking in density halfway through. fladd’s flattened synth riff bows under sustained bass notes, clearing the way for trip-hop.

hseiken preceded his entry with a spoken notice protesting the option to record voice in a samplepack-based compo; he goes on to sample his own speech, creating a quirky groove without the pack to help bolster his point. CAG strummed a heartfelt song on guitar, strings and percussion before dropping everything in favor of a more active mood and unrestrained yelling. juolac discovered a effect when using synchronization on sample drum loops, and went on to layer multiple loops across the stereo spectrum. OneTrackMind did “Indeed” submit a dance entry nailed down by unrelenting kick drum. At the end of the artist name alphabet, waterhead served up electronic minimalism, human beatbox and elements of “Rapper's Delight” complemented by narration spoken by his younger brother.

JHCompo on Tuesday had its largest turnout yet, and with it a large set of site bugs. The “Deal with the Devil” theme was met with a positive response and an eclectic set of entries. After my emphatic “go to hell” intro, americanwarewolf guitared a track in five minutes; he put out his blues rock quickly because he was preoccupied with real-life duties. OverCoat agreed to a deal, but insisted that he see “the cake egg-man” and uploaded the ebb and fade of a string section. Brandon Strader had acquired a saxophone and practiced it over the course of a day, then used the compo to riff on the values for a minute. MisfitBYTE attempted to blend blues with glitch-drums, but ultimately felt that “I need a new deal.” Tomapella managed his time wisely during the round, having time to compose a Rhodes-centric jazz section, a segment of country music, and a thorough description.

zorg posited his thoughts on religion and showed off anthemic pads at the same time; he set down drums to keep the vibe going and took a left turn to moody bass at the end. Xarnax42 tossed in an incomplete work of keyboard synths, apparently deciding to go lounging with the devil. mv once again failed to disappoint, bringing along his mixture of violins and trip-hop filled with e-soloing and filtered vocals. chunter chose to be the master of his own destiny by layering piano, bells and glockenspiel for a dense lead melody backed by drum funk. coda advertised a crash course in slap bass, piano-pads and organ provided by the devil himself. MandraSigma seemingly found the escape clause by signing his contract in ketchup rather than blood; his entry similarly reverses its way through the situation with a fair amount of glitch.

Newcomer shojin sang his Adele-inspired entry with bass accompaniment, gradually adding guitar chords, wordless harmony and a rolling beat. americanwarewolf’s brother trenthian suffered technical issues, but worked out some jangly strumming backed with percussion and a horn section. Rexy made her first JHCompo appearance, inspired by a scene in The Little Mermaid; the initial harp and orchestral elements step to the side as drums and harpsichord move in, trading turns as the tune progresses. Jarski seemed to be going through a rebellious phase for the title of his dance entry containing a count up among other quirky aspects. MVM offered an affecting musical cue while irrelevnt rounded out the entries with his electric and acoustic guitars.

OHC on Thursday featured a "Distant and foreign" theme, and so I recorded my vocal intro with an app I had scarcely used before. Acuity was unable to make it to the round, but created a trippy piano-and-strings-centric entry ahead of time that was submitted by DDRKirby(ISO). Making his return from two weeks ago, Trollgate produced in a similar guitar style than before with the addition of sampling. siebensus4 professed to being "rusty" and submitted high-gain bass and pads with an undercurrent of choir. B-Type appeared after a long compo hiatus, delivering effect-laden flows with such rhymes as "poop chute" with "does not compute!" RAMPKORV met the "Benis Brothers" playing swiftly on the keys and swooping in and out of discordance.

Tomapella also performed on piano, in his case bluesy riffing inspired by his recent travels. Usabell's spacey chords and industrial percussion meet a prominent bassline and a go around the ivories with bongos. MandraSigma chose his forthcoming gaming convention trip as his foreign experience, submitting a "tone poem" that ultimately implodes. Arcana's lo-bit lead is accompanied a pulsing pad at first, then by high strings and a set of dance patterns. CJthemusicdude made use of the half hour he had available to work the pentatonic scale and a laid-back beat. mv put up his usual thought-provoking entry description for his lush ambient bed of sound. DDRKirby(ISQ) uploaded his actual entry for the night, a noise-filled build up that leads to a bevy of chips and glitch.

sci showed his offbeat approach to voice sampling using a start-and-stop electro backing. Forty-Two was surprised his song came together as effectively as it did, harmonizing chimes and woodwinds with pizzicato strings. Bren admitted to having a lack of time, but pulled through using his signature synth lead and chord structure. Appearing in the chatroom in the guise of ThomasTryst, ProjektZero made his compo comeback mixing together acoustic rhythms, electronic bass and his lyrical stylings. jarski appeared to be "lost in sewers" and found his way along with noise filter sweeps and funky snare. Suzumebachi may have to mail his tunes via the postal service to send them in on time, but he nevertheless submitted a densely layered production ending with a gentle 3-4-5-1-8.

I guess I’ve gained some visibility as a result of participating in so many competitions. Gradually I went from being an unknown member of the community to being "that guy who does compos a lot." It makes me well suited to chronicle the gatherings that happen every week from such varied communities.

*Title of blog post selected by LuketheXjesse.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Composer Spotlight on Ghetto Lee Lewis

Thomas Nelson, better known as Ghetto Lee Lewis (GLL), took some time to answer a few of my questions regarding his recent original album Rainless Days. It is the first album he has ever released, featuring somber and reflective solo piano. Nelson is no stranger to the arrangement community; several of his tracks are posted on OverClocked ReMix covering games from Dragon Warrior to Tales of Phantasia in the style of trance. With Rainless Days, he uses his raw skill on the keys for an assortment of self-composed material.

As he mentioned on his album page, the release “marks a transition in my life, going from a failed marriage and life of depression to being able to move on with my life and find happiness once again.” He elaborated on this period of change. “My wife filed for divorce back in March I think, and so I had to move out. We were married for just over two years. I’ve been living in an apartment with a roommate since then.” Nelson remarked on the album’s title, and how lack of rain “is a metaphor for the emptiness and loneliness I’ve felt for much of my life.” In his Nevada residence, the desert climate is such that rainfall is seen as a special and uplifting event.

Nelson started work on the album on June 6, 2011 and developed it over the course of the month. “I recorded “Song for Miku” about a week before I started on the other tracks.” He noted that the majority of Rainless Days was composed and recorded in about seven days, and completed over three weeks. Nelson produced the album himself and used a mastering preset created with the help of Prophecy. The release carries a floral motif, particularly a rose on the album cover and the song titles “Roses in June” and “Sunflowers”. Nelson acknowledged this as being a deliberate theme. “Flowers are often a symbol of beauty and romance. They can also signify change, since flowers bloom, they wilt, and they die.”

As Nelson specified, the album “was performed on a Casio WK-1800 76 key keyboard, recorded to MIDI into FL studio. The samples are from Tonehammer Emotional Piano sample library.” Nelson has been outspoken on his views of performance versus sequenced piano. “The interpretation of dynamic changes during a performance isn’t supposed to mathematically follow what’s written on paper. Any experienced performer knows this and is able to give music proper rhythm and emotion during a performance. However, it’s just simply not easy to put down on a sequencer.” He also prefers to play an acoustic piano rather than a keyboard, but is unable to move one into his apartment for the time being. “I hope to upgrade my gear to a more playable MIDI controller, probably to a Yamaha KX-88.”

Two songs on Rainless Days make direct references to people with whom he has been acquainted: “Song for Miku” and “Jenni’s Song”. He explained, “I met Miku playing an online chat game, and kind of fell in love with her. I was going through severe depression at the time and she inspired me to actually do something about it. We had kind of a falling out later, but that’s beside the point. I met Jenni playing that same chat game, and became good friends with her.” He was informed of an attack that caused her to be taken to a hospital. “Her song was really just about how I cared about her and didn’t want to lose her. Luckily, she had a speedy recovery, and she’s fine now.”

Nelson is an avid participant in composition competitions. He recalled the time when his interest in compos began. “I met starla during a Las Vegas meetup, and she told me to start participating in One Hour Compo. I’ve entered a few other ones in the past, just because I thought it would be fun, and I had friends who were entering to compete against. So I’ve done OHC on ThaSauce a few times; I’ve done FLMC, PRC, BEER (on OC ReMix), and a few others.” He also stated that although compos are generally done to hone one’s craft, “I haven’t really participated in enough of them to improve my efficiency. If anything, I think recording this album helped improve my efficiency of creating new music.”

He acknowledges many inspirations for his music in general. From within OCR, Nelson cites Prophecy, bLiNd, DJ Carbunk1e, FFmusic DJ, Spekkosaurus, Russell Cox, goat, Sir NutS and SgtRama. Outside the community his influences include Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Robert Miles, Tiësto, Rammstein, Danny Elfman, Nightwish, Juno Reactor, Master P, Dr. Dre, Journey, Guns N’ Roses, Enya, Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo and Koichi Sugiyama.

Rainless Days is available on Bandcamp to stream for free, or as a paid download. Nelson hopes that listeners will support him though his commercial release. “By supporting my music you’re helping me pay rent, buy food, and make more great music. Recommend it to your friends and family too. Thanks!”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Invasions and Wreckage

People’s Remix Competition 198 reached its submission deadline on Monday with a pair of entries. The source tune selected for the round came from the game James Bond 007: The Duel. The selector Beckett007 noted that the music is “actually not very Bondian in sound” but would provide ample material for participants to arrange. SubNormal J3 wondered “What is a Stew Symphony?” and delivered a modest electronic take on the composition largely due to lack of time. Zerothemaster submitted a remix titled “Sean Connery” despite the game featuring Timothy Dalton’s likeness; zero took a more ambient approach, with synthesizer chords that rise and fall in between Bond voice clips.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured the theme “Sea Castle”, a merger of two smaller ideas I held for a while. The round had its largest turnout yet, due in part to an invasion of Monsquaz enthusiasts. They characteristally disrupt with indifference, generating offensive or obnoxious material and then turning around to say "I didn’t mean to." MandraSigma’s laidback dance beat provided an apt backdrop for his “Undersea Basement Club”, apparently using ambient train-like sounds. dusthillguy was the first of the aforementioned invasion: his electro entry featured an extensive speech in a foreign tongue, ending abruptly with a bass hit. RAMPKORV continued the aural confundity by uploading a piano session mixed with frantic strikes and wails. OverCoat layered harp, flute and strings with e-drums and bass to express his “Life at the Bottom of the Sea”. Roseweave completed the Monsquaz invasion by serving up nearly 5 minutes of noodling on the keys, and more wailing.

Amphibious’s chilled chords lead to trip-hop stylings topped with piano riffs and sliding synth lead action. Obtuse used a Reason Disco loop as the basis for his jam with nimble bass guitar work. Rukunetsu started his entry on the keys, but chose to mix in spaced out drums and violins. MisfitBYTE similarly used a string instrument, but surrounds it with a glitch beat, chippy burbles and laments that “Being a systems administrator underwater must suck.” mv blended the synthetic and the acoustic including string runs, eastern percussion and cymbal rolls. fusion2004 made a rare JHCompo appearance with his continuous hi-hat pattern, aqueous pads, descending melodic riff and compressed drumkit. Tomapella felt his entry was “so JRPG it makes me wanna puke” featuring vocal harmonies, militaristic rhythm and an overall squashed but warm sound.

Elrinth begins by way of a three-note motif, affected by heavy delay and subtly altered with bass notes as it builds to a crescendo of snare rolls and 8-bit accompaniment. Jarski put up a tripped out tune using generous amounts of sub-bass and sonar pings. munchi missed out on the first half of the round, but managed to cobble together a bright piece steadied by a rolling drums. coda suffered a technical issue in the midst of creation, leading him to comment “computers suck”; he nevertheless offered deft chords and a funky beat. Detective Tuesday also composed his track in half of the time allotted, “Jammin Under Water” with wet pads, accented percussion and layered harmonic elements. MVM had an error when he submitted at the last second, and as a result his entry was blank; it survives as an externally-hosted MP3 featuring cinematic horns, thundering rhythms and a touch of woodwind.

Trippycompo was somewhat unusual as it resulted in two entries, which both tied for first place. The round was based on samplepack containing a handful of clips and tones, including a snare and looped buzzing. MandraSigma’sGeneruntz” implements a gate-like effect on a sample and places it within a dance pattern, guided along by expansive melody and key modulations. null1024 used the same lead sound, accompanied by a grittier tone and constant kick drum.

Thursday's OHC used "After the Storm" as its theme, serving as a followup of sorts to "Eye of the Storm" from an earlier round. After my matter-of-fact read through of the theme, OCRE explored the ramifications of an alternate timeline using panned acoustic and electronic elements. td244 channeled his inner Prokofiev and served up a multi-section orchestral piece ending with "the most amazing booty [...] right in front of you!" Arcana made a tune representing the aftereffects of a night at the pub, finding his way back home through trance. Obtuse's pop song showed off his vocal chops, albeit fed into the Neptune pitch adjuster. sci glitched amongst a slew of voice clips, filter sweeps and finally decompiled at its finish. After a phone call, Tomapella put together acoustic guitaring and a greeting to ThaSauce in the final 10 minutes of the submission period.

Destroid's entry description could serve as the premise to a noir, but the track itself comes off sounding more like the inside of a microwave heating popcorn. DDRKirby(ISQ) went for a spacier, evolving sound before bursts of arpeggio come in and the tune settles on a beat. mv gently placed emotive chords and distant ambiance to express the post-storm rise of spirits, and then dances around for the remainder. Usabell similarly evoked a sense of dread and awe with pads, gradually segueing into synthetic rhythms. At the end of the listening party MandraSigma appeared asking simply "Survivors?" with a quirky selection of instruments and pitched samples.

I suppose one important thing I’ve gained during my composing tenure is a better understanding of what music is. I use this skill every day when I listen to and review music. In that sense, I’ve grown a lot; my perception will never be as it once was when I first started.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Cheese Balls

On Saturday the Grand Robot Master Remix Battle reached the end of the submission stage for Proto Man Bracket Round 4. With it the brackets of both Proto Man and Mega Man move closer to the eventual finals. WillRock’s take on Elec Man and Plug Man sets high arpeggios with growling bass frequencies, off-the-wall synth soloing and a cool-down section. Neblix went for frenetic breakbeats and an undertow of tension punctuated by piano chords and momentarily paired down the drums to an accentuated kick pattern. Both entries show that the level of interpretation and approach can result in uniquely different remixes of the same source material.

Lazy Sunday Compo featured its usual lengthy theme description, which I hastily read and recorded for my vocal narration. The organizer swordofdestiny warned in the page’s rules that he would be away during the compo and therefore could not provide deadline extensions. SolidComposer newcomer madbrain submitted piano and violin lines and electronic stylings that mesh into a fanciful collection of moods. MandraSigma appeared proclaiming “I'm a SEAHAT” submitting a dance tune containing an arrhythmic breakdown and an extended soliloquy.

Monday Night Madness Compo held its first round at SolidComposer with a fair turnout based on a “Cosmic Cycles” theme. The concept of the competition is to get people out of their comfort zone and experiment with techniques that participates may not be well versed in. After my read-through of the theme, gameguy08 presented his “House of Cards” with a foundation of compressed kick, bass and searing lead synth. z0rg’s entry begins with a roomy thud and male choir, gaining volume and intensity with lo-bit harmonics. In a break from his usual style, Xarnax42 produced a barbershop number speculating on the insignificance of mankind in the scope of the universe. liquid wind’s FL Studio drum machine took center stage in his minimal “end of the fifth era” coasting along an e-groove.

The theme for Tuesday’s JHCompo was “Battle of Giants”, which came as the result of joining two smaller ideas I had listed for possible use in the past. liquid wind took great pains to subvert my usual intro by uploading his entry before it; the track places guitar distortion with dance rhythms. In MandraSigma’s entry the extemporaneous percussion pans around the stereo field, leaving the pads and arpeggios in the center. irrelevnt’s lengthy-titled track consists of sub bass and ambient crackle, which he states is his “perception of the perception of Man (or huMankind) perceiving Giants.” Obtuse made a rare appearance posted his homage to Deadmau5’s "Ghosts and Stuff" and Benny Bennassi’s "Satisfaction". k-wix made his first JHCompo tune serving up degraded bass alongside drums, timpani and strings with a mellower piano end section.

chunter’s “80s Epic Giant Thing” contains filtered guitar and a laidback rock beat to go with electronic melody and choir. MisfitBYTE labeled his own entry as “Prog Oriental?” apparently marrying snares with Eastern scales. zorg explained his desire to use a harpsichord in his composition, but cultivated a multitude of timbres to express “lush fields” including a bed of violins. coda sent over his own reverb snares and choral backdrop for his “giant dogs” introducing an synth solo partway into it. zebra mixed together ominous pulses, low frequencies and glitch signaling the onset of a “BERY BAD MONSTA”. Finally Xarnax42 used the round to work on drums for the first time in a compo, and the percussion guides the spacey chords to their conclusion.

OHC on Thursday featured "Clean Slate" as the theme, raising the concept of starting things fresh. I had just undergone oral surgery, so I handed over the vocal introduction duties to mv who came up with an amusing gag for it. BrandonS took this recording and placed it among his acoustic guitar and wails, deciding that the concept was "very difficult, apparently." This was followed by an entry by Brandon's alter ego Oinkness featuring more guitar and spats of singing. Zovi applied the theme to his DAW crashing and having to improvise a dance tune in the final minutes of the round. Trollgate succinctly summarized his composition as "bass, drums, synthesizers, and many guitars", beginning calmly and then tossing it over to harder rocking.

zorg grabbed his synths and took a "Journey Into my hands", presumably with sanitizer since he claimed it was "as clean as it can get". Tomapella delivered more of his lyrical foray with bright electronic backing sounds for his "Bob Dylan's 115^314th Dream In Space". Suzumebachi graced OHC with his presence by putting up acoustic drum stylings fused to chip burbles. sci served up trip-hop topped with vintage keys and Auto-Tune'd vocals. Obtuse uploaded trance in the form of a "remix of a remix" making sure to credit the authors in the track title. Forty-Two took the theme to mean the start of a new day, with gentle marimba leading into piano and woodwinds.

Arcana followed through on his plan of "Cutting off the Network" by composing pads with a sharp lead tone, stomping kick and bells. mv went for dance pop after getting up from the bed, putting his voice to use again with harmonized singing. Fittingly the end of the listening party was also the end of DDRKirby(ISQ)'s "Journey" reversing a cymbal into a smooth bassline and running the gamut of club friendly beats, ambient sustained chords and finally 8-bit blips.

Prior to the end of the OHC's submission period, someone appearing in the IRC chat asked for suggestions of what to title his entry. One of the titles offered was "a tale of two cheese balls". One day there may be a writing compo where this story is told. For now I'll settle with listening to great tunes each week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mi Vida Compo

June’s theme for Dwelling of Duels pitted contestants against each other by choosing sides. With “One vs. Many” participants could choose to remix a game featuring one main character, or a game with an ensemble. Pumpkin King decided to go solo with his Donkey Kong Country piano arrangement, building tension on the keys as he progressed and cooling off near the end. tibone and Paragon tackled the game ESWAT and centered a track on chugging chord progressions, sprinkled with 8-bit riffs and switching up with acoustic strumming. Brandon Strader appropriately started his Heavy Rain remix using the sound of falling water, a sample of dialogue accompanied by violin and opening up to shredding with drums. Technodrone brought along a versus of his own by arranging Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, displaying deft soloing and a mellow piano section. bjkmenu incorporated a 3DO console introduction to his take on Pebble Beach Golf Links offering his distinctive quirks to the funk rock stylings.

BlitzChris urged “Poly! Stop Dancing I’m Trying to Be Dramatic!” and submitted a somber piano rendition of Pokémon Red using varying tempos. Harjawaldar’s entry was one of the few that took the “Many” path, serving up pads and sporadic percussion before laying down various tones. Wasting no time on the introduction, Dr. Manhattan’s Sonic 3D Blast arrangement “Rusty Fingers” begins with a crash and melds the swingy nature of the source tune with rolling guitar and thick bass. Scaredsim selected a relatively new tune to cover from VVVVVV and placed prominent lead synthesizer driven by acoustic drumming. Adam the Careless Horse took things back to Zelda II providing call-and-response guitar screams that settle into harmony, and then galloping along an extensive medley with accordion. The alternates for the month were from Daragen arranging Killer Instinct in a style that recalls Linkin Park, and Dr. Manhattan again sending along a different version of his “Rusty Fingers”.

OLRmageddon returned after a month-long break, during which the organizer Xenon Odyssey tended to real-life affairs. The theme for the month was Sonic the Hedgehog: any main title or spinoff of the series was open for remixing. For bonus points participants could also include sound effects from the games into their arrangements. Brunzolaitis’s sped-up “criminal insanity zone” intermittently resembles Sonic 1 zone themes on harmonica with a fair share of humming and strumming. In “Metronomes Are Overrated” Brunzolaitis apparently thought it would be a good idea to actually plug his guitar in, and took the time to layer them together. cotti submitted the placid “Mobius Bogus Boogie” which may or may not be as danceable as the title indicates. ShinnyMetal threw in the classic “SEGA” Genesis vocal intro and other effects for his take on Chemical Plant Zone, sung with such spontaneity that the singer at one point wonders “what’d I just say?”

The Grand Robot Master Remix Battle reached the Saturday deadline for Mega Man Bracket Round 4. Like the previous rounds, it served as an example of how artists can go about the same source tunes in drastically different ways. TheGuitahHeroe’s remix of the Bubble Man and Spring Man themes slowly pushes its arpeggios out of a sea of pads before proclaiming “go” and slamming into dubstep with authority. prophetik’s “thirsty” is bright acoustic pop with guitar and piano chords supporting his saxophone, synthesizer lines and rising strings.

Lazy Sunday Compo occurred during Independence Day weekend in the United States, and brought in a handful of entrants. Due to forgetfulness and preoccupation, at least two contestants missed the deadline and were locked out for the night. In my absence, Xarnax42 saw fit to record his own voiceover introduction describing the fireworks theme “as JH Sounds”. The incremental fade in of zebra’s entry leads to panned kick drums, arps and eventually sustained chords. Jarski’s tinny drum beat carries along his “dubidub” for which he was “too lazy to continue” even for a competition that has Lazy in its name.

Peoples Remix Competition round 197 wrapped up on Monday with another trio of entries. Inrade, the winner of PRC196 selected a tune from Ninja Gaiden III for the new round. Xsquader submitted his entry early on featuring a slower tempo and electronic leanings, as well as his first attempt to work in guitar. beckett007 took a cinematic approach to his “Ninja Doomship” similar to what he did in a prior submission: the lo-bit sounds of the original are replaced by an orchestra, eastern instrumentation and live rocking. Zerothemaster rounded out the three entries with a minimalized, ambient take on the source that unfurls and intensifies over the course of the arrangement.

Tuesday’s JHCompo theme was “Nightfall”, which may or may not have been inspired by the newly-released remix album NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming. I recorded my introduction near an open window to give it an outdoorsy feel reflecting the round’s description. dusthillguy’ssoundmusic” brought to mind the game Herzog Zwei during the listening party, creating musical tension over a four-on-the-floor beat. MandraSigma claimed he was “too white to be tight” for his rap entry containing repeated “uh”s and “yeah”s. ShinnyMetal composed his subdued electronic tune using the NanoStudio mobile app, momentarily facing issues with exporting and uploading it to the site. mv set the mood for his “Only at Night” with plucked cello and synths until the degraded drums, bowed strings and piano drop in.

Jacob continued the tickling of ivories during his “Tenuous Stroll” preceded by soft noise and later grafted onto violins, jazzy percussion and brass. irrelevnt had intended to incorporate lyrics into his track, but settled on an instrumental featuring live guitars and rocky rhythm. coda resumed his canine-themed song titles with “nanodogs”, a collection of spacey pads and high frequencies inevitably locking into trance. MisfitBYTE mixed together a series of affected guitars accompanied by the enigmatic description “Here we are again, smoke scenting your skin.” Newcomer Maraki showed off a promising display of piano, with the rationale that visiting nightclubs evokes thoughts of jazz. Detective Tuesday also arrived on the scene for the first time and submitted Rhodes-tinged electronica that uploaded just in time for the listening party.

Thursday’s OHC theme description was unexpectedly brief, so I resorted to reading it twice: once in English and again in Spanish. RAMPKORV sent along filter sweeps and rhythmic notes joining up with additional harmonic elements in under a minute. dusthillguy submitted his guitar and characteristically lopsided drumming, ending with a flurry of soloing. Tomapella's synth-laden pop song invites listeners to sing along to the happy-go-lucky lyrics. Dyne made a rare consecutive OHC appearance going for distorted chords that fall away in favor of constant bass notes, e-melody and drum fills. MandraSigma made another go at rap, this time with a stop-and-go beat, scratch effects and partial singing. bjkmenu faked out an intro followed by his more familiar electric noodling, urging others to "remember the hucklebuck". DDRKirby(ISQ)'s flattened percussion invariably widens into stomping electro, squashing down again for the breakdown and letting the pads take over.

Newcomer Zovi let his hair down for headbobbing synthfunk, murmuring the theme description as he went along. zorg also newly joined the OHC table with a dance tune postulating that "mr. greenbeam" could turn the White House into a dancehall. sci showed off a quirky collection of electronics and vocal segments galvanized into a cadence. Destroid's cheerful arpeggio brings out the notion that "Deven Gallo Wins the Lottery" growing more dense along its duration. Acuity's piano entry meets up with synthesizer, snares and builds up to a dominating kick drum. Arcana melded glockenspiel and tubular bells with dance components while admitting to being "Happy with the Girl". At the end of the party Shadix made his nod to the Progressive Era using hyperspeed piano and a tip of the top hat.

At one point during the party, someone suggested that I do a different language every week for my vocal introduction. I was amused by this particularly due to the idea of bringing people in from various cultures. Anyone can participate, and compos should be universal.