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.

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