Monday, August 29, 2011

Composer Spotlight on Meteo Xavier

I got the chance to chat with Meteo Xavier about his recent release Meteocrity Vol. 1. The album is a follow-up to his 2010 album Espers and is a collection of original material primarily composed on commission for video game developers. Meteo has made various connections with the arrangement community over the years, having been posted on OverClocked ReMix on more than one occasion and calling upon members to assist in the mastering of Meteocrity.

Among the things that inspired Meteo to put the album together, he noted that “I just got really sick of [the tracks] being on my hard drive purely unused after they failed to be published via the programmers and gaming leads that originally had hired me.” One of his intentions was to create a music portfolio for future video game commissions using the unreleased compositions. He also specified that, “I wasn't in any position to do another major project like my previous album. My hope was to show I could do more than experimental-sounding, heavily layered atmospheric pieces.” He considers game composers as influences in his own video game music. “Like every pretentious kid with FL Studio and a bunch of free soundfonts, I studied them in hopes of eclipsing them in the grand delusion that is my foray into music. I would have to say I took to Motoi Sakuraba and Hiroki Kikuta the best. Their music was the easiest for me to learn and digest. My rather repetitious forms come from Kikuta and my tendency to completely change up my tracks and have them go on forever came from Sakuraba.”

He elaborated on the "strict commissioner demands" mentioned in the Meteocrity Vol. 1 release notes. “Much of my early days trying to earn EXP as a composer were spent being far too naive and earnest for my own good. Granted I wasn't very good years before, but I genuinely believed I could rise to the task of being a not-for-pay Mitsuda and Uematsu. I had no idea what I was getting into - a sentence that basically is my music career in a nutshell. Spending hours making changes, waiting weeks to hear responses, and then after much severe burnout finding out the tracks won't work or the game is cancelled basically means ‘strict commissioner demands’ is the utmost generous term I can have for the freaks I used to work for.” Recently he has discovered more pleasant employers: “Mark Udit is my first paying employer and was good to work with. I'm currently working on a soundtrack for a Tower Defense game by Mike Bosetti for Android that I should be finishing up on.”

Meteo stated that his technique for composing video game scores and for creating standalone music are both the same. “I sometimes go in with a specific idea of what I want to do, but the music will not let me control it; it does what it wants to and my job as composer is basically to clean it up. Sometimes it starts with experimenting with sounds and structures and just playing around, and a lot of my music starts out as just practice or something I made that I kinda liked and saved to develop into something later.” He went into further detail on his process for creating a game soundtrack. “If I go in straight to do a new game track from scratch, I typically try to start with drums and bass to get a groove and some energy going first. I listen to it and see if I can build something off of it, then I go in for chords and rewrite the bass to accommodate the chords. I usually only do for about 4-8 bars and then add the accompaniment frills - arpeggiations, motifs, stabs, what have you - fill it up as much as I want, then I write a melody on top of it and use that for a start.”

Daniel “Usa” Lippert and Jordan “bLiNd” Aguirre were involved in the mastering of Meteocrity Vol. 1. Meteo described how this process came about: “When it came to do mastering for the album, the guy who was previously set up to help me basically screwed me and Usa offered to do it at a severely reduced price. bLiNd also mastered five tracks for me originally for a game I worked on in November 2010 and did a sweet job. I was extremely fortunate for their help and generosity. Daniel and Jordan are two of the nicest guys in all of Christendom and I will bludgeon anyone who says otherwise.”

Meteo explained his decision to release Meteocrity Vol. 1 on the Wardriver label. “I'm friends with my brothers' old bandmate of whom I approached with the idea to do a free video game album for and he liked it. But at the time telling me he'd master it and put it on there, he was also putting off his commitment to me to go on tour twice and basically leave me in the lurch. I looked for other netlabels and there is a surprising dearth of them for just original video game material and someone finally said Wardriver. I quite liked the idea of working with them to get this album through and, I hope, help get even more traffic and attention their way. ThaSauce treats me with respect as an artist and I cannot let that favor (because that’s what it is these days) go unrewarded.”

He also made his first ever compo entry fairly recently on ThaSauce. Meteo described that experience, and what he took away from it. “I wish I could've done a better job with it. Although there was a point where I could've been, I'm just not a compo guy. I don't have it in me to start up the creative process and speed through a song on a time limit. My greatest bane as a musician is that I don't work very fast. Someday I'd love to have another go at the compo, but these days as I work to market two albums, on two record labels, plus some new book publishing stuff on top of a full time job and a good wife I come home to, the time just doesn't line up for me currently.”

Meteocrity Vol. 1 is available for free alongside other artist releases on Wardriver. Meteo expressed gratitude regarding the response to the album. “I want to thank everyone who has posted anything anywhere promoting, endorsing and enjoying this album. Plus those who helped me bring it to life in the first place.”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

When I Believe

Double’s Dash Compo 11 fell on Level 99’s birthday, marking that round a “birthday edition” despite having no theme. I was away that Friday night, so I recorded my introduction in collaboration with music that the restaurant DJ happened to be playing in the background. Obtuse delivered his signature funk stylings complemented by Wildfire’s voice; Obtuse later noted that the sexy subject matter in his DDCs are brought about by his guest singers, and don’t necessarily originate from him aside from providing a welcoming groove. Level 99 teamed up with Cyril the Wolf once again to rock, with the former providing guitar chords and drums, and the latter bringing in the bass and vocals. swordofdestiny formed a One Man Army by teaming up with himself; he made use of his a capella from the previous One Hour Compo and created a new backing track for it for the round.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured a theme directly inspired by a recent event: a mild tremor struck the east coast earlier in the day, prompting an “Earthquake” theme for the round. nikola offered a “Roughly Shaky” tune using timpani to evoke the sensation of a quake and horns to set the mood. Obtuse fired up his funky bass for a jam that apparently got interrupted by shakes, but then resumed with a mellower beat. b-type wrote perhaps his most verbose entry yet, spitting earthquake-related flows in a prompt, efficient manner. Xerol submitted his characteristic orchestral stylings, this time in an unusual time signature. zorg’s choir-filled track “5.85” drew comparisons to Goldeneye 007, Zelda 64 and Metroid Prime among other game soundtracks. MisfitBYTE put up a patchwork of various electronic sounds that runs for half a minute.

swordofdestiny felt that in the aftermath of disaster one should check the status of the meatloaf, and expressed this through soft wub-wubs. mistermv once again brought in his dense trip-hop style to the compo extolling “doubt, the fear, the panic, the pain” to an appreciate audience. ShinnyMetal shined up his tribal drums and choral samples observing that “Earthquakes Can Cause Volcanoes to Erupt”. Jarski cited both sci and Dubmood for his ambient chip-infused composition doling out head-bobbing rhythms. coda recurring dog reference was unheeded by the earthquake as glitched barking pervaded his e-funk track. LuketheXjesse layered up his guitar and swiftly melted faces, triggering a chain reaction of replies to his one-word entry description. Finally Detective Tuesday ran from the earthquake carrying organ and piano in one arm, and string sections with blips in the other.

Thursday's OHC reached a milestone with its 150 round, and I performed a live cover of injury aka the compo organizer starla to mark the occasion. Obtuse ventured into the rainforest using various ethnic instruments to spike up the heat. Fusion2004 disavowed any resemblance of his track to "House of the Rising Sun" with its low-slung backbeat and blues rock structure. LuketheXjesse erupted into a bevy of guitar shreddage that surely raised the temperature of the listening party before ending on a G.I. Joe clip. CJthemusicdude's track begins as a hip-hop beat and continues covering a wide range of tempos and moods. nikola put up a tropical entry complete with steel drums and guiro action. sci made his tune entirely with Synth1 rather accurately titled "Some Spicy Acid Funk Junk" consisting of arrhythmic bursts of harmony.

Acuity laid down decay-affected piano over trippy drums and the buzz of electronics. mv appeared to have to the first entry of the night to incorporate the sound of a sizzling skillet, and followed this up with organ-centric strings-tinged funk. Usabell decided to afk and play a bit of Mario instead of creating a song. TheMisterCat returned from extensive hiatus to performed harmonized vocal pop graced with expert flauting. Bren submitted his signature e-lead with a bouncier theme than usual, preceded with "That's it! Go away now." An 8-bit blaze warmed up DDRKirby(ISQ)'s submission, allowing for warm glitch breakbeats, a cooler section and several genre change-ups. Finally MandraSigma chose "Chisporrotear" as the title of his track after asking about its spelling, and then builds his track around a murmured chant.

One of the reasons I grew disinterested in producing songs is my own dissatisfaction in being a "laptop musician". While there are great artists who choose to express themselves entirely through sequencing and synth programming, I lack skill in both areas. I've found that I get more enjoyment from an organic, physical approach to music and art in general. We all have our own approaches, and it is fun when people of all sorts of backgrounds come together for compo.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Composer Spotlight on Amphibious and ProjektZero

I recently got the chance to interview Amphibious and ProjektZero about their respective EP releases: Oceans and Getting to Know You. Both artists are avid compo enthusiasts, so I asked them each about the stories behind the making of their tracks, their influences and how creative competitions have affected their work.

Amphibious – Oceans EP

Amphibious has gained a reputation for creating ambient, chilled music with fluid movement. To that end, his release Oceans is a concept EP, specifically referencing a journey through the sea as a topic. Amphibious explained his motivations for exploring a musical narrative. “I've always been told my songs remind people of water for some reason, and the ideas I came up with definitely had that vibe, so I decided to add a theme to my EP. It also sort of fits with the name Amphibious, which is cool too.”

Work on the album began in early June and continued over the summer. He stated that, “I'd been experimenting with music a lot over the last year or so. I got Komplete in May for my birthday, and I spent a few weeks learning the various things in the package. But for the most part, the songs I started never did get finished. One of my roommates and I were talking about how I didn't really see many through to the end, so I decided I'd take this summer as an opportunity to change that. I sat down and got some ideas ready. That is when I started to work on my new songs for the EP.”

Meteo Xavier contributed the EP’s artwork. Amphibious initially created a cover image himself, and related an anecdote to that effect: “I knew my artwork was bad when I originally made it, but I figured something quick and shoddy would be better than nothing. I got a few comments on OC ReMix about how bad it was; Meteo in particular wanted to redo it himself and I guess he decided to whip something up quick. I'm really happy with it, he did it pretty quickly but it’s infinitely better than what I had before. Many thanks to him.”

When asked about the contributing factors to his musical style, Amphibious noted that “This particular album had a lot of influence from David Arkenstone. He did a lot of world and Celtic music such as the tavern music in World of Warcraft, but he released a chillout album that I absolutely love. ‘Plunge’ in particular draws influence from that. I would also say the Metroid Prime soundtrack has had some influence on me as well.” The track “Pelagic Fortress” on the EP started off as an entry for a composition competition. Amphibious shared his thoughts on time-constrained musical gatherings: “When I first heard about compo, it seemed like a cool idea, but two hours sounded so short. However once I tried it, I was pretty amazed at what I could come up with in such a short time frame. ‘Pelagic Fortress’ in particular fit the theme of my album very well. Overall the compos definitely have helped me with efficiency. And having a theme given to you is sometimes a helpful way to come up with new ideas.”

Oceans EP is currently available at Bandcamp for free, or pay-what-you-want pricing. Amphibious is pleased with the response to the release, noting that “I'd still consider myself a bit of an amateur, and there have been some fair criticisms, but some people have really enjoyed my stuff and I'm very pleased with that.”

ProjektZero – Getting to Know You

Matt “ProjektZero” Rittinghouse identifies with the nerdcore scene, though his music has recently gravitated away from his rap roots and toward groove-based, melodic pop songwriting. His EP carries a unifying concept, as he expressed that “the theme with Getting to Know You is that I wanted each song to provide some glimpse at me as a person, or the things I feel. ‘Loop On’ deals with relationships; ‘331’ and ‘Mannequins’ deal with friendships and isolation; ‘The Stand’ deals with my geekier tendencies; and ‘Fake It’ deals with this sort of transition out from my teenage years.”

Untested Methods and zircon are credited with mixing on specific tracks. Matt explained how these collaborations came about: “I met Eric (Methods) at Nerdapalooza 2010. I'm a huge fan of a lot of his remixes, but I'm probably a bigger fan of the chiptune-infused synthpop style he has developed in his independent work. He and I are both music production geeks that use FL Studio, so we've been chatting fairly regularly since Nerdapalooza, and we've tried several efforts at collaboration along the way. This was just the first one that made it to a finalized, published product.” Matt considers zircon and the OC ReMix community to be a great motivation and influence on his production. He elaborated on zircon’s contribution to the EP. “I've had zircon on my contacts list since he did a series of FL Studio production tutorials a few years back. I had been struggling very, very hard to mix ‘The Stand’. I'd worked on it for eight hours a day, for three days straight, and had finally just fallen into despair over mixing the song. So I shot zircon a message, and he graciously offered to help me out. He pretty much saved that track from falling apart.”

Getting to Know You includes a cover version of a song by Brad Turcotte called “Fake It”. Matt expressed his desire was to cover this song, and include it on the EP. “Through my old school nerdcore ways, I'm hip to a place called SongFight, where Brad is a regular competitor. I feel like I'm a broken record for saying it, but I'm a huge fan of his work, and his entire album Out of It is absolutely classic to me. I specifically chose ‘Fake It’ because I felt like it sort of encapsulated the changes that I went through in college. I think that song feels like every twenty-something's anthem.”

JG Hollowell, also known as Mithurn, provided the second rhythm guitar heard on “Loop On”. Matt talked about how they both became acquainted. “JG is an old, old friend of mine. Probably since before I started making music, or at least somewhere around that time frame. I met him through an MMO, but it just so happened that he lived in Charleston close to me. I went off to college, but met back up with him shortly after I graduated.” Matt also remarked on their collaborative process by saying that, “He presents a whole different dynamic to songwriting when I work with him. I can't just fall back into sequencing; I have to work live. I'm playing guitar and singing, trying to come up with melodies or chords on the spot. He has a lot more of a free jam session background, and I strongly respect that. ‘Loop On’ evolved from a jam between us.”

The track “Mannequins” on the EP originated as a track ProjektZero made for a compo. Matt expressed his thoughts on the composition competition experience. “I absolutely feel that the compos benefited me. I've put out six albums since I've started doing them. Of course, most of those directly came from the compos. This new EP is more refined, but it wouldn't have been possible without the compo experience. The advice and the high pressure trial-and-error was just invaluable to shaping my songwriting.” He agreed that the mannequin concept from One Hour Compo was somewhat unusual, but felt that “that's what was liberating about it. I couldn't get lost in the theme, specifically because it was obscure. So to really thrive with mannequins as a concept, you had to make it your own. And I think that's what made that week's theme probably my favorite one of the entire series so far.”

Getting to Know You is available now at Bandcamp with free or name-your-price options. The cover art was created by Brett Houston.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Render Rodriguez

In celebration of People’s Remix Competition 200, the organizer Bundeslang discarded the usual PRC criteria by selecting a source tune that has appeared on OC ReMix in arranged form. The Ice Cap Zone theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is notorious for being remixed countless times, most likely due to its distinctive riff featuring an octave-leap. beckett007 stated that the material reminded him of Steve Jablonsky and Hans Zimmer, and used this as the basis of his soaring orchestral rendition filled with choral harmonies. SubNormal J3 offered up a digitized smooth jazz take on the theme, punctuated by piano stabs and filter sweeps. Obtuse’s 80s-style disco arrangement emphasizes the bassline and incorporates drum fills to accommodate the dance floor. The titular kickdrum in V___’s entry doesn’t come in until about 15 seconds, soon after which the beat machine is joined by acoustic bass and voice samples. Finally Zerothemaster submitted a clash of multiple musical styles, along with various clips from Sonic games.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “Train Ride” as its theme, and I recorded my spoken word intro shortly after disembarking a train myself. DJ_SOMBRERO inexplicably declared his love of apples in Spanish for his mariachi-dance hybrid tune coated with wub-wubs. nikola made use of train sound effects fully credited to the Freesound library, then starts up a majestic flaring of horns backed by strings and timpani. zebra offered up a miniscule entry containing a train whistle, vocal utterances and a lo-fi beat. MisfitBYTE’s deep bass tones are countered on the other end of the frequency spectrum with high pitched riffs. sci uploaded a self described “pain train that gets funky for like 10 seconds” admitting that he mostly wanted to play around with bassdrums in the limited time available. MandraSigma showed off his rhythmic chugging and headbobbing snare before declaring “Here Comes the Train!” Detective Tuesday’s piano jam and hip-hop backing rounded out the entries for the night.

Thursday's OHC featured a "Killer" theme coupled with dictionary definitions of the word. swordofdestiny followed my accapella with one of his own, offering his vocal track to those who could provide guitar for it. nikola submitted a heavy dose of cathedral organ, evoking "dark final boss lair music" by way of harmonies and silences. zorg insisted that his killer has a taste for trance, and thus went the four-on-the-floor route for his entry. Bren created a multi-part composition: first from the perspective of a victim and then to a deadly creature, all driven by his signature e-leads. The good Doctor Arcana took to the stage with a crying baby, bells and distorted bass. Fusion2004 submitted an electronic track and extended the deadline while the organizer starla was momentarily away.

Tomapella created an acoustic pop ode to a murderer, strumming along and including a keyboard solo. LuketheXjesse returned from OHC hiatus and brought in a full minute of metal ending with a cryptic spoken message. Forty-Two's hi-hats and bongos are accompanied by piano and pads as he hid in the "Grassy Knoll". CJthemusicdude also returned to compo with his funky synth-beat and a sudden cackle ending. Trollgate knocked down the OHC doors with his rock track "Death and Regret", adding an understated "Thanks" description. Usabell presented his subdued ambient piece and gradually raised the tension to complete the atmosphere. td244 suffered a computer crash during the round, but put up a dense cinematic orchestral track nonetheless. MandraSigma put in a cautionary voice clip to complement his brief rhythmic excursion.

cfx's tripped out track was apparently the result of "too much coffee" and includes a tail end of gated synth. DDRKirby(ISQ) warned others not to mess with him as he lurked in the chippy shadows. jarski's moody dance track was given the apt title of "the dark passenger" submerged in acid. sci made a funnie by setting the murder scene in a dance club and scratching the decks. At the end of the listening party, Suzumebachi plowed through a series of technical issues before ultimately delivering a rolling production, albeit with a clipped outro.

When I stumble upon an artist whose work inspires me, I try to learn as much as possible about that artist's background. I want to know how and why they make their art. My goal in doing this is to gain insight, in the hope that it would give me perspective regarding my own output. Among other things, compo provides an inviting way for artists to share their knowledge, and this is a blessing considering the many inspiring artists who participate.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Hold Back

Monday saw the return of the MIDI Monday compo, an old favorite of mine. While I was rarely able to join back in the day due to my work schedule, I enjoyed the freedom of composing purely through .mid files. The compo organizer dusthillguy offered the night’s theme: “Compose a song for a mid/early 90s video game". With that in mind, the five entries covered a varied assortment of styles. coda’s “hompio the smirking rodent” carried a bright and energetic sound that would easily fit a game about a speeding creature. bw sent along a reggae beat backed by choir and a fair number of tom rolls before changing up drum patterns. dusthillguy characteristically brought in a composition channeling the spirit of the Sega Genesis. JDruid seemingly took most of his allotted time to focus on the sound design of his short but effective “reapertest” waltz. Finally kattywampus figured out how to use “the3seashells” and delivered a piano-centric rock piece layering various harmonic elements.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured a theme that involved seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Amaterasu | Chris stepped in briefly to submit soft percussion and keys accompanying his deft violin playing. chunter’s repeated shuffle sound lent to the minimal trip-hop vibe of his tune, later joined by staggered synth arpeggios. Obtuse implemented low fidelity rhythm piano and a disco beat, topped with several e-riffs. jonnythefox showed off an ambient composition well suited for the title “Bathed in Light”, including tones that ebb and fade along en electronic drum line. MisfitBYTE starts on bass and an ambiguous grinding noise, then picks up the pace with a short rap section before mellowing out again amongst the guitar soloing. nikola established a 4-chord piano progression and places his other instruments incrementally including e-arps.

mv’s entry earned heavy praise that night, particularly in reaction to his warm, full pads and rhythmic change-ups that caught the listening party off guard. zorg chose to use only free VSTs for his track, preceded by a whoosh of wind and covered by a generous helping of reverb. sci appeared late in the round, but managed to create something in 35 minutes; his start-and-stop beat and unusual vocal-like synth lead is attributed to “lazy sample selection”. Jarski experienced a “flashback” taking him to time of acid bass, delayed hi-hats and fast dance patterns. Detective Tuesday chose to “Fight It”, holding on for dear life even as a choir, bongos, affected piano and plucked strings seemed to spell out his fate. At the end of the party, LuketheXjesse came out of compo hiatus with heavy dosage of metal and triumphantly took his “Escape from the Tunnel”.

Thursday's OHC presented "share the word" as its theme; the organizer starla fittingly spread the word of compo that night on IRC via smartphone, being away from her computer. RAMPKORV plinked away at the keys for over a minute, bringing to mind the faraway age of ragtime. circuitfry stayed true to his namesake by uploading a cascade of blips and manipulated voices spread across from the stereo soundscape. Zovi appeared after a significant absence to submit a very loose mixture of recorded speech, singing and beatboxing, distorted to the point where even he marked passages as "unintelligible". zorg was late to the Greek forum, but wrote an orchestral cue suitable for the entrance of Zeus. In an unusual turn of events, Tomapella discovered that the "word" of the round was Chill and thus fired up 8-bit salsa to set the mood.

nikola proclaimed "We All Need to Dance More" and rhythmically alternated left-hand/right hand piano chords backed by a shuffle beat. Acuity also worked the ivories and covered them with sustained synth tones, urging the audience to celebrate a birthday using frantic arpeggios. ProjectSpam summoned his string section to compose a theme for "Great News". sci recalled "That One Show" and chopped up samples therefrom to create a breakbeat. DDRKirby(ISQ) showed off a tune running at nearly a thousand beats per minute containing 800 measures, but somehow comes off as cohesive. Forty-Two's harpsichord and woodwinds were met with pads, strings and vibraphone for his self-described "filler #148". Shadix went in with a bang, then settled on spacey harmony, guitars, soaring e-lead and keyboards.

Dr. Arcana used a vocal clip as the basis for his drum and bass, quickly "Running to the Top". DarkSim built a jungle track around a Tears for Fears sample and unabashedly shed "Tears Before Bedtime". Usabell submitted a poem to go along with his majestic violins and horns, eventually introducing a cinematic motif. Rounding out the listening party, siebensus4 gently expressed his work using the piano thickened out with bass and pads, thereby making his "Freedom Call" for the night.

When someone asked why I chose a particular premise for my comic strip, I responded that it was a case of do-what-you-know. Now that I reflect on that reply, I believe that the forms of output of mine that I am most proud of would be the ones that reflect both what I know and what I love. I am never more fulfilled than when I express myself using a skill in which I have a solid background.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Am So Care

July’s Dwelling of Duels was a Free Month, which allowed participants to choose their source material without restrictions. Hat tackled Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in a jazzy style, picking up steam halfway through; the listening party noted that the track would have benefited from live sax instead of a sampled one, but was otherwise impressed. Snappleman delivered a 10-minute arrangement of Etrian Odyssey III that rides a minimal riff, layers power chords and works in various transitions including as one listener called it, “metal to metal”. Dr. Manhattan’s Final Fantasy II arrangement also went for the heavy metal route with a kick drum and overall thick sound that wowed the party. Tonindo incorporated orchestral hits amongst the guitars in his brief rock take on Final Fantasy IX.

tibone offered a medley of themes from Golden Axe and gave each instrument some time under the spotlight in his remix. Pumpkin King and Neo Link teamed up to cover Golden Sun featuring a wide assortment of harmonies, taking a brief moment for a bass solo. CarboHydroM and Scaredsim also joined forces for an arrangement of various Metal Gear games that starts with piano, but then bursts into shredding and synth. Greg set the mood of his Romancing Saga entry using a pad and his bass, then puts down the strumming along with frantic drumming. Skummel Maske similarly began his remix of Silent Hill with a sustained tone, this time leading into acoustic guitar, electronic lead and processed drums.

Brandon Strader’s bongos and cymbal roll lead the way into his Skyrim remix, coupling strings and a rolling combination of acoustic and electric. thesamareaye remixed Star Fox Adventures on guitar accompanied by piano and subtle pads for a mellow sound. A pair of Ys puns followed: Prince of Darkness’s “Ysta La Vista, Baby” included triplet-chugging for Ys I and Ys II punctuated by orchestra, while dasaten’sYsy Listening” bounced along Ys III with clarinets. The alternates for the month came from Greg arranging Super Mario Land 2 in a bassy swing style welded onto metal, and DragnBreth remixing the original Legend of Zelda with Link’s Awakening whilst invoking fast keyboard arps and distorted chords.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “Cat Burglar” as its theme, and with it came various feline puns. DJ Sombrero took on a Latin flavor with his “De Los Gatos” thickening out the track a heavy dose of un-tiss. coda thwarted the theme with a “dog burglar” and submitted music that would not be out of place in an espionage film score. MisfitBYTE admitted to "stealing from Vincent Price" and displayed his subdued ambient electronica. A significant amount of sci’s entry was stolen by a keystroke, but he managed to upload a laidback beat that he classified as a “generic sci song.” MandraSigma wrote a piece about an oafish thief, apparently using a repeated kick to represent the burglar’s clumsiness.

chunter’s “Felis Furtivae” contains dripping-wet guitar that jumps to the side in favor of a pounding dance rhythm. irrelevnt’s spoken intro comes off sounding halfway between Yoda and a 1930s gangster, and is followed by deft guitaring and conventional singing. ShinnyMetal showed everyone his organ and generated a headbobbing riff using a variety of drum patterns. Jarski seemingly caught the cat burglar in the act via an photo, accompanied with wobbly pads, acid bass and general trippyness. Finally Detective Tuesday arrived at the scene to investigate the theft, leaving behind a minimal combination of pizzicato cello, glitch choir and off-kilter percussion.

People’s Remix Competition 199 brought in a large turnout, most likely due to the popularity of the source tune provided. Deux Ex had been a successful game when it was first released, and the track chosen uses an accessible chord progression. Xsquader chose to move in a dancefloor direction, maintaining the original tempo but playing up the synthetic nature of the piece. Obtuse cranked up the drum and bass after a thorough introduction for his remix. toilet goat attempted to channel Pendulum for his take on the material, preceded by moody pads and building to energetic drums. Inrade put his stamp on the composition with a spaced-out snare rhythm and a segment of piano chords. beckett007 slowed things down a bit and layered orchestral elements to create a cinematic experience; he remarked that a film adaptation of Deux Ex “would actually rock”.

Zerothemaster started off with raw bloops and brought in choir and a hip hop clap, then ventured into lo-fi dub territory for the track’s duration. chroxic noted how well the tune lends itself to DnB and proceeded to speed up the tempo for the club. After a lengthy hiatus, Nutritious returned with great deal of distortion, sub-bass and incisive synthesizer leads. Gario extolled the virtues of a “Coffee Break with Daedalus and Icarus” panning out the harmonies with a soft groove. evktalo made a point of mentioning that his arrangement “Agenttipäämajatunnussävelmä” was created with Renoise, implementing electronic tom rolls where he saw fit. Rounding out the entries was DjMokram, who infused chiptune into a series of acoustic sounds including a string section.

For Thursday's OHC the theme was "mysterious secret", and as an extra tidbit the organizer starla noted that "this is compo 147 which is a secret magic number". zorg's poetic entry description set the mood for his spacey, shape changing arpeggios and sweeps. sci explored "The Mystery Between Time" with a breakbeats, digitized vocals and nostalgically detuned synths. Tomapella prefaced his submission with a profoundly deranged statement, but sent along his usual pop song stylings featuring harmonized vocals. DarkSim laid down the funk drums and a bassline reminiscent of a song about a Gunn. CJthemusicdude kept the crowd entertained with his expansive entry centered on the ukelele, and reciting various IRC banter. Bren's self-described "bubbly noises" are layered onto numerous harmonic elements over a two-chord pattern. Zovi revealed his secret over the course of four minutes with dark electro and darker whispers of the voice. ProjectSpam's secret on the other hand was so elusive that not even he nor anyone else knew it; he expressed this with his doubled vocals and sparse accompaniment.

siebensus4 sent in his delay-affected piano along with organ, e-strings and percussion. Dr. Arcana was seemingly unable to attend compo, but got his entry in with the help of DDRKirby(ISO). Forty-Two instructed the audience to recall films of yesteryear and put up his vibraphone, keys and sustained chords in 3/4 time. MandraSigma underwent cybernetics study to verify the secret-keeping ability of robots by way of danceable blips. Usabell lost some of his work because of a crash, but showed off his atmospheric tune. jarski's white noise is guided by a steady kick that lets up at the midpoint. ItsMatt's filtered hi-hats and other sounds hug the top of the frequency spectrum and stay there for the remainder. Despite his trouble rendering, DDRKirby(ISQ) used his copy of ModPlug to create a spastic, lo-bit composition. Finally the doctor submitted an entry once again; Arcana unlocked the chippy "Super Secret Bonus Level" and thus brought the listening party to a close.

Earlier in the week I had learned that George Pjeav, perhaps better known in the compo community as chessmaster010, had tragically passed away. His entries in One Hour Compo from 2009 were met with overwhelming praise from listeners, acknowledging his great talent. He will be missed, and my thoughts go out to those close to him.

chessmaster010 - “My instrument is my favorite thing