Friday, May 11, 2012

Spell It Out

The Sonic Zone Remix Competition began its first mixing stage following an extensive recruitment period. The introduction for the compo is much like the plots of the Sonic games themselves: something has gone wrong in the universe, causing the Sonic Bracket and Robotnik Bracket to form through some contrivances. The tournament promises some exciting bouts, particularly considering the large amount of veterans of previous tourneys such as the Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet. Worlds away over at SDCompo, its 66th round had quite a large turnout with thirteen entries. This was no doubt a result of the revised rules, which extended the usual deadline to six weeks, as well as the newly permitted use of four selected VSTs: Synth1, daHornet, Crystal, and TAL NoiseMaker.

LLCompo: Battle 16 settled on a location as its theme; along with the usual description, “Egypt” also had a pair of ASCII figures walking like an Egyptian. The intro narration by WVI and s1rnight started off with a mic check proceeded by an official decree of the royal pharaoh, and un-tiss. MKC made use of exotic scales before dropping the 8-bit beats and reaching the “Mummy Boss”. blink and the 364s took advantage of SolidComposer’s markdown by incorporating a line break, font resizing and boldness to display their metallic lyrics. The centerpiece of the night was a three-part odyssey conceived by Tilde, Sear and Paratroopa1 as separate tracks: “The Exploration of Harbinger’s Tomb” began with breakbeats combined with chips; it continued with a moodier journey into lo-fi material; and it ended with a lighter tone noted as being “No relation to parts 1 or 2.”

JHCompo on Tuesday threw everyone involved into a dancing game show complete with “Dancing with the Stars” as the intro backing music. AkogareZephyr appeared unexpectedly and offered a breezy scat entry. SonicThHedgog put up a consolation entry sampling James Brown and cranked to the utmost electrohouse volume. Duosis apparently recorded his funk tune with a blanket on the microphone before removing it partway through. skyndileg’s trip hop composition features arpeggios that would be more at home in a 50s doo-wop ballad, combined with trance lead. chunter laid down the funky jams, going back and forth between a clavinet, Rhodes and an airy synth melody. Finally Chickenwarlord contributed to the compo with a quickly-made ambient beat due to his late start.

Thursday’s OHC almost seemed to go meta with its “public forum” theme, as the compo itself has served as an open mic of sorts for various musical talent over the years. DucksUnlimited set the tone with much trumpeted fanfare, and a distorted vocal recording at “The Funeral Pyre”. Further speeches followed: seventhelement delivered his through a vocoder; sci went for a wah-wah effect; blastron full-out sang his words to the assembled throng. The round also had its share of instrumentals including darthpolly’s layered guitar and piano work, though he later felt that a rap would have been a good fit for the theme. The showstopper of the night came from DDRKirby(ISQ) who put together an eight minute piece setting off a flurry of comments in the listening party.

Some further rousing music came from TheMisterCat, who utilized his vocal and flautist talents to evoke a mournful yet driving mood. IXI’s slightly detuned keys supported several glitch effects before the boom-pat entered the fray. The round was not without overly quirky music though: CJthemusicdude made repeated references to DucksUnlimited, and fowl lamentation in general. My own entry “Raise Your Voice” seemed to raise eyebrows as the party wondered what the time signature of the song was. Finally munchi wrapped things up by twisting a mundane-sounding speech into an electronic session punctuated by guitar stabs.

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