Episode 2: Levels
by Matt Clinks
MetaVendetta Episode 2: Levels
This month, Donovan, Gabe and myself sit down for episode 2. Special guest and 8-Bit artist Adam Shub, aka: Squarepainter, also joins us this week to talk all things pixel-related. We have a new batch of indiegame tunes themed around the synonymous gaming term, levels – in, around, and during video games and music. So download or stream the show, sit back, and relax with a cold can of Crystal Pepsi. It’s time to GET YO’ LEVEL ON!
…it’s a show about indiegame music
Bit.Trip Runner is the ultimate runner. Cool timing based gameplay mechanics mixed with a foot tapping soundtrack. Because of the way the game worlds are created to make each song build as you progress, the songs themselves have a very interesting sound, like one giant crescendo. During the game, Commander Video(the main character) collects power ups that evolve the sound of the game. It’s almost as if the world itself is leveling up. This is the first full track you hear in the game, and it’s a good one.
Dust: An Elysian Tail – It’s a gorgeous hand drawn “metroid-vania” style game completed by a single guy, Dean Dodrill in right under 4 years. That is an insane level of commitment! If you go to the official game site, you can find posts dating back to 2002! Anyway, this song uniquely blends multiple styles and instruments to create something unique – very similar to the game itself, which goes out of it’s way to tackle big issues while maintaining an inviting animated look.
3. “Mice on Venus” by C418
from the Minecraft original soundtrack
An indie game intrinsically based around building levels and overall environmental level and scale. I don’t even know if I can even call this an indie game at this point, but Minecraft was indeed at one point a small little operation before sweeping the world and becoming the next generations Lego set. The whimsical soundtrack, composed by C418, is the perfect way to kill an afternoon adventuring and building ridiculous structures out of blocks. Mice on Venus is the standout track to me, the playful harmony that comes in at 01:50 is incredibly catchy.
4. “Spike in the Rail” by Darren Korb
from the Bastion original soundtrack
Bastion, a game that took the critical mindshare by storm in 2011, didn’t only have amazing isometric visuals paired with a standout action game narrated by Logan Cunningham. The world is unique in that it builds around you as you make your way through the game – levels literally coming together out of the void as you move the protagonist forward. This game was awesome, no doubt about it, but it also featured one of the most compelling and unique soundtracks of the year. “Spike in the Rail” is a great example of fusing modern beats with and old western flavor.
5. “Miami” by Jasper Byrne
from the Hotline Miami soundtrack
This soundtrack goes out of it’s way to capture the drug-fueled psychotic mayhem of Hotline Miami. Sweaty hands, a racing heartbeat, headaches, frustration, and uninhibited fun are normally the apt terms I would choose to describe this game. It takes a toll on you when you play this game. It takes twitch gaming to another LEVEL (see what I did there)…However, with Jasper Byrne’s track, Miami, we get a break from the chaos and a chance to to a breath. The 80’s synthesizers and mountains of reverb really send this one home!
6. “Sync/Glitch” by datassette
from the FZ: Side F
I hate to make it sound like I’m going back to the well, because that’s absolutely not the case. With the recent release of (another) FEZ remix album – keenly titled Side Z, I figured we’d hear someone else’s take on the Disasterpeace masterpiece. I’m freakishly proud of that last rhyme. This song is produced by Datassette of the previous remix album, Side F. The world of FEZ is not only tied to the soundtrack, with each new level you step through system generation “doorways,” taking you on a journey through 8-bit, 16-bit and beyond.
7. NOT INDIE NUMBER SEVEN!!! “Mass Effect 2 Main Theme” by Jack Wall & Sam Hulick
from the Mass Effect 2 Original Soundtrack
***Intro – Outro – Background Tracks by Chemical Grove
Chemical Grove official Bandcamp
All MetaVendetta intro/outro/background music has been kindly provided by Chemical Grove. Check out their website, support them, and go to their shows!
Friends on this episode:
Huge thanks to Adam Shub for talking indiegame music and art with us. Make sure and check out his links:
Gabriel Sandoval – website
Donovan Gentry – website
Stay posted for the Episode 3, The first Wednesday of every month…unless otherwise notified.