The 'Shroom:Issue 107/Palette Swap

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Director's Notes

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

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Hello, hello, hello, everyone! Welcome to the mini-special, and thanks so much for dropping by to give us a read!

We have a great selection of sections for you this month, all top-quality, as usual! Additionally, Crocodile Dippy (talk) is demo-ing a new music section this month, called “This Month in Albums,” where she’ll give you the scoop on the latest and greatest music. Definitely give that a look, and leave her some feedback if you like it!

As well this issue, I have the results from the Tropical Freeze Art Contest, and I’m happy to be adding two additional new contests for our very special anniversaries! Check them both out below!

Enough of my talk, I’ll let you get to the art and music!

~FunkyK38

Tropical Freeze Art Contest

I’m very happy to report that we actually had some entries for the art contest this time, so it’s nice to award some prizes!

In First Place, with 11 votes, it's Walkazo (talk), with her art that captured how many fans were feeling about King K. Rool being left out of the new games.
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In Second Place, with 2 votes, The Pyro Guy (talk) created this mod wondering where the Kongs would go if DK Island never thawed out. Somehow I think the Ice Climbers are less than pleased…
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Congratulations to our winners! Walkazo will receive 5 'Shroom tokens while Pyro Guy will receive 3. Thank you to both of you for participating, and thank you everyone who voted!

Legend of Zelda Music Contest

To mix it up for the Legend of Zelda series 30th anniversary, I’m pleased to announce the opening of our first music composition contest! If music is your thing, please consider joining in!

Give us your best! Compose a song, remix an old favorite, create a mash-up, it’s up to you! The Zelda series is known for its amazing music, and we want to see your take on it!

The official rules: 1. Your piece must be no shorter than 30 seconds in length or no longer than 10 minutes. The purpose of the length limit is not to force anyone into trying to put out something much longer than they think they can do, but to make entries easier to create for everyone.

2. Any style of composing is allowed. If you want to compose your piece on a music editing software and perform it with instruments, that’s fine. If you want to make a chiptune or a computer-generated piece, that’s fine as well.

3. Your final submission must be in a format we can share here, whether that’s a public file on SoundCloud, a download link, or a YouTube video. If you do choose to put your video on YouTube, please be careful of copyright infringement.

4. As per usual with our Art contests, please include a small summary of your piece, describing what it is, why you decided to pick that music, etc.

5. We will be watching out for any plagiarism in entries. Remixing a song in a new key, tempo, or style is fine. Changing one or two small things in a song and calling it good is not. Please don’t try to pass off a Zelda song as your own!

You will have until March 19th, the day when the next issue comes out, to submit your music! There will be an official topic in the Fan Creations board on the forums, so post your entries, questions, concerns, etc., there.

Good luck to all you composers!

Pokémon Art Contest

What’s your greatest Pokémon memory? Your first starter Pokémon? Maybe it was when you beat the Champion for the first time. Or how about that Shiny Gible you hatched after 468 eggs? Whatever it is, we’d like to see and hear about it! Draw it for everyone, and you could win some 'Shroom tokens!

You don’t have to draw something from the main series games. Have a strong connection to one of the spin-offs? Maybe a favorite card in the TCG? A plushie that you absolutely adore? Do share! Tell us your story!

The official rules!

1. No size limit here. Feel free to make it as big/small as you like!

2. Any medium is accepted. Hand-drawn, computer generated, sprite work, game mods, comics, we'll take them all.

3. Your art must follow the guidelines in the Manual of Style to be accepted.

4. Your art should have an accompanying explanation of what it is. Give a paragraph or so explaining what's going on, what your inspiration was, etc. We'll be posting these in the voting, so keep it clean!

You also have until March 19th to submit your entries to the designated thread in the Fan Creations board on the forums. Voting will last another month after that.

Good luck to all artists, and happy creating!

Section of the Month

Well, that didn’t take long. Congratulations to Walkazo (talk) for taking the top spot with The Adventures of Little Mario!

Palette Swap SECTION OF THE MONTH
Place Section Votes % Writer
1st The Adventures of Little Mario 13 38.24% Walkazo
2nd Game Soundtrack Reviews 9 26.47% Time Turner
3rd Game Mods 5 14.71% Baby Luigi
4th Composer Spotlight 3 8.82% Crocodile Dippy
5th Mario's Boombox 2 5.88% Walkazo
6th Ongoing Fan Projects 1 2.94% Yoshi876
6th Community Advertisements 1 2.94% Baby Luigi
Art Sections

Class reports go a little out of hand…
[read more]

More mods from Baby Luigi!
[read more]

Yoshi876 updates his list of fan projects!
[read more]
Music Sections

Stooben creates remixes of popular and video game music!
[read more]

Have a Smash with Walkazo!
[read more]

Dippy helps you pick the best music!
[read more]

One of Zelda’s greatest composers!
[read more]





The Adventures of Little Mario

Drawn by: Walkazo (talk)

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Game Mods

Written by: Baby Luigi (talk)

Hello everyone! Guess who and her twin turned 21 this month? That's right, I can finally drink alcohol now! Not that I want to; I've tasted hard apple cider before and I can say with full confidence that the nonalcoholic apple cider I've been used to tastes better for me than that alcoholic stuff. That is one thing I'll guarantee, none of my future sections will be the result of me being drunk. Not that there's much difference anyway, some of these mods require drunk minds to fully comprehend. Which brings up the subject matter....it's time for me to present something in this Game Mods section of the month.

As you probably might figured out by now, The 'Shroom is featuring a very special month, regarding The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Naturally, I'd have to comply with that and feature a very special mod to promote the message of this month to celebrate one of them; my pick being The Legend of Zelda, as you will find out why I chose that and not Pokémon. I think I found a very special mod indeed that will not disappoint any Legend of Zelda fans. Presenting you....trade_Clocktown_Immersive. It is yet another Garry's Mod mod, you know, that sandbox game I had featured content for last month. This time, it's a map of the famous Clock Town from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Let me make this clear...this is the first time I am featuring mod that I did not create. Do not credit me if you want to show this off to your friends: credit to a fellow named Sreap and his team on Facepunch.com for creating this wonderful map. I am just a relayer of information; the map is so well-crafted and great, to almost perfection, that there's no possible way I am NOT featuring this in this section of The 'Shroom, especially when we're celebrating The Legend of Zelda's 30th anniversary this month!

Also, this month is Chinese New Year, called Lunar New Year in others. It's the Year of the Monkey now, and unfortunately, Donkey Kong's anniversary is not the focus of this month. Me personally, I'm not a monkey. I'm a pig. So if I'm part of Star Wolf, I'm Pigma. Not very flattering....I admit...I digress...here is the mod! Another reason I chose this is that a Legend of Zelda game about a gigantic moon is a perfect fit for this month. Not only is it moon-related, it's Legend of Zelda-related also. Talk about hitting two Keese with a moon rock!

trade_Clocktown_Immersive

So, exactly why is this particular Garry's Mod map so great? Given the skills, anyone can port maps into Garry's Mod, all with varying quality and time spent on it. A good chunk of maps are well-made, but it's a bit difficult to search maps, since maps, due to their time and effort spent on it, are less common than, say, player models or ragdolls. You have to set lighting parameters, you have to set up collisions, you have to set up respawn points, you have to set up NPC nodes, and some more. I'm not educated on map creation at all, so I cannot give full details on map creation and why you probably won't ever see a map featured on Game Mods created by me, with the possible sole exception of a Mario Kart Wii custom track in the future. Many maps are ported from their source games, with Clock Town being one of those ported maps from its original game.

However, that's not where the fun ends. Clock Town can be any old map out there, static and unchanging. They're similar to landscapes, forever stuck to their one state. The good news is, Clock Town is not an unchanging map. Quite the contrary: it's constantly changing. If you played the original game, or at least heard about it, you should know that it's about a gigantic darn moon about to plummet the place to doom. It's not faithful to create a static Clock Town map and leave its dynamic changes out of it. This is where this Clock Town map succeeds in flying colors.

Nearly everything about the map is faithful to the original game it appears in, except the obvious lack of any NPCs outside some animated "props" but let's not spoil ourselves here. Whenever you begin the map, you start out either inside the Clock Tower or the Fairy Fountain.

Me inside the Clock Tower and Fairy Fountain, respectively, starting in the two locations.

The background music plays, and it's something you'd be surprised to expect. The Clock Tower music plays the Clock Tower music and the Fairy Fountain plays the Fairy Fountain music, unexpected as that may sound. The deal is, looped background music in any map is rare. Even some of the other ported maps like Peach's Castle from Super Mario 64 do not have any background music. What's even rarer is that the music changes when you move out of the designated area. As soon as you step out of either the Clock Tower or the Fairy Fountain, you're greeted with the oh-so very familiar Clock Town theme....Dawn of the First Day that is...

Sorry, snot bubble weapons to burst balloons with aren't available

That's pretty much your first foray into the map. The map being left empty has its advantages, so it could be a good thing they are omitted because of coding complexities for NPCs to act exactly as they did in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. It's perfect for posing pictures with, so an empty map lets you take pictures of whatever characters you would want to populate the map with. You can even use The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask models to fill in some areas, though unfortunately, I have not seen a ragdoll pack for the NPCs from that game, so for now, you're a bit out of luck there.

Another limitation the map has is that you sadly cannot enter any buildings. Not saying that it's impossible to make the buildings enterable; it entirely is. I've played my good share of The Legend of Zelda maps, there's another one out there that's really, really huge and even more complex than this one, but it's very unstable and there is an overall lack of lighting, probably to keep it from crashing, as that map breaches the limitations of the Source engine. I might save that for another issue...what I'm saying is that, yes, you can't enter any buildings in Clock Town, but that's a really small downside compared to the sheer amount of detail and attention paid to the source material that this map actually has. Again, let's not spoil ourselves here.

Lilligant, I know you're just admiring that flower, but I really need to use it if you don't mind.

You can visit all of the districts of the Clock Town, all with their own details. For example, you will find those Deku Flowers dotted all across this map. Unfortunately, you are not a Deku Link, so therefore, you cannot use these flowers to fly around. And before you can say that you can make a player model of Deku Link, you are not THE Deku Link.

Froakie meets a frog buddy.

Crates are scattered among town. You can break 'em if you like. Or do something with them, but they'll probably break before you know it. I don't think they even respawn, so you have to Clean Up Everything under admin controls if you want your lovely crates back, since that function resets everything in the map. So it's basically a soft reset if you messed something up, like say, dragging a door out of place accidentally.

PIZZA DELIVERY!!

In the Laundry Pool section of Clock Town, there's a frog hopping there, a missing member of the Frog Choir. You don't have the Don Gero's Mask and if you did, all you can do is throw it around or make a character wear it. You can smack that bell with your wrench, and it will go "DING DING!" Fun fun fun.

Underwater something is there....

Am I gonna drown?

Well crap.

Ignoring that, let's see where else I can go. I can swim the opposite direction, which will take me to this neat room right here.

Yay treasure! Aaa! Ghost! Wait, I don't remember a ghost being there.

I think that ghost is just a nice Easter Egg by one of the creators of the map. So basically, good for you if you find this room!

One more thing to show off....there's an Owl Statue in town. Simply smack it with your...gun or wrench...and it will open its wings!

DUN DUN DUN. My bad imitation of that jingle when you strike one of those things.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Just when you think you spent long enough in the map, you hear a bell ringing. If you played The Legend of Majora's Mask, that bell signals the end of the day or night. So that means night will come. Will it come? Yes it does come! When it arrives, the wolves howl, the skies turn dark, the town becomes lit with torches, and it's now the night of the first day. There's no HUD telling you that, but I'm pretty sure you can do without it; the environment alteration is signal enough. The Clock Town music stops as well, replaced with the night ambiance, again, which is how the game does it.

Store yo money here! Wait, this is a scam...Wario would just take our money!

Time passes quickly in this map, especially when you're posing. Posing a character to good positions takes a chunk of a "day" time in this map. Usually, once I'm done posing for a scene, the day changes into night. Sometimes it's not ideal when you want your environment take place in a specific time of the day, like at night, only to find the time of the day changes to day, so you either have to be content of the time of the day it's in or wait for the next day or night.

You don't have a way to keep track of the time in the map unless you read the clocks scattered throughout the map, that no one really used in the original Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask game because the game HUD was there to tell players all info they need. Unfortunately, they tend to not sync with the actual time in the map, due to lag or pausing the game. So sometimes, when you see the clock, it displays a sun rather than a moon, even though ingame, the sun just set and it's actually night. Fortunately, any resets will sync the clock back to normal, including the end of the cycle reset (that I will get to), so it won't be permanently unsynced. Another thing is that the game does not showcase day-night transitions smoothly, so there's that. If you're dying for that, you can always download the Atmos add-on for sunsets and daybreaks, but I'll save that for another time.

Are you positively sure that this just a hideout and not some scary dungeon?

Anyway, I still haven't explored all of Clock Town yet. Treasure chests are where you would expect them, including that 100 Rupee treasure chest. Annnd you can go into the Bombers' Hideout. Since there are no Bombers, you can enter and mess around any time you like. Though the passageway is longer than it is, considering that there is no transition, you'll end up in that dark, dank place anyway. That ambiance doesn't help.

A Scarecrow and a Cucco greets unexpected visitors from another dimension.

Of course, you'll end up in the Astral Observatory when you traverse through the hideout. And the music changes to that wonderful theme. When you arrive there, you'll find that dancing Scarecrow and a Cucco in a cage, clucking away incessantly. If you hate that Scarecrow and hit him with your weapon of choice, he'll just dance. And dance as if he enjoys getting hit.

Where's my Moon's Tear, you stupid moon!

Upstairs, you'll see a telescope and a door outside, that leads to Termina Field. Normally, you can't go to Termina Field that way, but the gods of noclip smiled upon you and you can fly through that fence. Or you can just lower the gravity and jump over the fence, but anything works!

It's a good thing no Chuchus appear, they will leave their splat all over this car.

It takes a while to traverse through Termina Field. You don't have Epona with you, so what do you do? Spawn a car and drive across it of course! Thanks to modern technology, you can warp your high tech cars across dimensions and use cars unfitting for the time period that The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask takes place in. Though that's not really a big surprise, considering that I am already using a character not from that game, so all logic was thrown out the window from the very beginning. Though I'll warn you, some cars travel quickly and you'll find yourselves crashing against a lot of stuff in Termina Field. At least Epona can jump over things.

Don't try this at Termina Field, guys.

And no, using air vehicles are not an option. You WILL crash with them here.

Here's a gallery of the locales from Termina Field and stuff you will find.

Good target practice and a waste of your bullets.

You'll find Gossip Stones when you explore around this part of the map. When you encounter them, you can strike them and they'll jiggle around happily, and laugh. Though if you throw explosives at it, it won't launch away like a rocket, my favorite animation for these things. They just sit there jiggling all day. Neat little things, they are.

What. Is. This? I don't see those buttons on my keyboard.

On the Mountain Village area of the map, you'll find this randomized song. Well I think it's randomized, I swear it's different every time I come here. I haven't remembered the purpose of it. I think it releases a Piece of Heart or something, I don't know. I know you can uh, change properties of it, so it acts like a prop rather than actually part of the texture of the wall.

Link shoots down an unfortunate zombie with his strange gun of choice.

This portion of the map is big expansive, and empty, making it ideal for builders and roleplayers alike! Or if you're bored, you can just drive vehicles (and crash them) all around Termina Field all day. Or you can kill zombies, but you can do that anywhere you like.

Then....when the clock starts ringing, Dawn of the Second Day arrives. And then...yes, it starts raining in Clock Town, with the second day, peaceful Clock Town music accompanying that. Oh and it's thunderstorming too, just need to point that out there.

Splish splash splish splash. Fun!

So, you're wondering, what exactly would happen on the night of the final day? Everything seems to be routine from this point forward. I mean, the moon would crash on the third day, right? Wouldn't that destroy this map and you? Wouldn't you die from this, even with God Mode enabled? Well, let's find out. Let's fast forward to the third day, where you hear that scary third day Clock Town music playing, and wait until night. The Earth also starts shaking that day, due to event flags...I mean, the moon drawing in closer and closer to the doomed Clock Town. It could screw around your camera and mess around with your posing at point and point, so it's a bit disorienting. So yes, it's another detail from the game that this map also nails down quite well.

When night falls, things seem pretty normal, sans the earthquakes. Halfway at night, though, creepy, foreboding music starts playing, as in the game, warning you that the moon will crash very very soon, and it will be the end of this world. The bells ring more frequently, as it sounds like a very desperate pleas for help and panic. Then you look up, and you see....this:

Timespan of two different distanced moons, both on the night of the final day in the last hours.
Waaaah.

So I just bail out. Of course. There's nothing none of us can do about this. Does it look like we're the Hero of Time? No, we're not. Isn't there a Hero of Time on this map somewhere? Where is he!?

There you are Link. And hello Tatl too.

Fortunately, there's a hidden hole in the ground in this map that leads to somewhere. And lo and behold, that's where the Hero of Time is. He's sitting around, dawdling, looking at his Fierce Deity's Mask, while Tatl occasionally comes out and bonks him in the head. In this room, you'll also find the names of the contributors to this awesome map. Make sure you mentally thank all of them for the creation of this map!

Nice tune. Thanks for saving the world, Link.

Then, when the bell at even a more frequent pace, that's when it's the last minute before the place goes to doom. Never fear! Link here takes out his Ocarina and plays the Song of Time, thus resetting everything before total catastrophe and massacre happens. You'll hear his Ocarina playing anywhere in the map, but this area and at this time is the only place where you can actually see Link do his Ocarina playing animation.

The music here tells me I should be tense.

Thus the cycle continues on and on, as often as you like. Link is here to keep everything running smoothly, so you don't need to worry about playing the Song of Time itself to save Termina from imminent destruction. Is this all what the map has to offer? Definitely not. There are still some areas you can end up in if you use the no clip button, since it appears teleporters to those locations don't work.

Of course, using a DeLorean in here. I totally expected that.

For example, you can go to the Skull Kid fight area if you no clip. The place doesn't open up in the night of the final day, though, so otherwise, it's pretty much impossible to access. Though what does happen here is that you can get transported inside the moon, where, everything is bliss and tranquil, especially its tranquil atmosphere. And you can drive cars in there. There's not much to see outside of grass and trees but at least there are no creepy Happy Mask Salespeople kids. There's also a location where you can meet Zelda as in Ocarina of Time, though I think it was removed in a more recent update. I don't remember, has been a while since I last met Zelda there.

So, is this it? Yes it is. As I said, the map is fully detailed, and while my information in this issue may sound redundant to people who have already played The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the information being redundant is actually good thing. It tells you how well-crafted this map is, where it takes advantage of what the Source Engine can do and replicates the experience nearly point-by-point. Calling this map "well-made" is not strong enough to describe how I feel about this map. If I created my own personal Top 10 Garry's Mod maps of all time, I would place this in the Top 5 positions, guaranteed. The creation and how adhesive it is to its source material is most certainly a must-have map to any Legend of Zelda fans who play Garry's Mod. Heck, even nonLegend of Zelda fans will adore this map, because it's just that good and it's a good location for posing your ragdolls or just hanging around in. Because of how much I like this map, I took many pictures with this map as a setting.

If any of you is interested, here is the Workshop page for this add-on. Keep in mind that there are other versions of this add-on; this map is the one I'm personally subscribed to.



Ongoing Fan Projects

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

User Thread Description
Selena Glitchy's Art Thread A thread where Selena shows off some drawings that they have done.
BEEEEEAAARRRS Stuff I make - what is requests A thread where BEEEEEAAARRRS shows off things that he has done. The recent update is of an image he used in The 'Shroom.
The Pyro Guy HwPam (cancelled and restarted in other thread A thread where The Pyro Guy created a new comic based on the creation of the wiki, but the project has since been cancelled and rebooted elsewhere.
Roy Koopa Roy's Recolors (Requests Taken) A thread where Roy Koopa does recolors.
Ultron Neptune's mediocre art thread A thread where Ultron shows off some art he has created. The recent update is of something quite impressive.
WagNak "Oh Luigi" Comic Series A comic series created by WagNak.
Kurt Cobain Meta Knight's art thread-With Undertale portraits A thread where Kurt Cobain shows off some art that they have done. The recent updates still revolve around Undertale with users like FireEevee and GBAToad being drawn as characters from the game.
The Pyro Guy The Pyro Guy's 3D art thread (with some 2D thrown in) A thread where The Pyro Guy shows off some 3D images that they have made. Recent updates include a coin floating above water for a reflection effect, and a "kid-friendly" moon from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
Niiue Niiue's Sprites A thread where Niiue shows off some sprites that they have created. Recent updates include updates on existing sprites, as well as Kamek.
Pikman My Pokemon styled Boo Sprite! A thread where Pikman shows off a sprite that they created.
Dr. Alphys "Excuse me, I may have just arted" A thread where Dr. Alphys shows off some art that he has created. The recent update is of a drawing of the guide from Terraria.
Pikman Paper Mario Gifs A thread where Pikman turns characters into their Paper Mario forms.
The Golden Yoshi The Golden Yoshi's Art and stuff! A thread where The Golden Yoshi shows off some drawings that he has done.
superwesleybros SWB's Gallery A thread where superwesleybros shows off some toy photography that he has shot. I really recommend checking these out.

8-Bit Amphitheater

Written by: Stooben Rooben (talk)

Wassup, all you listeners? Welcome back to 8-Bit Amphitheater! You may have noticed this section was missing last month; the reason, being that I've dropped this section down to bi-monthly for 2016. I did this so I have time to make more chiptunes than I was able to throughout 2015. I hope none of you mind.

This month, I will be presenting you with 12 chiptunes. Six of these chiptunes were created as a tribute to prominent musicians who passed away between December 2015 and February of this year. I wish that these were not the circumstances under which their songs were made into chiptunes, but I felt that this was a decent way to remember their work nonetheless. To end the section on a more positive note, however, I have also made three chiptunes in honor of Valentine's Day, one chiptune in honor of Pokémon, one in honor of The Legend of Zelda, and the final one, I think I'll leave a surprise for now.

This Month's Chiptunes
Song Title and Contributing Artists ShroomYouTube.png ShroomSoundcloud.png ShroomDownloadIcon.png Genre Album Name and Year of Release Original Song
""Heroes"", by David Bowie YT SC DL Art rock "Heroes" — 1977 Original
"This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)", by Natalie Cole YT SC DL R&B Inseparable — 1975 Original
"Sing a Song", by Earth, Wind & Fire YT SC DL Funk Gratitude — 1975 Original
"The Heat Is On", by Glenn Frey YT SC DL Rock Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack — 1984
Solo Collection — 1995
Original
"Ace of Spades", by Motörhead YT SC DL Heavy metal Ace of Spades — 1980 Original
"Interstate Love Song, by Stone Temple Pilots YT SC DL Grunge Purple — 1994 Original


Going alphabetically, David Bowie is the first artist represented in this tribute. His death came as a shock to pretty much everyone, except those who were closest to Bowie (his family, his doctor, and his producer). The artist's deteriorating health was kept hidden from the public for 18 months, during which time, Bowie and his producer worked on the album, Blackstar. The album was created by Bowie as a parting gift to his fans. The content of the album is dark, confused, and brutally honest, highly reflective of every desire and struggle Bowie experienced during his battle with liver cancer. It serves as a haunting, but artistically appropriate, coda to a very unique entertainer's life and career. Due to the expansiveness of Bowie's career, it was difficult to pick just one track to represent him, but I ultimately decided on the fan- and critic-favorite, "Heroes". It's an inspiring track with a comforting flurry of sounds coating it for 6 minutes. I worked very hard to capture as many of the textural waves as I could, right down to the churning guitar echo behind Bowie's vocals. Briano Eno's atmospheres are hard to emulate in 8-bit, I must say. Regardless, if you're bothering to read this section, you should at least familiarize yourself with the original version of "Heroes" if you've never heard it.

Next in our tribute is Natalie Cole, who is quite a popular R&B artist despite her sparse career of "hits". She was the daughter of Nat King Cole, a jazz musician who was active from the 1940s until his death in the 1960s. Despite this, Natalie Cole managed to perform a collaboration of sorts with her father in the 1990s, with the album, Unforgettable... with Love, which featured Natalie Cole performing covers of her father's work, and even some posthumous, edited duets with him. It was a very creative idea for the time and helped Natalie Cole see a resurgence of fame long after her most successful years. If you think you don't know who this artist is, you may be surprised; her few hits are often played on appropriate radio stations and in media. For example, you may know this month's choice of "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" from its longtime use in eHarmony's commercials. Even if those commercials irritate you, though, I wouldn't worry about the chiptune — I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out and now think it's one of the best chiptunes I've done yet.

Third in this month's tribute, is a track by Earth, Wind & Fire, called "Sing a Song". Like many of their songs, it was written and produced by the band's founder, Maurice White. You can hear him singing quite audibly in this track, and man could he sing. Earth, Wind & Fire have a very wide array of highly popular funk, soul, R&B, and solid disco tunes, that range from smooth and spiritual, to upbeat and contagiously optimistic. Really, White was one of the absolute best songwriters and producers of his genre and era. Their music has always managed to impact my mood, and I think a lot of people would have trouble sitting still during the group's best songs. The track I chose is one of those upbeat, optimistic songs; I chose the track because it is about finding a way to pick yourself up when you're feeling defeated or saddened, which seemed like an important message after such a long corridor of loss. That having been said, this track suits the chiptune style wonderfully, and I'm glad I spent the time needed to create it.

Next, we have Glenn Frey, perhaps best-known as co-founder of the Eagles, one of highest-grossing bands of all time. Glenn Frey wrote and sang many of the Eagles biggest hits, including "Take It Easy", "Lyin' Eyes", and "Heartache Tonight". In addition to his significant career with that band, he also had a fairly notable solo career in the 80s and early 90s with a steady stream of moderate hits. His solo career is where I've pulled this month's chiptune for him from, since I just did an Eagles' track in my last edition. This particular track, "The Heat Is On", was written for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, a movie starring Eddie Murphy. It is a bouncy, blues-flavored tune with a pretty fun bass beat and chorus. While it's not as textured as most other songs this month, it's still translates into a nice little chiptune.

Representing Lemmy, metal icon and Nintendo inspiration, is Motörhead's signature song, "Ace of Spades". I heard that in his final hours, Lemmy was playing a video game, although I do not know which one. I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of Motörhead, but Lemmy's presence and influence in the music world is hard to deny. He's a pretty guttural vocalist, and one helluva bass player. Furthermore, Motörhead's music is quite catchy, and you should definitely check their work out if you like hard-edged, fast-paced songs. About the song itself, I went with the rare decision of leaving every chiptuned instrument panned towards the center, just like the original song. That actually made this song very hard to get to sound right, because all of the sound waves started to sound like a mess on top of each other — I guess that's just how hardcore Motörhead's notation is.

The final musician being remembered in this tribute, is former Stone Temple Pilots vocalist, Scott Weiland. Weiland is the youngest person in this tribute, but, I can't say his death took me as an enormous surprise, mostly because he was known for frequent struggles with many hardcore drugs. These always, always take their toll on a person, whether it's at a young age, or a slightly older one like Weiland. That all having been said, Weiland's work with the group is usually full of effort. Stone Temple Pilots sometimes receive hate from critics and listeners as grunge "posers", but I'm always happy to confess my appreciation of their very unusual song structures. The song I chose to represent them, "Interstate Love Song", is a bit unlike much of the group's preceding grunge work; it sounds more like southern rock instead, thanks to the use of slide guitar during the intro and "Melissa"-esque chords in the chorus. If nothing else, I think the song has a pretty flawless melody.

That concludes this month's tribute section. I hope you familiarize yourself with these artists, or find the chiptunes a fair tribute if you already are. Next, I will be revealing the three Valentine's chiptunes for this month.


This Month's Chiptunes
Song Title and Contributing Artists ShroomYouTube.png ShroomSoundcloud.png ShroomDownloadIcon.png Genre Album Name and Year of Release Original Song
"#1 Crush", by Garbage YT SC DL Trip hop Romeo + Juliet soundtrack — 1995
Absolute Garbage — 2007
Original
"Aja", by Steely Dan YT SC DL Jazz rock Aja — 1977 Original
"You Belong with Me", by Taylor Swift YT SC DL Country pop Fearless — 2008 Original


This first song is by an alternative rock group named "Garbage", although they sound like anything but. In fact, they're among my favorite female-fronted groups from the 1990s. The track in question here is actually a remix of the original version, but since it's also the most popular version of the song, I decided it was the best choice. The song's content is sultry, but dubious, coming off like "Every Breath You Take" behind the curtain. Shirley Manson basically moaning the whole song just cements that feeling. It's driven by a deep, twisting bass, that I transcribed to a raw saw wave. I didn't know chiptune bass could sound like that, but wow!

Oh man, this next track. I have been working on Steely Dan's magnum opus, "Aja", since mid-2015. I was supposed to have it done once or twice before now, but repeated hard drive failures and life issues have prevented me from completing this monstrosity until now. Widely regarded as Steely Dan's greatest song, it is an 8-minute jazz rock epic that paints a beautiful picture of escaping the aggravating expectations of life to simply be with the person you love most. It's a charming piece that has some of the most absurd chords I've come into contact with. I tested out some new techniques in this song, such as trying to get waves to naturally flange. You can hear this particular trick really prominently from around the 7:30 mark onwards.

Our third Valentine's track is by country pop sweetheart, Taylor Swift. In a genre dominated by awful and repetitive tropes, Taylor Swift stands out as someone who's doing something worthwhile that will actually be remembered by people decades down the road. Even if Miss Swift isn't bringing anything completely new to the table, she's perfecting a genre that's needed a swift (ha) kick in the butt for a long, long time. I can't even really say she's had a mediocre album, let alone a bad one. "You Belong with Me" is one of her many characteristically memorable tracks, the video for which, accidentally managed to inspire the Kanye Interrupts meme. A bit of an oddity in this particular chiptune, I decided to use a chiptune "organ" sound during the choruses. I think I've only used it once before, but, in this song's case, I found that it gave the chorus a really huge, full sound. The whole thing, if I may say so, is among the cutest chiptunes in 8-Bit Amphitheater's catalog.


And last, but certainly not least, I shall present you with February's video game chiptunes!


This Month's Chiptunes
Song Title and Contributing Artists ShroomYouTube.png ShroomSoundcloud.png ShroomDownloadIcon.png Genre Album Name and Year of Release Original Song
"Lost Woods", by Koji Kondo YT SC DL Traditional folk The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time OST — 1998 Original
"Vs. Champion Cynthia", by Gō Ichinose YT SC DL Symphonic rock Pokémon Diamond and Pearl OST — 2006 Original
"Megalovania", by Toby Fox YT SC DL Hard rock Undertale OST — 2015 Original


Starting off in the 1990s, I decided to pick the ever-praised Ocarina of Time to represent The Legend of Zelda's 30th anniversary this month. The track I chose, "Lost Woods" (sometimes called "Saria's Theme"), was composed by Koji Kondo, whose name I'm sure we all know by now. It's an infectious little melody that fits in perfectly with the game's atmosphere. Really, I don't know what to say about this excellent game and soundtrack that has not already been said, so I'll just say this: If you have not played Ocarina of Time or one of its ports, you are doing yourself a disservice. While you're at it, play Majora's Mask, please.

Pokémon's 20th anniversary also called for some representation this month, so I decided to chiptune the fan-favorite battle theme for Cynthia, from Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. It is an incredibly hectic, almost disorienting, track that matches the difficulty of its respective battle quite well. Those steel drums are my favorite part of the whole song, though. Now, for some reason, the chiptune that resulted seems to sound like a Game Boy Advance track. I'm not sure how exactly that happened, but listening to it makes me very happy.

And last, but certainly not least, is that little surprise track I waited until now to mention. It's "Megalovania", from the unbelievably popular Undertale! Toby Fox composed the soundtrack for the game, and let me say, it is one of the finest game soundtracks I've heard so far this decade (off the top of my head, Bastion's OST is the only one I can think of that I enjoy more). I managed to create this track without hitting any spoilers anywhere, which made this effort even more worthwhile. Time has not been kind enough to let me play Undertale, and I know I'm going to love it, so I have been trying very hard to avoid spoilers. That said, I've listened to the OST so much, that I can assure you this remix's quality is on par with the best chiptunes I've shown you. I really hope all you Undertale fans like it!


Looks like that's everything I have to offer for this month! I'll see you all again in April with some more chiptunes. Happy listening, and I hope you enjoy the rest of The 'Shroom!


Mario's Boombox

Written by: Walkazo (talk)

Welcome back to Mario's Boombox! In honour of the anniversaries of Pokémon and Zelda, I decided to do a Super Smash Bros.-themed song this time, settling on a song and video simply called "Smash" by Screen Team (aka Chad Nikolaus and Angie Griffin), a couple who make all sorts of nerdy YouTube music videos.

Cosplay, horseplay, Kirby beach balls and retro Mario cutouts = best backyard party ever.

Now, the song itself isn't that amazing: the lyrics aren't particularly deep and get really repetitive later on, but it's pleasant enough to listen to, and they definitely chose a good backbeat to set it to (by Reaktor Productions). But what makes this worth recommending is the video itself. The Screen Team duo teams up with some friends and together they use 27 costumes to make a video of themselves running, miming and somersaulting around as they pretend to have a SSB fight IRL, and it's really fun to watch. My only complaint is the dearth of non-CGI Pokémon, especially since spamming Poké Balls was always my favourite part of SSB, but other than that, my main thought when watching the video is "man, that looked like it was hella fun to do - why can't all my friends be cosplay-loving nerds too?"

"Smash" is far from Screen Team's only video game video. For example, they did an original song called "Hyrule Warriors", inspired by the game Hyrule Warriors (but about the series overall). They also did a medley of popular song excerpts rewritten to be about Pokémon, including (but not limited to) "Wake Me Up", originally by Avicii, but now featuring Snorlax; Pitbull and Kesha's "Timber" transforming into "Timburr"; "Let Her Go" by Passenger as an ode to Professor Oak; and Misty riding in on a Poké Ball to the tune of "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus. The video definitely makes up for the lack of Pokémon in the SSB one, although my favourite of the costumes is probably their Team Rocket getups. They also did an earlier Pokémon video parodying a single song - "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO.

Closer to home, they did a funny Donkey Kong version of "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz, as well as a parody of "I Need a Doctor" by Dr. Dre (feat. Eminem and Skylar Grey), which talks about various aspects of the Mario series - not just Dr. Mario. They've done tonnes of non-Nintendo video game parody songs too, with special shout-outs to "Sonic Boom", because the dudes they got to play Sonic and Tails have mad parkour skillz, and "Bitch It's Grand Theft Auto" which includes footage of them actually driving around in a cop car, among other things. Be sure to check them out, and I'll see you next month!


This Month in Albums

Written by: Crocodile Dippy (talk)

G'day everyone, and welcome to the first instalment of This Month in Albums, where I run you through all the newest album releases and whether I think they're good or not. These aren't "reviews", per se, just... quick thoughts about each album. You're more than welcome to listen to them all yourselves and decide whether you like them or not, taste is subjective and I'm only the almighty musical authority on Wednesdays, so you're allowed to have your own opinions. I'll be covering every genre I possibly can because I have absolutely no chill; rock, pop, jazz, electronic, metal, punk, folk, country, experimental, hip hop, funk, soul, R&B, etc. Because I missed last month, I'll cover all of early January's album releases as well, so this'll be a bit larger than most future instalments, but if you're honestly going to complain about having more music to potentially listen to, then you're in the wrong neighbourhood, kid.

Anyway, there's really not much else to say, so get reading and maybe you'll find something you love... or hate. Either way, it'll be a fun journey!

THIS MONTH IN ALBUMS: January 1st – January 17th
Malibu.png Anderson .Paak Frank Ocean, where are you? Where the HELL are you?! Until the bastard releases his new record, we have this Anderson .Paak album to tide us over, which isn’t meant to be a jab at it. On the contrary, this is actually a really solid neo-soul album, with a really eclectic mixture of hip hop, jazz, funk, disco, R&B both old school and contemporary, all to create a somewhat unfocussed but nonetheless enjoyable listen from start to finish. While some songs, like "Your Prime" and "Silicon Valley", are weak links and come off as ridiculously corny, other songs have really impressive lyrics and flow, and Anderson .Paak most definitely can sing damn well when he needs to. While it’s not perfect, it’s really got a lot going for it.
Malibu
UnitedStates.png United States
Neo-soul, contemporary R&B, hip hop
Steel Wool, OBE, Art Club, EMPIRE
Decent Favourite Track(s): "The Season I Carry Me", "Am I Wrong", "Celebrate"
Blackstar.png David Bowie God, this hurts so much... not because the album is bad. In fact, this is definitely the first brilliant album of 2016, and the best work Bowie has done in roughly 30 years. But seeing this musical icon pass so suddenly, shortly after dropping an album full of songs about his illness and impending death... this is a very emotionally challenging album to listen to, especially for long-time fans of David Bowie. It’s a very experimental jazz-driven album, with only a few elements of his older sharp glam rock style present, but the composition is absolutely brilliant, and the album is sequenced so perfectly to tell a story about Bowie’s struggle with his mortality. Bowie’s vocals are so delicate and scared; it’s genuinely heartbreaking to listen to. This is how you do a depressive album well. Thank you for all you’ve contributed to the industry, Bowie, and thank you for leaving us with one of your best albums to date. You will be missed.
Blackstar
Britain.png United Kingdom
Avant-garde, jazz, rock
ISO, RCA, Columbia, Sony
Great! Favourite Track(s): "Blackstar", "Lazarus", "Girl Loves Me"
NottoDisappear.png Daughter I am losing a lot of patience with modern post-rock musicians. Yes, I get it, you want to create a sad, slow, ethereal soundscape to take the listener on a sombre audio journey, but you can still do something engaging with that formula without just being so stripped down and slow-paced that it does nothing but put the listener to sleep. That’s not a journey, that’s just being actively exhausting. I don’t think this is the worst album in the genre by any measure, but the instrumentation is so slack, the lyrics so painfully simple, the song structures so unnecessarily drawn out, that I find it hard to get pulled in to this musical "adventure" Daughter is trying to take me on. There are some brief moments where the album does something ear-catching, but so much of it is throwaway and easily forgettable, that it’s just not worth having to sit through tedium to get to the interesting parts. There is one line in the song "Alone/With You" where Elena Tonra says “speaking to myself is boring conversation,” and I could not agree more.
Not to Disappear
Britain.png United Kingdom
Post-rock, alternative rock
4AD
Bad Favourite Track(s): "No Care"
LeaveMeAlone.png Hinds Feels weird to me that there are still tribute bands to the sounds of 1960s British pop and rock music, but I guess I shouldn't complain too much, it's not a sound that's super prominent in throwback gorups these days. Honestly, of all the throwback styles you could base your entire discography off of, early era Kinks and Beatles is probably among the better places to pull your style off, but therein lies both Hinds' strongest and weakest suit. The all-girl group is very, very good at emulating that style of raw, abrasive pop music, with many really catchy, fun tunes that almost sound like something Ramones would've written, but it's so derivative of the old 60s greats that I ask... why would you listen to this when you could be listening to the artists Hinds have lifted their style from? I do think it's a fine enough record, but it's very shallow and unoriginal, so I can't imagine it being looked back on as a shining example of musical ingenuity.
Leave Me Alone
Spain.png Spain
Garage rock, indie pop
Mom + Pop
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Garden", "Chili Town"
AWarAgainstYou.png Ignite OK I am kind of biased against this since I'm a bit of a punk elitist... I know, it's a flaw of mine, but punk is my scene, I can't help it, dammit. Melodic hardcore is a genre that grew progressively pop-influenced and easily marketable as the decades went on, shifting from Bad Religion and The Faith's heavy rhythms, to the glorified pop-punk of NOFX and The Offspring, to the hollow, uninteresting tripe of Alexisonfire or Rise Against that we have today. Ignite fall into that middle category, but while this newest record of theirs isn't horrid, it leaves a lot to be desired. Too many of the songs just sort of bleed into each other in memory, so same-y they all are, and most of the lyrics are fairly generic RISE AGAINST THE MAN sentiments that it does nothing for the rebel within me. I do like the songs "Where I'm From" and "Work", which are about lead singer Zoltán Téglás's family's background as Hungarian refugees in the States, which feel really topical with today's global political landscape. But these stand out even more because they feel like the only songs with any real, clear message to them, but I guess it could be worse. It could be Rise Against.
A War Against You
UnitedStates.png United States
Melodic hardcore punk
Century Media
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Where I'm From", "Work"
Hyperion.png Krallice Not sure what the point of releasing an EP was, but whatever, I'm not complaining. I tell you, this is a great listen for people who were disappointed by the more experimental, almost jazz-like sound of their previous record, Ygg huur (not that I minded it), since this returns to the long-winded, atmospheric, almost symphonic tones of their earlier work instead of the sheer chaotic passages that formed Ygg huur. There's only three tracks here, although they are very long so there's not a huge problem with that, and there's still very complex, solid composition, with various shifts in tempo and tone throughout each track, all giving it the sense of grandiosity and fantastical scope that I love Krallice for. But still, the songs do lack the kind of conceptual flow that previous outings have generally possessed, and the final track feels like a bit of a weak closer overall. Can't ask for too much conceptual structure from an EP, tho, so I don't want to take too much away from the band for that. It's a solid black metal record, so give it a listen if you're into that style!
Hyperion [EP]
UnitedStates.png United States
Atmospheric black metal
self-released
Decent Favourite Track(s): "Hyperion", "The Guilt of Time"
DeathofaBachelor.png Panic! At the Disco I have never been able to get into Panic! At the Disco, and their shift in style away from danceable emo pop to danceable electropop hasn't changed my opinion of them. The last remaining consistent member of the band is Brandon Urie, so his full musical ambitions come through on Death of a Bachelor, which amount to a rather embarrassing attempt to copy Maroon 5's dance-pop style with a little Frank Sinatra thrown in for good measure. Urie's voice is certainly powerful, but the album's lyrics are so obnoxious and snotty that I find myself just being repulsed entirely by him, particularly on "Crazy=Genius", which is everything wrong with white kids trying to do swing revival music. "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time" is equally deplorable, framed on a very slack sample of The B-52's "Rock Lobster" with such hedonistic lines as "Who are these people? I just woke up in my underwear" or "Champagne, cocaine, gasoline / And most things in between / I roam the city in a shopping cart / A pack of camels and a smoke alarm". I guess this'll be fine for party monsters, but I just find it so aggressively self-indulgent and unoriginal I just can't bear to listen to it.
Death of a Bachelor
UnitedStates.png United States
Dance-pop, dance-rock, pop rock
Fueled by Ramen, DCD2
Bad Favourite Track(s): "L.A. Devotee"
THIS MONTH IN ALBUMS: January 18th – January 31st
PromiseEverything.png Basement Promise everything, deliver nothing. That seems to be the motto for this band, particularly on this brand new LP that reads like a late 90s post-grunge reject that got lost among the disgustingly massive quantity of angsty pop-rock bands trying to pretend they're punk as hell. The fact that they're British makes this all the more baffling, particularly since literally every track on this album is an absolute pain to listen to in every sense of the word, with bland instrumentals that sound like they were literally lifted off a Green Day song, unenthused, nasally vocals, which deliver some hilariously inane lines such as "when I'm high, I'm high; when I'm low, I'm low". I was so hoping that the age of clueless Nirvana rip-offs had come to an end, but Basement seem very determined to keep that horrible trend alive and well. The only positive thing I can say about this record is that it's mercifully short at just 29 minutes, and thank the Rock Gods for that.
Promise Everything
Britain.png United Kingdom
Pop punk, emo
Run for Cover
Horrible Favourite Track(s): N/A
PillarsofAsh.png Black Tusk Sludge metal (aka. Southern metal) has long since been a lost art, only being kept vaguely alive by the progressive and atmospheric stylings of Isis, Mastodon, and Baroness. Which is fine, they are all fantastic in their own right, but where’s all the purist sludge metal been at? Well they’re been working in the underground in the form of Black Tusk, who have long been operating as a far more boisterous, punk-leaning alternative to the experimental tapestries of their counterparts, and it is glorious. This is some incredible fast-paced punk-metal that stays as a true, attitude-driven ride from start to finish, with intense shouted vocals backed by very thick, grimy, but always assertive instrumentation that harkens back to the days of Bad Brains and Minor Threat in such a pleasant way. Very good punk and metal album!
Pillars of Ash
UnitedStates.png United States
Sludge metal, hardcore punk
Relapse
Decent Favourite Track(s): "God's On Vacation", "Bleed On Your Knees", "Punkout"
Hymns.png Bloc Party Ahahahaha... Bloc Party, listen to me. You were never really a brilliant indie rock band to begin with, but at least you knew how to do some exciting tracks in your early days. Stick to what you know, rather than doing a watered down version of 13-era Blur. Hollow religious platitudes are spread out through the album, which were probably done to breathe a little extra life into the otherwise generic "intimacy songs" that dominate the record, which would be OK if the instrumentation did anything of interest. I admit that using effects pedals to accomplish synthesiser sounds is a clever idea, but the guitar playing is otherwise just so uninteresting and lax that I find it hard to keep interested in the groovy effects, which are backed by predictable, boring song structures and dull vocal performances. I think they’re trying to sound bittersweet and deep, but it just feels like a cynical attempt to ape the popularity of downtempo club music like Flumeand R&B-infused rock music like Coldplay. One track, "Into the Earth", even sounds like a shallow copy of The Roots, which is just pathetic.
Hymns
Britain.png United Kingdom
Alternative rock, alternative dance
Infectious, BMG, Vagrant
Bad Favourite Track(s): "The Good News"
WinterThrice.png Borknagar Fusing black metal and power metal seems extremely odd to me, giving how diametrically opposed those two genres are, but to Borknagar’s credit, they justify it for the most part with complex guitar progressions and powerful vocal dynamics. You can’t say the vocalists in this group can’t sing, in fact Simen Hestnæs is quite an incredible singer, and he can definitely give a potent death growl or screech, but something about the album isn’t getting me raising my first to the sky, shouting "Valhalla!" The album, for all its complexity, lacks the energy needed to really establish the epic grandiosity demanded by this style of music, and many songs feel a little bit too understated or even underwritten for the tone trying to be conveyed. "Noctilucent" is one of the most egregious offenders in this.
Winter Thrice
Norway.png Norway
Black metal, power metal
Century Media
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Rhymes of the Mountain", "Erodent"
Moth.png Chairlift Hell yea! Loving this funky synthpop that Chairlift have got going on with this record! Chairlift have created something genuinely curious and eccentric on this album, a beautiful call back to not only the synthpop sounds the 1980s but also the soul pop tones of the 1970s, framed around quirky indie pop production that just really does it for me. The songs do follow standard pop song structures, but they still keep an air of unpredictability since you never know what new type of beat or instrument they’re going to throw in, or what vocal tone the supremely talented Caroline Polachek is going to use next. They even use lo-fi production on her voice on a few of the tracks to give them very raw, bold sound to them, such as on "Romeo" or "Unfinished Business". I highly recommend this to quirky pop music fans, it’s really quite a fun little album!
Moth
UnitedStates.png United States
Synthpop, alternative pop, funk
Columbia
Great! Favourite Track(s): "Polymorphing", "Romeo", "Show U Off"
TheAstonishing.png Dream Theater The Astonishing is a fairly bloated, self-indulgent album, with 34 tracks spread across two discs that follow an ongoing narrative... a narrative so cliche and ridiculous that it seems like something Todd from Bojack Horseman would write. I'm not entirely convinced he didn't write this, in fact. The instrumentation and lyricism are so over-the-top and messy (in typical Dream Theater fashion) that they become impossible to take seriously, and I only really found any consistent enjoyment from this record when listening to it with friends and having a giggle. It's musically proficient, but not much else, being dumbed down and largely uninteresting for the bulk of the record. With oh-so-cleverly named characters like "Lord Nafaryus" for the villain, or "Faythe" for the hopeful love interest, and an entire plot built around a music-driven rebellion fighting against a music-suppressing dictatorship (hmm, where have I heard that before...), what exactly is this record doing that other popular music operas haven't already accomplished? At least it's good for a laugh.
The Astonishing
UnitedStates.png United States
Progressive metal, progressive rock, rock opera
Roadrunner
Bad Favourite Track(s): "A New Beginning"
SongsForOurMothers.png Fat White Family I didn’t know what to expect from this since I’ve never heard of Fat White Family before, but I was so pleasantly surprised. A sort of 80s experimental punk rock sound with the same sort of self-aware "don’t give a shit" attitude that made that generation of rock so damn energetic and potent, a far cry from the melodramatic or tryhard nature of punk music today. While the core focus on the album is the twangy post-punk guitars, there’s also several elements of electronic, jazz, and country implemented into the songs, but in such a way that they don’t take precedent over the core punk focus of the album, allowing these quirky elements to blend together seamlessly without feeling tacked on or awkward. Definitely a good album for those looking for adventurous punk music with a genuine attitude, so this gets a recommendation from me.
Songs For Our Mothers
Britain.png United Kingdom
Punk rock, folk punk
Without Consent
Great! Favourite Track(s): "Satisfied", "Duce", "Tinfoil Disaster"
RitualSpirit.png Massive Attack It’s really good to see Massive Attack reunite with Tricky after so long; I mean, they didn’t necessarily need him to make brilliant music, but having another talented hand on the project is definitely not a bad thing. There are four tracks on this album, a different singer/rapper for each, featuring Tricky, Roots Manuva, Young Fathers, and Azekel, which is a great move by the band to give a little attention to newer artists given their massive reputation as is. Each song is beautifully composed with very thick, brooding textures overlaying calm yet sinister beats, and each track successfully maintains the same sort of haunting atmosphere that has been so prominent in the band’s work since day 1, especially the last track. A few of the songs are without choruses and have a very jazz-like progression, streaming with an ongoing, almost improvised melody in many cases. This is what I listen to Massive Attack for.
Ritual Spirit [EP]
Britain.png United Kingdom
Trip hop, electronica
Virgin
Great! Favourite Track(s): "Ritual Spirit", "Voodoo In My Blood", "Take It There"
Dystopia.png Megadeth What are these guys even doing anymore? While Dave Mustaine is still a proficient soloist, this album has an overreliance on repetitive chugging guitar progressions, a lack of volume dynamics, and Dave Mustaine's trademark atrocious lyrics still significantly pull away from the aggression. In fact, the lyrics here are so hilariously Rush Limbaugh that it's impossible to take any of the songs seriously, what with Mustaine's baffling world views seeping into songs like "Post-American World" and "Foreign Policy". It’s like if /pol/ became a human entity and decided to make a metal album... guess I shouldn't be too surprised, given the guy is mates with professional shouter Alex Jones. There's really nothing here that wasn't done so much better in one of their earlier releases, so just don’t even waste your time.
Dystopia
UnitedStates.png United States
Thrash metal
Universal
Bad Favourite Track(s): "Dystopia"
SuicideSongs.png Money You know, I think the thematic concept album is a sorely underrated idea in the music industry, since everyone always goes for the story concept album instead. After all, Jeff Buckley's Grace is a full record of break-up songs, and it's one of the best pop rock albums ever recorded. The concept of this album should be very obvious just from the title, and the album does, for the most part, justify its intimate exploration of suicidal thoughts and depression without being emotionally manipulative... well, I did say for the most part. Some tracks are hopelessly melodramatic, and leave little to the imagination, particularly noticeable on the track "All My Life" which is an overlong torrent of emotion. But I really do like the acoustic melodies that dominate this record, and the string sections are nice when they're not completely in your face, and lead singer Jamie Lee's Albarn-esque voice does a lot to give power to even the clunky lyrics. I don't mind it, just... maybe tone it down a bit next time, guys.
Suicide Songs
Britain.png United Kingdom
Indie folk, britpop
Bella Union
Decent Favourite Track(s): "I Am the Lord", "Night Came", "Hopeless World"
NineTrackMind.png Charlie Puth There's something to be said about Youtube celebrities accomplishing chart-topping celebrity status. On the one hand, it gave us "Gangnam Style", but then on the other hand, we have this tryhard garbage. Despite being called "Nine Track Mind", this album does not, in fact, have nine tracks, but there's no singular moment on any of the 13 tracks that I find enjoyable or memorable in any significant way. "Marvin Gaye" featuring the equally deplorable Meghan Trainor is certainly memorable, but not for the right reasons, being one of the most cynical attempts to piggyback over a cultural icon I've ever heard, but everything else is just generic radio trash. Puth only seems to know how to alternate between hollow sentimental piano ballads and hollow sentimental R&B songs, offering nothing that other artists in the mainstream like Bruno Mars or Drake are already doing far better, with the only real deviation being the track "We Don't Talk Anymore" with Selena Gomez... which is instead doing the tropical house/pop hybrid that Justin Bieber already did so much better on Purpose. As it turns out, this is the only track I find interesting in any way.
Nine Track Mind
UnitedStates.png United States
Pop, R&B
Atlantic
Bad Favourite Track(s): "We Don't Talk Anymore"
Anti.png Rihanna Uuuuuggggghhhh... I actually expected something good from this based on the first few tracks. "Consideration" is a nicely flowing song with very raw, sparse production that allows Rihanna's voice to really shine through, followed by a short musical interlude that sounds almost like something Stevie Wonder would've written... unfortunately, it's only just over a minute long, which is a complete waste. But the album really starts to fall apart as soon as the lead single, "Work", comes on, which is one of the most obnoxious tracks on the album with its sole defining trait being the incessant repetition of the word "work". Why is Drake even on this track, his verse is completely out of place. From there, it just keeps getting ever more boring and uninspired, feeling painfully underwritten and lacking any discernible hooks to grab the listener. It's all just so unmemorable, and "Woo" is, without a doubt, one of the worst pop songs I've heard in quite some time. That said, the penultimate track, "Higher", is genuinely fantastic, with a very jazzy rhythm and Rihanna's voice absolutely soaring. But that's not enough to rescue the album from being filled with so much blandness, which is an absolute disaster for a pop record.
Anti
Barbados.png Barbados
Pop, R&B, reggae, dance
Roc Nation, Westbury Road
Bad Favourite Track(s): "Higher"
Bloom.png RÜFÜS Much like their previous record, Atlas, this harkens back to the softer, more minimalist sound of 1980s era of club music, which is probably not a bad sound to be returning to in a day and age of far more lively, pounding rave music, but this record's attempt to be smooth just results in it being largely forgettable. The understated instrumentation and soft, breathy vocals on many of the tracks don’t do much to demand attention, and while there are some slow dancers on the album no doubt, the composition ends up feeling too simple and airy to be actively engaging on multiple listens. I guess this will serve its purpose as a club tape, but I can’t see it being used for much else.
Bloom
Australia.png Australia
Dance, chillwave, downtempo
Sweat It Out
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Say a Prayer For Me", "Be With You"
AdoreLife.png Savages Not as extravagant or hard-hitting as their previous album, Silence Yourself, but this is still a very eccentric, abrasive album. Jenny Beth's voice is still as demanding as ever, and the song composition is still spot-on with real bangers and softer, melancholic tracks interspersed throughout the album, but it doesn't have as much command over the listener's attention as their previous effort. I still like it, tho, and it’s exciting to see some of that old Nick Cave sound come through in today’s post-punk music.
Adore Life
Britain.png United Kingdom
Post-punk, noise rock
Matador
Decent Favourite Track(s): "The Answer", "I Need Something New", "Surrender"
EmotionalMugger.png Ty Segall Some of the most obtuse and abrasive heavy rock I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve never listened to any of Segall's work prior to this one, but I think I might start if this is any indication of his style; grimy guitar tones and eccentric song structures contrast with Segall's more relaxed, Lennon-esque voice, to create a very wonderfully wacky album that’s an absolute ride from start to finish. I’m actually quite impressed with how the songs flow in to each other given how out there and hectic the album is, but it all just somehow works so beautifully together. I'd almost compare this to the absurdist musical stylings of The Butthole Surfers way back in the 1980s, with the extremely psychedelic, gritty instrumentation and stoner lyrics. Good job, Segall, you’ve genuinely weirded me out! I commend you!
Emotional Mugger
UnitedStates.png United States
Punk rock, garage rock, experimental rock
Drag City
Great! Favourite Track(s): "Breakfast Eggs", "Diversion", "Baby Big Man (I Want a Mommy)"
ThisIsActing.png Sia Sia's previous album, 1000 Forms of Fear was a solid, catchy, and invigorating electropop album with a rich collection of genuinely fun and detailed tracks. On this record, however, she's decided to fill it with her own recordings of songs she wrote for other artists that got rejected, and it really does show. The songs on This Is Acting feel like glorified B-sides, very clumsily pieced together and largely uninteresting outside of a few choice picks, with many of the tracks retreading ground from her previous record but without the same sort of finesse or careful design. I don't think you can say the album is atrocious, per se, it's just... tedious. I respect what Sia was trying to do, and I get wanting to put your unused pieces to use in some capacity, but chances are those songs got rejected for a reason; because they're just not A-game material. Sorry Sia, I love ya, but these probably should've been thrown on a Deluxe Edition of another album or a cheap B-sides release.
This Is Acting
Australia.png Australia
Electropop
Inertia, Monkey Puzzle, RCA
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Alive", "House On Fire"
THIS MONTH IN ALBUMS: February 1st – February 14th
IstheIsAre.png DIIV Look, you can do dream pop without being boring as all hell. I understand the idea of being really downtempo and lax, I really do, it's a great aesthetic to do if you can get it right. Just look at Cocteau Twins or Mazzy Star. But while those two had faux-operatic vocals and blues instrumentation, respectively, to keep things dynamic and interesting, this new stream of dream pop artists are content to just pluck their guitars softly and sing like they just downed an entire bottle of Valium. I blame The xx for this horseshit. What can be said about Is the Is Are is that it's a strong improvement over their debut record, Oshin, and some of the tracks actually do have interesting progressions and I do like how a lot of the lyrics are about lead singer Zachary Cole Smith's struggle with drugs, but for an album that lasts 60 minutes with 17 tracks in total, the lack of emotional investment in both the music and the vocals for the majority of the album turns it into a complete slog to push through.
Is the Is Are
UnitedStates.png United States
Dream pop, alternative rock
Captured Tracks
Bad Favourite Track(s): "Dust"
Hellulujah.png Drowning Pool The only song from these lot that anyone really knows about is "Bodies" by virtue of it being in every bloody edgy AMV on Youtube, and fans of that song will be happy to know the band hasn't budged an inch since that song came out. What is even the point of continuing to do this godawful style of dumbed down drop-A chugging bullshit, with lyrics so melodramatic and tweenage diary-esque that it'd make Robert Smith shake his head in embarrassment? "We are the devil, and life is hell"? "I want to die / I want to die with some peace of mind / Live, let me live / Let me live with a fuck to give"? The worst song on the album, "Meet the Bullet", opens with this godawful children's chorus of "If you're crazy and you know it, shoot yourself," which is absolutely atrocious in its own right, but the song repeats "meet the bullet" exactly the way the hook in "Bodies" is repeated. Trying to relive the same success, boys? "Another Name" is an honest-to-God power ballad, just to tick off all the nu-metal cliches. This is a throwback to an age in music we had proudly left behind, and it'd almost be hilarious that Drowning Pool are continuing to cling to that time if it weren't just so sad.
Hellelujah
UnitedStates.png United States
Nu-metal, alternative metal
Entertainment One Music
Horrible Favourite Track(s): N/A
AllINeed.png Foxes Foxes is an honest musician, which makes it hard for me to outright dislike her the way I dislike, say... Miley Cyrus. She hasn't exactly had as huge a presence in the mainstream as other English soul-pop singers like Adele or Florence Welch, but regrettably, that's kind of because she hasn't really done much to stand out compared to her contemporaries. This record is slightly less polished than her last record, which I feel actually does a lot to boost the passion and rawness her voice and lyrics generally invoke, but there's still a lot here that's holding the album back. The songs on All I Need generally carry an overblown, melodramatic sound to them that tends to push the emotions a bit too hard on the listener, when contrasted with the subtlety present on a lot of Adele's music. I understand that Florence also does this in her music, but she usually backs it with unusual, quirky instrumentals, which Foxes simply does not have. Still, it is better than the emotional manipulation of her last record, and I think she's getting closer to finding her sound. I hope she gets there.
All I Need
Britain.png United Kingdom
Synthpop, electropop, blue-eyed soul
Epic, Sign of the Times
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Better Love", "Feet Don't Fail Me Now"
Synthia.png The Jezabels A vast, vast improvement over the sophomore slump that was their last record, The Brink, the appropriately named Synthia displays a more mature development in their gothic synthrock style with a good mix of some genuinely rocking, sexy tunes on this album. The band has found a much more fluid balance between the guitars and the synths to actually feel almost like something The Cure would've made back in the late 1980s, and lead singer Hayley Mary's soaring vocals reaching almost Saint Vincent levels of operatic emotion. However, not all is good in the land of Synthia, since even though it's an improvement over their previous works, there's still something... missing from a fair few of these songs. Mary may be a good singer, but her lyrics still need improvement, with many songs failing to make a real lyrical dent in my mind and some even coming across as outright corny. "Pleasure Drive" and "If Ya Want Me" spring to mind. The opening track, "Stand and Deliver", sets the album up on a very slow start with a rather lacklustre song progression for the 7 minute runtime, and "Flowers In the Attic" sounds like an odd Lana del Rey impression, which is always a bad thing to strive for. Still, progress is progress, so I'm interested to hear the band continue down this path.
Synthia
Australia.png Australia
Synthpop, indie rock
Dine Alone Records
Meh Favourite Track(s): "My Love Is My Disease", "Unnatural"
WonderfulCrazyNight.png Elton John With David Bowie having released one of his best records so deep into his career, I was thinking that maybe Elton John would come through as well. But of course, Bowie had his ambitious experimentation to keep him interesting, so it doesn't take a genius to know that John is just retreading the same piano rock style as usual on this new record. But that's OK, it's what he's best at, so let's talk about how well he pulls it off... well, it's no Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but it's passable. There's some very good instrumentals on this album, particularly the more layered, rock and roll-tinged tracks, which reminds me of a slightly less dynamic "Crocodile Rock", and while John can't get even close to his high vocal register from yesteryear, his much deeper, raspier voice has a great flow to it, especially over the softer tracks. However, there's not a single element on this album I feel has any staying power, playing nicely in the moment but having no particularly interesting hooks or explosive song structures like many of his earlier pieces had, and all the songs being about romance in no real specific terms does start to grow stale fairly quickly. I can imagine this maybe playing in some low-energy cafe somewhere, but not really anywhere else.
Wonderful Crazy Night
Britain.png United Kingdom
Soft rock, rock and roll
Mercury, Virgin EMI, Island
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Claw Hammer", "Looking Up"
MajidJordan.png Majid Jordan R&B duo Majid Jordan release their full-length debut album on Drake's own label as yet another step in Drake's ambition to sign on the most boring acts in the R&B space, after he supported PartyNextDoor and iLoveMakonnen, although to his credit at least Majid Jordan isn't a terrible goddamn name. I'm probably being a bit too harsh, but there's absolutely nothing on this record that I haven't already heard a million times from other artists in and out of Drake's label, pulling from that same dark, cavernous trap-influenced instrumental style that I know Drake loves to pieces, with auto-tuned falsettos and an endless stream of love and break-up songs. Whoopy-dee-freakin-doo, I'd be happier to just flip one of Drake's mixtapes on and enjoy the same experience with far more substance... or better yet, just put Bonobo or Frank Ocean (where the fuck are you, Frank??) for an overall better, more pleasant dark R&B experience. I just can't find anything on this album that I feel really bursts out in my face or stands out among the myriad of other acts within the genre at the moment, so just throw this in the very large pile of disposable trap music.
Majid Jordan
Flag of Canada.png Canada
R&B, deep house
OVO Sound, Warner Bros.
Bad Favourite Track(s): "Day and Night"
Allirvegirtilglotunar.png Naðra Iceland is, honestly, the last place I'd expect to see black metal come from, which is weird given how Norse the country's language and culture is. But here we have Naðra (pronounced as Nathra) with their debut release that possesses a sound that's almost akin to the atmospheric stylings of French black metal in many ways, and to Naðra's credit, the instrumentation is virtuousic as hell. I don't want to bash the production too much since lo-fi production is a trademark of black metal music, but it gets particularly jarring when the interludes come in and it sounds like it was filtered through an old speaker that's been buried in clay for 20 years. I guess that's not a huge problem, but the vocals are, at least for me. These hardcore punk-style grunts and shouts do nothing for the black metal instrumentation at all, and end up coming across as silly when surrounded by the grandiose, large-scale nature of the music. I guess my biggest problem is that it just doesn't sound like there's much going on here that other black metal artists like Krallice or Panopticon aren't already doing far better.
Allir vegir til glötunar
Iceland.png Iceland
Atmospheric black metal
Vánagandr
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Sár", "Fallið"
Phenotype.png Textures I feel like Textures are a band I more admire than I actively enjoy. I mean yea, they fall into a lot of the cliches of metalcore music that I've grown to resent over the years, such as breakdown overuse and half-hearted faux-punk growling, but Textures have made a concerted effort to make their music more, well... textured than the average metalcore band. They have a fascination with ambient soundscapes and technical, melodic progressive rock-influenced guitar passages that do a lot more to grab my interest than the likes of Killswitch Engage or... *shudder* Bring Me the Horizon... that having been said, this album still isn't that brilliant. I like that the lyrics are more geared towards spirituality and nature rather than the usual nihilistic breakup drivel the genre is built around, but the album has this weird division where the metalcore and the prog-metal feels completely separate from each other, and my enjoyment is intrinsically connected to which side each track sits on. I just can't get over the overdose of breakdowns and pitiful attempts at shouting on this bloody thing, yet whenever the band goes melodic with their prog side, I feel like I'm actually listening to something that I would really enjoy. As it stands, it's just too much of a hit or miss record for me to recommend.
Phenotype
Holland.png The Netherlands
Metalcore, progressive metal
Nuclear Blast
Meh Favourite Track(s): "New Horizons", Illuminate the Trail"
TheLifeofPablo.png Kanye West I was not impressed with West's previous album, Yeezus, so I was hoping The Life of Pablo would bring me back on the Kanye love cult again... no such work. I mean godDAMN, Kanye, I know you're having a bit of a personal crisis at the moment, but don't sacrifice structure and coherency just because you're pissed off. This album has all the finesse and consistency of a Tazzy Devil's dinner, with song structures that go absolutely nowhere, horribly underwritten instrumentals that offer no emotional payoff, some of the worst lyrics in Kanye's discography to date (especially "Famous" and "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1"), and of course, the abundant use of autotune to cover up Kanye's unwillingness to learn to sing. There are a few cuts I actually enjoy, like "Real Friends" and "No More Parties in L.A.", probably because they sound more like classic Kanye when he had some artistic cohesiveness, and "Feedback" is one of the few experimental tracks that I find appealing, but goddamn, that's not enough to salvage this mess. West's decision to make the album a Tidal exclusive is probably the second dumbest business decision I've seen in hip hop, behind Wu-Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and is certainly not going to do his financial situation any favours.
The Life of Pablo
UnitedStates.png United States
Hip hop, R&B
GOOD, Def Jam
Bad Favourite Track(s): "No More Parties in L.A."
TheGhostsofHighway20.png Lucinda Williams One of mainstream country music's most fascinating voices is back again, although I would have to say this record doesn't do nearly as much for me as some of her earlier works. She appears to be taking influence from Sun Kil Moon's long-winded song structures, and moody vocal mumbles, which is great, I love that she's trying to do something new with her music... but I don't think Williams is able to maintain consistent intrigue for such long periods of time. I appreciate the attempt to be emotional on a lot of these tracks, but it just ends up feeling really bland and uninvolved, Williams' vocal delivery not being quite as impassioned as it probably could be to really sell that depressing edge. The record is musically diverse as I've come to expect from Williams, but it doesn't have the same cohesiveness that previous records have had, leading to a lot of tracks bleeding into each other and lacking anything of distinction. Although the album ends on a high note with its longest track, "Faith and Grace", which follows a very jazz-y progression and is one of the best flowing tracks on the album. Overall, the album may not be sonically engaging, but I can at least commend Lucinda Williams for trying to get further away from her comfort zone.
The Ghost of Highway 20
UnitedStates.png United States
Alternative country, country-rock
Highway 20 Records
Meh Favourite Track(s): "Death Came", "Faith and Grace"
Khalifa.png Wiz Khalifa Look, I don't think there's really much to say on this. Do you like Wiz Khalifa's previous albums? If so, then you'll like this, it's basically more of the same stuff; slow, trap-flavoured instrumentals backing the same lyrical shit as always (weed, money, sex, and haters). You expect any sort of depth from this guy? Khalifa don't care, he's got all the money and fame he needs to keep comfortable, he doesn't need to prove anything else anymore. The album does feel less catchy and attention-grabbing than his previous works, aside from the first two tracks "BTS" and "Celebrate", which have some actually good instrumentals on them, but having so few earworm cuts is definitely damaging to an artist that thrives on securing radio hits. There is a track late in the album, "Zoney", which has a guest appearance from his son, Sebastian, which is cute, but I just know the kid is going to going to look back on that in embarrassment once he hits middle school. If you just want a sequel to Blacc Hollywood, then give this a listen, but it's not going to do anything else for people who aren't already on the Khalifa hype train.
Khalifa
UnitedStates.png United States
Hip hop, trap
Taylor Gang, Rostrum, Atlantic
Bad Favourite Track(s): "Celebrate"

Composer Spotlight

Written by: Crocodile Dippy (talk)

Toru Minegishi
ToruMinegishi.png
Born 1975
Genre Chiptune, rock, orchestral, electronic, jazz

Ah, the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda is upon us. It’s been a long time since Nintendo first threw a boy wearing a sweet dress into an unforgiving world filled with rock-spitting octopi, smoke-hating lizards, and an undying wizard hell-bent on tormenting this poor boy and his girlfriend for all eternity. But here we are today, in 2016, with a new Zelda game on the way, and so I figure it’s only fitting that I go over a composer who has a big hand in the series ever since the Nintendo 64 days, Toru Minegishi! Who has also done a little bit of Pokémon on the side as well, so some honouring for that series’ 20th anniversary as well… if you’d like to see it that way, anyway.

Toru Minegishi was born sometime in 1975, although exact date or even where in Japan he lived is difficult to find. He would get his start in music at a very young age by virtue of his parents being very musical people; they would expose Minegishi to Latin music throughout his childhood, with him taking a particular fascination with the works of Pérez Prado. At the tender age of 10, he saw an advertisement for the original Legend of Zelda game and was impressed by the then-high quality audio present in clips of the game, and managed to convince his parents to buy him a Famicom system and a copy of The Legend of Zelda in exchange for him improving his swimming performance in school.[1] However, it wasn't until he turned 11-years old when he first listened to Modest Mussorgsky's seminal orchestral piece, Pictures at an Exhibition, that he realised exactly what music could truly accomplish in a multimedia setting. This was because the symphony was written based on Mussorgsky's impressions of several paintings drawn by his friend, Viktor Hartmann, to honour his passing, which struck a chord with Minegishi's love for video games, as he believed that the same sort of musical interpretation could be applied to the games he held so dear to him. He would take up drums of his own accord, and proceed to form a band with a few of his classmates in high school, a stark contrast to many of my previous subjects who had a formal musical education in some capacity.[2]

Continuing to experiment with various sounds and styles through high school, Minegishi-san set his sights on becoming a sound designer in video games, and he would eventually find his dream come true... with interest. He successfully applied for a compositional role at Nintendo in 1998, where he had to take up a written music design test as well as a practical exercise wherein he was required to compose multiple tracks based on themes given to him, to determine how well he could match music to the scenario. He passed the test, and was officially hired to the sound design team at Nintendo, where he would find himself under the direction of none other than his game music idol, Koji Kondo, who I have covered in an earlier issue. Imagine your first step in the industry being in the same team as the man who inspired you to pursue that field in the first place! Minegishi was eager to get to work, and got his first project that same year with Pokémon Stadium alongside his more experienced seniors in the company, Hajime Wakai and Kenta Nagata, which involved a variety of higher quality remixes of tracks from the original Generation I Pokémon games, Red, Green Blue.[3] While this was just an arrangement project, it helped Minegishi-san develop his abilities and his ear for the deeper aspects of music composition, as well as teaching him that game music needs to strike a steady balance between being noticeable enough to enhance the experience but not so overbearing that it distracts the player, a perspective he hadn't considered before due to his experience composing music on its own beforehand.

The cover art for the official soundtrack of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

By chance, Minegishi-san got to work with his new boss and idol, Koji Kondo, on what is now regarded one of the greatest games ever made, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask released in 2000, which has a truly expansive soundtrack befitting of the grand epic adventure.[4] Minegishi-san's contribution is decidedly minimal, granted; his task was to compose the three recurrent battle pieces, appropriately titled "Battle", "Middle Boss Battle", and "Boss Battle"[5], which stood out in the minds of gamers due to their intense sound in contrast to the more docile battle themes in previous Zelda titles, employing heavy brass-style instrumentation and pounding percussion - a product of his past as a drummer.[6] Minegishi-san would also create the now-famous start-up jingle for the Nintendo Gamecube. After these fun little diversions, Minegishi-san would get his next big project in 2001 with Shinobu Tanaka and, once again, Kenta Nagata, under the directorship of Kazumi Totaka, on the new intellectual property, Animal Crossing, which consisted of a whopping 199 tracks in total. The goal for the sound design was to create an acoustic-sounding score with a doofy, synth-based sound, and Totaka-san set about this ambitious task by allocating different projects to each of his three staff members;[7] in Minegishi-san's case, he was tasked with a few of the indoor pieces, but in particular, was tasked with the creation of K.K. Slider's different solo pieces, which amounted to around 50 completely different styles of music. This was a hugely daunting task for Minegishi-san, as he was being asked to make dopey synth versions of genres he hadn't the faintest understanding of, which forced him to hit the books and whatever supplies of music he could find to be able to effectively translate their sound to the keyboard sound required of Animal Crossing. It's hard to find individual pieces from the original game, so just start from this time stamp.

But Minegishi-san isn't just a musical mind; indeed, he was also adept at designing and creating sound effects as well, which would become most notable on his next projects, Super Mario Sunshine in 2002.[8] Here, he learned a lot about the complexity of the sound design process and developed a better understanding of the methods that work best for him, personally, when creating music and sound effects, specifically that he works best humming melodies to himself or fiddling with his guitar to create tunes and sounds. He identifies the K.K. Slider tracks in Animal Crossing and his involvement in the sound design of Super Mario Sunshine to be two of the most important learning experiences in his early career. Next on Minegishi-san's to-do list would be The Legend of Zelda's critically acclaimed debut into the sixth generation of video games released that same year, Wind Waker, which saw Minegishi-san and his collaborators - Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, and of course his boss, mentor, and idol, Koji Kondo - experimenting with live instrumentation and more sophisticated sounds, in particular, the usage of Irish instrumentation such as Tinwhistle, Uileann pipes, and Mandolin (played by none other than Shigeru Miyamoto[9]), as well as Aztec instrumentation, in particular usage of the Pan flute. The music for Wind Waker was popular enough to be released as an expansive, two-disc CD with over 130 tracks on it[10].

After this, Toru Minegishi would continue to work on sound design for games such as Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour[11] and Mario Pinball Land[12], as well as assisting in the score for Yoshi Touch & Go alongside Kazumi Totaka and Asuka Ohta[13]. His next massive project wouldn't spin around until 2006, where he would be tasked as the lead composer for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess with assistance from Asuka Ohta, with Koji Kondo once again operating as his supervisor on the project. This was Minegishi-san's first foray into the realm of audio direction in the company, and proved a whole new experience for him as he now had to communicate and get involved with all the other aspects of the development team to get a better idea of which direction to take the music, and then he would need to relay that information to his superior, Kondo-san. With the darker, more melancholy atmosphere being explored in Twilight Princess, Minegishi-san and Kondo-san wanted to be careful to balance mood and atmosphere with catchiness and noticeability, knowing well that the sound direction of Zelda games has always been a major selling point for the emotional impact of the franchise; Koji Kondo initially envisioned a massive orchestral score with lyrical performances, but dropped the idea in favour of sequenced music due to his view that orchestral music "wasn't interactive enough".[14] Still doesn't explain with this is allowed to exist, tho.

Toru Minegishi conducting a live orchestra.

Not long after Twilight Princess, Toru Minegishi would be brought on to the development team of Wii Fit as part of the music design team alongside Manaka Tominaga and Shiho Fujii[15]. This would be an amusing coincidence for Minegishi since he was interested in working on a project involving body balance, due in large part to his background as a drummer, which requires a lot of body balance and coordination in order to play; no one actually knew about his deep fascination with this side of music theory, however, so his involvement with Wii Fit was described by Satoru Iwata as destiny.[16] As opposed to Twilight Princess, which required a more direct, noticeable approach to the music design, Wii Fit was designed to be as behind-the-scenes and ambient as possible, due in large part to the repetitive nature of the game, which could potentially lead to more complex song structures growing old and frustrating very quickly. Toru Minegishi would also work on the scores for both The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks as among the primary composers, as well as contributing a live guitar melody to the track "Ballad of the Goddess" in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.[17] Minegishi-san would also be involved in the composition for Super Mario 3D World released in 2013, alongside his colleagues Yasuaki Iwata and Koji Kondo, headed by Mahito Yokota, a soundtrack which employed a full live orchestration mixed in with electronics, following up their move into live, organic music with Super Mario Galaxy back in 2007. However, unlike Galaxy, 3D World was geared towards jazz-y big band music as opposed to bombastic symphonies, giving the score a far more doofy sound to it.[18]

The most recent of Minegishi-san's contributions has been Splatoon, the only game in the world where you can be a kid now, and a squid now, which saw him take the reins as the lead sound director once again, working with Shiho Fujii as his subordinate. With the very 90s "cool kid" aesthetic of the game, Minegishi-san thought to structure the soundtrack primarily around various forms of techno, hip hop and punk music that were widely popular at that time, with Minegishi-san dividing the music between the two races present in the game - punk for the playable squids, techno for the enemy Octarians... for the most part, anyway[19] Toru Minegishi wanted to reflect the attitude of the world shown in Splatoon, seeking to replicate the sense of carefree spirit present in the character designs and environments by adding that extra bit of power and edge to the music; this can definitely be seen in the Squid Sisters' theme and the Splatfest music, which is styled after glamourous, energetic late-90s bubblegum pop, and the three-part final boss music, which employs a heavy use of record scratches and acoustic sections not unlike hip hop and drum and bass music that were so prominent in the 1990s, which were written to be in rhythm with the motions performed to make wasabi, as a reference to the boss's original design as a wasabi chef. Don't... ask, the original draft for this game was bloody weird.[20]

What's next in store for Toru Minegishi? Honestly, I'm not sure! We have no confirmation on any future projects that Minegishi-san may be a part of, nor are we seeing any concerts happening any time soon, given he's a member of Nintendo's in-house band, The Wind Wakers. It's a waiting game and this point to see how he'll follow up his squiddy adventures, and who knows, maybe we'll see him return to The Legend of Zelda with the new open-world game hopefully being released sometime later this year, although we can't say for certain yet. Or perhaps he'll choose to work on another project himself, which would mark the first time he's composed a score without the collaboration of other composers. The world is his oyster, and I know that Zelda fans in particular will be excited to see him get back on the saddle once more and

References

  1. ^ http://www.vgmonline.net/toruminegishi/
  2. ^ http://www.zelda.com/universe/game/twilightprincess/inside13.jsp
  3. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/n64/198312-pokemon-stadium/credit
  4. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Koji-Kondo-Toru-Minegishi-The-Legend-of-Zelda-Majoras-Mask-Official-Soundtrack/release/6711886
  5. ^ http://vgmdb.net/album/13323
  6. ^ http://www.squareenixmusic.com/composers/nintendo/minegishi.shtml
  7. ^ http://shmuplations.com/animalcrossing/
  8. ^ http://www.mobygames.com/game/super-mario-sunshine/credits
  9. ^ http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/interview/2180/gdc-2004-eiji-aonuma-zelda-roundtable
  10. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Legend-Zelda-Original-Soundtrack/dp/B000BD768U
  11. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/gamecube/557720-mario-golf-toadstool-tour/credit
  12. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/920192-mario-pinball-land/credit
  13. ^ http://www.n-sider.com/gameview.php?gameid=881&view=credits
  14. ^ http://www.zelda.com/universe/game/twilightprincess/inside04.jsp
  15. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/wii/942009-wii-fit/credit
  16. ^ https://www.nintendo.co.za/Iwata-Asks/Iwata-Asks-Wii-Fit/Iwata-Asks-Wii-Fit-Vol-4/1-From-Zelda-to-Wii-Fit/1-From-Zelda-to-Wii-Fit-204069.html
  17. ^ http://zeldauniverse.net/2014/03/15/official-nintendo-magazine-uk-interviews-eiji-aonuma-and-ryu-nagamatsu-discuss-the-development-of-a-link-between-worlds/
  18. ^ http://www.destructoid.com/super-mario-3d-world-features-a-lot-of-live-music-264472.phtml
  19. ^ http://nintendokusou.com/new-splatoon-trailer-global-testfire-schedules-and-famitsu-interview-details
  20. ^ http://nintendoeverything.com/splatoon-devs-on-inkling-girl-design-focus-squid-sisters-and-more/



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