Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Matthew Simmonds (4mat)

In the early 1990s, I liked to collect and listen to MOD music files. Some the best ones I came across were by 4-mat of Anarchy.

About twenty years later, I discovered that 4mat (now without the hyphen) was once again releasing new music. His 2010 album Decades was excellent, and has since been followed by several more. His latest, Sans Titre, was released just yesterday. Simmonds is prolific, but manages to maintain a high level of quality.

Although his music falls within the chiptune genre, there is more variety to his work than that label might suggest. There is a consistent “warm” sound to many of his songs that, in addition to their catchiness, distinguishes them from a lot of other chiptunes out there.

To sample his work, I’d recommend starting with Decades and just moving forward through the releases. As for individual standout tracks, these are a few of my favorites from the first two albums:


Simmonds also does sound design for video games. I was interested to learn that he worked on Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (both of which I enjoyed, especially Shattered Memories).

You can find an interview with him here, in which he talks about his music and his work on games (including a game that he created himself).

 

Old French Synthesizer Music

Over the past few years, I’ve come across several For some reason, I’ve come across a lot of very good French synthesizer music from the late 1970s and early 1980s, most of which seems to have only ever been released on vinyl. Fortunately, things that would be hopelessly obscure are often not difficult to find on the Internet.

First and foremost,

Roland Bocquet

The two main albums to look out for are Robot Bleu and Robot Rose, each of which includes one of my two favorite songs of his (but by no means the only good ones), “Paradia” on Robot Rose and “La Suite D’Elsa” on Robot Bleu.

Robot Bleu: Val Verde Music | Dance from Space
Robot Rose: Mutant Sounds
Paradia: Val Verde Music

Next,

Bernard Fevre

I was already familiar with Black Devil Disco Club when I learned that Bernard Fevre had earlier created some very good non-disco synthesizer music. A good album to look for is The Strange World of Bernard Fevre, which has been re-issued as The Strange New World of Bernard Fevre. And a good sample song from that album is “Dali.”

And if you like that album, you’ll probably also like Cosmos 2043.

The Strange World of Bernard Fevre: Mutant Sounds
Cosmos 2043: Funky Frolic

From an interview with Fevre:

I was drawn to the synthesiser because it enabled me to realize a symphonic vision that previously would have needed many musicians. With the synthesiser I could create the kind of sci-fi music you will hear on the “strange world of Bernard Fevre,” and then in the clubs it was the African rhythms that inspired me. I found that by mixing the primal beats with the electronic textures and melodies, it created a kind of “disco” sound. But for many people it was too new, too original, and they didn’t consider it disco at all.

And finally,

Garnegy & Maties

I don’t know the story behind the albums Sport Music and Sport Music II. I’d guess that they might have been made to accompany television sports. Or maybe not. But I can tell you that they are very good, if you like this sort of thing.

Sport Music Vol. 1: Funky Frolic | Plixid
Sport Music Vol. 2: Funky Frolic | Plixid | The Growing Bin

 

The Music of Tomáš Dvořák (Floex)

When I played Machinarium, I was impressed by many aspects of the game. One of those aspects was the soundtrack. The song “Clockwise Operetta” especially stood out to me the first time I heard it.

You can listen to the game’s soundtrack here, and you can download some additional music from the game for free here. (My favorite song from the bonus EP is “By the Wall.”)

When I went looking for more music by Tomáš Dvořák, the Czech composer of the Machinarium soundtrack, I found his 2001 album Pocustone. I was happy to discover that it is just as good as the music in Machinarium (and in fact, it was the reason Amanita Design asked him to work on Machinarium).

Dvořák released another Floex album called Zorya ten years later in 2011. It is also excellent. You can download the song “Casanova” from it for free here.

From an interview with Gamikia:

My studio it is really laboratory with different components what I am trying to mix up together. I am originally clarinetist so this is my main acoustic instrument. However you can also find piano, metalophones, pianet, kalimba, melodica, acordeon, shakuhachi and several other instruments in my studio. And then there is computer, synths, effects – sound design and mix is maybe 70% of the time I spent over the song when I work on it.