…On paper, Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze should just be another ambient black metal band, but they are a sweet, sweet baby of some of the decade’s best-blackened offerings. While tragically underrated, Offerings of Flesh and Gold is a lovely fusion of sounds ancient and modern, offering furious black tremolos and riffs, doom percussion, hypnotic repetition, and unhinged vocals, all drenched in cold waves of ambiance and noise. It seems a doozy at three tracks and 47 minutes, but there never feels like a moment of filler, resulting in a surprisingly accessible listen. Mark this one down as one of the year’s most surprising…
…I recently made the offhand comment to a friend that they should listen to this album from start to finish uninterrupted, in a dark room, on good quality headphones. And then I told them that it would change their life. The more I think about it, the less sure I am that it was a joke. A truly immersive listen to Offerings of Flesh and Gold is a powerful experience. Rolling between atmospheric parts and blistering black metal, Offerings grabs on in an incredibly visceral way. Meditative and ritualistic, the album takes me to a different place when I allow myself the time to be immersed by it in that manner. I walk away at the end and feel like I’m entering the world anew from somewhere slightly different…
GRIM CHRISTMAS jsou jen malý úkrok. Nejde o léčbu. Jen zmírnění příznaků. Když už to musí bejt… Stejně jako minulý rok nasazuji sluchátka, když jdu ulovit znojemské okurky do bramborového salátu. Funguje to.
Kolekce deseti blackmetalových rychlovek od coloradského mladého zvukového mága Jona Lervolda mi pomohla přežít minulý rok a skvěle funguje i letos. Multiinstrumentalista tu bere ty nejprofláklejší nástroje černého kovu a kuje s nimi ty nejotravnější koledy pod sluncem. Slyšel jsem již mnohé metalové vánoční covery, ale tady se kloubí mistrovství jak ve věrnosti k předlohám, tak ve znalosti žánru, který je na ně aplikován. Jon tu pracuje s lehkostí a samozřejmostí. Takže, když už to musí bejt…
Tonally Inverted Version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Title Screen
What is tonal inversion? Basically, every melody, chord progression, or complete song has a “mirror reality” version hidden beneath itself. In order to discover this alternate version, you take the notes of the composition and flip them upside down, so that every interval becomes inverted. For example, if the melody goes up two full steps and then down a half step, you make the melody go down two full steps and then up a half step. When you apply this process to a major chord, it becomes a minor chord. Ionian (major) scales become phrygian scales. Aeolian (minor) scales become mixolydian scales. And so on and so forth.
The part I find most interesting is that if the original composition is musically coherent, the negative version will always be musically coherent as well. It may not be as moving as the original, or it might be a totally bizarre piece of music overall, but it will always at least work musically.
So what does the Nintendo 64 have to do with this? It turns out N64 games are great for applying this concept because you can directly rip the MIDI files and soundfonts from the games. What this means is that you can create tonally inverted versions that are extremely accurate to the original compositions. The timbres, timing, and note velocities are identical; the only difference is that the notes are upside down. The other benefit to applying this process to songs from N64 games is that, at least for millennials, these songs are fairly universally known and beloved. These types of transformations are much more intriguing than when you hear the concept applied to an unfamiliar piece of music.
A few months ago somebody launched a website where you could input any text and an AI algorithm would generate audio files reading that text back in Jordan Peterson’s voice. The site was quickly taken down after Peterson posted a rebuke saying that use of this technology should be very illegal, but not before I had managed to generate the files heard in this video.
***This album specifically covers the N64 version. Sorry PS1 and arcade fans. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯***
Rush is a classic game. When it was released on the N64, reviewers said that it was brilliant – one of the top three games available on the system. Today it seems to be mostly forgotten. In my opinion it’s still an incredibly fun game whether you have never played before or if you’re someone who has been refining their skills on the game’s tracks for years.
The style here is a departure from my earlier Street Fighter 2 cover album. This album is more straightforward, and at times significantly more absurd. That’s a function of the source material. As with the previous album, I kept the melodic content mostly spot on to the game while altering the percussion to my own taste. I hope there are a few people out there who have the same kind of nostalgia for this game and its music that I do.
In the rare bits of spare time I’ve gotten this year I’ve been playing the heck out of Rush again trying to master the tracks. One day last April I picked up my guitar and plunked out a few of these songs absentmindedly. Turns out they’re pretty fun to play. Fast forward 6 months and this album exists.
Thanks to my wife Laura for the awesome watercolor replication of the game’s cover art.
Next up (without a 6 year gap between) will be the N64 classic Goldeneye, which will return more to the vein of the Street Fighter 2 album.
“While they’re a black-metal band through and through on the sonics side, BoABoB (how’s that for an acronym?) aren’t ones for bellowing about spooky skeletons, virgin sacrifices, or eternal damnation, unlike the vast majority of their peers on Encyclopedia Metallum — LARPing while Rome burns is kind of a luxury, after all.”