Here is a list of music that made an impact on me in 2019. Playlists with these releases are available now via Apple Music and Spotify. ⠀
You can also search “Deathwish Playlist” on those services and you should find them.⠀
Cave In “Final Transmission”⠀
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Ghosteen”⠀
Chromatics “Closer to Grey”⠀
Chromatics “The Sound of Silence”⠀
Swans “Leaving Meaning”⠀
Kate Tempest “The Book of Traps and Lessons”⠀
Lana Del Ray “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”⠀
Blood Incantation “Hidden History of the Human Race”⠀
Darkthrone “Old Star”⠀
Chelsea Wolfe “Birth of Violence”⠀
Purple Mountains “Self Titled”⠀
Greet Death “New Hell”⠀
Blut Aus Nord “Hallucinogen”⠀
Black Mountain “Destroyer”⠀
Candlemass “The Door to Doom”⠀
Idle Hands “Mana”⠀
Spirit Adrift “Divided By Darkness”⠀
Dead To A Dying World “Elegy”⠀
Waste of Space Orchestra “Syntheosis”⠀
Sanguisugabogg “Pornographic Seizures” ⠀
Better Oblivion Community Center “Self Titled”⠀
Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze “Offerings of Flesh and Gold”⠀
Frozen Soul “Encased In Ice”⠀
Leviathan “Verrater” Reissue⠀
Angel Witch “Angel Witch”⠀
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.
More to come.
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.”
(Continues in link)
“If you haven’t yet woken up to Colorado/Washington black metal blazers Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze, make that correction right now. There’s a link to the record below. Go listen to it immediately. You can do that and read this piece at the same time. The band’s devastating and mind-bending debut record “Offerings of Flesh and Gold” is one of the most amazing first records I’ve heard in a long, long time. Maybe the last time I was this excited was with FALSE’s first EP, and we all know how that story turned out.”
(Continues in link)
“Many lament the saturation of black metal with politics, but it is deeply necessary. More so than any other genre, black metal has explicit stratifications of ideology. Slayer and Pantera may dabble in thinly veiled racism, but Burzum and Emperor spawned a well defined sub-genre of nazi metal. It makes sense in a way for it to be black metal to succumb to right-wing extremism, and it makes even more sense for the genre to now give voice to the left. The concentration in black metal of theatricality, gravitas, and extremity lends itself to transcendent visions of the future. And visions of the future is exactly what distinguishes opposing radical political ideologies from the mainstream: we see a future rid of hate and control and violence; they see a future rid of us. And as much as the mainstream likes to think the world is static, the future is always coming, and it will be one of those visions. That’s what makes Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze and other explicitly anti-fascist black metal bands so important. ”
(Continues in link)
“…The focus, power, and beautiful of these compositions, along with their masterful pacing both internally and over the course of Offerings of Flesh and Gold, place Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze’s debut up in the echelons of truly great affecting extreme metal, alongside other greats like Wolves in the Throne Room and Neurosis. There is no such thing as interior versus exterior politics, and they know this; politics is the material result in the world of some great undeniable motivating force that dwells in the spirit, and it is toward this spirit that Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze so powerfully gesture and attempt to communicate. This is, without a doubt, one of the very finest records of the year and a powerful contribution to the two worlds of black metal and of political music.”
(Continues in link)