Electronic Super Joy OST
Electronic Super Joy OST
Michael Todd Games
August 5, 2013
Download at Bandcamp
Electronic Super Joy is a game with a set-up so inherently ridiculous I just want to preface everything with saying: I’m not making this up. Somebody stole our nameless hero’s (presumably, I’ve spent a good chunk of my research for this review trying to figure out this name) butt. Like, his actual butt. He’s on an adventure to get it back. Scorsese, Spielberg, Kubrick, “Michael Todd Games”. I’m being honest; this set-up is brilliant. It’s quick and to the point, and there’s no reason in the world you wouldn’t want to get your butt back. Now that that’s out of the way, the soundtrack. Fitting with the mix of 80’s neon, flashy colors mixed with the retro 8-bit aesthetic, Electronic Super Joy has a pulse pounding score. It has been crafted together by “enV” who was a former Newgrounds composer. His distinct style of hard, crashing electronic drops and catchy pulse-pounding beats never once leaves the soundtrack. You’ll very rarely hear a video game OST that could double for a rave concert.
“Destination” opens the album with an immediate blast of electronic power. Every time it leans towards becoming too repetitive, it switches it up and introduces something new. A change of the chorus, a slow down that builds into a drop; it’s a poster-child for what you’re getting yourself into when you listen to the album. “Flare”, however, is a quieter and slightly low-key track to follow “Destination”. It has a bouncier beat, grooving along with energy rather then bombast. Admittedly, it’s less memorable then some of the other tracks on the album. Typically the first level them of the world is meant to sucker you in to everything. It shows off the style of the music and gives you a memorable track to remember it by. “Flare” is a pleasant track to listen to, but it is very jarring compared to many of the other tracks on this OST.
Fwhoo boy, “This Sound”. I’ve never felt the need to use sort-of-dubsteppy until this review, but, here we are. Jumping right from “Flare” into “This Sound” is an experience all in itself. From the beginning of dissonant bells and a reverberated voice telling the listener that “We will not be held responsible for any hearing impediments or damage caused to you by excessive exposure to this sound. (sound… sound… sound). Before you can compliment the cheeky way it prepares the listener for the song, it leads straight into a drop of ground-shaking, electronic-y goodness. It never lets up from here. The composition (more in it’s progression rather then execution) is similar to “Destination”, it holds on to something “enV” has found deliciously catchy and then adds a new element or switches gears entirely. The same could be said for “Fire Frost”, although it is a song more built on repetition, repeating the same chorus line and tweaking the bits and pieces as the track head-bobs along. I would argue that “Fire Frost” leans a little hard on genuinely repetitive, but every time the thought came across my head, it changed just enough that I stopped thinking about it. Electronic Super Joy as a whole feels like you’re at an EDM concert. I’ve also never been to an EDM concert. Moving on…
“Darkas” is an admittedly interesting piece for Electronic Super Joy, but I find it one of the lower points of the album. Like “Flare”, is a quieter piece. It manages to be somewhat unique by starting with a dark, sinister sounding bass-line, but this is quickly dropped into becoming another airy electronic piece. Personally, “Flare” worked better because, while it was quieter, it still stuck with that it was doing. “Darkas” gives you a take at what could have been the albums first villainous track. Something that was truly different from any of the other songs. I actually quite like how it opens; it should have stuck with that. Going back to something that harkens to “Flare” just doesn’t make the track work. Take “Shakestopper” for instance. One of the most “dubsteppy” of the songs, it’s wubwubs contrast greatly with the secondary chorus line. Interestedly enough, “enV” compliments the dubstep with more “Flare”-like sounds. In this case, it works because he doesn’t get rid of the first element. It doesn’t fall of the face of the earth; the two combine into something completely new. “Shakestopper” is the track that “Darkas” should have been. It didn’t give up it’s first element; it incorporated it.
Near the end of the album, we come to the cream of the crop. How rare is it that a soundtracks most varied, complicated and laudable pieces appear as the final 4 tracks? “Bestammelse”, “Uprising”, “Generic Techno” and “Switchblade” are my favourite pieces in the entire album (“This Sound” also being one of them. The favourites, that is). “Bestammelse” tries an opening similar to “Darkas” (which I will apparently never stop harping on), low and lingering chiptunes create an uneasy atmosphere. However, it begins to pump up into a battle-ready track perfect for a boss battle. Some of “enV’s” best songs use slow pauses in intensity right in the middle of a track. Just as your own energy begins to wane, he then drops. It’s like everything goes into slow motion for just a few seconds, your arm preparing for another fist-pump. “Uprise” takes a different approach. The song begins slow, as many of these songs do, but there are no drops here. There’s no loss of power. It just seems to get faster and faster, almost exhausting you as it nears it’s close.
“Generic Techno” is far from it’s moniker. It has an almost alienesque tone to it’s choice of synths, sounding outer-worldly and dissonant. The pulsing backbeats merge it all together into another one of the albums more “video-game-y” tracks. It sounds like someone is walking through a spooky, alien infested factory (during a rave). “Switchblade” is the final track of the album, and in the way it pushes it’s synths to the highest, hardest they’ve ever been in the way it opens, it knows it. It seems to combine everything that has previously been done on the album, and to great effect. The main chorus line in the background uses a synth similar to “Fire Frost” or “Darkas”, the hardcore “dubsteppery” is reminiscent of “Bestammelse”, the harder synths like “This Sound” and “Uprise”. It’s a shame that it’s the shortest track on the album. Rather then come to a close, it seems to dip into another one of “enV’s” quieter moments on previous songs, and then just ends. Disappointing, but an incredibly fun track none the less.
If you don’t like electronic music, then you’re going to hate this album. Everything is here: dubsteppin’, synth-banging, and drops faster then you can even prepare for. For a fan of the genre this is a must listen. While some of the tracks are disappointing in there execution and show only hints of the greatness they could have achieved; here we have an album of many starkly unique songs. It combines some aesthetics of video game soundtracks, blending the repetition of the EDM genre with an infectious love of moving forward. In a game where you’re suppose to keep constantly, constantly moving, what better music then something that makes you want to run? (Or pump your fists to the beat.)
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Posted on September 16, 2015 by Chris Hayman. Last modified on January 19, 2016.