Ghosts N’ Pills
Ghosts N’ Pills
August 19, 2014
Download at OverClocked Records
We’ve all heard it—the familiar ‘wakka wakka’ sound emanating from an arcade as we stroll down a boardwalk or through a mall. Pac-Man, an arcade game developed by Namco and published in the West by Midway, arrived in arcade stores in Japan on May 22, 1980 and October, 1980 in North America. Over the decades it has become an icon of the video game industry. Since its introduction, there have been countless incarnations of this popular action puzzle game. The idea is to eat the white dots and the fruit, and if you can get those ghosts that are chasing after you to turn blue, go ahead and eat them too. There were simple yet fun sounds to accentuate the gameplay. The ‘wakka wakka wakka’ sound got faster after eating the large white dots and the ghosts have turned blue.
Jordan Aguirre (aka bLiNd), a musician and mixer featured on OverClocked Records, has released a 6 track powerhouse of a dubstep album dedicated to the sounds of Pac-Man. The album is entitled Ghosts N’ Pills and expertly matches the dubstep style and mixing techniques of popular artists such as Bassnectar, Datsik, Zomboy and countless others. I have spent many hours playing Pac-Man, and probably twice as many hours listening to dubstep. When the two come together it is a synergy that is just a blast to listen to. But don’t expect the light-hearted sounds of the arcade classic. bLiNd puts a whole new spin on the listening experience.
The album gets straight to the hook and starts with wobbles based on sounds heard in the game. The music builds as the inner thoughts of Pac-Man are spoken by a deep, effected voice. This is a dark take on the bright yellow character’s endeavors for fruit and all the ‘pills’ or white dots on the game board. The music reflects the disturbing lyrics and adds an edge to the voice speaking the thoughts of Pac-Man. The drop doesn’t happen until the voice states that he is ‘tired of these ghosts n pills’. The wobbles during the drop are smooth, rhythmic and add eerie harmony to the distorted and bit-crushed melody. The Pac-Man noise heard in the original game is mixed perfectly in the track and provides a driving force behind the melody. Each track is a remix of the same melodies; however, bLiNd mixes each track in a way that brings a fresh take on the same melody and never lets up on the energy.
The extended version of Ghosts N’ Pills has great dynamic contrast that builds up and then seems to float only to crescendo yet again. The drops are heavy and full of energy, a wave of video game inspired music is just what a dubstep drop needs in my opinion. The drumset is busy and has plenty of swing in the hi-hat and cymbal sounds. The bass drum keeps a steady ‘dub’ beat that I can tap my foot to while the snare hits hard on beats 2 and 4. The funky wobbles and crunchy beat mixed with the ‘pac-man’ sound made my speakers rock back and forth in time with the music.
Performed live at MAGFest 12, the final track is my favorite mix, starting out with that Pac-Man sound as well as hysterical commentary on the fruits, especially the cherries. He really likes the cherries. The panning in this track is nuts especially during the build up to the drop. The beat is heavy and the wobbles are hard and rhythmic while still being melodic. I love how the beat starts with a hip-hop inspired tone and changes to a techno sounding beat to add a new feel, yet classic video game sound to the conclusion of the EP.
Ghosts N’ Pills is a lot of fun to listen to. It is a dark and psychedelic take on a classic game that would inspire many game developers down the road. Whenever I need a boost of energy I will pump this album out of my speakers and take a minute to groove with it. The artist captured the energy and unique sounds of Pac-Man while still creating an excellent and professional dubstep EP. I recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of Pac-Man and music. This rivals many tracks and game music remixes I have heard in the past and I look forward to more of bLiNd’s work.
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Posted on August 29, 2014 by Marc Chait. Last modified on August 30, 2014.