TouchFish Soundtrack EP
TouchFish Soundtrack EP
Chris Huelsbeck Productions
May 8, 2015
Download at Bandcamp
TouchFish is a social simulation iOS game in which the players can build fish tanks and nurture unique fishes. The game features music by the famed German composer, Chris Huelsbeck. Huelsbeck released three EPs for Touchfish — TouchFish Soundtrack EP Vol. 1, TouchFish Soundtrack EP Vol. 2, and TouchFish Soundtrack EP Vol. 3 – Deep Chiptune. This review will cover all three aforementioned albums.
TouchFish Soundtrack EP Vol. 1 features chillout music that paints relaxing imagery of sunny tropical beach and crystal blue oceans. Theme (from TouchFish) utilizes reverberating tones that sound like water droplets and arpeggio figures to create a watery soundscape that befits the concept of the game. Soothing piano melody accompanied by steady shaker beats is used to evoke the mood of vacation in “Happy Holidays”. “Island Vibes” is a rhythmic track that paints a visual appropriate to its title with percussive sounds one would associate with an exotic tropical island, such as hand drums and shakers.
In “Watching All the Fishes”, the echoing tones surrounds the listener in a vast expanse of water. “Ocean Swell” started with some rhythmic pulses but the beats were halted mid-track to make way for an interlude of swelling tones of gentle underwater waves. The image of calm water is induced with sustained tones and a subdued bassy motif in “The Big Chill”. The reverberating melodic line flows through the sustained tones like rays piercing through the water in “Underwater Sun Rays”. “Deep Ocean”, a track more upbeat than one would expect from its title, features repeating patterns and piano arpeggio figures.
TouchFish Soundtrack EP Vol. 2 has a selection of music that is more stylistically diverse than the first volume. Arpeggio figures are featured prominently in “Dunes in the Wind”, a track that actually sounds more appropriate for a desert than a beach. “Fun in the Sun”, as the title suggests, is a bubbly track with a cheery melody. “Holiday Sunset” is built on a repeating bassline, with broken chords by piano and melody by mandolin played over it. Starting with just sustained tones, “A Day at the Beach” would eventually add additional layers of vigorous beats and ringing notes into the mix.
“Choppy Waves” utilizes steady clapping sounds to create the choppiness indicated in the title, and the melody is cleverly modified mid-track to syncopate the fixed clapping rhythm. “Sailboats on the Bay” has ascending figures that sound like continuous waves and the rhythm is stirred up with the introduction of some lively beats. Similarly, “Ocean Travel” begins with some serene sustained tones before the beats come in and agitate the rhythm. With an obvious major tone, “Riding with the Wind” features a joyful melody carried by the mandolin and piano successively. The bonus track, “TouchFish Trailer Music” is a short dynamic track that utilizes an ascending scalar progression to build up the climax towards the end.
TouchFish Soundtrack EP Vol. 3 – Deep Chiptune, as the subtitle implies, is a collection of Chiptune music. It is worth noting that the tracks in this album are ingeniously titled in a way that alludes to their Chiptune sound, which I find really amusing. “Sparkling Digital Ocean” is a solemn track with a minor tone that makes one think of the deeper part of the ocean. “Bitcrushed Ice” employs some high-pitched beeps and rapid echoing arpeggio figures atop the melody to create the crisp icy sound. Recorded with samples reminiscent of the music from NES, “Adorable CuteNES” (Initially reading it as “Adorable Cute Nintendo Entertainment System”, which makes no sense, I eventually realized the title is meant to be read as “Adorable Cuteness”) begins with a sprightly melody before making an interesting mood shift with descending minor figures that end on a major chord.
“Sid Delicious” has a rather epic melody one would not expect from its title, and would be quite fitting for the final dungeon in an old school RPG. Starting with some cool Chiptune sound effects that mimic the sound of ocean waves, which would go on throughout the track, “Sprite on the Beach” (I believe the Sprite here is not the lime-flavored soda we often drink) features a relaxing melody that puts one at ease. With a prominent and groovy bassline, “Fish and Chips” (Once again, the chips here is probably not made of potato but something inedible) feels like a diving experience with some strange fishes. “NESting Sea Birds”, like its counterpart “Adorable CuteNES”, has a pleasant melody that would be suitable for the adventure of an 8-bit hero through a sunny plain. “Ode to Johann Sebastian” (A salute to the great Bach in a fish raising game?) closes the album with musical structure loosely akin to a baroque prelude, which is especially obvious in the arpeggio figures that the track begins with.
The three EPs of TouchFish each contains a unique selection of music but all of them are stylistically unified. The first EP focus on soothing chillout tracks; the second features a more diverse mix of ambiance music; the third a fun tribute to the great Chiptune era. Although the tracks in these EPs are unlikely to blow you away, they are a solid collection that is easy on the ear and will likely grow on you over time. However, the asking prices for these digital releases are rather high, considering that each EP is sold separately. If finance is not a concern, these TouchFish EPs would be a good addition to your Chris Huelsbeck library of music.
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Posted on May 28, 2015 by KT Wong. Last modified on May 29, 2015.