Monday, 22 April 2013

Lost in the Music ~ Roots by Danimal Cannon

Original album art by Francis Coulombe. Visit his website for more details

There is no shortage of music for me to reviews and some days it can get a bit overwhelming. Do I review the brand new album from the GameChops album? Or the latest Random EP. I could be stuck choosing a new album when a friend will suggest I listen to a song he has found which will spark my attention and have me listen to the other songs to review while the album is was considering writing about falls to the wayside. Today's album is one such an example.

Last year while I was at PAX, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Danimal Cannon's latest album Roots. I gave it a listen and enjoyed what I had heard, but by the time I had recovered from PAX Pox, I had more album's to review. Sadly, the album had become a “I'll get to it it next week” scenario for the next year. However I am finally getting a chance to give it a proper listen and review, and much like a fine wine, the music only got better.

While I was listening to Roots, I was reading up on what Danimal Cannon used to make his music. Some artist will perform and record their music live while other artists utilize a plethora of audio programs, but Danimal Cannon went beyond. Using only a Gameboy and some homebrew software, he has crafted an entire album of music that could be considered retro to a gamer who grew up in the 80's.

What makes Root's special? I believe it is because Danimal Cannon went the extra step to make the songs seem like it was something you would have heard on an old Gameboy. These songs feel as if they belong in a game where you have to save the princess from some space tyrant, or get stranded on some strange island whose inhabitants are nothing more then a dream of an elderitch creature. Roots is a wonderful album for those who wish to have a fresh experience with a nostalgic twist.

Roots is a fantastic nostalgia trip. The songs are wholly original, yet feel familiar as each song has you thinking you are playing on the Gameboy again. For those who grew up in the late 80's early 90's this album is simply wonderful as it has you thinking back to your youth. For those who never had a chance to play on a Gameboy, then this is a great opportunity to hear some wholly new tracks from that bygone era of gaming.

I have said before that Chiptunes are a difficult medium to work within. It takes time and patience to get the sound right. All it takes are a few small errors and the song can turn from a gentle nostalgia trip to digitized static. Danimal Cannon, much like Anamanaguchi and the artists on Chiptunes = Win, knows how to make Chiptunes sound good without turning it into a digitized mess.

Some people are proficient as a drummer, others play guitar. There are people who make a career being a concert pianist. However, there is only one person that I know of who has turned a classic Gameboy into a musical instrument. I think that is what makes this album special. It's a nostalgia trip, but not for any one game, but for the system itself. The music reminds the listener, if they are old enough, the times when they were a child and were travelling. From a simple trip into the city or on a long road trip, the Gameboy was one thing many children didn't leave home without.

I am Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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