Monday, 15 April 2013

Pokemon: The MissingNo Tracks. An OCReMix Album Review.

Original Art by Joseph Purdy. 
I wouldn't call myself a diehard fan of the Pokemon series. Aside from the Pokemon Snap, I have not played any of the spin off games Such as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon or Pokemon Ranger series. Yet I still love the regular Pokemon games. They are the ideal game to play when you are sick and lying on the couch or on a road trip with your family down to visit other relatives. While the Pokemon games were not instrumental in developing my love for video games, they were still an important part of me growing up.

When The MissingNo Tracks debuted two years ago, it was OCReMix's 23rd album, and only Pokemon album to date. When I first downloaded the album, I listened to it for a while then put it in my music archive as I had found a new CD to listen to, and never gave the album a second listen. Fast Forward to 4 months ago during a snow storm, I was outside clearing the snow off the sidewalk and had chosen a random playlist, and of course inadvertently chose The MissingNo Tracks. While working, the music was playing and I came to realize that the album was pretty good and that I needed to give the album a second listen.

On the MissingNo Tracks there are two songs that stick out as my two favourites. The first song being Level 99's rendition of the Opening Demo called Mighty Mighty Pokemon. It is a guitar and drum heavy track that makes the original game's intro seem awe inspiring. Mighty Mighty Pokemon is great as it feels like a perfect way to start an album. What truly sells the song is the fantastic guitar work. Level 99 did a fantastic job with guitar and made you feel as if you are playing Pokemon for the first time. It invokes that feeling of awe and excitement as you are going to explore this brand new world for the first time.

The second song would have to Fishy's version of the Gym Trainer battle. It starts off slow, but immediately picks up into a guitar heavy track. This song is very much like Level 99's version of the Mighty Mighty Pokemon in that it emulates the heavy metal/hard rock guitar and drums. It also turns one of Pokemon's most iconic tunes from relatively awesome to epic sounding. The track here is far more suited for a fight scene in a Shonen anime as it invokes imagery of explosive and flashy battles. Far more exciting then the simple sprite animations from Gen I. Fishy did a fantastic job on this song and I feel that this is one of the best songs on the album.

I also have to give a shout out to DragonAvenger's Jiggly Choir. The song is nothing but DragonAvenger doing an auto-tuned Jigglypuff song, but for some reason, I really enjoy. It is an incredibly silly song, but on this album I think it would be missed if it wasn't included on the album. It's certainly not the best song on the album, but it is still fun to listen to.

As a bonus, the MissingNo Tracks team also included some Gen III and IV remixes on the album as well. Sadly there aren't too many Gen III Gen IV tracks, but it does give the album a nice variety. The only criticism is that the later generations are somewhat glossed over. With 28 songs, they could have easily given 7 songs to each generation. Perhaps maybe next time.

So how is The MissingNo Tracks? I love it. There are a couple of songs on the album that I don't think work right, but for the most part, album is great. Listening to the album has me want to find my old Pokemon Blue cartridge and the grey brick and battle the Elite Four as well as your childhood rival and once again claim the championship for myself. If you are an old school Pokemon fan, then this will be a nostalgia trip for you. You can find the album on the album's website.

After the last few weeks of orchestra's, chiptunes and retro electronica, It is good to be getting back to my roots. This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.


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