Kynan Deep Space

Deep Space is a soundtrack to a videogame that doesn’t exist

Bad news: Deep Space is a game you will never play. It doesn’t exist except as an implication. It’s the invented backstory for a new record by Joel Williams (also of Wavves-affiliated acts Sweet Valley and Spirit Club). Under the name Kynan, Williams wrote the soundtrack to an imaginary game, which he describes as a “surreal shoot-em-up” in the vein of 1986’s Fantasy Zone. In the end—presumably around track 17, “Self Inflicted Wound Game Over”—you end up destroying the planet in your efforts to eradicate “mutated demon aliens.” The lead track, “Deep Impact,” throbs with huge clanging beats and plaintive synth arpeggios. “Contamination” has grainy washes of sound that…

No Man's Sky

The making of No Man’s Sky soundtrack

Post-rock has long been intertwined with film and television. That’s why there’s a big chance you’ve heard it before, possibly without even knowing it. Explosions In The Sky (one of the genre’s most well-known acts) blew up into mainstream consciousness after scoring the American football drama Friday Night Lights (2006-2011). Their fellow Austin residents This Will Destroy You have been heard in popular movies as well, including Moneyball (2011), World War Z (2013), and at least one ad campaign without their permission. Long-running Scottish act Mogwai (named after the furry creatures from Gremlins) most recently scored the 2015 BBC 4…

antariksha sanchar

An enormous and beautiful Indian transmedia project comes to videogames

In 2013, the Sri Lankan newspaper The Sunday Times interviewed Avinash Kumar, an experimental VJ (video jockey) from India, about a project he was heading: a short story that became a graphic novel that became an album with his audio-visual collective BLOT!, which then became something else altogether. The story was said to center on a South Indian man with synesthesia who went to Mars. “It’s become so much larger,” Kumar told the newspaper then, as a result of his initial concept of “Future Botanical” running away with itself. Fast-forward to 2016. On June 14, a game called Antariksha Sanchar (Transmissions…

Kentucky Route Zero

Slow things down by listening to the new Kentucky Route Zero teaser

Cardboard Computer has released a new track from an upcoming installment of Kentucky Route Zero and maybe it contains important information about what is to come in the game. Maybe—OK, let’s be real—it probably doesn’t. But maybe it does, and that’s enough hope to keep the whole operation going. — cardboard computer (@cardboardcompy) June 8, 2016 “River” is, as you might expect, an atmospheric track, filled with billowing sounds and distant noodlings. It doesn’t wash over you; you sink into it. Of course, this isn’t exactly music for you to listen to—at least not in this context. How often…


DOOM’s soundtrack has hellish secrets of its own

DOOM is a game of many secrets. The fast-paced shooter is filled to the brim with nostalgia-laden easter eggs to discover, catering well to its demographic. It’s no surprise that its soundtrack is bursting with secrets as well, this time of the spectrogram variety, according to eagle-eyed fan TomButcher. It’s no surprise that its soundtrack is bursting with secrets as well A spectrogram is the visualization of the frequencies of sound. While usually acting as most visualizers do—giving the listener some pretty colors to look at while enjoying a song or album—some musicians, like Aphex Twin, have slipped in eerie…


PaRappa the Rapper creator has made a new kind of music game

Imagine you’re sitting in a forest, soothing melodies chiming in all around you. There’s a keyboard in front of you, and color-coordinated blobs approach you. Instead of repeating the melody you hear as in most other rhythm games, you must hit the keys according to the pitch you hear. This is furusoma, the new mobile game from music-game connoisseur Masaya Matsuura. Matsuura has created some of the most inspirational rhythm games of all-time. Some would even credit his first title, the quirky hip-hop styled PaRappa the Rappa (1996), as popularizing the rhythm game genre. Given this, it shouldn’t be much of…


The irresistible appeal of roguelike storytelling

A 20-something girl stands in an elevator. There’s an eye patch on her face, a shotgun on her back, and a pistol in her right hand. The door opens, and she hits the ground running into a room full of drones. They hover over her, firing red lasers completely bent on killing her. After all, why wouldn’t they be? Molly Pop is the head of the Zero Sum Gang, and she’s on a mission to topple the Fero corporation by raiding their bunkers one-by-one. She wastes no time, shooting down the flying robots in seconds, then travelling down a hallway…


Pixelsynth lets you turn your face into a song

Pixelsynth is a new web app from coder Olivia Jack that allows anyone to compose songs simply by drawing or uploading pictures. It’s available for free over on her Github, and it works by setting music to images in a method similar to a commonly used scientific and musical tool called a spectrogram. Like how sheet music is a language for representing different pitches of notes, spectrograms are visual representations of the spectrum of frequencies that make up a sound. Every song has a spectrogram that can be derived from it, and conversely, any image can be plugged into a spectrogram…


Grimes’ luscious pop music is now an interactive installation

Experimental pop musician Claire “Grimes” Boucher is a one-lady machine. Not only does the pop songstress compose and write all her own music, she also directs her own music videos and has a steady hand in producing. The fully-realized vision of Grimes is wholly Boucher’s own. Grimes is Grimes, because of Grimes. It only makes sense that the next logical step in the world of Grimes is a step beyond the musical sphere—an interactive art installation. Knowing Grimes’ music, it’ll be something wonderfully weird Grimes will be headlining the North Carolina music, art, and technology festival Moogfest, which will be…