Chip Music, Game Music, Reviews

HyperDuck Power! The Blocks Cometh (Review)

June 6, 2012 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook HyperDuck Power! The Blocks Cometh (Review)on Twitter

There’s this totally awesome three-man sound team from the UK that we at OSV have neglected to talk about as much as we ought. They’ve done a fair beat of music in the last three years, and I suspect they’ll only get better with time.

Of course, I’m talking about HyperDuck SoundWorks. I really appreciate the work they’ve done, especially the ridiculously good soundtrack for A.R.E.S: Extinction Agenda (which was actually featured in the first GMB). Someday I’ll review that album, because I adore it.

But today, we’re here to talk about a much smaller soundtrack they first released in April 2011 and is presently being featured in the Indie Game Music Bundle 3. That soundtrack is for The Blocks Cometh. But now, Chris et al, be forewarned! Judgment upon your music cometh! After the jump, that is.

Sigh… I really wanted to write something mean-spirited and/or controversial here. Like, “yeah, A.R.E.S is good, but this soundtrack is a waste of your time and money.” People are always commenting on how overwhelmingly positive I am, and I’d like to try and balance that out somehow. Furthermore, if there were anything worth taking a big crap on amongst the discography of a group I enjoy, it may as well be one of their smaller releases (The Blocks Cometh soundtrack is only 16 minutes).

But I have no grounds to be a jerk. I don’t even have grounds to be middle-of-the-road here. This soundtrack, short though it may be, is quite good! The prominent track in the collection is also the longest: track 2, “Attack Of The Blocks (Main Theme).” This track is a brilliant, sustained rush of energy to the audio-processing sections of the brain. It’s got this great chiptunes-meets-prog-rock feel to it, much like Disasterpeace’s concept album “Level,” but with a little more pop-friendly tonality than what Disasterpeace did on that album. The HyperDuck crew pulled out all the stops for this track, and I love it, and I love them for it.

The cleverly-titled “Revenge Of The Block…th (GameBot Menu Theme)” makes perfect use of the old NES/chiptune bass and percussion-crunch. This slow, short interlude reminds me of the interlude tracks between levels in the also-short-but-awesome Tower of Heaven from flashygoodness. Yes, I’ve compared HyperDuck to flashygoodness, and in a favorable way. Am I getting through to you yet? What I’m trying to say is that I really like what I’m hearing.

The other long track is track 4, “A New Block (GameBot Level Theme).” It’s … also good? Yeah, it’s really good. It’s got a sort of pentatonic oriental/jazz fusion thing going for it, which is pretty impressive considering the chippy soundscape. Talk about doing a lot with a little. Or, rather, an emulated version of “a little.” Ha!

The only beef I have with this album is that, presently, it’s priced at $4 on bandcamp. I know that’s a stupid reason to complain, especially because that really is a fair price in terms of the work they poured into the soundtrack. However, relative to the rest of the indie game music market, it’s worth noting that there are other great albums from composers out there of similar size (15-20 minutes) that are available for pay-what-you-want (no minimum). Of course, any bickering about the price could be avoided if you just sunk your teeth into GMB3. But if you missed your shot, well … I’d say this album is still worth $4. It’s just that I know it’ll be hard for you to believe me. Which is why I recommend you also listen to the entire streaming version before purchasing. I always recommend that, when the option exists.

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