Superflat Games’ Flash-based miracle of an adventure game, Soul Brother, is well worth playing. Certainly one of my favorite Flash titles in the last two or three years. (Here’s the link to play, by the way.)
I wrote an email to game creator/compsoer Jasper Byrne, aka “Sonic,” begging that the soundtrack be released somehow. This Daft Punk-esque electronic house masterpiece was stuck in my head, but I had no way to “take it with me.” I wasn’t going to run through the game over and over to hear it, and I sure as heck didn’t want to try and create my own gamerip. I gave some incentive in my email: “sell the thing on bandcamp.”
It took a few months, and while I never got a response to that email, I did get my wish. Released in September 2011, the Soul Brother soundtrack is not the cheapest digital soundtrack: 5 GBP, or about 8 USD. Compare that to, say, the pay-what-you-want soundtrack release for Bloodrayne: Betrayal by Jake Kaufman, and the pricetag to the Soul Brother soundtrack might dissuade you. But I’d urge you to listen through the audio first. If you liked, say, the Shatter soundtrack, I think Soul Brother will win you over too.
More after the jump, my soulful brethren!
This 11-track, nearly-fully-length album (just under 40 minutes) is a fun romp through the gamut of the electro-house scene. And before I hear complaints that it’s easy to fill track time when your music is looped, let me remind you that the art and science behind this genre of music involves tinkering with the loop over and over so you continue to get dynamic changes. If it were fully static, anyone could do it. It’s the cuts, the tinkering, the hands-on approach to building and deconstructing the loop that makes the music good. On all these counts, “Sonic” succeeds.
The opening track, “Welcome To Soularis,” sets the tone perfectly. It’s fun and silly, but that chord progression is catchy as hell. And the modified vocoder-voice chanting “Soul Brother” every 8 measures or so? I love it. Totally rad.
The most common overworld music, from my recollection of playing the game, is the second track, “Mr.Soul.” Again, I defer my knowledge of what makes this music good to setting Daft Punk as the standard. Anyone remember the track “Crescendolls” off of Discovery? That whole super-panned half-word voice sample is a tough technique to work into music (I’ve tried it in homemade experimentations and failed miserably). But the voice samples in this track are awesome. The whole track is awesome.
The vocals go from samples to full-on melodic, lyrical sections in the tracks “Gemstones” and “Times We Had Together.” I could actually do without these vocal tracks, since I think the performance isn’t as mind-blowing as the compositional genius found throughout the soundtrack. But hey, nothing’s perfect.
“Cloud Cuckooland,” track 6, might be my favorite track on the album, despite being the shortest track (80 seconds, exactly). It’s so chill. Don’t believe me? Head to bandcamp and listen to the totally chill streaming audio.
I know this review might paint me as a “dude chill bro” hipster douchebag. And that’s fine. I’m not too concerned about my image. But I am concerned that more people who appreciate this style of music hear this particular album. So be sure to support this guy. He makes cool music, and he makes free games. Maybe with enough support, we can convert him to using the “pay-what-you-want” pricing model. Less cash short-term, but more fans long-term. That’s what I’m talking about.Tags: Bandcamp, Chill, Flash, Funk, House, Jasper Byrne, Reviews, Sonic, Soul, Soul Brother, Superflat Games