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Indie Music

Restoring Guthrie's Archive: Children of the Clone (Review)

Restoring Guthrie’s Archive: Children of the Clone (Review)

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Jim Guthrie, Mr. Jampants himself, has a lot more on his bandcamp than just game and film soundtracks. He has plenty of “original” works.

And then he has this one album whose origins are … well, sort of hard to explain. It’s called Children of the Clone, and it’s another album from Guthrie that’s available digitally or on vinyl, sold exclusively on bandcamp.

For more on the history of the album, and my own impressions, follow along after the jump.

Okay, so here’s the deal with this album. Jim Guthrie had written some of these themes years ago, using this game/software for PSone called MTV Music Generator. Years later, he went back to these old project files, spruced them up, and then made some more music with it. The end result is the full 10-track album Children of the Clone, which clocks in at about 34 minutes of music.

Considering the music is created entirely using this software, and even recorded from the PSone to digital audio and then mixed and published from there, speaks to the sort of “slow art” that we can see in the indie scene. This is like those people who use the re-skinned and updated version of the Mario Paint music tracker to make something that is honestly and surprisingly beautiful.

There are a few fun things about the album from the perspective of a Sword & Sworcery fan. Those “fun things” are actual allusions to that soundtrack. We can’t know which came first, but in all likelihood, the little melodies you hear here were first made on MTV Music Generator and then, years later, repurposed for S&S. The one counterexample to this is the first bonus track, “Light Flute,” which is just “Dark Flute” pushed into the PSone software and made to have less moody, droning bass.

If forced to pick favorites, I’d narrow my picks to the opening track “Economica,” and track 7, “Lust In Space.” There are melodic phrases in “Economica” that I’m sure I’ve heard in S&S. But the track itself stands out as a truly impressive composition with a lot of great dynamic range and shifting layers. Instead of shifting, I almost wrote “sifting.” And it kind of feels like that at times, like the audio is being filtered and sifted like sand and water and rocks through a pan. I’m searching for gold, and now and then, I strike gold with this album.

“Lust In Space” uses a sparse picked-guitar part to set the musical background, and the rhythm on this track is a hot collection of handmade drum loops. Can you dig?

Well, I can. This might not be the best or most memorable album in Guthrie’s collection, even among the “non-game-soundtracks” found there. But there are enough catchy pieces of music here, and most of them are quite soothing, that I can (and often do) use this as evening relaxation music an hour or two before I go to sleep.

If you want it, pick it up here. You know you want the LP: that album art looks downright crazy.

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