I’ve listened to a few tunes from zircon (real name Andrew Aversa, husband of vocalist Jillian Aversa) in my time. He’s done some cool arrangements for OverClocked ReMix in his time, he’s released some original albums, and he’s worked on a number of games as well (most recently, on Soul Calibur V, which is a pretty big deal!).
As part of the Indie Game Music Bundle 3, zircon offered up his soundtrack to the 2009 XBLA release Fittest. Real talk: I hadn’t even heard this soundtrack until the bundle’s release. So it’s safe to say that I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the VGM scene, at least not as thoroughly or as often as I tell myself I do. Shame, shame, Mr. Gann!
But enough about me. What about zircon’s soundtrack for Fittest? You’ll find out by joining us after the jump.
As I write this review, I must confess: I’m not feeling well. I have a headache, and a stomach ache. If it weren’t for modern medicine and a (relatively) useful healthcare system, I’d probably be dead. So take that, “Survival of the Fittest!” I’m a mild-mannered weakling and I’m still kicking!
One of the things keeping me alive is the groovy music I’m listening to. Working backwards on this zircon joint, we have this metal track “Star Command” featuring Sixto Sounds. It’s my least favorite track on the album, but that might have something to do with my headache. From here on out, though, it’s smooth sailing. Starting with my personal favorite track, “Morsecode” (track 13). This track is super-funky. The OneUps should cover it. For real.
Skipping back another track, we have “Factor 5.” The title alone gives me the willies, becaues it reminds me of Factor V Leiden, which then makes me think about deep vein thrombosis. Fortunately for me, I’m able to forget my hypochondria-induced troubles when I hear the music. Especially the parts where the drum loop eases off and the super-bright piano takes center stage. Love that stuff.
Playing up some serious Indian/Bollywood vibes, we have “Psychesphere” at track 11. It has a sitar, tabla drums, and … slap bass? Okay, so it’s still a little funky. I love the whole “exotic/foreign” thing zircon pulls off here, and all within the overarching style of making sweet dance beats.
Jumping back a few more tracks, we find the longest track on the album, “Glacial Reflection.” At exactly 6 minutes and 14 seconds, this puppy is worth every second of listening. As soon as you put anything ice-related in your track title, you’d better put out some awesome music, or you’re screwed. Everyone knows that ice/snow levels in video games are rad, because you can use a bevy of awesome crystalline synths to bring your piece to life. If you don’t bring your A-game, and your ice/snow level music sucks, you may as well just quit. Good news: zircon doesn’t disappoint. “Glacial Reflection” makes ice sound just as cool as it did in Metroid Prime‘s Phendrana Drifts.
And if we skip all the way to the front tracks, “Startup Screen” and “Main Menu,” we get a taste of what it’s like to boot up Fittest. It’s cutesy at first, and then it’s surprisingly dark and dissonant. It’s a little jarring, and in my mind doesn’t represent the album well at all. That’s why I reviewed the tracks in reverse order. I like the latter half of the album more, and I wanted to emphasize the best stuff first!
It’s all good, though. Some of these tracks might be “Fitter” than others for individual consumption. Even in the front half (“Photosynthesis” is a beast!). But, as a whole, this album is good stuff.
As with many other bundled albums: if you missed it during GMB3, you can pick it up separately on bandcamp. Current price is $4.99, not bad for over an hour of catchy electro-funk!Tags: Andrew Aversa, Bandcamp, Electronica, Fittest, Funk, Game Music Bundle, GMB3, Jazz, Reviews, zircon