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Ken Ishii and Danalogue Crew Up for Synth-Infused Soundtrack of C-Smash VRS

Humanity has spent hundreds of years pondering the concept that we most likely aren’t the one clever lifeforms within the universe. The Fermi paradox means that regardless of there being no conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life, possibly it’s merely hidden amongst the 200 billion trillion stars within the universe.

The larger query, although, no less than to synth participant and report producer Danalogue, is how superior these lifeforms would must be to go their time taking part in sports activities in purpose-built area stations. Danalogue has spent quite a lot of time wrapping his head round this query whereas engaged on the soundtrack for a online game, which could sound fairly bizarre however completely is smart when the sport he’s engaged on is C-Smash VRS, a futuristic sports activities recreation for the PSVR2 combining squash, area stations and a complete lot of atmospheric synth.

“I like the concept of the sport being on an area station, and I used to be pondering: ‘how distant we’re from not simply having an area station that’s sensible for scientific issues, however the place you’ve bought sufficient technical prowess to construct this enormous squash courtroom in area?’” Danalogue laughs down a telephone line to NME.

The idea of C-Smash VRS is so wild you’d be forgiven for pondering it was dreamed up through the experimental period of Dreamcast video games equivalent to House Channel 5, Lack of Love and Kenji Eno’s D2. It was, in actual fact. C-Smash VRS is a modern-day reimagining of the arcade recreation Cosmic Smash, and the results of author and director Jörg Tittel’s obsession with the unique recreation and all issues Sega. The addition of VR solely enhances the otherworldly expertise.

Danalogue. Credit score: Press

The pair met after Danalogue licensed a observe from his electronica jazz band, Comet is Coming, for Tittel’s recreation The Final Employee. After a load of conferences the place they bonded over a shared love of video video games and music, Tittel informed Danalogue about his mammoth assortment of online game soundtracks. Danalogue says he was blown away after studying there was a marketplace for online game soundtracks, and was intrigued by the concept of writing music for a recreation.

“It was actually thrilling to me as a result of I’d by no means thought of releasing music as a recreation soundtrack,” he explains. “However given I’ve this huge historical past of taking part in video video games as a child, we each actually clicked and when he requested me to put in writing music for the sport it was a whole no-brainer.”

Danalogue has amassed a stable collection of analogue synths through the years he’s spent taking part in with Comet is Coming and his digital duo Soccer96, with Roland 303s, Junos, Jupiters, and a trusty SH-101 forming the foundations for C-Smash VRS. Whereas the music he’s written will sound acquainted to followers of Comet is Coming and Soccer96, the heavy use of a Roland TR-808 drum machine shakes issues up sufficient to create a singular sonic palette for the sport. “That’s the principle departure, actually,” he says. “There’s just one observe on the soundtrack I did with reside drums.”

C-Smash VRS. Credit score: Wolf Wooden Interactive

And as you may think, Danalogue’s constructed a reasonably robust community of music contacts by the 15 years he’s spent touring and performing, so why not use C-Smash VRS as a possibility to carry collectively a bunch of musicians who would by no means see their names side-by-side on a challenge except it was in essentially the most extraordinary circumstances: just like the soundtrack for a recreation the place you play squash in area.

The tip result’s a cosmic soundtrack that includes among the hottest names in underground music, together with Brainfeeder-signed Salami Rose Jo Lewis, post-punk band Snapped Ankles, Phil MFU (ex-Vanishing Twin), Evening Tapes’ drummer Max Doohan and Terracassette. They lent their abilities in varied methods, from co-writing and engineering tracks to, within the case of Salami Rose Jo Lewis, having each chromatic observe in her vocal vary recorded and laid throughout a keyboard as a customized choir synth.

C-Smash VRSC-Smash VRS. Credit score: Wolf Wooden Interactive

Danalogue and his eclectic entourage of musicians aren’t the one ones writing music for C-Smash VRS, although. Danalogue’s joined by co-composer and techno legend, Ken Ishii, whose written new tracks for the sport after he was launched to Tittel by his pal James Mielke – though they quickly found they’d met 20 years earlier when Tittel interviewed Ishii whereas he was working as a journalist for US Official Dreamcast Journal.

Ishii’s contributions to C-Smash VRS are the techno cherry on prime of a cosmic cake bursting with electronica and membership music flavours. Think about the substances in that cake are the soundtracks for Rez, Tunic, Hotline Miami, Fez, Streets of Rage, Ecco the Dolphin and Kaze No Notam and also you’ve bought a good thought of how scrumptious every part sounds.

C-Smash VRSC-Smash VRS. Credit score: Wolf Wooden Interactive

All of this works as a result of there’s a powerful hyperlink between membership music and video video games, one thing which Ishii credit to the early sounds of ‘70s arcade video games like Taito’s House Invaders and Atari’s Circus inspiring digital pioneers equivalent to Yellow Magic Orchestra, which in flip impressed a complete era of DJs and producers (together with Ishii). “I feel [club music and video games] are like twins in a method,” he explains over e mail. “I used to be critically into that first era of video video games in my childhood, and I had an implanted conception, like ‘video video games equal digital music.’”

In fact, Ishii is definitely no stranger to the world of video video games. Through the years, he’s pumped out techno tunes for an extended record of titles together with Rez, Lumines and LSD: Dream Emulator, to not point out his work producing remix albums such because the hilariously heavy Tekken 3: Seven Remixes album.

That mentioned, the music that Ishii has written for C-Smash VRS is considerably of a departure from the darkish techno sound the producer is greatest identified for. This can be a VR recreation, in spite of everything, and if this was Ishii at his heaviest, anybody battling movement illness would additionally must take care of the specter of an existential disaster after being pummelled by an onslaught of heavy techno and squash balls in a digital area station.

That’s to not say Ishii’s music lacks power. Spend half-hour listening to ‘Warp’, a brand new observe he’s written for the sport you may take heed to above, and also you’ll be sweating simply as a lot as a 30-minute session of swatting digital squash balls. However relatively than incorporating his conventional techno fashion, Tittel directed Ishii by offering him with visions and tales for particular person scenes, giving him plenty of requests that Ishii says “aren’t listed within the idea of constructing techno.”

“It was principally phrases expressing one thing summary. No point out of BPMs, observe lengths, keys, or ups and downs,” he explains. “He didn’t all the time need a typical techno fashion so the outcomes are distinctive and extra numerous. It wasn’t simple generally however I did take pleasure in all features of the method and noticed this as a brand new problem.”

Equally, Danalogue took an summary method to the sport’s rating – and we’re not simply speaking about him grappling with the philosophical debate surrounding the Fermi paradox. Somewhat than making an attempt to put in writing music round a particular style, Danalogue wished to seize three particular feelings that mirror the enjoyment of his personal gaming experiences and greatest seize the essence of the C-Smash VRS: the brave and hopeful side of triumph, the high-stakes depth of competitors, and the upbeat power of athleticism (as a result of when you’ve performed the demo of C-Smash VRS, you’ll respect how a lot of a exercise it’s).

“Each degree I’ve been writing music for, I’ve written 5 tracks,” he says. “We’re utilizing the identical sounds, however they get extra intense as the extent goes on. I went a bit overboard with it – as an alternative of simply writing one observe and build up the drums I’ve basically ended up with 25 tracks! I feel there’ll be components to it the place sure bits can get looped or will play within the foyer earlier than you go into the extent, and there shall be bits the place whenever you full the extent the music harkens again to different bits.”

The mixed musical efforts of Ishii, Danalogue and quite a few different collaborators coupled with the slick design work of Cory Schmitz and the emphatic route and fervour from Tittel means C-Smash VRS is an audible and visible delight that anybody who’s a fan of quirky Dreamcast video games gained’t wish to miss. And when you can’t deal with the depth of a VR sports activities recreation, you may whack in your headset, sit down within the foyer and let the music transport you to a different world.

C-Smash VRS is about to launch for PSVR2 on June 23, 2023.