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Score Board: Soundtracks for Tabletop Games, Part Two

Posted by Amoebite, April 2, 2018 02:59pm | Post a Comment

By Chris Curtis

Howdy gamesters! Welcome to the second installment of an occasional series of articles on soundtracking your board game experiences. In part one I made the case that the right music can elevate your fun around the table as much as it can with any social gathering. The tricky part with tabletop game ambience, though, is that you’re generally avoiding lyric-centric music, which wipes out a huge swath of choices.

My search for appropriate gaming background music has led me to dig into some neglected corners of my own music collection. Lately I’ve been re-listening to some '90s electronic and ambient releases that have survived years of collection culling.

For a brief period, ambient or electronic listening music was being heavily hyped by the music press. During the height of the British house and techno scene, clubs had begun to offer a separate music room apart from the main dance floor where clubgoers could take a break from the unrelenting beats. Adventurous DJs played a mix of '70s electronic LPs, mellow psych and prog, sound and nature effects, NASA recordings, and custom samples, along with current beatless 12” mixes - a blend designed to sooth the savage breast of the ecstasy eater. These “chillout” or ambient rooms became quite popular, and after album releases dubbed “ambient house” by The KLF (Chill Out) and The Orb (The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld), a spate of similar releases surfaced, most on independent labels, and a new (sub)genre was born. The scene flourished for a couple years but ran its course by the mid-'90s. Truth be told, not a lot of the material holds up, and, arguably, only a handful of classic records emerged from the heyday years.

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New 12"s @ Amoeba Hollywood 2/8 - Michael Whitehead, Pharoahs, 214, Versalife, Jeremy Greenspan, Daddub, Eddie C, and more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, February 14, 2013 12:24pm | Post a Comment

Michael Whitehead

Danse Club 

Why release Jersey-inspired house when you can reissue the real thing? The “Meat Mixx” and “NYC Dub” of this Whitehead/Murk collaboration are compiled here, along with present-day remixes. The original NYC Dub is a transcendent example of American garage house - all vocal cutups, pristine piano, swung drums and organ steps.The Meat Mixx makes full-use of Whitehead’s powerhouse ( vocals. A1, the remix by Willie Graff and Tucillo provides an airier interpretation of the NYC Dub’s organ stabs and Whitehead’s soaring vocals, and adds a subtle acidic squelch. The Florian Kruse mix has a classic Strictly Rhythm vibe while Max Jacobson takes a deeper approach - looping a wordless sample of Whitehead’s vocal, but buoying the track with live-sounding bongos. Great release!

Purchase Under My Spell



Pharoahs
Island Time
ESP Institute

Their status as LA’s premier live dance/balaeric/kraut/? band cemented, the group of talented producers and music nerds (Pharoahs’ core consists of former Amoeba employee Sam Cooper, Dublab dude Ale Cooper and rising producer Suzanne Kraft) make the move to fellow diviner Lovefingers’ label for their most realized effort yet. “Ahumba” is named after surfer Cooper’s dream beach in Zanzibar - and the song reworks windswept digital beauty of the Innovative Communications label for the dancefloor. Sublime guitar arpeggiations color the tropical tracks. “If It Ever Feels Right” is a live staple that never comes out quite the same - a testament to the massive amount of improv that makes Pharaohs such an exciting group. The basis of the track is a descending Juno 60 arpeggio - delayed uptown sax, a far-off pad and varied percussion fill this out into perhaps the most floor-friendly track on the record. The insistent bassline eventually ends up scoring some light jacking and zonked sax-work worthy of Roland P. Young. Island Time successfully focuses on rhythm rather than the synth acrobats of the other tracks, bringing the tide back out for this great EP.

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In Color

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 27, 2008 11:45am | Post a Comment