Aydan Appreciates: ‘The Best of DDRKirby(ISQ) – Volume 2’

- Posted May 9th, 2019 by

DDRKirby(ISQ) has composed an absolutely obscene amount of quality tunes over the past decade and a half, and is a long-standing member of both the OCRemix and chipmusic communities. Predominantly composing music for a series of themed game competitions called the ‘Ludum Dare’ series, DDRKirby(ISQ) and friends have created dozens of these small, entertaining, browser-based games. With this competition being held once every six months, a colossal amount of material has been composed; DDRKirby(ISQ) has graciously compiled what they consider to be their best hits over the past few years. From video game remixes to original compositions, the album is simply packed full of memorable music!

Let’s begin by listening to the first track DDRKirby(ISQ) treats us to – ‘Starlight Festival’. This track was originally commissioned by a Twitch streamer by the name of pixeldesu as their channel’s theme song, and what a jam it is! The track opens with bassy kicks, punchy square-assisted snares and toms, and a dominant, energetic melody. The melodic theme persists throughout the track, with a majority of the supporting instruments morphing to create distinctly different sections several times. In particular, one of the most obvious instances of this technique is displayed at the 2:02 mark of the piece. The melody, when compared to that of the track’s introductory chorus, is completely identical; however, the drums and rhythmic square voices take on a quieter tone in order to build anticipation for the second half of ‘Starlight Festival’.

To those that have read my articles in the past, it should be no secret that I’m a huge fan of the music of the Touhou series. ZUN’s compositions are incredible and lavishly detailed, and every track he’s composed has a distinct sound, yet retains the musical complexity I’ve come to expect from him as a composer. When I saw that there was a remix of a track from ‘Subterranean Animism’, I couldn’t help myself! ‘Lullaby of Flame [Lullaby of Deserted Hell]’ is faithful to the original, with DDRKirby(ISQ) simply putting his own spin on the track rather than completely remixing it…at least, for the first segment. At the 0:50 mark, the tone of the track changes entirely, with mellow square improvisation taking over, supplemented by quick hihat hits and a passive triangle bassline. Whether the track instills nostalgia for an incredible series or memories of frustration from Lunatic difficulty stages – or both – DDRKirby(ISQ) offers us a beautifully composed rendition of a classic piece.

Lastly, we’ll look at one last original composition, ‘Raven Delivery Service’ (which you can play here!). This piece was composed for the aforementioned ‘Ludum Dare’ game development competition, as the game’s only piece of music due to a time crunch. It’s quite obvious, however, that a colossal amount of work has gone into this solitary track! The piece has something of an eerie vibe to it from the very beginning, with a quiet fall in pitch being one of the first nods to the game’s overall…spookiness. During verses, the track’s triangle bass is more active, playing sixteenth notes behind a quarter note melody, but during the song’s chorus, chords flow and cascade across in an almost lush, soothing manner, providing a strong counterpoint to the otherwise mysterious tone of ‘Raven Delivery Service’.

While you could (and probably SHOULD) check out DDRKirby(ISQ)’s other amazing works, this $5, 20-track compilation serves as a great introduction to this artist. Several other gems lie on this album, between Super Mario Bros. remixes, original game compositions, and other original, unrelated compositions, be they commissioned or not. DDRKirby(ISQ) is a seasoned, talented individual, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to write about him here!

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