Allow me, if you would, to tell you a short story to set this all up.
The players: Myself and Dan Davis.
The scene: Richmond, Virginia.
We’re on the way to Sheetz to buy some snacks, because nothing is more chiptune than poor life choices regarding food in the middle of the night. As we make our way down the road, Dan begins to talk about his time at 8staticfest this year, and how great Carl Peczynski’s Radlib set was.
“You know,” he tells me, “Carl just got up there and killed it as Radlib – but he had a new album for sale and he didn’t even TALK about it! It was just in the merch area. Carl is so dedicated to his Planet Zaxxon crew, he didn’t even bring up his Warez Waldo release.”
“Warez Waldo?” I said. “I thought I saw something about that release, but I hadn’t listened to it.”
Dan reached down and grabbed the CD, popped it in, skipped to ‘From Inside The Frequency Forest,’ and proceeded to watch my face melt.
As Dan mentioned, Carl dropped ‘Warez Waldo – The Arrival‘ in October with very little fanfare, and while we made a brief mention about it via ChipWIN, we didn’t give it the attention it so rightly deserves at the time. This is, of course, a travesty, because this album is beautiful. It’s like your favorite meal, delivered to you in bed on a golden platter by an angel. In a world full of Game Boys, hearing non-LSDJ music is already something out of the usual, but this release is all FM, in all the glory the Soundblaster 16 can muster. Honestly, given Carl’s whole outer space schtick — the story being that all artists on the Planet Zaxxon label are here from another world to rock the human race with their music — rocking the FM synthesis makes a lot of sense. It allows the music to sound intrinsically “spacey” and out of this world by virtue of the sounds you can create with it that are so unlike anything else.
There are so many things to praise about this album. The tracks go back and forth between being simple in terms of content but intense in terms of technical composition and being big, cinematic pieces. The sheer range of instrumental voices you can get out of going full FM as opposed to more limited chip-stylings lets these songs pair harsher, more machine-like sounds with more traditional instrument emulation.
Of note, ‘Circuit Circus‘ stands out because of how truly alien it sounds – which given the Planet Zaxxon mythos, is appropriate. As I had said, ‘From Inside The Frequency Forest’ is face-melting – it just keeps you guessing as it builds from some something seemingly simple into a multilayered titan of sick drums and a jaunty, almost carnival-like melody. As always seems to be the case, however, the eponymous track takes the cake for best overall – it is at once complex, unknowable, and yet familiar: a hearkening back to 90’s MS-DOS music most unseen in this day and age. I sincerely hope this album is the herald of the arrival of more people using the OPL-3, because the nostalgia kick I got off of hearing these tunes has got me more hype than a plate of Wild Berry Pop Tarts washed down with a can of Surge.
I, for one, welcome our Planet Zaxxon overlords, and wish to see what else lays ahead for us now that The Arrival is here.
Warez Waldo Linkapalooza
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