By Kieron Gillen on December 4th, 2008 at 9:00 pm.
As I mentioned before, I was at the One Life Left Christmas party last week. Which was quite the thing, as arriving into a room full of drunk people four hours into a session tends to be stressful. So I caught up. I also got into the other reason why they were having a party – launching their first CD, Music To Play Games By. It’s available to buy for seven quid, but you’ll find a review of it and what it’s like beneath the cut. And since this is a games blog, I’m going to keep tight reign on my usual bag of music-critic tricks. That is, I’m going to write-it-not-as-a-wanker. Well, as much not-as-a-wanker as I ever manage.
One Life Left stands apart from the average videogame podcast in a number of ways. Firstly, it has proper microphones, at least mostly. This scares and amazes RPS. Secondly, they aren’t about videogames very much, and are shameless egotists. This also scares and amazes RPS, who don’t believe subjective human experience should ever enter gaming discourse. Thirdly, they regularly interject their chat with a selection of videogame related music, mainly of the exciting chipcore variety.
So an album makes a lot of sense. Their videogames have always had a dance-element.
It’s an elegantly designed package, complete with intro and one-line-precis of every track which scream of some of the better Ste-Curran-isms (“I am Robocop dancing in an Italian disco” “I am your little sister having a Gauntlet tantrum” “I am the bad ending”). And, more fundamentally it is a package. I was expecting a pretty random selection of pure Chipcore hollering – and I’d have been fine with that – but the impression shows the variety of directions people take the videogame inspiration thing. Yeah, we’ve got enough examples of the nagging, restless videogame energy I was expecting – like the opening Copy by Playered, which does indeed sound like Robocop at an Italian disco and a perfect example of going-out-music for people who don’t go out.
But there’s more than that. Take the expanse from the accoustic-guitar-comedy of 7/10 by the doyouinverts (Where a man offends his girlfriend by, when she asks him what he’ll mark her out of 10, says a 7. She just doesn’t understand that seven is a decent score) to nerdcore rap sensations Optimus Rhyme‘s Do You Invert, whose forum-management bon-mots are held together by a truly dirty early-eighties bass-synth (And, in passing, this isn’t the version you’ll find online. I’d say this one’s crystaline’s game-isms works better than the live-instrument taut-funk approach). Oh yeah – and I’ve always had a soft spot for the Dulok’s Gauntlet-as-metaphor-for-failing-relationship yelp-pop masterpiece “Red Wizard Needs Food Badly” (And here’s the Duloks doing it live). And obviously, an OLL collection wouldn’t be complete without Derek William’s Free Market Economy bringing his advanced capitalism science to all those assembled.
In short, the album is splendid. I would give it at least 7/10 (trad).
You can purchase it from the internet.