Today is another Bandcamp Friday, a monthly event where the DRM-free music store waives its cut of sales to put more cash in artists' pockets. It's a good day to buy music! But which music? Plenty of video game soundtracks are on Bandcamp, so you can go looking for your faves. Me, I can offer a few tips for music that's kinda video game music but not necessarily, music that's inspired by games or even recorded inside games. But please, do share your hot reccies (recommendations) with us all too.
Bandcamp, if you don't know it, is—if I may make a bad comparison—kinda a musical equivalent of Itch.io (kinda). It's about the only way I buy music these days. As well as letting you stream music in your browser and from an app, you can download in a variety of formats: MP3 V0, MP3 320, FLAC, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, ALAC, Wav, and AIFF. Good stuff. Alright, on with a few reccies to get this listening party started.
Ed Harrison: Neotokyo
Some of Ed Harrison's music appeared in the Half-Life 2 mod Neotokyo, but he made a whole double album's worth. It is: very good. Then he remixed it. Then he released work-in-progress scraps from figuring it out. Cracking stuff. You might also know his music from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's Breach mode.
Graham Dunning: Panopticon
I've written before about how Dunning replaced all of Half-Life's sounds with samples from "90s rave tracks and sample CDs", then recorded music by playing. It's a fascinating process, turning Half-Life into improvised music. The idea alone is so cool that I bought it. I dig the end result too, the looping of world sounds mixed with steady footsteps and sporadic intensity of violence, and those telltale Half-Life environmental audio filters. Or sometimes just a quiet time hanging out around wet machinery.
Hot Dad: Christmas Pain In Christmas Town
You might know Hot Dad and his music from performing as a faded musician named The Chowder Man in Hypnospace Outlaw. That's also on Bandcamp but this is a Chowder Man song not in the game, a Christmas song with Dave Pino. It is one of the best Christmas songs, of all the Christmas songs. And I say that as someone who listens to Christmas radio all December. A maximalist yuletide heartbreaker. And the video...!
Sorath: Devil Daggers (Remastered)
This might be against the 'no music from games' premise because turns out, this soundtrack actually is in Devil Daggers? I hadn't noticed. I knew it had a wee musical sting at the loading screen but... nope, apparently a proper soundtrack too? Half is in secret areas, mind. All this time, I thought the Devil Daggers soundtrack was the dynamic hellnoises of skulls and teeth and the screams of my blade-spitting fingertips - and I loved that. This is good too. Plus, I can sidestep my premise by pointing to the remaster - not the same, okay.
(Hot bonus tip: grab a replay from the Devil Daggers leaderboard, slow the playback speed way way down, then alt-tab out and enjoy hours of groaning ambient music.)
The Garages: The Garages Suck
The Garages are an "anarcho-syndicalist" band inspired by the Seattle Garages, a team in the fantastical fantasy sport of Blaseball. Their many, many members have released many, many albums and EPs with songs across many genres about "being gay, the apocalypse, and fighting the gods". Sometimes sport, too. I'm a huge fan of Blaseball's fan culture of reporters and storytellers and artists and music and everything.
And damn, "Success is for capitalists, so every time we fail it's basically praxis" is a hell of a lyric for imaginary ghost baseball punk.
I've bought more game-aligned music on Bandcamp but I'll not throw my entire library into this particular post. You don't want me to flood you with groaning industrial ambience. And not that there's nothing wrong with regular video game soundtracks! Some cracking OSTs on Bandcamp. Recommend whatever you want, gang. What tickles your malleus?