One of the smaller frustrations that come with writing for a living is that you really can't listen to music with lyrics while working. So, for the past few years, I've listened to every "24/7 lo-fi jazz-hop beats to study and relax to" mix the that exists, a thousand variations of some Sisyphean student cursed to forever turn pages to the sound of chill, non-distinct tunes. Ahead of World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands' release next week, Blizzard have released their own spin on the form - commissioning four composers to create vibe-soaked remixes of the MMO's underworld soundscapes.
I had a friend who once joked that he could procedurally generate an endless loop of lo-fi beats, so generic has the form begun. Thankfully, Blizzard have gone a few steps beyond that. The publishers have commissioned musicians Josh Carter, Eevee, Casiio and Bishop Nehru to hand-craft their own spin on four area themes from the upcoming expansion. Take Bastion's, for example, which has a real upbeat summertime vibe.
On the other side of the tonal spectrum, high-gothic hellscape Ravendreath is suitably scored like a fancam for Dracula.
Ardenweald, meanwhile, has this very muted, "organic" flow to it - the kind vibe you'd expect to find on one of them playlists whose album art has a bear smoking a joint. That's a weirdly common thing in the lo-fi chillhop scene, somehow.
Finally, the skeletal demonworld of Maldraxxus is what I imagine the Doomguy listens to when he takes his once-yearly break from decapitating Cyberdemons with heavy metal.
It's a bit of a shame they're only four or five minutes apiece, mind. Great wee one-off tracks, but missing the essential quality of being left on for so long the muted drumsteps become immutable fact. I'd like to think they'd keep the ball rolling and get some official remixes of some older, more memorable tunes - slathering the Stormwind or Dalaran themes in synths until they're positively dripping with vibes.
World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands itself launches on Monday.