Saturday, September 15, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 30: The WFWFTW Mixtape

If this is the first edition of Radio Free Hipster you’ve ever listened to, then I’m afraid it may give you the wrong impression. Normally, RFH starts with an intro track, then a little spiel from me, a set of songs, another little interlude, a second set, a final bit of chatter, and a closing song. This episode is an exception. This time around I elected to mix shit up a bit.

I’ve had an urge to release something along the lines of a nerdy mixtape for a while now, and, after a perfect storm of geeky inspiration, this seemed like the opportunity to do so.

A few weeks ago, my pal Church hipped me to a mixtape-esque project that he’d been knocking around, and that sort of got me primed. Then, he, Matt, and I had a little email exchange about some rampant gamer fanboyism over at Lev Grossman’s blog. That started the process in earnest, but only when coupled with Wil Wheaton’s very inspired PAX keynote.

I spend a lot of time alluding to the concept of a nerd community. That is, even more so than the music, what Hipster, please! is all about, but the truth of the matter is that freaks, geeks, and gamers are more like warring tribes. Sure, we form loose confederations from time to time – mostly during convention season – but we seldom see each other as equals, as brothers. Sony fanboys and comic geeks and science nerds and LARPers and Pokemaniacs and nerdcore aficionados and fan fickers and every goddamn other flavor of social ineptitude often look upon each other with disdain.

And yet somehow, every year for one magical weekend, Gabe and Tycho manage to bring all of us together under one roof, under a single banner, and bestow momentary peace to our troubled people.

PAX is a testament to its own importance, and though I’ve never attended (and likely never will, unless they move it to, y’know, Charlotte) the environmental change across the various echelons of casual and hardcore nerd-dom that it precipitates is palpable. While E3, in any guise, is about the industry, and every other comic, gaming, anime, or collectable con is, at the heart, about commerce, PAX is about us. I think that’s something that most of us realize, but Wil really managed to spell it out quite clearly through the vehicle personal rumination. His words serve as a base for this particular podcast.

It’s not secret that I find my own little contributions to RFH to be the weak link. I’m not an ultimate authority about nerdy music by any stretch of the imagination, so I just tend to expound upon what little I know about the artists and tracks provided, peppered with personal observations and my own blend of jackassery. Compared to the fact that Wil is a genuine orator my words fall pretty flat, so you won’t be hearing me in this ‘cast. Instead, the brief bits of necessary exposition are provided by Crystal, AT&T’s text-to-speech automaton. Sure, her diction's a little off, but at least she doesn’t have a southern accent. ;)

I will however, provide, the customary show notes concerning the featured tracks and artists, because this edition is just as much about their contributions as Wil’s.

If you’ve got any questions or comments about the show – or the podcast in general – feel free to hit me up. I guess that’s my own little way of supporting the greater aspirations of a coherent nerd community.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 30: The WFWFTW Mixtape [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 52.4 MB Running Time: 57:16

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – “Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)”
I sort of dorked with the theme song this time around, and I feel kinda bad about it. It almost seems disrespectful. Still, I wanted to alert folks early on that this wouldn’t be a regular episode.

Background Music :
There are actually two background music selections for the voice beds this time around. When Crystal was “talking” I used the old ambient Gamecube menu music. I usually worked Wil’s bits in during song transitions, but two different selections actually cut completely out of the tracklist and use PriZm’s “Bowser is Pissed” OC Remix.

Track 1: MC Frontalot – “It is Pitch Dark
This track played in well with Wil’s “gaming generations” bit. The fact that Front released a video for it earlier this week is happy coincidence.

Track 2: Dual Core – “Hostage Down”
I’ve been saving this song for a special occasion, and I thought it worked well here. It’s sort of Dual Core’s signature piece, and, truthfully, one of my favorites from the album.

From the very fun 4 BILLION HIT POINTS album, which is freely available and highly recommended. This one played solidly into the next track.

Track 5: CheapyD – “Ass and Tetris (You Forgot Poland)”
I really wanted to work a mash-up in here and this one fit perfectly, which was great because Cheapy also knows a thing or two about creating a nerd community. He’s the brains behind Cheap Ass Gamer and co-host of the (recently award-wining) CAGcast, which are, in all honesty, the only gaming BBS and podcast that I even bother to keep up with anymore.

Track 6: YTCracker – “The Legend
YT’s older work holds up well, and this track is a personal favorite from the NES release. Something about the first verse really resonated well with Wil’s lead-in.

Track 7: Temp Sound Solutions – “Son of a Biah (Cex rmx)
I’m not really sure if Shawn Phase prefers to go by that name or the TSS moniker; I reckon it depends on the project. What I do know is that he is a supremely talented chiptune artist, guitarist, and performer and that he has wicked-assed Konami tatts.

Track 8: Random – “Boss Battle Metal Man (The Megas Remix)”
This track is a amazing cut from an amazing album, Random’s Mega Ran release. I’m really interested to know how the collaboration came about, and, as it looks like I may get the opportunity to interview Ran in the near future, I'll hopefully get my answer.

Track 9: Franz Keller – “Metrotransfunk
I wanted to work a Metroid track in there somewhere too, and I was immediately taken by this one. I stand by my longtime assertion that you can pretty much just grab any track at random from OCR and find gold.

Track 10: MAJA – “N.E.S.” / “UUDDLRL”
MAJA was nice enough to hook me up with a copy of The Amalgam Project, and I’ve truly enjoyed it. Something about the blend of personal reflections and smooth delivery of “UUDDLRL” really made it roll well into the mix.

Track 11: Regurgitator – “Black Bugs”
This is some geeky Australian indie pop that Pinky hipped me to. Thus far I had kept the musical selections confined to sarcastic, reflective, and atmospheric pieces, and I sort of had the urge to throw in a curve.

Track 12: mc chris – “Kingdom Farts”
mc’s rapid-fire delivery contrasted the Regurgitator track’s relaxed, dancy vibe. Plus, I love the fuck out of this song! The break gave me a chance to throw in a pretty pertinent Wheaton bump.
Track 13: TZU – “Back Up!”
Another little jewel from Down Under compliments of Grandmaster Pink. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve swapped this one with the YTCracker track, as it also has a lot of 1980’s references, but I’m still pretty happy with it here.

Track 14: The Four Eyes – “Neverwinter Nights”
When I first heard this song – from The Four Eyes’ Five Songs About Videogames... EP – I knew I had to end an episode of the podcast with it. The only problem is that it’s about twice as long as the average song I play. Still, this one was a track I just didn’t feel comfortable editing down; the length plays into the song's progression and is a big part of its garage rock charm. So, I elected to use the long solo sequences to let Wil wrap up his argument. I thought it worked pretty well and hope you feel the same.


Church said...

Nice change of pace, Z. You got more game that Wil Weaton (as it were.)

pinky said...

oh fuckin awesome

Mr. Door said...

Damn, Z.

I have to compliment you on the way you mixed Weaton's keynote into podcast.

Well done, sir.

Z. said...

Thanks for the love, fellas. I was really a little wary of this setup. I mean, would people really want me to switch shit up after so long? And, more importantly, would they be willing to go back to the old format after hearing the mixtape? ;)

Church said...

Oh, c'mon. If Beefy and Shael think that the southern drawl gets the props like nonstop, then who am I to argue?

GI_Josh said...

Loved it Z (even though I'm a little late to the listening party) You've definitely created high art here. Wil Fucking Weaton For The Win.

Z. said...

Thanks, Josh. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)

Anarchangel said...

I love it! Three years later, this is still bangin'!

Anarchangel said...

I don't think I'd heard Hostage Down before either, and now I gotta buy that album.

Anarchangel said...

I love that you gave Regurgitator some love. Are you familiar with the rest of their catalogue generally?

Z. said...

Glad you're still feeling this one, Anarchangel. :) My Aussie pal Pinky introduced me to Regurgitation a few years back. I picked up Eduardo and Rodriguez and Unit on his suggestion. Amazingly solid stuff!