While I have been dragging feet with regard to my forthcoming compilation, my pal Anthony and the Game Music 4 All crew have been charging ahead like a horde of cranked-up Mongols. In addition to the recently launched Hey! Listen! monthly EP project, GM4A has just provided a sneak peak at the next installment in their Here Comes a New Challenger series.
Pairing game rockers and chip artists with nerdcore hip-hoppers, HCaNC is, at least to my mind, nigh synonymous with the Game Music 4 All blog. Though the more traditional VGM compilations are closer to the site's wheelhouse, the fantastic juxtaposition of styles and forms inherent in the previous Challenger album truly redefined what a geeky music comp could and, indeed, should be.
mc chris is the favorite nerd rapper of many and probably also the least favorite nerd rapper of a sizable number, but he is undeniably one with which most have a genuine familiarity. And love him or lump him, mc always has something interesting going on. Through his decade-long musical evolution he has experimented with punk, breakbeat and guitar pop, but has eternally remained the same high-toned honky.
Over the weekend, I spent a good deal of time listening to the latter half of his discography, most specifically 2006’s Dungeon Master of Ceremonies and 2008’s mc chris is dead, and I came to the staggering conclusion that I actually prefer his more recent work. (I fully realize that this runs counter to the most exclusionary, esoteric leanings of asshole music fans everywhere, but I say true!) So, when I was offered a chance to hear the first volume of mc’s new EP project, I was happy to do so.
Part Six Part One – which we can at least assume will be a six-part collection, though, knowing mc, we certainly can’t be surprised if it is not – picks up where his previous full length left off. mc chris is still dead, and he finds himself in hell. In typical mc style, this concept runs through the albums 3 skits but doesn’t necessarily bleed over into the EP’s 4 new songs. That being said, there is a topic that does seem to regularly crop up and bind the project together.
P6P1 boasts an urgent, glitchy dance track about how mc chris likes to fuck ("Awesome Fucker"), an epic spy-themed rocker about fucking ("006") and even a skit about fucking the devil ("Dirty Dick") and also abortion. But while this album goes out of its way to be filthy, it does have more to offer than just dirty talk.
Though my thoughts concerning skits are well known by this point, the dialog in two-parter "Deep Space Travel" and "Rocky’s Robot Butler" seemingly serve as the bedrock for the Part Six series. In the style of Dante Alighieri, mc strikes a deal with the Great Infernal One: should he be able to traverse the various levels of Hell, he will be granted one wish. His original leaning, to wish for the robot from Rocky IV, is eventually discarded in favor of bartering for the freedom of his eternal soul. Again, this could serve as the foundation for EPs yet to come, or it could just be mc chris fucking with us as this release is slated to drop in early April.
But putting the prospect of idle bullshittery aside, Part Six Part One’s musical selections are varied, intriguing and stylistically satisfying. "006" and "Awesome Fucker," on which I’ve already elucidated, pair a more traditional mc chris swagger with some interesting musical backing, but the EP’s other two tracks change up the game in new and exciting ways. "Gauges," for example, is a light, atmospheric meditation on long-distance romances that is easily on par with mc’s classic complicated love songs like "Cookie Breath" and "Arulpragasam."
Yet the release’s real haymaker is the laughably titled "IG88’s 57 Chevy." This borderline crunk-soul hybrid is unlike anything you’ve heard form mc chris before. "Fett's Vette" may be mc’s "Baby Got Back," but this song sure as fuck ain’t "Put 'Em on the Glass!" Far from a formulaic cash-in, it is a self-aware exploration of new styles. Will it end up on a movie soundtrack? Probably not, but that doesn’t make it any less listenable.
If you are a lover of all things mc chris, you have likely already put your money down on Part Six Part One. If you are a sworn enemy of the once and future MC Pee Pants, you won’t even bother to torrent it when it invariably hits Pirate Bay. But if you are a fan of nerdy music that is looking for a really fun (if often explicit) diversion, this EP is tough to beat.
With the final release a couple of weeks away, pre-orders are still available through Indie Merch. It’s a solid EP that is worth the meager $10 price tag. And should you have a little extra scratch to spend left over from your tax refunds, you might also consider tossing some money into the pot for mc's cystic fibrosis charity. Fans have already donated almost $30,000, but the fund can’t reach it’s $50,000 yearly goal without continued assistance.
If you’re looking for another way to help, be sure to check out mc’s YouTube channel for information on his charity eBay auctions. Each week mc chris collects a fine assortment of geeky games, books and related ephemera, and the money raised from the sale of these items goes to help fight cystic fibrosis. This week’s items are all Indiana Jones themed, so check it out. And, in the words of Short Round, hold onto your potatoes.
UPDATE: I've just been informed that Part Six Part One should be available next week. Further, it will be split into 4 parts. The more you know!
News! I got yer news right here! Belated, obviously, but no less newsworthy!
The biggest of this news, of course, concerns recent announcements for Nerdapalooza 2009. Apparently it's taking place on July 11th and 12th in Florida! Florida, says I!
Okay, that? Not so suspiring.
I do find it interesting, however, that this year's event will go down at The Holiday Inn's Orlando International Drive Resort, known colloquially as that big goddamn Holiday Inn on I Drive. This venue features a number a of convention rooms, several of which have already been secured for Hex's sinister machinations. This extra space also means that the festival will sport vendor booths where both performers and crafters can hock their wares. It's vendolicious.
Of course with the economy in the shitter, Nerdapalooza could no doubt do with some donations to help get the ball rolling. Should you feel the urge to give, give here.
That being said, on to your Nerd news in Brief.
Geek Ink in Love: While I've spoken at length about Glenn Case's new album, something I haven't mentioned is his new tattoo. It is a love story.
His Gayest Shirt: Recently Anthony spotlighted The Grammar Club's debut release Bremelanotide over at The Start Screen. It's a fine tribute to a modern classic, with my only complaint being that he didn't explain the title.
Ladies First: Another fine piece from Ant can be found at Game Music 4 All, where last week he interviewed female VGM artists Nicole Adams and Injury. Give it a read, and then give these talented ladies some love.
Such Great Heights: And speaking of the greater OCR community, the site's recently release Summoning of Spirits project is another must-own. This 4-disc celebration of the Tales series continues in its grand tradition of taking game music to new and exciting heights. Of course it features all your favorites including the aforementioned Injury and my boy Myf!
And This Bird You Can Not Change: The 1Ups also got some much deserved press last week via GotGame's "Gamer Soundcheck." Mustin's rationalization of why they don't play the Super Mario Bros alone makes it worth a read.
Funny Without Being a Joke: The online leg of the San Francisco Chronicle recently asked featured MC Lars 5 questions. In other MC Lars news, you can now purchase his 2003 dorm-room debut Radio Pet Fencing via iTunes, and you can read a nice review of his newly released This Gigantic Robot Killshere. Oh, and don't forget to check out Lars's most recent video podcast for a new video featuring the indubitable Doc Pop. Apparently he knows a lot of people.
New Science: Thanks go to my pal Talkie Tim for pointing me toward this excellent interview with groundbreaking chiptune musician Pixelh8. Take a look and uncover the real reason why all the best chip artists are programmers.
Weird Science: funky49 has just released some remix kits for the RAPBASSADOR EP that he recently recorded and produced for Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry. DJs are encouraged to mix that shit up.
Sun, Sand & Beef: My pal Beefy was recently interviewed by The Ka Leo, an independently produced student paper from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Peep tropical game.
Chiphead: Meanwhile, my new friends from I Fight Dragons have continued their geeky assault on all fronts. Frontman Brian Mazzaferri was just interviewed by Columbia, SC's Examiner and Chicago's own The Local Tourist. The band also captured some great footage from their album release party. Enjoy.
The Sorting Hat: In other concerts-you-probably-couldn't-attend news, Jarod (of AlienBobz) has just uploaded his recording of Harry and the Potters July 23rd set in Seattle. Jarod has also promised that audio from the final last Optimus Rhyme show is forthcoming.
If You Haven't Done it All Year Long: Last week Church turned me on to a pair of videos. Neither are his work, though I imagine he'd be proud to claim both. The first is another fan vidfor Trek rockers No Kill I. The other is… well… a "tribute" to Dragon*Con.
Immunity: While my friend Nikki Nefarious (NSFW) generally photographs the kind of things you might hear described in a Le Sexoflex video, she has recently expanded into hardcore nerdery. You can see her handiwork in the new card game I Drank What? And yes, it was wholly inspired by that single scene from The Princess Bride.
Collect 'em All!: There have also been a pair of notable releases in recent weeks. The first is the RPM Challenge album from D-Form and MC Gigahertz, The Digital Prankster LP. Likewise, killsaly's dropped a fantastic collection of demos and remixes that, sadly, represents his last scheduled release under that moniker. Snag both.
Catch 'em All!: And since Nerdapalooza news started us off today, we will end on a similar note. Sorta. In-between sets from Epic-1 to Random at last weekend's Anime Express con, Hex elected to take the stage and perform "an interpretive dance to the extended Pokémon theme song." May it forever be burned into your retinas. Just like it is mine.