|Dave the Knave is a genius!|
The original idea that I pitched to a close circle of friends shortly before Nerdapalooza 2008 involved little more than a tribute album to the classic role-playing game (a la Dungeons & Dragons). But as tabletop gaming proved a bit of a limiting concept for our friends in the video game music scene I soon expanded the scope to include the electronic games that were the direct successors of pen-and-paper RPGs.
Since I was projecting forward it only made sense to also look back, and so the piece was altered again to encompass not only the more modern and technological flavors of role-playing but also the literary roots that inspired this entire movement in interactive entertainment.
But somehow that still wasn't enough. So in the end, 20-Sided Rhymes, this clean and simple concept that I thought I had totally hashed out years ago, somehow became something bigger. Because at some point I realized that the iconic die role and the eternal plight of Hyrule's green-clad hero and even the simple nerdy pleasures of seeing The Lord of the Rings series competently brought to life on a big screen weren't in and of themselves what I was looking to capture.
These were, if you'll allow me the luxury of hyperbole, merely manifestations of the true spirit of nerdom.
The thing that excited me about this project was the same thing that excited me about D&D and comics and sci-fi/fantasy and all the other trappings of my geeky adolescence – it all hinged on the ever-so appealing concept of losing yourself in a character.
Call me crazy, but I believe that we as nerds game and read and write and create more or less for the same reason. These activities are all about stepping outside ourselves, they are about exploring other lives and worlds and personalities. Some would likely attribute this to a sense of innate self-loathing, to the worst kind of escapism, but I have learned that playing another part or latching on to the experiences of a fully rendered external character actually serves to help me gain a firmer grasp on what it really means to be me. It allows me to further quantify my own motivations and reexamine my ideas and my attitudes.
From Nate's lament of his healer's lack of physical prowess to ZeaLouS1's gangstalicious take on CCGs, and even to Marc's rejection of the D20 in favor of a little transgender theatrical cosplay, 20-Sided Rhymes represents the musical equivalent of the fantastical character-driven narrative. Some of said characters may not belong to these performers outright, but the stories are all theirs. And that's the important part.
So please enjoy this fine selection of rarities, remixes, re-releases and more than a couple of tasty originals with my compliments. If you enjoy this project, please spread the word and support the artists represented.
As usual, I offer this compilation to you free of charge, although this time around I do ask that you consider doing one of the following:
Should any or all of the songs presented herein remind you of that magical journey you once took in the purely metaphorical shoes of another character, consider treating yourself to a new game or film or novel. And feel free to lose yourself within the power of an enchanting narrative. It's healthy.
Child's Play charity to afford a sick kid that same opportunity to escape the drudgery of real life for a few scant moments. It's what a Lawful Good character would do!
Download 20-Sided Rhymes in its entirety
All songs mixed/mastered by The HT at Studio 6, Port Orange, FL except where otherwise indicated.
Individual track downloads:
1 – Videogame Orchestra – "Conan the Barbarian – Riders of Taramis"
2 – Beefy – "20-Sided Rhymes (feat. Snake Eyes)"
3 – The Four Eyes – "Painting Guys"
4 – My Parents' Favorite Music – "Rambo MacGyver (feat. Snake Eyes)"
5 – Spheres of Chaos – "Random Encounter in the Cereal Aisle"
6 – Glenn Case – "D&D at the Public Library (feat. Adam!)"*
7 – ZeaLouS1 – "I Get Mana"
8 – Nate Trier – "The Healer's Song"
9 – MC Frontalot – "Hassle the Dorkening (8 Bit Weapon Remix)"**
10 – Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire – "The Great Marbulu" [EXPLICIT]***
11 – The Ranger – "Stat Sheet (Massive DMG remix by Zen Albatross)" [EXPLICIT]
12 – Brian Mazzaferri (of I Fight Dragons) – "Offering"
13 – Sinister Six – "Roll the Dice" [EXPLICIT]
14 – Uncle Monsterface – "LOTROMG"
15 – Epic-1 – "Sun Gem"
16 – Marc with a C – "Don’t Know a Thing about Role Playing"
17 – Krondor Krew – "I Play D&D (The HT Remix)" [EXPLICIT]
18 - Superpowerless – "120 Seconds to Save the World"
19 – Elfonso – "Retirement from Hyrule"
20 – Dual Core – "Natural 20s"
* Mixed and mastered by Adam! and The HT
** Mixed and mastered by 8 Bit Weapon
*** Mixed and mastered by Shael Riley and Ty Guenley
Amazing cover design by the one and only Dave "The Knave" White:
Wicked-awesome front cover
Equally wonderful back cover
Tiny little thumbnail
And don't forget my ridiculously lengthy liner notes!