Listen up! The debut album of Seattle-based Dan “The Icarus Kid” Crowdus is available starting today, and features original electronica based heavily on classic video game music ranging from Duck Hunt to Metroid. These are not your typical remixes — The Icarus Kid is the type of album to turn a gamer’s head.
By sampling some of the most memorable themes and melodies from game soundtracks and injecting more sounds, more music, and more direction, the album manages to compile thirteen fantastic works of art. Some of the most unique rhythms and sounds from NES-era games, Dan’s keyboard finesse, and new instrumentation are superbly utilized in the creation of catchy, original melodies that you will want to hear for yourself.
Starting with “Impulsive,” the album features several dance-friendly selections, a trait shared by “Dr. J,” “Octo Rock,” and ever-intensifying “Benny and Clyde.” As with many of the upbeat songs on the album, you may be quick to recognize the humorous homages these tracks pay to the games they hail from. On the flip side, “Muramasa” and its ambitious orchestration begin to demonstrate the emotional potential for the album. It’s followed by “Albatross,” a Koopa-inspired epic featuring heavy rhythms and a booming bass. “Game Over,” “Panic,” and “Dodongo” share the eerie feeling of a looming presence, the latter evoking the image of a Zelda dungeon more daunting and more intimidating than any Link has ever encountered.
The forward motion of “Tank” was particularly enjoyable, leading to the seemingly celebratory “Hammer” and its impressively well-placed sound effects and rhythmic melodies. The waltz-like quality of “Fast Asleep” provided a serene and dreamy contrast to the album, but it’s so short and sweet that it leaves you wanting more. Luckily, we get more of Dan’s excellent talent with lyrical passages before the end of the CD. Following the heavy dance rhythms that open “Maru Mari,” the dark and round tone of the beautiful clarinet solo accompanied by the majestic string ensemble signal the beginning of the end for the album, before the percussion and other instruments enter for one last time.
The Icarus Kid is a well-composed and well-assembled tribute to the songs and sounds of all our cherished memories, and veteran gamers will enjoy it for that fact alone. That being said, the final arrangements are so creative, clever, and charming that they command an identity apart from the source material and can be enjoyed by a much larger crowd of listeners. The Icarus Kid is fun, inventive, and so incredibly engaging that you will want to check it out.
The Icarus Kid, from Electrowookie Records, is available now at http://www.theicaruskid.com/