Friday 16 August 2013


I really like the video for this song. But I'm confused because I just checked Jolly Mare's SoundCloud for an image - he'd only JUST uploaded 'Castlemare' and in its description he said he had "a lot of fun making a soundtrack for this amazing video". But I'd say that the video is an illustration of his music. No? Well. I dunno. You be the judge. For me, I think they just work really nicely together. As for the music though, that's what I'm really here to talk about.

I last wrote about this Italian producer - Jolly Mare, that is - when I found his song & video 'Nobody Cares'; it was a wildly synthesised track, loaded with funk and a solid-as-a-rock bassline. Most notably, it was rather retro in its stylisation - not just in the video, but in the sound itself of course. The same goes for the retro sounds in this song, 'Castlemare'. However, it's a very different style. Instead of beachy, sunny, funky stuff, it's videogamey triptune (see what I did there?) synthy 8-bit kind of stuff. Still retro, but a different twist, a different facet of "retro".

It's the videogame sound that rings true with me mostly. It's like the type of music you'd find skulking in the air of the last level of a quite hard retro videogame - set in a castle, obviously; the title being a portmanteau of "castle" and "nightmare", it makes sense really. Why not watch the video and get into the atmosphere of yesteryear, sword in hand, magic in mind, courage in heart.

Space between the synth melodies gives it a careful-where-you-tread,-there-could-be-traps kind of atmosphere, an eerie sound that conjures cold torchlit corridors with their echoing reverb. The melodies themselves are cast in a gloam of foreboding - a little bit dark - helped along by the fidgety beat that seems itself reluctant to get into a full, undisturbed rhythm. At about 2:00 in the song, a regular build-up starts and drum machine toms pound and roll up to a change in the song. The synth becomes fuller, other shining beams of electronic noise wail in, until towards the end when they disappear altogether - bar the clean, glossy bass - and focus shifts instead to that distinctly two-step beat.

Did you beat the boss?

Other than the sound, that video - I am not sure where it's from but it's pretty cool and I think I'd like to watch it now. It's some obscure retro supernatural martial arts film, lots of flying and energy beams involved; a bit like the precursor to Dragonball or at least perhaps an influence on it. Anyway. The music fits perfectly. Bye!

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