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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Slipdrive - "River of Heaven (ost)"

Artist: Slipdrive
Album: River of Heaven (ost)
Year: 2014
Label: Hymen Records
Genre: Electronica, Downtempo, IDM
Website: www.hymen-records.com

Here we have yet another side-project from IDM producer Keef Baker. This time he has set about tackling the task of writing the soundtrack to a futuristic sci fi tabletop RPG (named River of Heaven) and has released it under the moniker Slipdrive.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this release, but I ended up quite liking it. Imagine the soundtrack to a retro sci fi video game of the 80s, mixed with Tangerine Dream and given a modern spin by way of Keef Baker...and that's exactly what River of Heaven is. This is a super nostalgic trip down retro-future lane and is sure to please fans of 70s/80s sci fi and related video games. Layers of analog synths and melodies intertwine, coupled with driving percussion. While the synths sound convincingly cheesy (in a good way) and old school, the beats and top notch production give this a strangely modern feel which gives it a sense of identity, and takes it beyond simply being a throwback album. The songs go back and forth between being full-on upbeat, driving pieces like "Stepping Out Into The Bright Age" to the more subdued, but still somewhat rhythmically driven, "Arrival in the Kentauran Hegemony" to entirely beatless pieces such as "Machine Collective Wants to Play". I enjoyed each of these styles, although I prefer the tracks with more percussion - without it it feels as though a small but fundamental element is missing. The more upbeat parts remind me of N5MD's Spark and his chiptune/IDM hybrid sound.

A neat release that I found myself quite enjoying. This sound isn't something that I listen to all that much, but I can definitely appreciate it and I know others will as well. A worthwhile side-project, even if it's just a one-off effort (though it would be cool it there was more material in the future). Would like to see more IDM guys get the opportunity to write soundtracks like this.

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