My friend Josh is a man of many talents, alongside his equally talented wife Marissa, which is why I can’t help but want to hate them sometimes. Alas, I could never come to dislike such wonderful people, so instead I revel in their multiple skill sets and strive to better myself so that one day, I too can be have friends who want to hate me, but cannot because I am awesome.
Alongside art, Josh, under the name darkhalo, creates music true to his demoscene roots. What is demoscene? According to Wiki, “The demoscene is a computer art subculture that specializes in producing demos, which are non-interactive audio-visual presentations that run in real-time on a computer. The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills.
Two years and three months ago, I first found out he even created music on the level he did, beyond all the goofing around I have seen with him and his friends, because of his last album, Phase Shift. On top of that, I found out that he has been referred to as a “legend” in the demoscene. This embarrasses him greatly, so I like to bring that up from time to time.
Phase Shift, released 9/1/09, was his first full release in 8 years and a treat for a lot of his fans. As a newcomer to that world, I was delighted to hear the mixture of ambient, drum and bass, and house merged into such a fun sound. “Boss Rush” was a particular favorite, which remixes the boss theme from Super Mario Bros. 2.
A Million Drops, released 1/12/11, gears more towards ambient and house sounds, with a nice kick of drum & bass to keep you alert and aware. This album is less in your face, allowing it to be an album you could turn on to envelope a room while working. Relaxing, yet engaging. During my first listen-through, visions of motion photography were just flowing freely. Very few songs have been able to give me such thoughts without trying; Josh did it with practically his entire album and now I want to try my hand at creating videos to parallel how I feel about specific songs.
The album is absolutely dreamy. I cannot even begin to express how inspired I am by the compilation of sounds. My favorites so far? “Lost Memory”, “Another Rainy Saturday”, and “Airlock”.
Fans of Cliff Martinez (Drive, Contagion, Traffic) may see Solaris‘ inspiration on the “Airlock” track (as well as the source of the vocal sample).
I know that a lot of people could look at this and see a friend just pumping up another friend’s music, but if I did not love it, I would not bother. I pretty certain I am one of darkhalo’s biggest fans and it is very possible that I have listened to Phase Shift more than anyone else. This is not about favoritism. This is about pure musical bliss.
You can listen to it on SoundCloud or download it here for free, so there’s no harm in giving it a listen to. If it’s not your cup of tea, that is all fine and dandy. If you enjoy it as well, share it.
Phase Shift holds a special place in my heart, but A Million Drops will be a source of creative energy and that is something very special.