Was recently sent this cool album by Spanish musician Shoeg, 外皮 External Skin, an OST to a fictional RPG. This one’s for all you VGM freaks out there. There’s the regular album version of 外皮 External Skin, but Shoeg has gone one step further and extended each song to an hour’s length and paired it with dreamy 3D visuals in a YouTube playlist – you can watch the rest if you jump to YT from the video I linked above. Imagine if other records had this, I don’t know what you’d call it, feature? Shades of custom YouTube videos where people loop game soundtracks for 10 hours. Just vibe out to a variable melody for an hour. Exist in its space. Observe the crests and valleys of its sound. Create your own mythology to it.
It’s easy to get lost in any of the pieces on the record, but I’ve found myself gravitating towards the second track, “ES II: Needs Assessment”, with its great digital hammered strings and synthesized vocals. Parts of the soundfonts remind me of the “Dire Dire Docks” theme? Potentially? Could be paired with some kind of ancient forest, roots growing off ocean cliffsides, colorful birds peacefully flying overhead, and a hidden temple nestled in a thicket of especially tough vines. There’s plenty more fantasizing to be done on the full LP.
This is a total aside, but now that I’m thinking about video game music and YouTube; late last year I found a great playlist of this guy, Jammin’ Sam Miller, who’s been restoring the music from Donkey Kong Country by essentially re-performing it without the compression needed to fit it on a SNES cartridge. The result is pretty shocking, especially on some of the songs with more haunting ambiance in the later game. As someone who’s been listening to that OST for over twenty years, it’s amazing to hear the sounds of the score really pop, along with hearing defined highs and lows, for the first time. You can check it out here.
And don’t forget, this post was about Shoeg. Check out their Bandcamp here.