Friday, March 2, 2018

Ep. 101: Working the Problem

Aloha from Uncertain Breeze Zone, Act I. Here, an almost imperceptible current of air guides us to our recommendations. Along the way we find out about all the things that Emily has never heard of: things like counter tiles, Blue Apron, and being cold in California. And Josh still has a lot to learn too, like how to move your body in the 90's. Along the way we talk about Emily's move, Josh's plans, and the times in their lives when they had a physical reaction to music. So, umm... What are you doing over there? Submit to the wind and join us on this week's episode.

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This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
Fortified Zone Zone 3 Tsukasa Tawada
Einhänder Dawn Kenichiro Fukui
Pop’n Music 11, Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA Tino’s White Horse Morning Blue Dragon (Jun Wakita)
Sonic Mania Blossom Haze (Press Garden Act 2) Tee Lopes
Final Fantasy IX You’re Not Alone Nobuo Uematsu
Doki Doki Literature Club Sayo-Nara Dan Salvato

...and listeners like YOU.


  1. I haven't finished the episode yet, but before I forget, I wanted to comment about my own food cravings from my time in Japan.

    I remember Japanese people are not super interested in cheese. Even when you can get it, it's pretty crappy. My western friends and I found the world's worst Mexican food place and we would go there fairly regularly for our cheese fix. Every time we went it was basically loaded with foreigners, and almost never Japanese people. Oddly enough, it was run by a Serbian guy (if memory serves. In any event he was neither Japanese, nor Mexican).

    I would say that on the whole I might even miss the food there more than I missed the food from here. A lot of great street food and quick stuff to eat, great candy and sweets, great soft drinks. Mmmmmm Japan...

    1. Ah, I also remember going to Costco on Thanksgiving to eat hot dogs for lunch with the other Americans. For dinner we had an even more traditional American meal of shabu shabu.

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  3. Emily, when you mentioned the electronics repair guy called you an anomaly, I thought, “No, she’s an AnEmily!”

    Loved the testimonials, particularly Marsh’s. I have had involuntary physical reactions to VGM on a number of occasions. Let me share my most memorable:
    1) I had an old stereo hooked up to my Genesis, and later my SNES. I bought Streets of Rage the day it came out, and when that beat drops in the intro, I had an adrenaline overload. Then when the first level starts with that 808 kick drum.....well let’s just say it was savage.

    2) Prairie from Devilish. You guys were there when Pixeltunes Mike read my testimonial. “Oh my freaking gosh”.

    3) KJNG, specifically Hype Man Jungle Tuber’s opening. I was so happy I felt like my insides were going to burst. The pressure was literally pushing out tears and giddy laughter/fits of yelling.

  4. Fortified Zone must be fortified with all my essential vitamins because I feel so full of vigor after listening to it. I should try dipping GameBoys into coffee more often.

    The Einhander track was great. I love that game and it is that kind of late 90s techno/psytrance sound that has a moodiness and cool vibe that I miss in a lot of newer electronic music. Somebody dropped a gold coin in the middle of you guys talking about this track by the way. If nobody is gonna claim it, I will gladly save it for later to play another track on the jukebox.

    I had no idea Pop n Music had a track with Mongolian/Tuvan throat singing and jaw harps. I have long fought the urge to buy this game and one of its overpriced yet amazing peripherals. This track is weakening my resistance.

    This Sonic Mania track is a jam! I am getting a strong Chun Li vibe from it, but with stronger solos.

    I loved how excited Marsh was in the audio testimonial. That post concert glow is still strong in his voice and it makes me feel happy. I am glad it was captured in audio so we all can get a contact high. I felt similar glee when I recently saw John Williams conduct the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Steven Spielberg made a surprise visit with some footage from Indiana Jones to demonstrate how John Williams' scores enhance the scenes.

    I am excited to have doki doki literature club twist my psyche into a pretzel, but I haven't played it yet. I am listening to this while in line at Comicon and watching people in cosplay go by, which is its own wonderfully surreal experience.

    I appreciate all the love for KJNG, but I am happy to be back to the regular show. The one down side to doing a dissertation is that I didn't get to hear a new episode on the week my episode came out. :p

  5. Geoff ChillpowerMarch 3, 2018 at 8:50 PM

    I've had physical reactions to music in the form of chills too many times to count. Pretty much any time my brain is going "aw yeah, perfect!" I feel an accompanying chill down my spine. Apart from that the only other physical response I can remember having to a piece of VGM is a kind of increased heart rate and around-the-eye swelling (not crying, but maybe pre-pre-crying?) during Gwyn, Lord of Cinder from Dark Souls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLBybw-IJ5U). Spoiler alert for those who haven't played the game: this is the end boss, but rather than an epic duel against an all-powerful being it turns out to be a sad, half-hearted, and (intentionally) unsatisfying fight against his empty shell. The music is a huge part of recontextualizing that moment.!

  6. Hey guys,

    Okay, I'll confess I don't wholly subscribe to the idea of fateful instances driving us along the highway of life. But still...

    I was on a Website browsing through potential VGM albums when I came upon one called "Doki Doki Literature Club." I'd never heard of the game, but the title had doki doki in it, much like "Doki Doki Panic." I figured there weren't enough games with the words doki doki in the title, so I listened to a few of the tracks. They sounded upbeat and happy, so I went to Steam and downloaded the whole thing.

    Then I got about halfway through the album. Things began to change. Rhythms, once bright and innocent, began to slide ever so slowly off key. They rebounded back to normal immediately, but in my soul of souls, I knew there was something off. Then the music began to really get out of phase; it was similar to nodding off as the real and tangible lost focus to the understanding human mind. And the music changed. The melodies became fevered, some raging out of control while others simply lost all coherence entirely. Then the final track. Nothing but low-humming keyboards and static with Silent Hill vibes. But still, even in the void of it all, you could pick out those familiar tunes. Distant and practically nonexistent, they persisted in the ether.

    And then? Well, just go back to track one and you've got the phoenix rising from the ashes as everything goes back to unity and standard 4/4 again.

    My point in all this? This soundtrack is a rare gem because all of the tracks possess connection with each other from beginning to end. This album is an exercise in variations on a theme wherein the goal is to go from order to entropy. But you have to listen to the whole body of music in order to view the madness first hand; and sadly that is beyond the scope of a show wherein we can only analyze one track at a time. (But the "Sayo Nara" track is a very good example of the midway point between the harmonies and discord at play in the music.)

    Am I a little bit obsessed with this OST? Perhaps. I've listened to this music many times. I even sent a message about it to Emily the Anomaly last week, just days before this episode posted. I had no knowledge this OST was to be featured on the show.

    Is it madness? Perhaps it is as I'm furiously transcribing this entire message from a manifesto I scribbled onto a box of Golden Grahams. (Yes, I'm still at the rest stop.) Is this madness? Perhaps it is, but this soundtrack is worth the effort.

    I suppose I'll have to make up for it by building a small sandbox pyramid shrine to Nyarlathotep. The Master would not approve...

  7. I wanted to add one more thing... Keyglyph talked about how I asked her for a list of patron names after I realized I had forgotten some people in my dissertation "thank yous," but I hope you all don't miss the truly important detail to this story, which is that Key actually MAINTAINS such a list, along with additional details about the patrons. I have never felt so cared for by a spreadsheet as I did when I saw how she catalogues all this stuff about us all. :)