Arts & Culture

Imaginary Video Game Music

By Anand Balasubrahmanyan February 19, 2010

The science fiction computers that power Snowman Plan are never comfortable. Programmed by multi-instrumentalist Ian Obermuller, they run ancient synth noise through waves of chaotic percussion. Snowman Plan and their attention-to-detail electronics play the  Josephine in Ballard this Friday with a full band. This set up, like on the furious “Lobsterpaws” where they mix synths, live strings, and woodwinds,  imagines Dvorák composing and kicking ass at Mega Man simultaneously.

Occasionally, it's like Obermuller is exorcising the cheeky eight-bit dance movement's laziest excesses. Take “arena4001.” Instead of bleeps played for nostalgia, the song brutalizes the past with squealing electronics and grueling workouts. It reminds me more of failing at Sonic over and over than the joys of a simpler time.

Of course with music like this, with its time-signature-switching-genre-deconstruction, there are always moments when you have to look into the mirror and mumble to yourself, “This is kinda pretentious.” But what if I used the word “arty” instead of “pretentious?”

It makes me feel better and there is a compelling audacity to Snowman Plan's imaginary video game music. It's prickly bombast is the definition of 'niche,' appealing to fans of music theory and Sega soundtracks from 1991-1994. If that person is you, shit, Snowman Plan could be something special.

Snowman Plan play the Josephine this Friday, February 19

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