If there's one thing you took away from Portal, aside from the preposterously fun gameplay and witty, deadpan (not to mention gloriously absurd) dialogue, it's the eerily charming song that runs during the credits. With its cute melody juxtaposed with black humor, "Still Alive" lodged itself in my headspace for a time that, all things considered, was entirely too long. Later it found its way on to Rock Band, granting us the privilege of entering into a whole new world of weird by watching digital musicians give a strangely zealous performance of GLaDOS's alternate-reality number one hit. Now it seems that Jonathan Coulton, who wrote "Still Alive," has teamed up with John Flansburgh (serving as producer) of They Might Be Giants fame, to record a new version of the latter-day classic.
Joystiq reports that:
- It features a guest appearance by Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara fame
- There's a theremin solo, performed by theremin virtuoso Dorit Chrysler
- We probably won't get to hear it until Jonathan Coulton's new album drops in 2013
- John Flansburgh is producing it! John freaking Flansburgh.
For those scratching their heads and wondering "What on Earth is a Theremin?", it's an extremely odd device, and one of the first electronic instruments. The Theremin has become a bit of a novelty, as aside from being relatively exotic -- distinctively old-timey yet stinking of futuristic sorcery -- it's superficial appeal is that it is performed without any sort of contact. Sound is manipulated by the position of the player's hand in relation to two sensors: one controls pitch, while the other controls volume. I've never really cared for it -- in fact, I've described this foul apparatus as "the most irredeemably annoying thing I've ever heard" -- and everyone knows the signature noise of the Theremin from every "Flying Saucer" sound effect you've ever heard, ala some 50s Sci-Fi flick with a name like "They Came From Planet X." However, as the internet seems constantly intent on proving my judgments wrong, is seems this devil machine is capable of producing sound pleasing to the ear, as evidenced by one Youtube dweller's rendition of the theme from Final Fantasy X, "To Zanarkand." You will undoubtedly notice some errors, as you will on almost all Theremin videos, owing to the fact that the instrument is notoriously difficult to play with precision.