Greetings Audiophiles, hope you're all doing well.
For the last few weeks Audio File Friday has been focused on more well known artists like Angela Aki, DJ QBert, and our 2011 pop divas. They're certainly not the first, and far from the last, of their kind to be showcased here. While Audio File Friday is about celebrating all musicians who find their inspiration in gaming, one of the biggest reasons I started it was to highlight the independent artists; the artists who've got the talent but maybe not the notoriety. Yet.
This week the spotlight is on just such an artist. I hope you're ready for a little womp womp because it's dubstep time.
The last time Audio File Friday featured dubstep it was from Donimusic who got my attention with his unconventional approach to the style. Our featured artist this week, Ephixa, has more of a traditional dubstep sound but his work is far from standard fare.
While he may be a mostly underground DJ, with almost 20,000 facebook likes and some of the most youtube followers of any Canada-based musicians Ephixa isn't exactly an unknown. People are taking notice and listening to the guy's music and it's not hard to see why.
Originally from Cambridge but currently residing in Toronto, Ephixa:
... was a project started in September 2008. When a metal head met an aggressive form of electronic music called Hardstyle.
And at some point he met dubstep and brought the two together, with a love for gaming music thrown in, to create some remarkable tracks.
I first came cross his work during one of my many late night Bandcamp excursions, stumbling upon his three song Zelda Step album.
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time really doesn't need an introduction, nor does its music. The Song of Storms, Lost Woods, and Gerudo Valley, all headbangingly remixed here, are some of the most well known gaming tunes in existence. Maybe not quite Super Mario Bros. World 1-1 status, but still pretty high up there.
On The Song of Storms remix, Ephixa lights a slow burn; leading us in with a simple distorted interpretation of the haunting melody, gradually working in the drum and bass, and continuing to add layer upon layer until the original melody vanishes and the other elements of the song have taken over. And then, a little over halfway through, he brings back the original melody to remind us where we began, giving us one chance to catch our breath before
shoving the whole thing back down our throat all at once throwing the whole thing back at us with one epic motion.
He takes a similar approach with the beginning of his Lost Woods mix; starting with the original tune largely unaltered. For the first 30 seconds you might think you're just hearing the original Lost Woods sample with a few extra kick drums. But just when you think that's all you've got the infamous Navi shows up beckoning, as always, for you to 'Listen!' And then like a punch in the face comes that dirty 'womp womp' beat and a high pitched distorted synth taking over the main melody. This one has a few surprises throughout, and makes clever use of original LOZ: OOT sound samples.
For the Gerudo Valley mix he again opens with the classic melody but this time lets it carry on through the entire track. After two up and down roller coaster remixes Ephixa plays this one simple and straight forward. The beats come in where they're needed without ever overtaking the original melody, the break down is just where you'd expect it, and the surprises have settled down. Here he's bringing us back in to the station.
And for all you audiophiles who love
or probably loathe knowing you guys yourselves some nerdcore rap, Zelda Step features both Ephixa's Lost Woods and Gerudo Valley remixes re-remixed by rapper None Like Joshua.
If you're not feeling the dubstep and just want some hardstyle Song of Storms without all the womps, you're in luck:
But he doesn't just do Zelda.
Upon further investigation, I discovered more of Ephixa's music and whether it was a gaming remix or an original track I continued to enjoy what I heard.
Like this hardstyle remix of Megaman 2's Dr. Wily Theme. While most remixes of this track stick to the original's speedy melody, Ephixa has slowed things down by a beat or so and plays around with kicks and distorts throughout.
Or how about this high energy drum and bass remix of Donkey Kong Country's aptly title Aquatic Ambience. Once again he sticks to his strengths, letting the original melody get things started, but doing most of the heavy lifting himself with the bass line.
And as if Portal's musical endeavors weren't eargasmic enough on their own, here's a great Portal mix titled 'Turret Error.'
He even lieks mudkipz:
And as always I'll catch you all right here next week. Until then let Ephixa take good wompy care of you.