20 October 2017 (released)
11 January 2018
For anyone born after Vietnam and before the Gulf War, the memories of the first video game machines are a ubiquitous thread through our collective childhoods. Due to their seminal nature, having only a handful of games with very similar technology, the sights, and the sounds have been implanted in the brains of millions of budding humans around the globe. As such, we have correlated many of our early thoughts on conflict, adventure, and success with these sounds. Succeed at something and a fair number of us will hear the chime of coins or the leveling up noise of a mushroom in our head. Fail and we all know that familiar tone of missing that jump and losing a life. That soundtrack is forever imprinted on our lives.
One part 80s arcade game soundtrack, one part laid-back funk with a lead guitar acting as the glue throughout, Meanr Mynr's new album The Sacrifice is a curious organic-synthetic fusion. The latest EP of all instrumental tracks from the Denver producer takes the listener through a Tron-like adventurescape where the listener becomes an 8-bit hero of sorts bouncing through a side-scrolling two-dimensional world, evading traps and defeating mutated mercurial monsters.
The opener 'Sanctified' acts as a primer level initiation. Funky guitar meets brassy synth stabs and deep dirge bass synths. Our hero is just getting his bearings in the world he's been dropped into, still full of confidence. 'Saint James' with its playful carnival organ and breezy guitar moves our protagonist further on in his quest.
The title track acts as a centerpiece to the album. Hurried strings and thunderous drums pave the way for an epic showdown. As the track plateaus with its Double Dragon style fight music, deep throaty bass stabs a la 'Robot Rock' by Daft Punk punch through like deadly blows. The sound execution of this track makes it an album high point.
The Sacrifice has the potential to be a fascinating exploration in the melding of guitar with synthetic soundscapes. The lo-fi nature of the production and playful, impetuous style of the synthetic elements makes for a fun listen. However, the guitar parts don't always meld smoothly with their electronic backing and it's clear that often Meanr Mynr is punching above his weight, trying to execute certain parts that feel sloppy and uncoordinated. Others feel like they're just meandering without direction. Overall, pulling back on the guitar and focussing on parts that flow with the electronic rather than just soloing aimlessly would make for a much more engrossing album.