ADVENTURE: Adventure (Carpark Records)


Posted on Oct 12th 2008 10:42 pm

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Adventure: Adventure

Carpark 2008
11 Tracks. 37mins19secs

Carpark Records artists are kind of like games for a Nintendo Wii.  There’s more than enough cuteness to go around, some hipsters stuck in kidulthood, and lots of far-out nonlethal weaponry (read: lo-fi and chip tune synths).  There’s even a Mario figure, in the form of mascot / oddity / unsettling manchild Dan Deacon.  If this metaphor is to be carried even further (and guess what – it is!) then someone needs to be Link, the little questing elfin hero from the Zelda series.  So, why the hell not, how about Benny Boeldt?

Right off the bat, Boeldt fits into the mode of the dungeon scourer – he’s chosen the moniker “Adventure” for his musical forays. Unfortunately, unlike Link, Boeldt has yet to step into the new millennium, and by now it’s no longer cute or vintage, just annoying.  Might as well start here with the obvious, like a track called Battle Cat.  Yes – lasers!  Laser cats duel in space!  Unicorns!  Zombieeeeezzzz!  Bit-corez, yo.  All of which is to say – is there a reason for musical Ritalin cases like this one other than the less-than-admirable pursuit of getting a blog mention?  Perhaps we should be thankful we’re getting originals here, and not just another flash-in-the-pan series of MSTRKRFT remixes.  I could go further into detail about what this sounds like: gameboys having sex, sprinting through one of those nighttime city levels in Sonic The Hedgehog, Bowser donning hideous neon fashions and a shirt that says KLL MRIO in huge block letters; nothing out of the ordinary for an Orwellian dystopia in which video game technology has suddenly moved from novelty to legitimate canvass for album-length expression.  Oh, wait…

Okay, come back, it’s not all bad, and this is themilkfactory, not a hyper blog, which means that I at least owe Adventure an honest review with the pros as well as the cons.  Travel Kid brings to mind some of the better game soundtracks, with its chugging arpeggios.  Wild Wild Ride is the best Streets Of Rage level that never was, all exploding machinery and a noisy little synth that sounds like it’s desperately trying to shout out “Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!”  Meanwhile, Ultra Zone manages to perfectly capture that feeling of being home alone on a Friday or Saturday night before the days of the Internet, with nothing but pizza, soda, and an NES.

If nothing else, Adventure proves Boeldt’s aptitude for soundtracking the candy-stuffed 8-bit child that dwells in some of us.  The question must then be asked, how much value do we place in this?  Adventure can be admired for its status as a nostalgic curio; it certainly takes guts to really let go like this without the grounding of any technology that sounds like it didn’t emerge from an 8- or 16-bit console system.  But then again, video game music was meant to go with the experience of playing a game.  It was an audiovisual deal, and the visual element is sorely lacking from Adventure – unless you count staring endlessly at that cover art.  The truth is, there’s a fine line between truly inspired chip tune artistry, and derivative crap relying on yesterday’s technology as a gimmick in the place of compositional quality.  Adventure spends ample time on both sides of that divide.

To paraphrase a certain cereal advertisement, the kid in me loved the sickly-sweet pure frosting that this album is filled with, tummy-ache be damned.  But the adult in me can’t help but interject with an eyebrow-raised “eh, why?”


Adventure (MySpace) | Carpark Records
Buy: CD | iTunes

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