RIYL: the vidyas

Label: Thrill Jockey

Brian Gibson comprises one half of Lightning Bolt, and it just so happens he scores video games on the side. This particular vidya, THUMPER, is described by the developer as a melding of F-ZERO (let’s hope they make another one for the Switch) and Audiosurf. It’s also described as a “rhythm violence” game. The music certainly can sound violent, and that seems par for the course since part of Lightning Bolt is here. The game capitalizes on intervals, and the percussion (rather, the overall work) is haunting. Each track is its own world, some harsher than others. The intro track is darkly-tinted drone evocative of Stars of the Lid’s … And Their Refinement of the Decline. The track succeeding it, “Triangle,” seems fit to have black metal-style wordless screaming on it with its ritualistic drum line and turbine-esque white noise. Listen to the full soundtrack by clicking the Buy Now button below and see what you think of it. Cheers!

The Details

Thrill Jockey presents a limited color vinyl pressing of the original soundtrack to the critically acclaimed rhythm violence game Thumper. All music by Brian Gibson (Lightning Bolt). Thumper is released in a limited edition of 1,000 copies worldwide. The LP is pressed on translucent red vinyl with black paper inner sleeve and free download coupon.

“As spartan and laser-focused as Lightning Bolt’s music.” - FACT

Brian Gibson, bassist for the ballistic duo Lightning Bolt, makes his solo debut on Thumper, approaching the rhythmic violence his music is known for with a propensity for tense, electronic thrusts, pulsing synth swells, and symphonic bursts. Drawing from music originally created for the hit video game of the same name that Gibson created the art and music for, the album takes the listener on a trek through trans-dimensional journey where the brutality of the music’s momentum is equally entrancing. Despite the presence of lush, even soothing tones, the tensions that blossom from each track overwhelm the senses to invigorating effect.

Knowing that the soundtrack for the game was originally developed as generative, based on the player’s gameplay, it is easy to see how the music developed to be so immersive and varied in texture. Every piece on Thumper dictates a new terrain, each as otherworldly as the next: drifting through ethereal canyons, gleaming over laser infested space, and plummeting into craggy bombasts of meteorite alike. Rhythm here reigns king, although in contrast to the break-neck stylings of Lightning Bolt, Gibson applies a steadier throb that remains as propulsive. Similar to Gibson’s ability to create a multitude of drastically varied tones with his bass and effects pedals, the music of Thumper finds a tapestry of orchestrated instruments – brass, strings, and swaths of percussion instruments – applied with masterful skill.

Gibson is a seasoned game artist, working on titles such as Amplitude, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band. The game Thumper, developed by Gibson with programmer Marc Flury through their studio Drool, has been lauded as one of the best games of 2016, with particular note to the music from the likes of FACT, Paste, IGN, Kotaku, and PC Gamer who called Thumper “one of the best music games ever made,” as well as being nominated for and winning awards for Best Music/Audio from Game Developer’s Choice Awards, IGN Japan, New York Video Game Awards, and more. Thumper was also selected by Sony as one of PlayStation’s first releases for their Virtual Reality console when launched in 2016.

Price $16

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