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David Kanaga – DYAD OGST
23 October 2013, 12:30 Written by Slavko Bucifal

Video game soundtracks that are released separately as consumable additions is not news, but it is rare to feature one on a site that focuses solely on music. So what’s so special about the soundtrack to DYAD, a rail shooter game which has you travelling at mach speed through smooth psychedelic tunnels trying avoid certain objects and purposely colliding with others? Firstly, the soundtrack is composed by David Kanaga who has a plethora of releases and interesting projects to his resume including the brilliant Brian Eno-esque soundscape to Proteus, a game of exploration with virtually no objective. A quick tour through his bandcamp page, which is a highly recommended venture, demonstrates the diverse repertoire this Oakland based producer is capable of. On DYAD, as with Proteus, Kanaga’s compositions form an integral piece in the overall experience of the game, but this is more than a mere game soundtrack.

DYAD Original Game Soundtrack is a pretty effective trip through a seemingly limitless collection of electronica ranging from sweeping ambient swirls to hard-house adrenaline shots. While the record certainly seems to add a whole other dimension to the video game, to the non-gamer the record will serve largely as a hyperactive journey through some really cool soundscapes and provide a base for their own imagination to take hold. Tracks like “Raga 2″, a minimalistic digital sprint which has the lead synth cascading up and down at just over 220 BPM, has the effect of firing up the synapses and provides its own inspiration for visual stimulus almost daring to ask if a game console is really necessary. The moodiness on “Start/Break/Slow” builds nicely as a transition to “Triads”, a track with a steady foundation of rhythm while experimental flutes and digital waves restlessly wash over the predictable underpinning. The “Peking Duck” series of tracks flirt with dark, ambient, melancholy tones and are largely void of the manic pulse that permeates most of the album. There is a lot of quality art in the music, but the challenge rests with the timing of it all.

Many tracks are short, lasting for 2 minutes or less, and it seems that just when the listening experience is about to dole out pleasure points, the song quickly, sometimes awkwardly, transitions to the next motif (gapless playback is a necessity here). Overall, there is a profound sense of restlessness which can be unsatisfying if the album is carefully listened to. As a room filler and when left on constant repeat, the DYAD OGST generates brilliant moments that leave the listener in a heightened state of anticipation for particular patterns to repeat which, of course, they rarely do. The exception is the rather infectious node pattern in “Start/Break” which reappears as a fully developed theme in “Start Mush”. It is about the only recognisable hook on the record.

David Kanaga’s soundtrack to DYAD is an exceptional conceptual musical ride created to enhance the video game; it’s pretty inviting on its own merit as well.

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