MSL ()

Reviewed by Steve Gilmore on (Monday, April 10, 2006) Rated 7.7 / 10
Category Rating
Track Structure 8
Interest 7
Melody 8
Performance 9
Lyrics 0
Enjoyment 7
Recording Quality 9
Commercial Appeal 6
Overall 7.7

Although I've reviewed a few of this MP3 Unsigned's artists tracks by now, it's been a bit of an on and off affair largely because I am not a big fan of electronica and certainly not the dance-y kind.  However, there are times when MSL step off the dance floor and then it does make a visit worthwhile.  Last month I reviewed The Thread Of Life, an orchestral peice which hung together respectably well - especially since this was the first time MSL had attempted the genre.  However, all was not blissful because (again) I felt the track suffered from a convincing final mix.  See, I know the studio setup looks good on their artist page but it isn't the way they make music...

Long before these days of broadband and 96kHz sound and full featured studio programmes, making music on the computer was a tedious process.  Moreover, it was also an extremely limited world where the mega files sizes we deal with today would have given the internet an electronic hernia.  Most files released then couldn't top 100k and were often a lot, lot less.  Chances are that the sounds you heard during 1990 - 1998 were no more than 8bit and full stereo may have been possible with some tweaking.  The games industry funded and supported most of that early scene and a lot of the legendary games of the period had music in them from 'MODs' and 'trackers'  Although a lot of those early tracks were sub-Mario clones, all bleeps and whirrs, some of them were extraordinary.  Therefore I am not going to poop me pants when I see the legend '8 bit file' even when I understand the 'eeeewwwwww' reaction..

I'm wondering whether the title indeed refers to that early music making process because I know from personal, bitter experience that the music we made then was - literally - made byte by byte; entering codes that essentially set up the mix, arrangement and lead tweaks.  If this is a nod to the direction of the whole MOD/SID scene then I have to say it is extremely well done (especially in the Mario-alike sections).  Surprisingly enough, the more modern sound fits right in there too and as much as I didn't really look forward to hearing this, I found it worthwhile.  Mind you, I would because it is part of my history and it's something I have an abiding interest in, but I doubt it would be of much interest to your normal banger boy or girl.  Nonetheless, if you like video console games mixed with some decent rockier touches or even if you don't One Byte At A Time is a very listenable `track.

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