Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cassette Review: Racket "64"

[$5 CAD // Edition of 120 //]

For all that has been said about not judging a book by its cover and for me personally to not judge something by its artwork, I find it very hard to not be swayed into immediately falling in love with Racket's "64" based upon the artwork.    It has an instant feeling of nostalgia to it for me because it reminds me of any sort of video game I've ever played up until the invention of the Playstation when video games then came in the compact disc format and, while first in actual CD jewel cases eventually simply in the DVD sized ones, but before that- with Atari, Sega, Nintendo- they used to come in these boxes that were often times much larger than the cartridges themselves.   And though I know that this is a cassette and it goes in a cassette player (aka stereo), a piece of me and my upbringing can't help but want to put this in either an old Sega Genesis or, yes, even Nintendo 64.

Now, if you have a j-card and even the artwork on the cassette itself reminds me of old school video games, your sound doesn't have to be 8bit.   It could be appropriate and only fitting in ways, but perhaps in the interest of playing a game as seemingly simply as "Adventure" to as complex and fast paced as "Frogger", what you find inside could be any number of things and it wouldn't be disappointing so long as it was good.   So I guess that just goes to show another level of why this artwork is so great-- because you could really attach it to any music and be able to back it up as long as the music is there as well.

"64" does begin with an 8bit sound but then it turns into distorted guitar riffs.    There is singing and it can come out between rockabilly and metal, which if you really think about it aren't that far away in the spectrum.   Through cymbal crashes it just displays a lot of heaviness and I'm digging it overall.    Then it does manage to take on some other forms, from other influences, such as punk, bedroom/garage, screamy, surf/spy riffs and then it all sort of comes together with a screamy thrash punk sound as well.   Especially in the drumming, this reminds me of Nirvana ("Nevermind" era) but I can also hear some other bits of High Pop and The Lot Six, which I realize isn't a lot to go on but there aren't a lot of good comparison points here because this just rocks and it rocks hard.

If this was what this cassette was, I would be fine with it.   It starts off 8bit but then kicks into something fast and heavy.   How could you not enjoy that?   It's like speeding down a road with no other cars in sight for miles and miles, if you know what I mean.   But this isn't the only dimension of this cassette.   In between seemingly every song we take this break that is not filled by dead air but rather by the sounds of 8bit music or what you could call video game music even.   Yes, it is the tie back to the original point I made about the artwork and it just pulls this all into one nice, neat package and I love it.    But I don't want you to think that this is a collection of rock songs with these "8bit interludes", which is kind of how I made it seem in my notes after the first listen.

What separates the songs aren't really like commercials during a television show but rather they are songs and pretty great pieces of music in their own right.    If you were to dissect them, you could seemingly make an album out of each or at least put them onto their own sides to get a better understanding of them (if only at first), but after several listens you will see how well it all just works together as a whole, in a big picture sense.    So don't worry if you don't get it at first-- Racket chops it up and serves it to you only in the proper manner and when all is said and done it will eventually make sense to you.   And "64" will become one of the finest pieces of music I will ever hear.


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