Ottawa post-rock-chiptune outfit Marshall Art recently released their full length record, Gallery, an album that remembers and reinvents the best music of gaming’s yesteryear.
The first thing worth noting is the album’s unique track selection. Gallery is not a cover record per se; a more accurate title would be a rework record. Marshall Art takes video game songs that are well known but entirely varied. I never thought I’d hear Ecco the Dolphin and Undertale in the same track list, but here we are. Tracks flows seamlessly into one another, weaving together a cohesive record despite its influence coming from all over.
The production on this record is bar none some of the best the genre has to offer. Each track has an atmosphere and is put together cleanly. Every chord, melody, and beat has a place and a clear path that makes following the instruments and melodies very easy. One would assume maintaining a concise atmosphere would be challenging, what with each track coming from a different game, but Gallery blows it out of the water. Some parts of the record can be a bit muddy at times but there’s nothing unlistenable or unenjoyable.
Gallery succeeds because Marshall Art have made the music on it their own. There’s no problem with cover records or tribute records, but sometimes there isn’t enough variation to pull me from the original. Marshall Art nail this point; the haunting score throughout “Eccos” makes it feel dire and urgent despite being a game about a dolphin; the Undertale track “MGLV (The easiest enemy)” leads in with Megalovania, a great track in its own right that can be admittedly repetitive alone, so they splice in other melodies and solos from other pieces to keep things flowing.
“But You’re Still Hungry,” a track stemming from Chrono Trigger (one of my favourite all time games) is a particular standout track. It recreates the atmosphere of Chrono Trigger so well that it brings you back to the first time you ever played that game. The pacing and down beat tempo make you feel like you are trudging through an endless journey. The soaring guitars, the subtle synths and minimal drum fills really pull this piece up in being my favourite. It drips of feeling and passion, it shows how much MA really care about these games and their listeners.
Listen in the player below:
Reviewed by Ezra Shanto
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