Please Read This First!

The out-of-print albums that I post here are available for free! For many years, I used Megaupload to store my shares, but with their recent demise, I have switched to using MediaFire instead. If one of the shares is unavailable, please leave a comment requesting it and I'll re-upload it as soon as I can. If you have any problems, feel free to email me and I'll do my best to help!


Friday, April 06, 2012

Sonic Mayhem - Methods of Destruction (1996)

Sascha Dikiciyan has had a long and successful career composing music for video games. Under the moniker Sonic Mayhem, he has creating scores for Quake II, Quake III: Arena, Tron: Evolution, M.A.G., Terminator: Rise of the Machines and James Bond 007: Tomorrow Never Dies. In 2005, Sascha started working with symphonic composer Cris Velasco. Together, the duo has composed music for a number of successful video game titles, including Dark Messiah, Hellgate: London, Splinter Cell 4, Prototype, Borderlands, Mortal Kombat, Mass Effect 2: Kasumi's Stolen Memory & Arrival, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Mass Effect 3.

Sascha moved from Berlin to Los Angeles in 1993, studying at Musicians Institute and The UCLA School of Music. In 1996, he self-published the first release under the pseudonym Sonic Mayhem. Methods of Destruction is a soundtrack add-on for the PC game Quake. This add-on replaces the Trent Reznor ambient score (available for download here) with Sonic Mayhem's electronics and guitar oriented alternative. Methods of Destruction caught the attention of John Romero, the co-founder of id Software, and Sascha was hired to compose the now-classic score for 1997's Quake II (available for download here).

For fans of Sonic Mayhem, Methods of Destruction has always been the holy grail. Released at the time in a small run, the title has been virtually impossible to acquire, either physically or digitally. Over at Quaddicted, there are some details tracking the history of the release and the fruitless efforts to get Sascha to release it on his website. In addition, the page hosts samples for a number of the tracks. More recently, on March 29, 2012, Steam Users' Forum member AHadley posted a link to a digital rip of the album that was given to him by John Romero himself. Two days later, he edited the original post to remove the link, as he became aware of the fact that Sascha had previously indicated that he was not interested in seeing the material released more widely. I was lucky enough to grab that archive before it was removed, thanks to Linda Gabriel, a visitor of PLM who gave me the heads up in time.

I emailed Sascha to ask if I could post Methods of Destruction here. In my email, I directed him to the work I'd done in compiling the Quake II soundtrack and made my impassioned plea: "I'd really like to post Methods of Destruction too. It seems to be pretty common that musicians who have created music for a number of years tend to dislike their earliest works. In this case, if that's how you feel, it's a real shame, as I've listened to Methods of Destruction a few times now and I think it holds up really well. It's totally enjoyable and I know a lot of folks are dying to hear it." To my surprise, I received a quick reply: "Really well done on the quake 2 music compilation. I'm going to mention that on my twitter. Regards MOD. Your correct. Early work is always difficult to swallow ;) However since ur obviously put a lot of effort on the quake 2 info, I will let you post it. Consider this is rare moment of weakness on my part ;)"

Excellent.

I got to work on the MP3s themselves. I was doing my normal routine with MP3s that I haven't encoded myself, which is trim the digital silence with MpTrim PRO, when I noticed that all of the tracks had a little of the previous track at the beginning.  For most of the tracks, it was literally 1/20th of second, which you can't even hear, but because it's there, the second of digital silence that follows couldn't be automatically trimmed. I was able to accomplish that by manually clipping the first 1/10th of second of each track so that MpTrim PRO could automatically remove the digital silence that followed. While examining the tracks, I noticed that the problem was more significant on the first track. Half of the word "ravage" gets cut off on track one and picks up on track two! That's no good. The easiest fix would be to open the two tracks in an audio editor, then cut and paste that last bit on. Unfortunately, if you do that, then you have to recode the track, which, for fidelity reasons, is always better to avoid. Fortunately, I remembered a program called MP3DirectCut, which lets you copy, cut and trim MP3 tracks without recoding. Long story short, I fixed that track without having to recode it.

Methods of Destruction closes with a track called "B7 (Reprise)." I took a hard listen and "B7 (Reprise)" is identical to the earlier track "B7". Because Methods of Destruction is an add-on soundtrack for Quake, my guess would be that the game was structured such that the only way to have "B7" play again in a different section of the game would be to include it on the disc twice. So I took that off. In addition to other samples, that Quaddicted page also hosts a link to a lossless version of "B7" that was tacked on to the end of the Sega Saturn version of Quake. It's kind of a remixed version of "B7," but all they really did was copy the last minute, flip the audio channels and paste it on to the end of the track to make it run a minute longer. Still, it's "different," it was "released" and the sound quality is better, so I encoded it to MP3, titled it "B7 (Sega Saturn Mix)" and included it at the end to replace the duplicate "B7 (Reprise)".

Finally, this rare treat can be heard by all!

Update 04/15/2012: Thanks to PLM visitor Charles-Aurélien Goulois, you can now listen to the entire album on YouTube! I wanted to embed three of the tracks here, so I tried to choose the ones that best cover the full range of the album. I went with "Welcome to Mayhem," the album's opener and the only track to include "vocals" (in the form of samples), "Ultimate Rage" and "Sounds of Decay." Check 'em out:







Sonic Mayhem - Methods of Destruction (1996)
1. Welcome to Mayhem (2:09)
2. Premonition (4:44)
3. B7 (2:04)
4. Ultimate Rage (5:38)
5. Military Installation (4:25)
6. Methods of Destruction (4:35)
7. Mental Anguish (5:23)
8. Sounds of Decay (4:19)
9. B7 (Sega Saturn Mix) (3:03)

85.6MB ZIP archive
MP3: 8x Constant bitrate (128kbps)
1x Variable bitrate (211kbps average)

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Johnboy - Claim Dedications (1994)

Seeing as how I just posted a redo of Johnboy's first album, it only makes sense to follow-up that post with a post of their follow-up, Claim Dedications. Confused yet?

Released by Trance Syndicate in 1994, Johnboy's second album unfortunately proved to be their last. Similarly gripping and noisy, if you enjoy their first album, it's a virtual lock that you'll like this just as much.

I downloaded this album years ago over at the Generitalia blog. Since that site is now inactive and all of its old posts have been removed, it seems fair to share this gem here.

Check out "10w40":



Johnboy - Claim Dedications (1994)
1. Shortstack (3:01)
2. Quick to Drain (3:40)
3. Driving Resevoirs Up Noses (5:09)
4. 10w40 (3:31)
5. Chair (4:25)
6. Genus (2:48)
7. Pivotal (2:21)
8. Lorac (1:54)
9. Flung Circles (3:55)

47.8MB ZIP archive
MP3: Variable bitrate (217kbps average)
Rubyripper 0.4.2 w/LAME 3.97 (--alt-preset standard)

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REDO: Johnboy - Pistolswing (1993)

Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot I can say about math rock outfit Johnboy, as there isn't much info about them online. I saw them open for Zeni Geva at The Boiler Room in scenic New Britain, CT way back in 1993. That was one hell of a show. It's a good thing I brought ear plugs with me...

Based out of Austin, Texas, Johnboy were signed to Trance Syndicate, a local label co-founded by Butthole Surfers' drummer King Coffey. Johnboy are a heavy trio with a sound that reminds me most of Steve Albini's Shellac. They only released one more album, 1994's Claim Dedications, before splitting. They're well worth checking out if you enjoy complex noise rock.

Update 03/18/2012: Now that Megaupload is gone and I've been zipping and re-uploading all of the old shares to MediaFire, I decided to redo this post to include the three tracks from Johnboy's first single, released by Undone Records in 1992. I found a nice vinyl rip of the calYx 7" on Soulseek, which Audio Identifier tells me is encoded in the same manner as my rip of Pistolswing, using LAME 3.97 with the --preset fast extreme setting. The single's first track also appears on the Pistolswing album, but as a different performance. The label on the single lists that track as "New Jersey Road Base," but if you look at the handwritten liner notes at Discogs.com, you can see that it's supposed to be spelled the way it appears on the album: "New Jersey Roadbase." Similarly, I've changed "Bob and Cindy" to "Bob & Cindy."

Check out "Pistol Swing":



Johnboy - Pistolswing (1993)
From calYx 7" Single (1992):
1. New Jersey Roadbase (3:52)
2. Newton (2:11)
3. Bob & Cindy (5:00)
From Pistolswing CD (1993):
4. Admiration (3:40)
5. Sourmouth (4:47)
6. Sunday Two (3:29)
7. Pistol Swing (2:38)
8. Hold (2:25)
9. Freestanding (3:31)
10. New Jersey Roadbase (3:41)
11. Yellow (5:26)
12. I (3:47)

85.6MB ZIP archive
MP3: Variable bitrate (269kbps average)
LAME 3.97 (--preset fast extreme)

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Wartime - Fast Food for Thought (1990)

Following the release of the second Rollins Band album, Hard Volume, bassist Andrew Weiss and vocalist Henry Rollins collaborated on a one-off side project called Wartime. A former member of Greg Ginn's Gone, Weiss also worked as a producer and bassist on several Ween albums.

It's this sensibility that Weiss brings to the proceedings, as Wartime has a heady, yet simultaneously heavy, sound. The music consists primarily of Weiss' bass guitar fed through a series of effects that include at the very least distortion and wah-wah. While Andrew Weiss wrote and performed all of the music, Henry Rollins handles the vocal duties. These "vocals" are best described as landing somewhere between rap and spoken word. These two elements combine to create an EP that's totally unique and, actually, kinda catchy. It's worth noting that the fifth and final track is a cover of the Grateful Dead classic!

Check out the music video for "The Whole Truth":



This album was reissued in 1994 by Capitol and the cover was altered to also read "Featuring Henry Rollins" underneath the name Wartime. This rip and the cover above both come from the original 1990 Chrysalis release.

Wartime - Fast Food for Thought (1990)
1. Mindfield (1:30)
2. Wartime (5:42)
3. Right to Life (7:41)
4. The Whole Truth (5:54)
5. Franklin's Tower (7:59)

56.5MB ZIP archive
MP3: Variable bitrate (272.9kbps average)
Audiograbber 1.83.1 w/LAME 3.98.2 (--preset fast extreme)

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Ambient 4: Isolationism (1994)

In August of 1994, Virgin Records released the fourth and final volume in their definitive A Brief History of Ambient series. As things were starting to get a bit stale with the third volume, Virgin changed course, reaching beyond their own labels to widen the scope for this two-disc set. Focusing on the burgeoning Isolationism sub-genre, Virgin was able to license and compile a collection of exclusive tracks for this last blast. They also shortened the title this time around, omitting the A Brief History of part.

This compilation is the first major label release of this darker breed of ambient music. Most of the original indie electronic artists that pioneered this mid-90s musical variant are featured here. Stylistically, the ambient music that Brian Eno created in the 1970s was unique in that it was designed to work also as a passive experience; you could listen to it closely or let it play in the background as a non-distraction. Conversely, as this title's producer, musician Kevin Martin, put it when he coined the term, Isolationism is designed to "push away" the listener. This repulsive effect manifests itself in music that, surprisingly, covers a wide variety of attack approaches. Personally, the only similarity I find in these disparate pieces is the gloomy tone that sits at their core. Don't get me wrong, it's all quite enjoyable, but is maybe best enjoyed in smaller doses. Regardless, this is the perfect instrumental electronica to listen to on a dreary day. Particularly if your goal is not to cheer yourself up.

Check out the album mix of Scorn's "Silver Rain Fell" and Aphex Twin's "Aphex Airlines":





Ambient 4: Isolationism (1994)
1. KK Null / Jim Plotkin - Lost (Held Under) (7:45)
2. Jim O'Rourke - Flat Without a Back (4:47)
3. Ice - The Dredger (6:36)
4. Raoul Björkenheim - Strangers (4:42)
5. :Zoviet*France: - Daisy Gun (7:38)
6. Labradford - Air Lubricated Free Axis Trainer (3:22)
7. Techno Animal - Self Strangulation (6:04)
8. Paul Schütze - Hallucinations (In Memory of Reinaldo Arenas) (8:17)
9. Scorn - Silver Rain Fell (Deep Water Mix) (5:25)
10. Disco Inferno - Lost in Fog (5:02)
11. Total - Six (5:34)
12. Nijiumu - Once Again I Cast Myself into the Flames of Atonement (9:11)
13. Aphex Twin - Aphex Airlines (6:17)
14. AMM - Vandoevre (7:28)
15. Seefeel - Lief (6:07)
16. 'O'Rang - Little Sister (6:59)
17. E.A.R. - Hydroponic (6:18)
18. Sufi - Desert Flower (6:23)
19. David Toop / Max Eastley - Burial Rites (Phosphorescent Mix) (5:59)
20. Main - Crater Scar (Adrenochrome) (6:09)
21. Final - Hide (7:27)
22. Lull - Thoughts (8:02)
23. Thomas Köner - Kanon (Part One: Brohuk) (10:36)

136MB & 142MB ZIP archives
MP3: Constant bitrate (256kbps) w/LAME 3.92

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fallout 3 (2008)

Fallout 3 is an addictive RPG situated in an unrelentingly bleak post-apocalyptic future. Created by the folks at Bethesda Game Studios, the gameplay mechanics are similar to their earlier hit, the fantasy-themed The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Like 2007's BioShock, the soundtrack utilizes popular music from the early to middle twentieth century that effectively evokes a nostalgic sense of loss. Bethesda also contracted Inon Zur to create a more traditional score to extend the epic experience further.

This game's only official soundtrack was a five track promo given away to those who pre-ordered the game from select retailers. This promotional CD contains two themes by Inon Zur ("Main Title" and "Megaton") as well as three popular music tracks (The Ink Spots' "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire", Roy Brown's "Butcher Pete (Part 1)" and Bob Crosby and the Bobcats' "Way Back Home"). The game itself features an additional seventeen popular music tracks. Fortunately, it's possible to actually rip these tracks directly from the PC version of the game, where they were originally encoded as 192kbps MP3 files! I've also included "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" by Bob Crosby and the Bobcats, which, although not in the game itself, was featured in the commercial for the game and fits in neatly with the other tracks. Unfortunately, the majority of Inon Zur's soundtrack music that could be ripped from the game are short cues that work better in-game as fill-in atmospheric music. I've included the only longer cues I could find, seven "Battle" themes.

I've maintained the running order of the five track promo by inserting the additional twenty-five tracks in what seems the most logical way. The songs follow the running order of the ending credits, which, aside from the first track by The Ink Spots, is strictly alphabetical by song. I slotted "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" where it would have been if it were actually listed in the end credits. I threw the seven "Battle" themes after the songs and just before the final track, "Megaton," which closes this compilation on the same note as the promo CD. Eight of the songs were licensed from music production firm APM Music, Inc. and I was unable to determine the year that these tracks were originally recorded.

Check out the teaser trailer that features The Ink Spots' "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire":



Check out the E3 trailer that features Bob Crosby and the Bobcats' "Dear Hearts and Gentle People":



Check out Danny Kaye & The Andrews Sisters' "Civilization," Billie Holiday's "Easy Living" and Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Spots' "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall":







Update 03/30/2009: An anonymous poster below was kind enough to mention an additional track that I missed! "Into the Wasteland" is one of three Inon Zur tracks that you can preview on the official Fallout 3 page. For whatever reason, it's also the only track of the three that did not end up on the promo disc. I found a 320kbps encode of the track on Soulseek and placed it just before the final track on this compilation. Thanks, Anon!

Fallout 3 (2008)
1. Inon Zur - Main Title [2008] (2:06) *
2. The Ink Spots - I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire [1940] (3:06) *
3. Cole Porter - Anything Goes [1934] (3:08) #
4. Tex Beneke - A Wonderful Guy [1949] (1:52) #
5. Sid Phillips - Boogie Man (2:23) #
6. Roy Brown - Butcher Pete (Part 1) [1949] (2:28) *
7. Billie Holiday - Crazy He Calls Me [1949] (3:02) #
8. Danny Kaye / The Andrews Sisters - Civilization [1947] (3:00) #
9. Bob Crosby and the Bobcats - Dear Hearts and Gentle People [1950] (2:09) +
10. Billie Holiday - Easy Living [1937] (3:02) #
11. Gerhard Trede - Fox Boogie (3:15) #
12. Bob Crosby and the Bobcats - Happy Times [1949] (2:41) #
13. Jack Shaindlin - I'm Tickled Pink (1:48) #
14. Ella Fitzgerald / The Ink Spots - Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall [1944] (3:06) #
15. Billy Munn - Jazzy Interlude (2:49) #
16. Gerhard Trede - Jolly Days (1:40) #
17. Jack Shaindlin - Let's Go Sunning (1:41) #
18. The Ink Spots - Maybe [1935] (2:50) #
19. Roy Brown - Mighty, Mighty Man [1949] (2:33) #
20. Eddy Christiani / Frans Poptie - Rhythm for You (2:59) #
21. Allan Gray - Swing Doors (2:58) #
22. Bob Crosby and the Bobcats - Way Back Home [1935] (2:53) *
23. Inon Zur - Battle 01 [2008] (3:37) #
24. Inon Zur - Battle 02 [2008] (3:25) #
25. Inon Zur - Battle 03 [2008] (2:02) #
26. Inon Zur - Battle 04 [2008] (3:27) #
27. Inon Zur - Battle 05 [2008] (2:41) #
28. Inon Zur - Battle 06 [2008] (2:59) #
29. Inon Zur - Battle 07 [2008] (2:57) #
30. Inon Zur - Into the Wasteland [2008] (3:28) +
31. Inon Zur - Megaton [2008] (3:26) *

* = From Featured Selections from the Fallout 3 Soundtrack Promo CD
+ = Bonus Track
# = Game Rip Bonus Track

119MB ZIP archive
MP3: Constant and Variable bitrate (194.1kbps average)

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