Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Midweek Music Box: Threshold (8-bit version from Scott Pilgrim vs the World)

Scott Pilgrim vs the World flawlessly fused so many different aspects of slacker culture, the indie music scene, pop culture, and most especially video game culture; it's still a wonder to me that the movie under-performed at the box office. It had natural chemistry among the leads, great cameos, walk-ons, funny and instantly quotable lines--and that's just for starters. I'm glad it turned into cult classic and now makes the rounds of various midnight screenings and movie quote-a-long nights around the country because more people need to experience this awesome gem of a film. Well, I could wax on further about how great of a movie it was, and perhaps one day I will, but we're not here to talk movies, we are here to talk music!

So let's take a moment to listen to the track of the week, shall we:

"Threshold (8-bit)"

Translated to 8-bit-midi-music glory by Brian LeBarton based on an original composition from none other than Beck; this music melody not only was a great send off as the credits rolled on Scott Pilgrim, but it also arguably sounds better than the original version.  Naturally I can't insert that opinion without sharing the original:

"Threshold (original)

With incredible overdrive and a rocking, defiant sounding riff, it's hard not to picture the Evil Ex battle when you hear this track. The tonal shift midway through still makes me smile and wish that I was watching this film in the theater again. Still, I lean towards the 8-bit version more heavily when I want to have the soundtrack on in the background or need something to jam to while I write. Yeah, I know that's my gamer nature coming through, but Bryan Lee O'Malley wrote the original stories that way so it's hard not to feel that the 8-bit version also captures the spirit of the film a bit more. Scott Pilgrim is already littered with references and shout-outs to video games. Heck, it's like Scott and the gang are in a video game. 

I've heard songs given the 8-bit treatment before, and while they sound fantastic most times, you are still left feeling like the experience was "quaint" more than cool. Not so with Threshold. Hearing "Threshold" in an 8-bit style doesn't just feel like a revamp, it feels like the song finally gets to inhabit it's natural form and breathe in the way that it should. While I like the overdrive in the original, hearing it in the 8-bit style makes the sometimes scratchy sound feel less unpolished indie band and more like someone really trying to push as much music as they can from a classic console like the NES or Genesis.

I know that technically the song "Threshold" didn't originate from a game, but LeBarton and Beck did such a great job capturing the spirit of the characters and the story that it feels like the track was ripped straight from a retro system. 

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