Most 8 or 16-bit soundtracks get monotonous and dull over time, but Jredd’s new album ‘The Next Level’ manages to overcome this. Mixing techno, electronic and 8/16-bit sound samples from Sega games, Jredd creates a nostalgic album which will keep you guessing where that last beat came from. Admittedly a bit of a niche album that won’t appeal to many, but to those electronic fans who are looking for something a bit different this album will be either a wave of nostalgia or a fresh feel for what electronic music is truly capable of in the right hands.
From the mellow sounds of ‘Comet Drop’ to the blood pumping end of level boss feel of ‘Mecha Pharaoh’, the album produces a nostalgic sensation of playing through the old 16-bit Sega Genesis side scrollers such as Mega-man, Contra and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The highlight of the album has to be ‘Cyborg Shred’, which as the title suggests sounds like a cyborg shredding a synth guitar as if there was no tomorrow. It’s up beat with recognisable samples from a range of games, that gives it that high level pressure feel that you get towards the end of the old classics. When you know the boss is just round the corner, but one false move will end it all.
Another worthy mention is ‘Ocean Breeze‘, a very Zelda-esk song that as a result is one of the albums more mellow and relaxed songs. Its beautiful harmonies mixed with what sounds like a synth harp and the old wave sound effects found in the games of the time, really does justice to the more relaxed and potentially beautiful moments that are found in games.
The biggest downfall to this album is its length, only clocking in at just over half an hour the album seems cut short and leaving you wanting more. Especially if your smashing in hours of retro-games with a few friends, which is what this album really lends itself to. So go grab a couple beers and a few friends and dig out those old Genesis and N64 controls and play the night away.
By George Haslem