In 2015, coming off quite a rough year, I started playing video games, after a 15 year hiatus. The last console I’d had was a PlayStation 1, and I’d lost interest in games right around the time the appeal of playing music started to increase. I started playing some of the old classics with Sam Jones and Dave Paha, and then Sam ended up with a loaner PS4 from his friend who was going out of town or something...that bit’s a little fuzzy...in any event, within a month Dave and I had both picked up our own consoles, and were now spending our “chill out” time playing games, instead of just...sitting in silence? Drinking? What did we do back then, in the before-times?

The reason I’m talking about video games is that this album is built entirely out of recordings from the water levels of some of my favourites - Ocarina Of Time, Marios 64 and Sunshine, Donkey Kong Country, and many more. I used my friend Akira’s beautiful software, Argeïphontes Lyre, to process the raw recordings from the games themselves, and then wove the whole thing together in Ableton.

As if I haven’t been doing enough to shoot my “art career” in the foot already, I feel compelled to say that I had no interest in making any kind of vaporwave-style post-ironic accelerationist blah blah blah “commentary” on culture with this album - I live quite far from both Ferraropia and Lopatinland, and while I love the sound of quite bit of vapourwave (True North™ spelling edition), and even acknowledge a decent presence of some of those sonic attributes in my work as Jean d’Ys, I can’t get into the snarky, grad school dropout attitude of it all. Call me too earnest, too silly, too stupid, too Canadian, too Maurice, whatever you like, but I’m not trying to “say anything” about video games, their place in our lives, the emptiness of digital culture, the coming robot insurrection, etc. I really just noticed that the music in the various water levels of video games was, more often than not, really cool, and thought it would be fun to try to stitch them all together into something that would make me smile.

I still have it in mind to make this into a series, with the other classical elements represented in video game soundtrack collages. Fire and air would be easy enough to do, I suppose earth could be underground levels, and spirit would at least be represented in the Mario ghost houses...although now that I’ve spelled it all out here, someone will probably poach the idea and get signed to Warp before I get my shit together.

I made the cover image in Akira’s software, by manipulating a photo taken by my dad, Michael Keusch.
© 2020