Close Encounter with Sadism 3
Those who visited Forever Quattro (held in March 2003) had some souvenirs to take home when leaving the party. The best competitors got their trophies, others could take at least nice memories – and Sadism 3, the music collection of Sad/Padua released right at the party. Professor Ugha Sid brings you a review of this piece of audial art.
First let’s have a look at the presentation so that we can concentrate on music later. The collection opens with a dynamic intro with screen flashing and later rasters moving in the rhythm of the music. Then a standard modern Padua logo. The introduction goes on with a stylish monochromatic graphic of a (for those who remember the discussions over nudity at c64.sk, including the intro of Sadism 2), this time clothed, girl. The picture is pretty atmospheric, however brooding over its sense in the collection will be fruitless. If you want to release a collection called Sadism and want to have a girl there, either have the balls and put a BDSM picture there, or skip it completely, me thinks. After you have witnessed this graphic, you proceed to the thing itself. The form is standard – a logo in the upper half of the screen, a selector in the lower one. The logo is perfectly Ugha-Sid-proof at least concerning its sense, because it features a well drawn caricature of the artist. ! Unfortunately, on my C=64 the collection crashes now and then when loading. The provided information on the songs’s length is sometimes incorrect. But now let’s move to the important part – the music!!!
Sad of Padua is a musician whose style you simply can’t confuse with any other. The collection offers as much as 24 of Sad’s typical works, enough to generalize at least a bit.
Sad’s music is characterized by quality sound standard, high frame rate bringing the typical TFX sound and the style platform – whatever mood or substyle the tune brings, its trunk is deeply rooted in techno. This all determines the pros and cons of the third Sadism.
To really hear and absorb this piece of Sad’s art you’ll need an amplifier and good headphones. Sad invests a huge amount of care in sound perfection. I simply had to admire how much he cares about every single beep and bleep of his sound. He also makes no compromises. When he thinks the sound should improve, he never hesitates to use high frame rates (5 is the number that might be most frequent in this collection). The result is the typical massive TFX multiframed sound most notoriously known right from Sad and his former mate from Anubis – Manex. This kind of creating chords by fast switching between notes makes it up for the teeny weeny 3 channels of our SID but on the other hand right this massive sound especially in higher frequencies is enough to give you a solid headache when you listen to it for let’s say 90 minutes. But as I said, the sound is created with a rarely seen precision, and if you used to like the one of PVCF, you’ll be raving to this one, t! oo.
The above mentioned sense of detail is probably responsible for the further praise I have in store for the composer. The music is well mixed. Not a single one time when listening to the collection I thought of that this or that instrument should play with a different volume. Especially I would like to point out that the music, despite being deeply rooted in techno, is not overdrummed. Well done!
I’ve once read in the IRC that since ever C=64 musicians are either strong instrumentally, or in ideas, but scarcely in both. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who said this, but he finished with „Even J. T. had C. D. to do the instruments.“ Sad/Padua doesn’t constitute an exception from this rule. While he excels instrumentally, the music lacks in ideas sometimes, being mostly constructed by putting sound sequences next to each other. Mostly, there aren’t any melodies which you could remember or sing. A typical feature of his music collections, which makes his music somewhat unique, are his motivations for the tunes – in the colly scroller he lets us know about the stories behind most of his tunes. But as I’ve just said, the tunes themselves are more sound paintings of his moods than stories which would have a beginning, a body and an end. The sound of the tunes would often make a great background for a main melody which usually isn’t delivered, however. The stories in! troduce Sad as a nice guy who likes his family origin, is a dedicated scener and last but foremost a devoted lover. In person he makes the same impression; he and his girlfriend make a real nice couple.
Now we will have a closer look at some of the tunes which stand out for this or that reason.
Having said that Sad is an orthodox techno guy in his music, I might surprise you with the following statement: he is unexpectedly strong in lyrical passages. The slow intro to New Life, as well as the one from For Marketa, dedicated to his girlfriend, show him as someone with a sense of slow music and melody – but as soon as he can, he kicks off his usual style after the introduction, which mostly doesn’t mean a gain for the tune, however, at least to my ears. In both these piece the lyrical start outdoes the rest.
One Change first caught my ear for its unusual structure – it starts fast and aggressively and gets slower, more balanced and more relaxed further on. It’s a welcome change and the explanation to this song says it’s about the change one has to undergo to be able to lead a common life with a life partner. Also, the tune is outstanding soundwise. Here what I call Sad’s massive sound is brought to perfection and here his SID band performs best.
Nobody proves that when Sad makes a trip off the limits of his usual style it’s often a valuable addition to his music. The tune starts with a slow, depressive introduction. Then it goes into the common techno madness but in the end some crystal clear cemballo-esque instruments step out of the unified sound and catch your attention.
2E3 Party was released at Forever Second Edition where it won the 3rd place. Sad later voiced quite loudly that it was a big disappointment for him, and blamed the sound equipment and its setting not to suit his instruments. Well, probably all composers competing at a party know this experience… However, due to the fact that the party is held in Slovakia, he put the Slovak anthem at the beginning of the tune, and it’s a fist in the face of the rest of the tune, which definitely belongs to the most mature compositions Sad has composed so far. The tune changes slow and fast parts, moods, and furthermore, develops, which is not so usual with Sad. Personally, if there wasn’t the populistic Slovak anthem thing in the beginning, I would have voted the tune higher at the party. And I’d like to see it released without this part, because otherwise it’s very nice.
Realtime was composed in a few hours at Forever Second Edition for the Realtime compo. It reveals another interesting fact: when Sad is in haste and hasn’t got enough time to cloth his music in the cloak of sophisticated instruments, what remains might be more melodic and catchier than his usual products! It’s one of the few tunes presented about which I would say that they tell a story – and that’s the kind of music Professor Ugha Sid likes. Word – and thumb – up!
Realtime closes the first dozen of tunes in the collection. The second half features several works which show the way I would like to see Sad to take in the future.
Power is a tune which isn’t so full of instruments. Those which play therefore have some more air to breathe and the result is worth it. Some passages and sounds reminded me of one of my favourite game soundtracks: Target Renegade. The funny thing is that in the explanation to this track Sad says he sometimes feels he has too much power in himself – and as far as I know he practices kick-boxing or a sport alike. So the similarity to Target Renegade might be more than just coincidential. Interesting! Next to this, Power shows that Sad can compose great sounds even in the single speed mode.
MP 2001 starts in a similar manner – slowly, with somewhat fatal, urgent sound. It’s very broody and moody – until (sadly) the Sad techno gives in. When listening to this tune, I thought „If only he could hold himself back!“ In MP 2001 he managed it for 25 seconds… If the tune took more out of its beginning, it would go much higher in my ear-parade.
In My Brothers, known from the dentro Gemini, he finally made it! The tune is free of the techno madness and musically is probably the best out of the whole bunch. It features clear sound, a melody (yes!), and is single-per-frame – to the overall benefit of the work, I have to add!!!
Also Love You Forever is a complete composition in this sense, although the melody lacks the strength of the previous piece.
Pahos is another exception from Sad’s rules. It’s absolutely optimistic and it’s a nice closing tune for the colly.
Its predecessor, Malvig, is really innovative in Sad’s performance, and that for two reasons. First it introduces an interesting style: fantasy techno or medieval techno – and it really suits Sad. He says the tune is inspired by a hero of a fantasy book – and he managed to transfer it into the music. And again he shows that less instruments are a good medicine for his music. This piece stands out for its work with silence – there are several perfectly timed breaks which make it an interesting SID experience.
If you ask for an overall impression, well… Sadism 3 is definitely worth downloading and listening to every tune at least once. There are no really weak tunes. The collection brings some new elements in Sad’s musical approach and I’m interested in whether he’ll follow these new ways. This applies especially for giving more air to his instruments which often freshens the composition, decreasing the frame rate and using melodies. On the other hand, not many tunes really stand out significantly and I miss more variety in the author’s style. For these reasons, I would probably prefer Rockin’ Factor (the collection of Factor 6, recently released by Role), which, although featuring too many covers for my personal taste, and being a bit behind Sad’s perfection soundwise, brings a more colourful fan of styles. Rockin’ Factor will be reviewed on c64.sk in the near future.
Let me end this review with that I hope that both these collections are not the last ones from these authors we can listen to because both musicians seem to have a lot more to say.
Have a nice, SIDy day!
Professor Ugha Sid
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