Dual Core

The dude in a penguin shirt
Dual Core

So there I was fending off the usual barrage of camgirls and free iPod/iPhone/yourmom ads on MySpace. And of course, the obligatory MySpace Bands, many of which are talented. Sadly, in the grand scheme of things, many is not all, or even most.

Now, stop, hold on, I know what you’re thinking: “Doesn’t the Music and Gaming Festival like musicians?” Why wouldn’t we friend bands? I realize this, but we’re a videogame event, so we try to only friend videogame bands and/or videogame-related musicians. Keeps it tight, ya know?

Eventually, I came to a group of dudes called Dual Core. Close investigation revealed spiffy art of a dude in a penguin shirt, but for some reason the music player wasn’t working (does it ever?) so I tossed them a message and asked if they had any music online.

The answer was a solid “No, but the album is coming soon.” In the meantime, I was invited to hang out on the IRC channel for their 2600 group. After some well-spent time nerding out with the guys, I was informed there would be Internet release action ready for me, and I was presented with an album .zip file. To my surprise, not only was it NOT in MP3 format (my current nemesis in the compressed music world), it was presented to me in my preferred format, FLAC! I began listening…

This album is full of space, and not the bad kind of space. It starts off with “A New Hope,” some driving Star Wars rhyme, creatively utilizing a manipulated orchestra that should sound familiar if the listener has any handle on the source material. Following along the “space” theme, we move on in the second track to the story of a bad MySpace experience (I’m sure lots of people have had one of these) called “Try Space” and then continue with an AEROspace track with obligatory quote from War Games, the title of the track. Even though this track doesn’t have much to do with the movie, which I’m pretty fond of, it has a good beat and great rhymes.

Breaking away from space for awhile, we move on to “Rule Them All.” I nervously admit I’m not much of a Lord of the Rings fan – not as much as everyone else, anyway – but it fits in well, and is a welcome change from Lords of the Rhymes, which I’ve been forced to listen to quite a few times in the past. Then came the one track I had heard before, “Hostage Down.” Given the large amount of Counter Strike in several of my social circles, it’s no wonder this song has been quite the hit. I hear it’s already getting airplay on several stations, and it is indeed catchy.

Int Eighty flowing at Notacon
Dual Core

Ah, onto the videogame raps. We get some good (and amusing) Mega Man raps in “Light Prototype.” This track makes decent use of classic NES sampling and beats. More of that over the course of the track would have been cool, but it did get a “solo,” so the respect has been paid, at least. After that, we go past the point of no return with “Void,” and then we move onto “Dull Boy,” the story of why work sucks. Speaking of work, we have some nice work done on the next beatboxing track, “Cipher Punks,” and what appears to be a Penny Arcade tribute track called “First One’s Free.”

I was next presented with an amusing New Jersey joke in “2 Wycked,” and some positive words about the $100 laptop project in “The Children’s Machine.” Some rapping on “End of the Road” leads to even more uplifting rhymes in “Give Me Wings” (especially for drink mixers). Lastly, we get to hear alternates for “Hostage Down,” “Cipher Punks,” and “Light Prototype.” I heard there was a radio edit of “Hostage Down,” but I’m pretty anti-censorship, so I’m not really bothered that I haven’t heard it.

Feeling pretty satisfied after my first listen or two, I went over things that could stand to be improved on the CD. The main one that stands out is the mastering. Alongside other hip-hop, rap and related material, Zero One is well produced. I just found myself wishing for a little bit of a volume bump on the vocals a few times. Also, the sampled material sometimes made parts of the song hard to hear, though I admit if the vocals were rebalanced I probably wouldn’t have noticed because I’d be paying more attention to them.

If there’s anything this CD has a lot of, it’s tracks. Dual Core didn’t hesitate to make sure their CD was a comprehensive first release. Lots of the tracks cover material we’ve heard before, but these guys don’t abuse the material; I get more of a “sharing what we enjoy” feeling from it. Especially after chatting online with them, it’s clear that Dual Core are true to their name. So pick a copy up; if you like nerdcore, you’re sure to find something on Zero One to feed your inner nerdy fetishes for awhile.