Power Player #2: One Player Game
Editor's Note: Reprinted from CTUK Chiptune Focus.
Sam Rixey, an Arazonan who goes under the exclusive title of One Player Game makes music of feeling and thoughts. There’s a mix of analogous rhythm, percussive sounds and melancholic, sometimes upbeat progression throughout. OPG has been writing and enjoying music for as long as he can remember. “My dad likes to tell the story of me bopping along to some singing animatronic robots at a Chuck E. Cheese when I was only a year old” Although not having a great deal instruments as a child (the most notable arrival was a gift from his grandparents at age 8, a Casio SK-1) he confesses he tended to lean towards drums which certainly explains the rhythmic nature of the music.
OPG has a certain depth of warmth and modern influence in the sounds, but that doesn’t detract from the minimalistic electronic soundscapes that he creates. There’s more going on here. There’s a passion to recreate moments of nostalgic memories. “I like the sounds from imperfect electronics – the glitches, hiss, and bleeps from tiny speakers – and twisting them into something that creates a particular mood.”
He takes his musical cues from minimalist artists suck as Keinzweiter, Farben, and Mathias Kaden “They are masters at arrangement and creating a groove” while he enjoys synth sounds in artists such as Broadcast and Radiohead. His own style then comes from his own personal palettes of sounds and atmospheres as “Nothing helps more than the lists I keep with specific memories from childhood” Striving to capture the sounds of 80’s TV idents and computer games, and overdriven analogue drums heard by in the1950s and 1960s, of which Raymond Scott and Tom Dissevelt are big influences.
His debut album, World Runner was mostly created using the loop-based sampler and sequencer, Fruity Loops. He is personally very critical of his music, which is why his style varies incredibly. His website changed recently, omitting a lot of older material, which definitely deserves to have an audience. Despite this humble behaviour World Runner is by his own admission a neatly packaged product “I felt its songs went well together, though. They have a certain soft feeling that I associate with night time and naptime – two atmospheres that accompany many of my most stirring memories – but are all built around up-tempo rhythms.”
There are some stand-out tracks, the haunting Bellbird which contains a patch from the no doubt well-loved Casio SK-1. “The ‘human voice’ preset on it has always been the creepiest sound I’ve ever heard on a toy” and Attic which feels like being held captive by a malevolent TV in the darkest regions of the house. There is beauty and song amongst claustrophobia and alienation. You’d be mistaken into thinking OPG was a troubled boy until he talks of his experiences lucidly “Soap Operas, is based on a memory I have as a child at a babysitter’s house. I could never sleep during naptime, so the babysitter would let me lay on the shag-carpeted floor by an oscillating fan as she watched soap operas. I actually recorded an oscillating fan for the song.”
His next album is going to be a departure, further pushing to perfect the sound in his head. Collecting guitar pedals, analogue drum machines and toy pianos, speculating “I’ll be exploring those overdriven analog drums in the near future, as well as all the knob-twiddling I can do on the synths and effects. I would say that my next release will be darker, faster, full of bit-crushed goodness, and of course, arpeggiated Gameboy sequences.”
(Originally published May 1, 2010)