Saturday, May 30, 2009

Musi(c.)PSX: Open Your Mind '97 (1997)

Sony's Playstation console was first released in Japan in December of 1994.
A year later, it spread across the globe, leading to it's eventual assimilation into modern living. The console was officially discontinued by Sony in 2006, but began a process of phasing out with the 2000 release of the Playstation2. Known in it's early years colloquially as the PSX, the console was characterised by a slick attitude that met modern gamers on varying levels, boasting releases like Wipeout, which fused electronic music culture with the gaming experience. This post is a celebration of that time. Music circa (c.) the PSX

USURA - Open Your Mind '97 (1997)

When I renewed efforts to make use of 1up's super-cool free blogging tool, I wasn't sure how long I'd actually last.
As it turns out, almost as if to support the argument contained within some of them, something resembling an on-going discussion has formed over the past few weeks worth of posts, emerging inadvertently from common elements to a particular timeframe. I guess that's what stream of consciousness is all about.

Persistent rantings dedicated to romanticizing the PlayStation eventually led us from experimental dance music, to the Wipeout games, to overlapping influences, to the turn of the century, to the Matrix films and games. The latter subject became eerily topical with Sony's announcement to disconnect the Matrix MMO coming a day after our discussion [AdVantage Point: Matrix Online].

To round out the week I thought I'd take it easy, finishing up with the 1997 rerelease of the '92 dance classic, Open Your Mind. The title of the track comes from the line sampled in the song from the film, Total Recall, which features a handful of comparisons to the Matrix, including it's themes of uncertain realities, simulation, and pill-based escapes (from aforementioned uncertain realities).

In the various doe-eyed rants about the PSX a recurring theme has been the way the console (and generation) was able to reinvigorate imagination within the industry, effectively rendering everything established in gaming as a brand new playing field. The transition from side-scrolling 2D platformers, to 3D action-adventure games, is a prime example of this fundamental rethink.
This kind of referential adaptation by technology has been at the very heart of dance music, embodied quite purely by the practise of remixing. Open Your Mind '97 quite literally took something old, changing very little to modernize it for a re-release.

Next week's E3 will almost certainly attempt to roll out familiar elements repackaged for a rerelease in 2009 and 2010. Among them, the expected announcement of Sony's PSPgo. Also on the way will be more news from Steve Harris, who will also be dusting off the old to make it new with the timely resurrection Electronic Gaming Monthly. So there's the tenuous tie between music and game for the weekend. Super!

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