Greetings! We would like to direct your attention to our friend, Chris Schlarb. We have been friends with Chris for longer than we've been a label. In fact, our founder Karl used to submit his bands' music to Chris's label for release consideration (the now-semi-defunct Sounds Are Active). Over the years Chris has grown from proprietor of an under-appreciated label to a well-respected composer (and aspiring cult leader), releasing albums with Sufjan Stevens' label, Asthmatic Kitty.
So, elephant in the room: this is a video game soundtrack. Which is kind of weird for us. We never thought we'd be releasing the soundtrack to a video game, but Chris's musical contribution to Dropsy stands well enough on its own, and fits right in with our penchant for obscure, surreal, and para-psychically transportative experiences. In short: this album is not your average video game soundtrack. This is an incredible album of micro-jazz compositions; 28 songs in total, each averaging 1 minute and 41 seconds per song. Check out Chris's entire description of the album below.
Now let's talk about the game. This is an old-school "point-and-click adventure game" about a clown with no hands. And the object of the game is to hug people. That's pretty fucked up. According to the game designers, players are encouraged to "impart love to a surreal, grotesque world as a misunderstood but cheerful clown."
Chris Schlarb's "Dropsy" is limited to a one-time pressing of 500 hand-numbered copies on yellow-inside-transparent orange vinyl. This album will never be pressed again within the foreseeable constraints of time and space... So order now.
"I was five years old in 1982. I remember sitting on thick brown carpet, plugging in the joystick, and playing Yars Revenge on the Atari 2600. The music consisted of a single, oscilating drone. Thirty years later technology has granted us the wish of near-infinite possibilities: it's not uncommon for some games to feature vocal choirs and symphony orchestras. Of course, as Orson Welles famously remarked, 'The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.'
A few years ago my friend Jay Tholen asked me to write music for his adventure game about a mute, handless clown named Dropsy. We talked about junkyards and circus tents, we looked at photos of open country roads and graffiti and neon lights. Jay showed me his early pixel landscapes and it made me think, perhaps video games represented a type of modern folk art. He embraced the limitations of medium and created something honest and beautiful. I wanted to do the same with the soundtrack.
The themes for Dropsy were composed almost entirely on piano. After months of preparation, I booked a single, 12-hour recording session and tried to leave enough space for each musician to contribute their own voice. Everyone looked at the images Jay provided and we talked about the different locations inside the game. I can hear the subliminal influences of Joe Raposo's early music for Sesame Street in the music now. I hear the mechanical pop of Devo and the doom metal of Earth. I hear the limitations working their magic. The music is alive."
- Chris Schlarb