This extended play was released on July 28th this year. I was introduced to brainorchestra. through his work on Elaquent’s latest full length album, Forever Is a Pretty Long Time. I checked out his Prefix EP, which was pretty good, so I can say with 100% confidence at this point that I fuck with his music. This EP in particular seems pretty unique from the aforementioned Prefix project though. If I’m not mistaken, this is a conceptual instrumental EP inspired by an old video game published by Electronic Arts entitled The Immortal. I’m actually really surprised that I’ve never heard of this game. I used to be a gigantic video game nerd, so I like to think I know a bit about the subject, but this game doesn’t ring a bell at all. Apparently it was originally created for the Apple IIgs. For those of you who don’t know, the same company who made the iPhone with which you’re currently reading this review used to dabble in the video game industry with little to no success. I was born in 1998, so the only companies whose consoles I ever played were SEGA, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. I do remember looking up information about some ancient Apple consoles though. The only one I really remember is the Pippin, which I think is hilarious not only because of its stupid name, but also because of how dumb it looks.
Anyway, The Immortal was soon ported to the NES, as well as the Commodore Amiga, the Atari ST, the MS-DOS, and the SEGA Genesis. I think it’s also available for the Nintendo Switch now for whatever reason. I found a relatively new video from the Angry Video Game Nerd in which he kinda makes the game look like dogshit, so I don’t really think many Switch users are scrambling to play it these days, but I don’t know. Maybe older people just wanna play around with it for nostalgia. It seems like the game’s greatest strength was just the aesthetic. The graphics still look pretty good, and I guess the soundtrack was really nice as well. That explains why brainorchestra. was inspired enough to make his own songs for it. Anyway, I haven’t listened to this EP yet, but I think the background information and inspiration for it is really goddamn cool and interesting, so I’m looking forward to this shit.
The first track is called The Wizard’s Scroll (Mystical Spliff).
The first 45 seconds are taken up by an introductory skit, which is genuinely fun to listen to. The main character is a young wizard voiced by brainorchestra. himself. The only other character is his master, who’s voiced by someone named Pootie. The voice acting is pretty convincing, and the sound effects and overall production quality is top notch. This shit sounds pristine. Basically, the young wizard enters his master’s home, only to find that he has gone missing. The young wizard finds a scroll that his master has left behind, in which he basically says “bruh, you gotta help me. These fools kidnapped me.” So the entire project is the soundtrack to the young wizard’s adventure in which he saves his master. Anyway, the actual music gets started after about 40 seconds, and I have to say I was actually really surprised by it. I was expecting this to be on some 8-bit, Chiptune, Nerdcore, Mega Ran-type shit, but that’s not what this is at all. This beat in particular is actually really jazzy and detailed. It sounds way more intricate and I guess robust for lack of a better term. I mean, I’m sure there is a better term to use, but it’s slipping my mind at the moment. It’s a really smooth instrumental, and it actually kinda reminds me of something Apollo Brown might do to be honest. It’s really awesome though. Like, I was really caught off guard by how good it is. I just really wasn’t expecting this style. Like I said, I was expecting it to sound like a video game, but it really doesn’t at all. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is called The Outlands (Joy Road), and I think this track is even better than the opening song. It’s a major highlight, and easily one of my favorite tracks. Once again, it’s very jazzy and rich-sounding. The saxophone sounds absolutely gorgeous to me. It’s the shortest track on the project, but it doesn’t feel underdeveloped or sparse. It transitions really nicely into The Passage (Eclipse). This track feels a bit more upbeat than the preceding instrumental. It also doesn’t sound as heavy. It sounds lighter—light in terms of weight, not color—and more Electronic in my opinion. It also sounds darker though. I really like the brevity of every track on this project by the way. At no point does brainorchestra. give listeners time to get bored. As soon as the track establishes itself the project moves onto the next instrumental, so it keeps you on your toes. The fourth track is called The Passage, Pt. 2 (Alive). I like this one slightly more than part one, but they’re both dope as hell. Alive just sounds a bit heavier, while simultaneously sounding less dark. I don’t know why, but it elicits the image of a sunset for me. I feel like I’m looking out the window of a train while the sun is going down. The penultimate track is called The Will (Horde). This is the most energetic, hard-hitting song on the project. I think it’s fucking awesome. I love how dusty and gritty the percussion on this one sounds. Ghostface Killah would fit over this instrumental like a glove. As the parenthetical subtitle kind of indicates, I think this is the moment where the young wizard is just supposed to be fighting a shit ton of uh… goblins? I don’t know what the enemies in The Immortal are. Let’s just refer to them as the opps. This is like the climax of the narrative. I think the song is dope af. The closing track is called The Entrance (Can’t See). At this point, the young wizard has held off the surrounding opps, and is gaining entry into the labyrinth in which the game actually begins. At least, I think that’s where the game begins. I might be wrong. Anyway, the actual music here sounds much more celebratory and lighthearted than most of the other beats. This sounds like cookout music to me for whatever reason. I can just imagine myself stuffing my face with junk food while sitting in my backyard listening to this. It’s a dope track.
Honestly, I think this EP is amazing, and it’s also probably the most creative instrumental project I’ve heard all year. I didn’t mention this before, but brainorchestra. actually collaborated with some visual artists named Thug Mom, Mario Yakovi, and Fatblood to create a comic book that goes along with the music in order to help the audience visualize the narrative. Everything about the manner in which this EP was presented is awesome to me. I definitely gotta give everyone involved kudos for the art direction because it’s awesome. See, other artists need to take notes. This is the kinda merch fans are gonna wanna buy. Nobody wants some basic ass plain T-shirt with your square album cover in the center. That’s boring. This is actually unique though. I’ve never seen any other Hip Hop artist do something like this. The closest thing I can think of is the screenplay that goes along with Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet album, but that felt different. I feel like this is far more digestible. The storyline is far less convoluted and serious. Anyway, aside from the eye-catching art direction and unique content, the actual music is just really goddamn good. There’s not a single average beat on this project. Don’t sleep on this shit. It’s dope as hell.