Ms. Mad Lemon has just released her third album, with all tracks created on the Commodore Amiga and one track created using the Polyend Tracker. The video above shows the recording process of the album, detailing the equipment used to make it all happen. And, of course, Zaman’s available via the Bandcamp link below:
As an avid music fan, I’m always fascinated by different methods people use to create their songs. Even if the music wasn’t my favorite style, I appreciate a glimpse into the process…but in this case, I loved the album and seeing the nerdy process behind its creation! While I was brought to the album for the nerding, I’m coming back for the music itself.
I posted my thoughts on each song below, as I heard them for the first time. Then later in the day, I went back and listened to the whole thing again on shuffle and confirmed my thoughts. At the time of posting this, I’ve listened to the whole thing four times.
I’ve never done a written “music review” before and each person will have their own opinions and emotions evoked when listening, so I’m not sure how this will turn out. If you’d rather approach this with a fresh mind, definitely skip my “review”, or just come back to it after you’ve listened yourself and see how our perspectives differ.
The first track Etherality was the perfect opener for the album. The first few riffs* immediately draw in anyone who’s a fan of both chiptunes and melodic beats. After listening a second time, I definitely think opening with this was the right choice, as it captures the vibe and styles you’ll hear throughout the album.
*can you call them “riffs” if they’re created on a PC? I’m a dumb guitarist, so any instrumental hook is a riff to me, while things that feel like lead vocals lines are “leads”…or simply “hooks”. Excuse my vernacular, I’m new at this ;p
Time feels like it could be the main theme song of an 80’s movie with a dance scene: Think big hair, tights and wristbands. And – of course – ankle sweatbands too…cause for some reason, dancers in the 80’s had very sweaty ankles. I dare you not to rotate your shoulders when listening to this one.
Hadiya feels like the song playing during the last level of an early 90’s, 16-bit game: You’ve just been through the ringer on an epic adventure and now you’re blasting your way through the last level, about to face the final boss. The enemies aren’t as hard as the previous level, since you’ve upgraded all your weapons, but the fear is still there, as your most challenging and final battle is up ahead…
For some reason, the first thing I thought of when the title track Zaman started is “World Heroes”…but then once the main riff started playing, the track took on a ‘world’ of its own (;p). This song is awesome and perfect for the title track. And while the song is much more than just one riff…good luck getting it out of your head after listening. At this point, this is my favorite song from the album and every time it comes on, I find myself turning the volume up.
Dance ballad banger. Don’t let the soft opening tones fool you into thinking it’s a slow, sad song…The Journey absolutely lives up to its title, slowly evolving from a song that sounds like an 80’s pop star would be singing the main melody, to a song that makes me want to throw the metal horns! Warning: Expect strong, involuntary head movements when listening \m/
The best way I can describe Mirrors is “a chill song with moments of excitement”. If you’re not into slower songs, be patient with this one – It’s still got the dance-y feel of the rest of the album, just with a bit more atmosphere and space at times. Think: The ambiance of Robert Miles’ Dreamland , but with Maddi’s vibe and bouncy riffs…on an Amiga! This is also the song she used the Polyend tracker to record, however I didn’t even realize it until I watched the above “making of” video; This track fits right in with the rest, regardless of how it was created.
Shine is hard for me to put to words. The first thing that comes to mind is it feels like a song that would be played in the background of an 80’s TV show (think 3rd season Knight Rider) when the protagonist is sneaking up on the bad guys. But then it circles back around to a dance track, with the same “sneaky” vibes as a theme…all while somehow staying upbeat and happy with catchy riffs (am I getting an OG Mortal Kombat vibe at times?). I don’t think my description is doing it justice – I mean all of this as a compliment. Listen, you’ll see.
Twinlight opens with some 90’s dance beat vibes (Aqua?), then goes into another great main hook that feels like someone’s “singing” it. Even as a huge metalhead, I’ve always been a fan of electronic and dance music and this feels like a throwback to that era. To be clear, it doesn’t feel like a “copy” of those style songs – it totally fits the vibe of this album – but “throwback” seems like a good description.
Siesta is a slightly slower paced track, but is still filled with the same vibing riffs and hooks of the rest of the album. While this one is a bit different than the rest, it still definitely feels like it belongs on the album. Also, does anyone get else get the sense of “Walking through a city on a foggy night lit by the streetlights” when listening?
Much like Etherality walks you into the album, Amber Street does a great job bringing the album to a close. While this wasn’t my favorite song on the album (it’s still great though), one of the riffs keeps popping in my head as much as the main one from Zaman. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those songs that I like more as time goes on. I mean, all music fans have albums where they liked one group of songs more at first, then the others later on and I have a feeling my favorite songs on Zaman will change for me as I keep listening.
So, once again, I strongly recommend listening yourself on Bandcamp and seeing what you think. All music is subjective, so some of you might like it even more than me, but for totally different reasons…and it might not be other people’s cup of tea. All are totally fine, but don’t forget to buy it if you really like it. These days, most people seem to expect music to always be free and creators rarely see a profit from their countless hours of hard work 🙁
— Ms Mad Lemon (@MsMadLemon) March 4, 2022