Grace Notes is a weekly exploration by Jason Morehead of signs of common grace in the music world. We hope to alert you to wonderful music, some of which will be spiritual in nature but all of which will be unique and worthy of your attention. Each week we will share brief reviews of albums worthy of your attention and maybe a video or two.
I’ve never played Minecraft the video game, so I can’t personally confirm whether or not it deserves to be CAPC’s favorite game of 2011 or not (though I trust Drew’s opinion). But I can say that I’ve been rather obsessed with C418’s Minecraft soundtrack over the last couple of weeks. I stumbled across it when I did a search for “ambient” music on Bandcamp, and was quickly won over by its charming atmospherics. While it does venture into some darker and more abstract territory (e.g., “Death”, “Oxygène”, “Clark”), the majority of C418’s work reveals a more melodic, even whimsical side: watery synths, sparse piano and woodwind melodies, stirring string arrangements, and exotic rhythms come together to evoke shades of Joe Hisaishi’s Studio Ghibli soundtracks as well as “true” ambient artists such as Vidna Obmana and Tangerine Dream. And whereas a lot of “ambient” music requires the use of long-form pieces to evoke a sense of space, C418 does it in a more condensed form — the longest track just crosses the four minute mark — which adds to the impact. By turns contemplative and exuberant, uplifting but with a melancholy streak, C418’s soundtrack paints a picture of an intriguing and wonder-filled environment, and beckons you to enter it and explore to your heart’s content. Highly recommended, even if you’re not that much of a gamer.
You can listen to, and purchase, the Minecraft soundtrack from C418’s Bandcamp page.