REVIEW: Studiokraft - "Binary Soundscapes"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

StudioKraftBinary SoundscapesWell here's something a bit different. Binary Soundscapes comes to me not from a band or musician, but from a creative firm of music and sound engineers. What's the difference between music engineers and musicians? According to this demo release by Houston based Studiokraft, not all that much. The unsung heroes of the studio, engineers are the ones who are responsible for making all this music sound as good as it does on CD…which explains tenfold why sometimes when you go see some bands live they sound like utter and pathetic piles of doggy doo.

Studiokraft, while not "musicians" per se, surely have the capabilities. But they bill themselves as a creative firm that performs music composition and sound engineering for film, radio, TV and gaming. Word on the street is they may be picking up some major gaming contracts as of late so you never know - that next PlayStation hit could be chock full of SK noises, sounds and scores. The company's current existence is itself a triumph considering how the bottom dropped out of the dot com companies in recent years. While yours truly found himself stranded in the subway without an office to meander to because of that, SK is still alive and kicking under the direction of founder Kim Kraft. But I digress - let's discuss the music of Binary Soundscapes.

Binary SoundscapesSK uses purely electronic composition throughout Binary Soundscapes. First and foremost one will notice the extensive complication in each of the tracks. From the opening Internal Evolution which opens the CD with fast paced rhythm movements with winds and flutes wrapped around the beats with perfection - to the closing Das Floot (a nice touch, closing with similar instrumentation) that is a quick witted trance/classical hybrid. You'll be hard pressed to find any flaw in the workmanship. The Empty rivals the work of even such notables as orchestrational compositionist Danny Elfman.

Meanwhile, The Secret Moon, is a more traditional piece with Spanish strum-style guitars so lifelike you can hear the squeaks on the strings. I've had to go and verify again whether this is all electronic music and not live guitar, but I have been assured it is. Violins join in with whispering castanettes tapping slow intervals. Slow, moody and introspective, The Secret Moon leads you into an orchestration score that becomes a moving and fast piece of music.

Want a little spookiness? Valiant & the Wicked takes us on a ride through dark valleys and windy chasms. Thunderheads smash through our senses and leads into piano solos and string instrumentation with bending slides that lead farther down into those darkest places of our minds. If you're a Midnight Syndicate fan, then Binary Soundscapes is a must-have for this track alone. And lastly, a lot of nods must go to Victorious America. Yes, it is another musical piece dedicated to the acts of terrorism on September 11th. But it is, however, the single most powerful of many that have crossed this reviewer's desk. A glorious track that borrows pieces of the event itself - the roar of the planes, speech by the president. These segue into a gorgeously arranged piano melody that I will someday learn to play myself for its sheer classical beauty. The only use of military-march drum rhythms that doesn't sound like shit and out of place I've heard in years.

I had asked a question in the beginning of this review. The question was "What's the difference between music engineers and musicians?" If you're from Houston's Studiokraft outfit, the answer is simple - there isn't one.

Contact Information:
Post: StudioKraft, 5615 Richmond Ave., Suite 206
Phone: (866) 681-6199

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