It’s the beginning of the year and what better way to celebrate than another review?
This time around I’ll take a look and listen at Black Screen Records’ release of Jonah Senzel’s Pony Island soundtrack. It’s a game I really enjoyed in the beginning of the year – particularly due it it’s fantastic soundtrack. So when Black Screen Records announced in early October that they would release it on vinyl I was pleasantly surprised as I felt that it was a somewhat overlooked soundtrack.
It released mid-November as the last release of Black Screen Records’ 2016 line-up.
The release comes in a regular single LP jacket sporting new artwork by the game’s creator Daniel Mullins. The artwork hints at both the happy-go-lucky and the demonic side of the game.
As a nice touch the release comes with a download code for the game on Steam + the digital soundtrack. The download card is designed to look like a ticket from the game (where tickets are hidden collectables).
It’s a single 180g LP available in 2 different color variants – clear and black. I went with the clear variant as you can see below.
One thing that confused me with the design was the center labels on the record and their correlation with the tracklist. This is because there are no side indicators on the labels (you can read the runouts, but who wants to do that when checking what side to play?), but the labels are different – one with the cute pony theme and another with the dark demonic theme. The tracklist on the cover has side A written with the cute colors and font, while side B has the demonic-ish colors and font (see image below). So obviously I figured that these would correlate with the center labels. Nope, they are exactly the opposite.
Now for the actual confusion – this could either be a mistake at the pressing plant. Wouldn’t be the first time this had happened. But – if Black Screen Records have been really clever about the design – then having the labels and tracklist mismatch would be in perfect line with how the game always tries to mess with you. Mistake or clever design? I have no idea – I’d like to believe it’s the latter, though.
As stated in the introduction I loved the game for its soundtrack, so I’m arguably going to be biased here. First things first – how does it sound? It’s great. It’s really, really great. I’ve been very impressed with the pressing and overall sound quality of all Black Screen Records’ releases so far and this one doesn’t disappoint either. Kudos to their pressing plant, Optimal, for doing a great job as well.
The soundtrack itself is nicely varied with the occasional hint to the game’s theme throughout. It suits a game where you’re playing a cute arcade game made by Satan himself. From the cute jumping sections with butterflies to the frantic finale where you’re outrunning demons. I believe this is Senzel’s first ever game soundtrack and based on this and what a debut!
If you’ve never heard it before I can strongly recommend checking it out on Senzel’s Bandcamp here.
If this release sounds like something for you, then it’s still available in both color variants from Black Screen Records here.