The conversation between computer games and electronic dance music started almost as soon as both fields were created. Gaming has provided an endless source of spiritual inspiration and samples for imaginative producers. Enter Honnda, the experimental electronic composer whose previous album “Maraschino Mic Drop” was released by Orange Milk Records (Machine Girl, Foodman, Fire-Toolz, Kate NV).
His latest effort functions as both a music-for-music’s sake experience, and as the original game soundtrack to the forthcoming independent game Ultimate Rivals: The Court from breakout game studio Bit Fry and its founder and creator, multi-media artist BXL Gotham. The Court is a reimagined NBA-licensed basketball game, the second in the franchise for the developers following their freshman entry, Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, the NHL-licensed arcade hockey title that launched to critical acclaim in December 2019 on Apple Arcade.
The Ultimate Rivals titles, a comprehensively licensed sports gaming franchise, are set in a near-future virtual fantasia where stars play each other at basketball (or hockey, in the previous game release) for arcade-game-style thrills. The Court will premiere on Apple Arcade for millions of subscribers in 2021, and be followed thereafter on PC/Steam and other platforms.
Honnda was recruited to be the musical artist-in-residence for the game franchise and to build its kinetic, futurist sound world. Guest vocalists in the release include his previous collaborator, the “Queen Of Queens,” Dai Burger and hyper-pop siren moistbreezy.
“As Covid ravaged NYC in Spring 2020, the downward spiral felt like it might never end,” Honnda said. “Then, I started to sense some collective moments of resilience in the city and beyond. Even in our current era, humans are way tougher than one would think; nothing puts this into sharper focus than a crisis and we all have a personal story to help conjure this latent superpower. Inspired by this phenomenon, I really wanted to make a mammoth track with NYC artists channeling the city and hitting with this big ‘comeback’ energy”.
The lead single ‘Megabloom Halo’, which released on July 9, is a celebration of friends teaming up for revenge at the cosmic level, a hybrid of imploded superhero theme song hooks and rap-noir hallucinations. Within the game, one finds cyberpunk simulacra of iconic New York locations like Times Square and other cultural mainstays; while the action is set in a simulated future, it also pays deep homage to the city. Honnda’s intent for the 2nd single, ‘Bounce Castle’ was to “create a portal to infinite victory” through sound.
“The sound needed to be kinetic, cosmic, sinister, victorious, and fun,” Honnda said. “In this near-future setting, what would these heroic, athletic figures listen to while competing, driving, hanging out, battling?”
“The Court is one step closer to my vision of liquid-gaming theory, and Honnda’s music is the only sonic well on the planet that could quench the auditory demands of where we are taking this franchise,” said BXL Gotham, CEO and founder of Bit Fry Game Studios and the creator of the franchise. “Ultimate Rivals is a gameplay experience that is a direct extension of your free will, it’s more than a series of sports games, and it requires a unique wavelength that connects the human to this intrinsically kinetic digital world. These original and existing pieces from Honnda are broadcasting these wavelengths from the highest radio tower in the land.”