Album Review: Live at Grillby’s
Many things can be said about Toby Fox’s wildly successful video game “Undertale.” One thing in particular is that it has an incredibly creative fan base. After playing through part of the game and hearing some of its soundtrack, I immediately felt the need to search through YouTube for particular songs because I really enjoyed them. What I didn’t expect to find were fan covers of Toby Fox’s “Undertale” soundtrack (which is a mixture of eight-bit sounds and regular instrumentation) spun into a variety of genres. Toby Fox was nice enough to allow fans of his game to compose covers of his “Undertale” soundtrack and sell them for profit as independent albums.
I have fallen in love with one of these in particular: “Live at Grillby’s.” This album was created by then high school student Carlos Eiene, whose YouTube channel goes by the name “Insaneintherainmusic.” He specializes in taking video game music and composing versions of it in jazz. He plays multiple saxophones and the piano himself, and electronically adds drum parts in when he edits it all together. He still composes unique parts for the drum set, but that is the only part that he doesn’t actually play himself on the album. His talent has been further shown by the fact that he is now a student at Berklee College of Music.
The album itself stays very true to the “Undertale” soundtrack’s form. Every song in is his album is recognizable if the listener has played through the game, but it adds several unique elements to each song. Some songs have their tempos changed, the time signatures may be different from the originals, and some songs in the album have added piano or saxophone features which are entirely original. A handful of the tracks are driving and energizing, such as “Dapperblook,” “Lights, Camera, Action!,” and “Turnabout Skeleton Brothers.” Others are relaxing, like “Welcome Home,” “A Mother’s Love,” “The Incinerator,” and “A Date with Demise.” This artist is obviously quite skilled both in composition and execution, even within multiple styles of jazz, which is extremely surprising given his age. Many artists don’t have much variance between how their different songs sound, but Insaneintherainmusic has shown otherwise with this album.
Before listening to this album, I had no idea that I was such a big fan of jazz. Not only did I have to go through the rest of his YouTube channel and find out what else he had made, but I loved this album so much that it was actually the first album that I ever purchased for myself. I have had CDs given to me as gifts, but before I bought this album I had never before purchased music for myself. I had always thought, “Why should I buy music when I can just listen to it for free on YouTube?” Now I know why. I want to support the artist. I feel as though a time may soon come when the music industry is populated by many independent artists like him who have grown followings through social media and done all of the work necessary to sustain themselves on their own. I would personally welcome that. There are plenty of talented people in the world who would love to do what Eiene does right now, and the Internet gives them seemingly limitless opportunities to do just that.