If the last four years have been relatively quiet for Body Games—which released its excellent debut LP, Damager, in 2016—it’s only because the nineties-nostalgic electro-pop trio has been hard at work on a highly ambitious and original project. Next Thursday, August 27, Body Games will release Super Body Games RPG, its long-brewing album in retro video game form—yes, a “video galbum.” (Watch for our feature story next week.)
The product of years of writing, developing, and refining by Dax Beaton, Kate Thompson, and Adam Graetz, the game, which was primarily created by Beaton, is a delightful and surprisingly intricate ode to Carrboro, weed, and the power of friendship, with new tracks unlocked as a player moves through the story. It’s also just easy enough (but not too easy) for the average non-gamer, which was good news for me.
Super Body Games includes a full score for the video game and an accompanying EP that serves as the proper follow-up to Damager. Today, we’re premiering the first track from that EP, “Night Magic.” Befitting the nature of its release, each track on the EP samples a different video game. On “Night Magic,” it’s nineties PlayStation hit PaRappa the Rapper in the outro.
Maybe it’s only because I had just finished defending the world from evil when I first heard it, but “Night Magic” feels like taking a deep breath. The song opens with a single, sustained synthesizer note that builds into sparkling arpeggios before blooming into a hook made up of a wordless, weightless vocal sample. It’s a technique that defined Damager, but where that record’s chopped-up, pitch-shifted samples were often buried under a haze of hurt feelings and wounded hearts, here, the effect is almost joyous.
When Beaton’s vocals finally arrive, they’re comparatively unadorned, placed front-and-center in a way that’s new for the band. The song is a celebration of going through changes and finding the person who accepts you no matter what: “I think I was heading for a bad life/In a wedding gown/When you came around,” Beaton sings. For a band that’s emerging after almost half a decade, “Night Magic” sounds like growing up.
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