“It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” says the old man in the cave, handing the player a sword to aid in the hours of exploration that they can expect to follow from one of the most legendary franchises of all time, The Legend of Zelda. DMVU and Toadface pay homage to the phrase with their new EP, lovingly titled It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, released via Dome of Doom. Much in the same way that the Zelda franchise tantalizes players with exploration, discovery, and treasure, this EP truly evokes a feeling of not knowing what’s around the next corner. The next dungeon is an unknown realm, the presence of either treasure or danger being equally likely. Likewise, every track is unique. Every sample is distinct. Every little bit of sound design is a treasure unto itself, just waiting to be heard.
DMVU and Toadface can both claim “experimental sound design” as a forte on their résumé. It’s Dangerous to Go Alone is like a charcuterie board of instruments and samples, ranging from deep sub-bass thuds to treble-centric MIDI notes from video game soundtracks. At no time does the cacophony sound dissonant. Each sound is pinpointed, artfully placed in a complicated juxtaposition that makes every note shine through like it’s surfing a wave toward a beach full of unsuspecting listeners.
From the police siren in the intro to ‘Uncut Diamonds’ to the Deep, Dark, and Dangerous-like sub-bass of ‘Fabled,’ It’s Dangerous to Go Alone manages to make the listener feel like they’re in a constant state of danger. Lives may not be lost here, but your wits are a different story. The skull-wracking instrumentation in ‘Jungle Dub’ and ‘Morning Star” hits like waking up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning before being comforted with the first cup of coffee for the day. Not a beat is wasted, not a frequency left unturned. If speakers could talk, they’d be left aghast at the range they’re expected to put out for this EP. The arpeggiated synths of ‘Uncut Diamonds’ and ‘Jungle Dub’ aren’t all that far off from the Super Nintendo-era reward sounds of opening a treasure chest. RPG-lovers will find themselves in the familiar state of wondering, “What’s that? Oh, it’s treasure!” every time the measure switches up.
DMVU and Toadface command the utmost respect for their ability to do something different but consistent with their music time and time again. It’s Dangerous to Go Alone is by no means a deviation from what listeners have come to expect from either artist, but all the same, it will hit the ears like something listeners have never heard before. This is treasure chest gold. This is no game, this is art. Do yourself a favor now and listen to It’s Dangerous to Alone below.