Thursday, 17 January 2019

Sounds of 2011: Nos. 39 to 35

Time we got the time machine out for a trip back to the early days of our fandom – and, in particular, its musical output.

If you need an introduction to this one, then you're either new to the fandom or someone with very odd musical tastes! Although later eclipsed in popularity by The Living Tombstone's remix, it's the artist now known as Odyssey Eurobeat who brought us "Discord" in early October 2011. When this song appeared, "The Return of Harmony" was the most recent show episode, so it's impressive that the artist got such a catchy and memorable tune together so quickly. It's slightly slower-paced than that remix, but perhaps actually more coherent as a result. It certainly deserves its proper place rather than being overshadowed by you-know-what. If you fancy owning an HQ copy, head for the artist's Bandcamp and name your price!

Ah, Friendship is Witchcraft. Its star has perhaps faded a little in recent years, but I stubbornly continue to love it. And even those less enamoured of this abridged series than I am tend to appreciate two things: one is Sweetie Bot, who originated in FiW. The other is its original music. This one by Sherclop Pones (Griffin Lewis and Jenny Nicholson) was the series' first fully original song, and it's fantastic. Pinkie's singing is deceptively cheery and light-hearted in tone. But listen to the words and you'll realise it's a tale of gypsy magic and heartbreak. Sadly, the Dropbox download links provided are now dead. Just like Pinkie's parents.


Yes, all caps. This track by MIU, only a small portion of whose music is Pony, is a very creepy one. That's not surprising, as it's inspired by Twilight's descent into madness in "Lesson Zero". This is actually a remix of Jeffthestrider's original, which is a bit harder-edged. The style of MIU's remix is apparently inspired by When They Cry visual novels, about which I know nothing. Still, I like the song anyway; unsurprising, as I like the episode and have a soft spot for piano-heavy tracks. You can pick up an HQ version on a name-your-price basis on MIU's Bandcamp.

"Flutterwonder" is the track most people will name when they think of "So Many Wonders" remixes, but Jackle App produced this nice alternative. It was made in just four hours, which says a fair bit about the guy's abilities. The song sounds very suitable for Fluttershy, with a relaxing feel that speaks of nature and the calmness of the quiet countryside. Don't be fooled by the "HQ Download" Mediafire link – it's just a 128k MP3. That's a shame, as Jackle App's Bandcamp doesn't stock this song either, so you'll be stuck with YouTube quality. Still worth it, though.

No. 35 gets skipped for not meeting the inclusion criteria.

Next time: several songs I know absolutely nothing about! That'll be fun.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Ponyfic Roundup 233: Water, Water Everywhere

Well, in one of today's fics, at least. There's a lot of stressful stuff going on in the real world at the moment, and it's also raining outside as I type this, so I think it's time for us to get away from that for a bit. Instead, we're off to the magical land of Equestria once again.

Read it Later story count: 285 (+1)

Only the three fics this week, though in my defence one of them is (a bit) longer than the average for these posts. Today's trio are:

On the Care and Construction of Bridges by Ebon Mane
The One Who Got Away by Georg
Tell Me Sweet Apple Lies by Cinder Vel

★: 1 | ★★: 0 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Sunday, 13 January 2019

UK PonyCon 2019 theme announced!

I wasn't expecting this quite yet, but over on the UK PonyCon forums, committee member Guiding Breeze has announced that the 2019 theme will be Ocean Adventure! From what I've seen so far, this will be a popular choice, with plenty of scope for cosplay. I thoroughly approve, too! As the forum post mentions, there should be plenty of "shoo be doo" around the place when the convention opens later in the year! Seaponies look set to be much in evidence, though I'd love to see someone go all-out with a Steven Magnet cosplay! :D

Since negotiations aren't yet finalised with regard to dates and venue, those aren't yet public. I would be very surprised if the con wasn't in the autumn as usual, though. As for where... well, there's been a lot of speculation already that the theme suggests a maritime location. If so, Southampton is probably the bookies' favourite at this point. (Not that we're betting on it, I hasten to add!) Brighton has also been mentioned, as has Newcastle – and even Blackpool! Liverpool, which might otherwise be among the favourites, may be a bit of an outsider because Griffish Isles in May will be just 30 miles away in Manchester.

The forum post suggests that the UKPC team hope to be able to announce all the important details in February. That would be earlier than last year, which I think everyone would be impressed by. Wherever it is, I'll at least explore the possibility of going. Well, unless it's in Belfast or Inverness, which would probably be just too expensive and awkward for me to manage. I do have a backup plan just in case, though, which is that I might take the opportunity to do Griffish Isles for the first time instead. Okay, unless that con suddenly moved to Lerwick. That might be a bit tricky. :P

Saturday, 12 January 2019

So, Equestria Girls S2 is upon us

At least, by the time this post goes up it should be. As I write, it's not available yet, but apparently 11th January is the ETA. I must admit that I've been a bit inconsistent with the first season of these shorts. If they'd been FiM I'd have been all over them, but as much as I've warmed to EqG over the last few years it's still not quite at the same level. I mostly just watch the specials, with a few exceptions (like "So Much More to Me"!)

Kudos to Hasbro for making things easy by publishing direct to YouTube, though. That damn "Discovery Go app first" approach they used last year was a real pain in the rump, especially for the CYOA shorts. The app isn't available to those of us in the UK, so we had to wait until some kind soul uploaded the videos and hope they didn't get blocked before we got to see them. I'm glad this isn't going to be an issue any more, and it might even get me watching them all!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Sounds of 2011: Nos. 44 to 40

I'm pretty close now to deciding that yes, I will be doing an equivalent "Sounds of 2012" series – partly for the nostalgia value, as that was the year I entered this fandom. However, as I mentioned a while back, the format will change a bit. Basically, it will be more concentrated. I'll probably pack around ten tunes into each post until I get to the upper reaches of the chart. (So yes, I'll actually use page breaks for those!) I'll work the precise details out when I get to it. For now, though, it's Everfree Radio 2011 Top 100 time again!

I've said this before, but Hasbro's canonisation of Steven Magnet's name must be the strangest bit of Ascended Fanon, considering its provenance. Still, back in 2011 "Slice of Life" was far in the future, and instead we had this immensely catchy bit of electronic fun from Alex S., complete with Steven's voice samples from the S1 premiere. While the artist himself moved on from this sort of thing, in 2015 he gave us all an official archive channel, where this song now resides. Thank you, sir! There's a 320kbps MP3 for download (via Mediafire) in the video description.

I'll skip no. 43, as it doesn't meet my inclusion criteria.

This, right here, is the personal favourite I mentioned at the end of the last edition of this series. Scootaloo is my second-favourite pony (after 'Shy, of course) and this is a Scoots song I really love, telling the story of Best Filly's determination to prove herself. Embedded here is the original 2011 version, on MandoPony's channel, and its technical quality is a bit lacking; it sounds pretty tinny. Thankfully, the following year there was a much better-produced redone version, hosted on the AcoustiMandoBrony channel. I'd recommend that one if you're not bothered about its 2012 date.

You can also find the original on AcousticBrony's Soundcloud, but that site no longer has a download button. The 2012 update, though, is easy: there's a 320k MP3 link in that video's description. I've been lucky enough to have heard Acoustic Brony play this song live twice: in an acoustic version at BUCK 2013, then electrically at the same convention the following year. It sent a shiver down my spine both times, and even now I have very fond memories. It may not be the subtlest track ever, but I don't care. I'll always love this.

Time now for another entry in the once-popular "show theme remix" subgenre, this time by the guy now listed as Mumble Etc. This one does exactly what it says on the tin, being a mixture of Octavia-inspired orchestral notes and some harder, heavier electronic stuff from Vinyl Scratch's side of things; unsurprisingly for this artist, there's a lot more of Vinyl here than there is of Tavi. Still, any track which features a Flutteryay can't be all bad. Two options if you want higher quality: there's a free Mediafire MP3 download in the video description, or for WAV'n'FLAC you can splash out 50p on Mumble's Bandcamp.

Not the last time we'll be seeing the title "Nightmare Night" in this countdown, but this song isn't a remix of the song everyone knows. Instead, it's a remix of background music from "Luna Eclipsed"! StormWolf later changed his name to JoshLohMusic, but nothing's been added to the account for five years now. Apparently this may strictly be electrostep rather than electro-dubstep. Um. No idea. It's a fun piece and makes for pretty good background music, but this track seems to have been almost entirely forgotten by the fandom now. The only place I can find a 320k MP3 is on

Next time: two enduring classics will be among the selection.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Ponyfic Roundup 232: God Save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety

In case anyone's reading who submitted a story for it, I haven't forgotten about the "Newcomers' Edition" Ponyfic Roundup that I mentioned in the autumn I was planning. I said then that early 2019 was the most likely date, and so it remains. Right now I'd expect it to come along some time in February, as I have (from memory) seven or eight fics to get through for it.

Read it Later story count: 284 (-1)

A second successive five-fic week! Yay! Shall we get started? Yes, let's get started.

Deep Cover by GaPJaxie
A Sparkle of Hope by TheSillyDuck
Numbers by Pastel Pony
Taco Sonata to the moon, baby. by Moosetasm
Giant Enemy Carb by Ponydora Prancypants

★: 1 | ★★: 2 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Sounds of 2011: Nos. 48 to 45

It's 2019 now, so here's some more music from eight years ago. Well, actually seven-and-a-bit years ago, since none of these tracks were released in January 2011 (little enduring was), but who's counting? We're well into the forties now, yet I'm still discovering songs I knew literally nothing about until I embarked on this series. Only one of those this week, though, and that's the final track. Today's four are:

It's yet another track from Odyssey Eurobeat now. This one is based on Pinkie Pie's iffy song, "You Gotta Share" from the S1 episode "Over a Barrel", and so unsurprisingly it features honky-tonk piano sounds, twangy banjo and a little bit of hollerin' for good measure. I'm not a great fan of the spoken bits that bookend the song, and it's probably not my favourite Eurobeat Brony track, but if you want in HQ then you can have it – on a name-your-price basis from the artist's Bandcamp.

Another song based on a show episode, in this case S2's "Sisterhooves Social", this d.notive track features on his popular The Fantasy album. I'm considerably more familar with the 2012 remix by Replacer, and this original is considerably harder-edged and clubbier. It took quite some while to grow on me as a result, but if you're looking for a Sweetie Belle song to dance to, this may be it. And if you'd like to hear it in HQ, you're in luck, as it – and the whole album – are name-your-price downloads on d.notive's Bandcamp.

Now here's a song written, albeit unofficially, to go with a ponyfic! According to Robbiedez (now known as LaRaikaa), this piece was inspired by Avensis Astari's story Allegrezza, which I'm afraid I've not (yet!) read so can't comment on now. It's an electronic cello piece which in some ways seems to anticipate Octavia's canon duet with Vinyl Scratch in "Slice of Life" four years later. For such an early song, it does this rather well. You can pick up an HQ copy for $1 on the artist's Bandcamp.

One for lovers of "hard/uplifting trance" now. As the track name implies, Michael Arrelano's song is inspired by "Lesson Zero", complete with several of the show samples that were very common in those early days. Twilight goes through several different emotions during the course of the song, which prevents it from getting stuck in a rut as some trance tracks can. There's a link to a 320k MP3 in the video description. The artist links in his "About" section to his new account, where he was once known as MichaelAEDM but now produces occasional releases under the name Kal.

Next time: another of my all-time favourites – and it's one I've heard played live!