coloUrs and mayhem: Universe A, by Various Artists

66-coloursandmayhemuniversea

Released April 2, 2012

1 hr, 44 min, 43 sec

I said, way back in October, that Alternia was essentially a theme-song album for the characters it represented, whom had just been introduced in Homestuck just a month prior to the album’s release. That album works better in the context of the comic’s canon, whereas coloUrs and mayhem: Universe A stands as a far more straightforward character album, containing theme songs for all 24 central characters of the titular Universe A, first introduced in Act 5 of Homestuck.

The album’s track listing emulates a vinyl record, with “Side 1” containing the theme songs for the ancestors of the twelve main trolls in Homestuck, while “Side 2” contains the theme songs for the main trolls themselves. The titles tie the songs to the characters’ present incarnations, as opposed to alternate versions of the ancestors that are met throughout Act 6, but they mostly apply to those alternate incarnations anyway. The track order follows the conventions for organizing the trolls of Alternia established in Homestuck – there are twelve castes, each corresponding to a particular sign of the zodiac, running from Aries (the lowest tier) to Pisces (the highest), with the signs assigned in calendar order between them. Each of the castes has a different blood color, indicated (in more formal terms) by the color in each track name.

As a theme song collection, it does its job. Each of the songs is easily attributable to the characters they represent – “Iron Infidel,” for instance, conveys a holy feeling, complete with wordless vocalizations that evoke the same feeling, while “Olive Scribe” is light and playful to match its character and “Purple Tyrant” borrows heavily from carnival music, matching the clown-influenced design and mannerisms of its character.

The tracks originate from a contest held in late 2011, where musicians submitted tracks for both this album and Universe B (which will be covered later this week), with the winners earning spots on the album, with titles and track order given based on the appropriateness of a given song for any particular character. Several bonus tracks that didn’t fit in with any of the characters represented on the album were included at the end, indicated as “Additional Mayhem.”

It’s always difficult to talk about Homestuck albums, because it usually requires some degree of exposition about the characters and story, which I’m averse to doing for fear of spoilers. Because this is a set of instrumentals that don’t have an overarching musical theme, however, I can’t really talk about the music, either, so I’m stuck ending this article with this explanation. The perfect anti-ending.

(iTunes, A to Z‘s weekday posts will be permanently moving to 4 p.m. Eastern time starting today.)

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