Florence by Kevin Penkin
“I’m fine… Don’t worry about me… I’m busy… Talk to you later.”
Break out on your own and pursue your dreams this week with Florence by Kevin Penkin. Relive the beautiful story, now immortalized on a stunningly gorgeous "Cello Yellow" vinyl by iam8bit. The soundtrack to Mountains’ award-winning, coming of age story has floated its way to vinyl. Grab a blanket, because it's time to snuggle up with the soothing sounds of Florence.
Kevin Penkin is an award-winning composer and musician based out of Melbourne, Australia. Best known for his work on Crunchyroll's award-winning animated series Made in Abyss, Kevin is a veteran of composing, emerging in 2012 with his breathtaking score for Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten. Kevin has come a long way from those early days in his composing career. Florence is without a doubt a highlight in his repertoire as virtuoso and definitely stands out as one of the best soundtracks to be released in 2018. This vinyl release is a gorgeous physical totem that represents his work, and is definitely one of the best iam8bit releases to date!
Florence was undoubtedly one of those games that I think surprised a lot of us last year. Its quirky and playful storytelling was unique to say the least, and its music carried all the emotional experiences along within that bittersweet story that left a mark on anyone who delved into its short and beautiful tale. The music of Florence is so touching and quaint that you can’t help but get lost in is eloquent and stylish arrangements. I really like this album a lot. With all of its trepid highs and moody lows, this album throws you through a gambit of emotions that is just simply memorable.
A gentle piano flutters down from above as an airy cello cascades wonderful notes that carries you deeper within this melancholy ensemble of sounds. The gorgeous mixture of woodwinds with the piano, violin, and cello add so much warmth, with light, breezy sounds that envelop you in a symphony of notes, making you want to reach for that blanket and snuggle up all day. The playful string plucks that cut in ever so briefly was a comforting welcome to the arrangements here and was a nice highlight that just added an extra bit of tone that brought a richer timbre to the already outstanding performance. There are moments in this album where the music takes a gradual and gloomy inflection that makes sense to anyone who has played the game -- however, in the context of this musical journey, it just makes it a complete experience and adds that much needed contrast to an upbeat and wonderful score that this album showcases.
This album is raw and torn down, and truly feels like they captured the whole performance live. It has a rich tone to it that just lingers long after it’s done spinning. The gorgeous yellow disc spins and serenades you from groove to groove... you just get absolutely lost in it. That is a true testament to the mastering and pressing of this album. It is quite superb, hitting all the highs and lows with an excellent clean noise floor that truly gives the instruments a chance to shine in their own space. The mixture of arrangements and the tracklist flows so beautifully off the turntable that I couldn’t help but serenely soak it in the entire time it was spinning.
iam8bit did such an incredible job on this release. As I stated before, I believe this to be one of their best releases to date and goes to show just how far this artistic label has truly come. They have gotten so good at hitting their pre-order ship dates, and in general feel like they have found themselves in a renaissance of sorts. The Messenger from earlier this year was incredible, and the recent Jim Guthrie re-release of Sword & Sworcery is something I have only started to sink my teeth into. Keep an eye out for a review & interview on that release soon.
Wake up, Moving On
Overall I am very impressed with this one. The soft touch sleeve is stunning and is quite pleasing to hold. The artwork on display and present on the inner sleeve from Ken Wong and Nicole Williams is so simplistic and gorgeous, it totally fits that artistic style that Florence became known for. It's super fun to look at all the memorable items from the game present in one package. The “Cello Yellow” vinyl is very bright and vibrant, matching the sleeve it is housed in perfectly while being slightly transparent, which I really like. Overall I think this release is a must own for anyone who enjoys down tempo, melodic string style music similar to Flower. Limited to 1,000 copies, you can’t go wrong in owning this wonderful soundtrack on vinyl!
Where to Buy?
This album is still readily available directly from iam8bit. Limited to 1,000 copies I’m not sure how much longer it will be around. Since it was announced and put up for order it has gone in and out of stock multiple times, and I believe they are probably down to their last remaining stock. This album is seriously a hallmark not only of Kevin’s career, but to iam8bit’s catalogue. Don’t miss this one if you’re a fan!