Listen and download:
The tracks found on this album were assembled from a network of music preservation enthusiasts from various forums and video sharing sites. The source material dates from 2009 to 2020.
The content bears a notable similarity to that of the recovered albums linked below:
NONE OF THIS IS REAL: https://djrozwell.bandcamp.com/album/none-of-this-is-real
GALACTIC SURVEY: https://djrozwell.bandcamp.com/album/none-of-this-is-real-expansion-pack-galactic-survey
SCARE TACTICS: https://djrozwell.bandcamp.com/album/none-of-this-is-real-expansion-pack-scare-tactics
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that asks if a computer can make you cry): This album is a DJ Rozwell tribute project, except it works differently from how you’d expect a tribute album to work. His album NONE OF THIS IS REAL is meant to be played on shuffle with a crossfade between tracks, leading to a weird continuous experience that’s different every time you listen. He also made 2 “expansion pack” albums that’re designed to be dropped in a playlist with the original to expand the variety. So this album, VIRTUA ZONE, is simply a fan-made NONE OF THIS IS REAL expansion pack.
Since this album is meant to be shuffled into another album there isn’t really an “opener” in the traditional sense, but I still put this track first as a sort of introduction for anyone who loads up the album on Bandcamp and hits play. Each NOTIR album has its own little concept (the original is fantasy themed, GALACTIC SURVEY is sci-fi themed, etc), and VIRTUA ZONE is about the tech boom in the 80s and 90s. This quote, “can a computer make you cry?” comes from a mission statement by EA back when it was first formed. This breathless, naïve fervor coming from what is nowadays a massive, hegemonic corporation turned out to perfectly sum up the tone of the album. The actual audio you’re hearing is from some self-serious documentary quoting that I found online.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s right thurr): This was the first proper piece of music I made specifically for the project. Once I finished this I knew I had a good basis for an album. This silly track combines a pop rap sample with an original SNES-style instrumental.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s all like “biIIiiItch fuUUuUuck”) (by Cheryl Stelli): This first guest track is a weird case. It was originally a joke video Cheryl made making fun of an earlier track of mine, Scum Fuck Superman. I liked it enough to put it on my album, going full circle. Here’s what Cheryl wrote about this track:
“i made the video at the same time as the audio which means this is technically not even a mashup, i made the video at 3 am when i was suffering from severe insomnia and thought it was the funniest shit at the time (which means it’s still the funniest shit to me even now)
allie asked if she could put it on the album and i said yeah”
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s just 27 seconds of drone): This drone is sampled from Super Metroid and pitched down. Thanks for reading
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that is a journey into sound): Of all things, this track incorporates a technique I first used in my dumb side project, SANTA. Basically, I randomly modulate the volume of a chiptune sound really fast, and this gives it a jittery quality that helps it fit better with the lofi production. The “this is a journey into sound” clip is taken from a random tracker mod file from some MegaZeux game; I have no idea where it’s from originally.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s an interlude with cloudy noise and random synth improv): This is the first of several tracks that I originally made years and years ago, then “rescued” for this album by making it way more lofi and trimming it down.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that has four-on-the-floor kicks and weird fluttery synths): Another rescued track. This one has a weirdly organic quality, but it’s still unmistakably artificial.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that uses the amen break): Yet another rescued track (apparently I put a few in a row). Breakcore/jungle is an underrepresented vibe in NOTIR so it was fun to integrate this into the project’s sound.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s music from some guys in space) (by Comrade Palpatine): The second guest track. I really like how this becomes a silly intro to whatever track happens to be queued after it.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s all like wooeeEEEEeoww): Still another rescued track. I had a lot of fun with this odd synth soundfont taken from an old tracker file.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s just some really fucked up drum samples): I kind of didn’t realize how many rescued tracks there were until now. I think the texture here is cool.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that has really big synth pads): Finally, a proper original piece! It’s a pretty simple instrumental, but I think the beat is really heavy-sounding and the way it glitches as it goes on is neat.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s just Moonside with some other stuff): An ambient track. Earthbound might have the most NOTIR energy of any Nintendo soundtrack? Don’t quote me on that. I really went wild with the glitch effects on this one, adding a whole new layer of texture.
- Warriors Of The LightCrystal: Dungeon synth but upbeat. This samples the overworld theme from Virtual Hydlide, an absolutely terrible game that I haven’t played but am aesthetically enamored with. Something about hearing this play while a low poly dude waddles across the landscape at a very low frame rate is hilarious to me. Also, there’s finally another rap sample here! I don’t remember what it’s from anymore, but I guess that’ll just make it more fun to try to figure out what it is.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that provides a look into Deep Engineering): Another ambient-ish track. This one samples a video game adaptation of Dune that I haven’t played. There’s also a clip of a weird old news spot that I saw in a GDC talk by Bennett Foddy. Why do they call it Deep Engineering? It’s so weird!! Finally there’s a layer of noise I made in VCV Rack. (This remains the one and only thing I’ve made with VCV Rack. It’s a very intimidating program.)
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that has spooky strings and accordion?): The main sample here is from Professor Heinz Wolff’s Gravity, an obscure DS puzzle game. The vibe of the original piece is indescribable but I think it’s pretty funny. Added rapid vibrato and distortion makes it that much more hexed.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s a Vectrex commercial): I think that 80s nostalgia stuff can get really insufferable at times, and I was worried about the possibility of this turning into a fucking Ready Player One album. The main way I avoided this was the same way the original NOTIR album did it: by sampling obscure shit that hasn’t become part of the revered nerd pop culture canon. In this case, I’m sampling a commercial not for a beloved system like the NES or the Genesis, but for the Vectrex, a bizarre console that is largely forgotten now. Also I stretched it out in Audacity for the aesthetic. FFaannttaassttiicc!
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that has Kendrick describing his macro fantasies): The NOTIR format generally works better with mostly shorter tracks, but I do like how GALACTIC SURVEY introduces a few longer tracks to vary up the pacing a bit more. But adding too many more on top of that would get overwhelming, so here’s just one track over 4 minutes, as a treat. Aside from the obvious sample of Kendrick Lamar’s Backseat Freestyle, there’s also samples from Yume Nikki and Potatoman Seeks the Troof. The latter is an unusually recent source for this album, but I think it has the right vibe.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s an edited Laserdisc infomercial) (by Frida Eva): The third guest track. I love the sheer hubris in this guy’s speech, and the echo-y sax bit that follows is fun.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that explains what happens when you send information electronically): Did you miss rescued tracks? Here’s another one, but here I also decided to layer on a Cathode Ray Dude video about TV stations.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s a Mario Overworld tritone): This is the most normie 80s-pandering sample possible, but I made it cursed. This was actually inspired by the Mario sample near the beginning of Blarf’s entertainingly fucked-up plunderphonics track “Badass Bullshit Benjamin Buttons Butthole Assassin”; I wanted to isolate that clash and make an interlude out of it.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that hails Sir Daniel Fortesque): The main sample here is from Caverns of Zeux, an obscure DOS game I used to play. Lots of these tracks have background noise, but this has the silliest source of that: a washing machine. Also yeah there’s a fun clip from MediEvil.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s 12 seconds of uncomfortable synths): One last rescued track. This one is reaaally old, and I’m surprised I ever found a place for it.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s weird techno chiptune): The main sample here is from Recca. It’s an NES space shooter, but has unusually fancy graphics and an even more unusual techno-inspired soundtrack that together make it aesthetically unlike anything else on the system. I specifically went with the lowest-quality YouTube rip I could find, to make these chipsounds fit the lofi soundscape better. Add a breakbeat and some droning and now there’s a track.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that’s bitcrushed ambient) (by Cheryl Stelli): The fourth and final guest track. The samples here are from Chaos;Child, a VN Cheryl’s obsessed with, so I think that makes this the weebiest NOTIR track. Here’s what Cheryl wrote about this track:
“i honestly do not remember making this mashup, i think allison told me to do something ambient and i just put a bunch of low-intensity chaos;child songs over top of each other and bitcrushed them”
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that spells U.N.I.T.Y.): This might be my favorite track. There’s not much to say about it, I’m just surprised how well this Star Control 2/Queen Latifah mashup works.
- NONE OF THIS IS REAL (the one that clarifies that the most powerful tool of the 20th century was kept in the back room): I stumbled upon this video on Best 80s Commercials (a parody channel) and it was a borderline religious experience. I literally could not imagine a more fitting sample for this project.