Prepare your turntable for heavy rotation spinners vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox is out to bring the record store to your own front door.
Groove is in the Bandbox
That’s right music fans, Bandbox is now a premiere online record store offering you the chance to fill your mail box with albums from artists spanning every genre. As their slogan goes, it’s pretty much like having the record store delivered to your front door. And Bandbox is indeed boasting a record store style variety of artists and albums, with a treasure trove of exclusive pressings you do not want to sleep on.
Having it your way is the Bandbox mantra. With a storefront offering exclusive color pressings of albums from an artist you adore, and a fresh edition of the signature artist-specific fan zine, the B-Box crew has effectively made it possible to do a little legit bin-diving from the comfort your very own home.
And for September, the crew sent to my home Michael Wyckoff’s blissfully synthed-out score to the celebrated VR video game Boneworks. Here’s a look.
As already noted, Bandbox is no longer subscription service, having recently gone the way of full-blown online marketplace. All that really means is shopping with the B-box store has never been a more “you get out exactly what you put in” sort of deal.
Let the Great World Spin
One of the things I love about record clubs is the chance to take a risk on something I’ve never heard of before … and to do so with a pressing you cannot get anywhere else. Just FYI – not only did Team B-box snake an exclusive color pressing of the Boneworks soundtrack, it’s actually only pressing of the music out there. Bravo, team!
Depending on just how obsessive you are about your record collection, packaging can be every bit as important as the vinyl itself. That being the case, I’m guessing certain shoppers who pick up this pressing of the “Boneworks” original soundtrack might be a little bummed about the three disc set not coming in a roomier sleeve. But they’d likely also admit that – apart from having to squeeze two discs into one pocket – this gatefold sleeve is pretty damn snazzy.
For the record, Bandbox is the only label pressed on the sleeve to this release, signaling that they were indeed the driving force in getting this stunning music pressed to wax.
Boneworks original soundtrack by Bonetones (aka Michael Wyckoff) – 2019
I should say upfront that I am not a gamer. As such I have never played the VR video game known as Boneworks. In fact, prior to this soundtrack popping up in the Bandbox store, I’d never even heard of the game. So when I talk about taking a risk on something I’ve never heard, it should be clear that tabbing Bonetones’ original score for the game was a legitimate gamble for me.
I’m happy to report the gamble more than paid off and then some. Because not only did Bandbox deliver another top notch combo of packaging and pressing, but the music therein is just flipping fantastic. And you’d better believe it absolutely shines via the vinyl format.
If you’re like me, and had never heard of Boneworks, a little Googling will tell you the VR hit was released by Stress Level Zero back in 2019, and unfolds in a shared gaming universe with other titles like Duck Season, and its own 2022 sequel Bonelab. The first-person shooter follows the story of Arthur Ford, a cybersecurity guru overseeing the development of a groundbreaking simulated landscape.
If you’ve played Boneworks, you likely thing that synopsis is wildly oversimplified. And as someone who’s never played, I haven no doubt that it is. And in lieu of oversimplifying more, or inadvertently spoiling game-play fun for the masses, I’ll just say that from what I’ve read of Boneworks, it sounds like s**t gets out of control for Arthur after he decides to put one of his theories to the test. And that launches an action-packed narrative in which he battles his way through a perilous virtual landscape with real-world life and death stakes.
Given that full-tilt sci-fi setup, you’d surely expect Boneworks to be backed by an epic original score fronting loads of synthesizers in all their sweeping glory. And that is exactly what composer Michael Wyckoff delivers throughout the game, crafting a track list that nods at classic synth-driven scores from Blade Runner (Vangelis), and Halloween (John Carpenter), as well as more modern efforts like Drive (Cliff Martinez) and Stranger Things (Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein).
Obvious influences aside, Wyckoff is clearly not interested in cheap mimicry on Boneworks, using every auditory tool in his arsenal to craft a soundscape as grandiose in scope as it often is sparse, emotionally resonant, and at times even terrifying. In so deftly toeing the line between the epic and the ambient, Wyckoff crafts a sonic landscape that lovingly wears its influences on its sleeve, but indeed sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. And I can only imagine how impactful those tracks are to the tone of the game itself.
Anyway, given how little I knew about Boneworks, and the creator of its soundtrack, I can attest that Bandbox issue #89 was not just a compelling read, but also a vital document in helping me understand what Michael Wyckoff put into making the music. And yes, there’s pretty pictures aplenty inside too.
As for the wax, well, all three come packed inside game-centric inner sleeves.
And just in case there’s any doubt, Team Bandbox hit a neon fever-dream of a home run with the color variants here.
It was honestly tough to decide which one looked best on my deck. But I can’t help but love the way the neon green pops against the red. So here it is for all to see.
It’s the Bandbox You Want and the Bandbox You Need
I’ll be the first to admit to being bummed Bandbox is no longer a strict subscription service. But given the way supply chain delays have been affecting them in recent months, it’s not hard to understand why the change was necessary.
Changes aside, I’m happy to report Bandbox product is as solid as it’s ever been. If you’re hot to get your hands on this pressing of Bonetones’ original score from Boneworks, it’s still very much available the ole Bandbox store. But supplies are apparently pretty limited these days, so head on over and claim your copy. Happy spinning, friends!
A thousand THANK Yous to the folks at Bandbox for sponsoring this subscription. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can head over to the Bandbox website and sign up to have a sexy new Bandbox delivered to your own front door every single month. While you’re there, feel free to check out their podcast and merch section too! And be sure to check back soon to see what goodies we find in our next Bandbox!