Kobold – The Cave of the Lost Talisman (2017)

Did you know that tape cassettes are super cheap to produce these days and many small, independent music acts are using them as a way to sell physical copies of their albums without risking the farm? It’s true – a lot of black metal bands use tapes to get their stuff out there in hopes of getting label interest. Hip-hop has a long tradition of tapes, too.

This is The Cave of the Lost Talisman, the first album from Kobold, a “dungeon-synth” act that composes 8- and 16-bit music specifically intended to soundtrack your latest dungeon crawl. I love it to bit – it reminds me a lot of the soundtrack to the NES-version of Shadowgate. The tray card interior is illustrated with a dungeon map and a small booklet provides a kind of tone poem description of the rooms as they match up with the track list. It is a really lovely and unique homage to D&D.

I don’t remember who hipped me to this (thank you, whoever you are!), but it was released by a small DIY label in Milan, Italy called Heimat Der Katastrophe. The immediate appeal is the design, which lovingly repurposes the artwork from BSOLO: The Ghost of Lion Castle. You can find Kobold pretty easy by searching “Kobold” on Bandcamp. I’d link you direct, but UGH, Instagram.

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