27 September 2019

"Metropolis" by the Humble Brothers (2003)

Keeping on the recent videogame-instrumental theme, I decided to do research on a song that caught me completely offguard.  First off let me say that by and large I stopped playing videogames many moons ago.  But I'm still aware that more money is being pumped into them than ever, and some series like NBA2K or EA's FIFA actually go out and hire top-of-the-line artists for their soundtracks.  If I actually do play a game, it'll probably be something like say EA's SimCity, i.e. a strategy game that doesn't require a bunch of button crunching.  So when I did recently sit down for a refreshing round of city building, I was totally shocked to hear this:

That's a song called Metropolis by a musical duo called The Humble Brothers.  The track is from the soundtrack of SimCity 4: Rush Hour, a game that dropped way back in 2003.  I don't really know how to explain Metropolis except to say that I was taken aback when I first heard it and have developed somewhat of an addiction to it since.  But perhaps it was due to the fact that once again it is in a relatively-mundane videogame, where I was totally not expecting to hear something like this.  So I decided to post it to see if others have the same reaction also.


The Humble Brothers are a musical duo consisting of Ken "Hiwatt" Marshall (Canada) and Traz Damji (Tanzania).  Their genre is electronic music, which would imply that all of the instruments and perhaps even the voice featured in Metropolis are actually computer-generated.  And if so I would truly be amazed.  More likely the song uses some samples, such as for the violins and those African drum-sounding things.

Information on The Humble Brothers is sparse, but based on their Wikipedia page it would appear that whereas the layman may have never heard of them, the industry at least know what's up.  But for the most part, it seems that the bulk of their work has been in the videogame sector.

Ken "Hiwatt" Marshall at work via his Facebook page - notice how all he's using is a laptop.
Traz Damji via his own personal webpage, which as of the writing of this post is still under construction.
The Humble Brothers don't appear to have any joint website up and instead have individual pages as linked above.  So it's not clear if they are currently active as a unit.  And the last album they dropped in unison appears to be back in 2009.


There's some other sleepers on the SimCity 4: Rush Hour soundtrack also.  I guess it's only logical that such an intellectual game would also feature some engaging music.  And I look forward to hopefully hearing some more of the The Humble Brothers' work soon.