Cuphead (Original Soundtrack)
While Toronto-based percussionist and composer Kristofer Maddigan didn’t write the soundtrack for the video game Cuphead to be listened to as an album straight through, the music stands on its own, thanks to the sterling live band performances in a host of early-20th-century styles. Matching the game's vintage look with original music of a similar mood, Maddigan delves into solo piano and orchestral ragtime, marches, heart-pumping big-band blowouts (like “Botanic Panic,” “Threatenin’ Zeppelin,” and “Aviary Action”), and even barbershop quartet and tap dance. Somehow he filters John Philip Sousa, Jelly Roll Morton, Benny Goodman, and a bunch of other reference points into a singular madcap aesthetic. His meticulous research and source material, posted on his blog, is also worth checking out.