Hey everyone, Glenntai here with more rambling and opinions masked as credible reviews! If you’ve gotten to this point, you have either read the other reviews or just clicked on this via facebook! You won’t believe what happens next!
Alright, enough of this pretending-to-be-witty bullshit, let’s get on with the review!
Snooglebum – Spiders and Cobwebs
With a very prominent bass fade-in and usage of tribal-esque percussion, ‘Spiderwebs & Cobwebs’ comes out sounding much like one’s escapades through what starts off as a dim-lit cavern and turns into your own personal tour of bustling lab full of machines and grotesque figures in lab equipment that seem to have not been touched in years. Snooglebum manages to covey a scene befitting to its title, transitioning to the next part of the song with instruments familiar to fans of late 90’s/early 2000’s happy hardcore scene, accompanying toms that sound like you could have fit them in a tech-pop hit of the 80s, and a polyrhythmic drum line set to an early-electro house motif. However, unlike deadmau5’s earlier work, there’s more than one rhythm pattern in this song (and album).
TRIaC – Dial Up
TRIaC follows up on the next track with a very danceable chip track reminiscent of 2007-2010 1xDMG trance pop with more-than-basic 1-channel melodies matched with an effective wav accompaniment and pulse bass. However, on upon further scrutiny, I have to give TRIaC a lot of credit. The instrumentation in this track is a stellar example of how big of a sound you can produce with Nanoloop. If you listen closely, you can make note of how precise and well-timed each of those pulse arps are, making it seem like simultaneous channels despite the fact that both fast-paced and bouncy arps within the first minute are on the same channel. The release on the noise instruments is equally impressive. ‘Dial Up’ leads on to continue to have a solid form with well-planned segments that transition smoothly into a fun and enjoyable example of this particular style of chipmusic.
Daniel Capo – Summer Home
Daniel Capo’s down-tempo, ambience-filled dreamland of a track is a shining example of how to effectively use analog and low-fi equipment with modern-day music tools to make great music. The melody and its backing chords, both of them at a lower quality rate and giving a very distinct feeling of reminiscing over your favorite tape cassette, are delightful and don’t distract from the rest of the track. Said recording technique also allows for additional noise not normally found in the registers for a DMG, and to be played at more specific volumes than the standard registers for LSDJ (although after only a few minutes of experimenting, you can certainly come close.) Fortunately, this allows you to notice the dreamy accompanying pad arpeggios. I’m almost certain that the echo in these would cause a strict-native LSDJ user to do some embarrassing things in order to learn it. Daniel Capo has succeeded in making a relaxed, warm atmosphere you can get lost daydreaming in, as well as a song you could get lost daydreaming in on repeat.
Ap0c – One More Dream
Philadelphia native and one of the only people I’ve seen with enough intestinal fortitude to use a Tuba with chiptune, Ap0c continues to provide a well-orchestrated concept to each one of his progressive chip tracks that I can only classify as “Romanticized Neo-Baroque” (oh sweet mother of god, the approximately-ten of you reading this that understand will likely want to punch me for that. Send all hate mail and pretentious insults to Glenn (at) Nerdfit (dot) com, please.) He prefers to consider it more “CastlevaniaCore”, but no matter what you call it, this track is a gem to listen to.
‘One More Dream’ is full of leads that love to deviate from the melodic tones to give an extra emphasis, and Ap0c manages to keep every accompanying element brilliantly accentuated throughout the entirety of the piece. Every transition to another step in the form of this song is its own little adventure, building up further and further within their progressions only to come to a cliff-hanging end. This, in itself, you could consider reflecting as a metaphor for all of our own dreams still technically in the process of being reached.
Kerosyn & Wowzerss – Predigital Reconciliation
‘Predigital Reconciliation’ is a track that tells a story of a simple time brought into a land of overwhelming new concepts and laments for an earlier, technologically-simpler time. Of course this is ironic since it used a dmg and DAW, but don’t even dare let that skew your opinion of its quality. This is a very solid track that slowly lets loose a floodgate of rhythms that comprise from your expected percussion to various pitch-sliding sounds and a woodblock effect (that I suspect is either sampled from a standalone drum kit or is some very impressive programming on a pulse channel) that make you want to move along to that dancehall-esque rhythm on top of your usual four-to-the-floor.
I find one of the techniques I hear abused a lot in modern pop and popular chiptune is the staccato and the stuttering effect that comes from its usage (guilty as charged, myself). Here, listening carefully, they have managed to manipulate such an effect that once it retriggers, it sounds like when a modern-age computer is having issues processing until it finally gets stuck in a loop and crashes. This is a very well-executed example of staccato and retriggering. It was also very well played out, considering they alluded to it 32 beats prior, with various instruments constantly retriggering softly in the background.
Volume 3 is a solid addition to the ChipWIN collection, sporting a wide variety of technique, genre, concept and creative processes that not only show how impressive the creative mind can be within limitations, but also the diversity of the collective artists that express themselves. Of course, this is not the end of the album, keeping to its tradition of 51 tracks. Stay tuned as Hoodie finishes up the reviews and reminds me that I’ve yet to write a drum solo as fantastic as Pieces of Eight’s. Holy damn, that drum solo is good. Coincidentally, I had submitted a 3-minute drum solo under the guise of “Wait why has nobody written a chiptune drum solo?” Well played, fellow great mind, well played.
RIGHT, ENOUGH CIRCLE-JERKERY AND UNPROFESSIONAL BANTER. CUE THE BOILER-PLATE.