Archive for November, 2013

Chip Mom’s Kitchen #6: Bake a Damn Ham

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I love cookies.  I love pies.  I love cakes, and brownies, and tarts.  But lets get real: Sometimes you just gotta bake a damn ham.  Ham is delicious and deceptively simple; volunteering to cook one also scores you MAJOR holiday brownie points with the primary chef of the family.  With that it mind lets gather round and drool over…

Maple Dijon Ham

Difficulty level:
Newb          |         Apprentice         |         Journeyman         |         Master

Requires a certain amount of dedication to get up early to put in the oven, but you can nap while its baking!

Quest Items:

Whole Grain dijon mustard
Maple syrup
Brown sugar
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
Spiral Sliced Ham
Aluminum baking pan
Aluminum foil
Medium skillet
Whisk
Basting brush or spoon
Meat thermometer
Cookie sheet (you know I’d work cookie something in there)

Musical Accompaniment:

Illustrated Guide:

Gather round all ye ingredients!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve got everything, go to bed. That’s right, prep this stuff the night before. Chances are your family is eating its holiday “dinner” at like noon or 1 o’clock, so you’re going to have to get your butt up at a reasonable hour to do this. Plan for 2 hours of cooking and whatever travel time you have to transport a ham from place A to place B.

When you wake up in the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your baking pan onto the cookie sheet for strength! The bottoms do fall out of those things. Then, place your spiral sliced ham face down into your baking pan, pouring 3/4 cups water into the bottom. You do this to help keep the ham moist while you reheat it.

~Yes, you’re reheating.~

Most likely your ham is pre-cooked as well as sliced. Placing the meaty side face down keeps the juices from leaking out and drying out the ham.  Now you can cover that sucker with aluminum foil and put it in your pre-heated oven.

Sometimes your ham will come with one of these packets of “glaze spices”:

You know what you do with these things?

You are better than that.  You’re gonna make your own damn glaze for your own damn ham with five easy-to-find ingredients: syrup, mustard, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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Prep all the dry goods for your glaze (1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg) in a skillet on your stove since early mornings need all the organizational help they can get!

 

Now set your timer for an hour and a half, then set your alarm…ITS NAP TIME!!!

When you come back to the ham, check its internal heat with a meat thermometer (If you don’t have one, you really should get one before attempting a roast or a ham – it comes in all kinds of handy).  When reheating I usually shoot for about 110 degrees; your ham should be approaching that.  Add 1/2 cup maple syrup and 2 tablespoons whole grain dijon to the dry ingredients already in your skillet.  Whisk together over medium heat, letting it simmer (lots of tiny bubbles) for 2 minutes.

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When everything is reduced and bubbly, carefully take out your ham and put it on the stove. Pour your glaze from the skillet onto the pan and spread it into all the little nooks and crannies with either a basting brush or spoon.

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Take your time and make sure to get your glaze all over the ham.  You want the flavor to be in every bite that folks take.

 

 

 

 

Now, bump up the heat in your oven to 400 degrees and place the ham back inside for about 20 minutes.  The glaze will bubble, caramelize, and harden on the surface of the ham – all these things mean deliciousness is happening!

EXTREME CLOSE UP!

After 20 minutes, take your ham out of the oven, recover with aluminum foil, and lay towels over the top to keep in the heat in during transport.  If your ham isn’t going anywhere, make sure you give it 10 minutes to rest before slicing.  It has had a long day after all!

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Hope this helps you to be your home’s hero some day soon!  As always, I encourage you to come on over to the Chip Mom facebook page to share stories and pictures of your cooking adventures!

8-Bit Banter with DjjD: Ugress ‘n Bits

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Hey all, DjjD here.

Been a while since my last post here at Chiptunes = WIN HQ. After a fallout with a couple of interviews; a couple dozen hours spent in a digital audio workstation… one finds oneself stuck in a pickle. Thankfully, playlists are heroes. When you least expect it, you’ll find one song that you like… and start replaying all the memories from when you first heard it. The power of music, right?

Ugress, is friggin’ crazy. With an ever growing list of amazing tunes (396 currently on his Soundcloud), he’s certainly a diverse fellow. While I initially started listening to his music due to my love of all things “Spider Man“, I learned that was just the beginning of the rabbit hole.

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What I was most interested in was when I encountered his ‘bleep-bloop’ chiptune side project codename, ‘Ninja 9000‘. Via this alias he spawned 3 EPs: ‘Bit Collapse’, ‘Bit Escape’, and ‘Bit Awake’. ‘Bit Awake’ is the newest installment but considering these are all 20 mins or less, it might be best if I just covered them all!

Bit Collapse‘:

This album has a very raw feel to it, but in a good way. It utilizes noises from the Amiga and C64 from how it sounds. Some of the songs have vocals but I gotta say for me, it’s all about the song “Katoku Pokus”. That pluck mixed with a dreamy arpeggio and finally filled out with guitar chugs and slides: beautiful. Parts of this make me think of SMILETRON, not by sound, but by that abstract yet cohesive idea that can only really be heard by listening to the full song. It’s a journey, and if you start, you gotta finish out the ride until that train stops.

Bit Escape‘:

Wow, this album already has a much darker feel, right off the bat. It feels like an ominous, future world, one that has been overcast with the stench of decay and corrosion for over 200 years. Society has been threatened for ages, ever since the dawn of the *insert creative alien name here*, because of the fallout caused by *insert apocalyptic event here*. Really interesting stuff. Trekking through bleeps and bloops never felt so mysterious.

Bit Awake‘:

This one is much more upbeat from the get-go. You’ve synth guitars wailing and a random face staring at you via the mesmerizing artwork. Gotta say, this is probably my favorite out of the 3. Can’t help but groove to the 2nd track, “Vaporform”. It has such an eerie yet danceable feeling and only continues throughout the rest of the EP. “The sun rises over a vast canyon, for the people are now growing healthy; aware that their enslavers are destroyed, they start a new life, one of peace and prosperity.” Got all that from “Raster Curtains”.

These are ALL free tunes and all are very well worth your time. This artist is awesome and so are all of the songs from all of his personas. If you’re looking for music that tells a story, I’ve just painted a picture but…this is but one perspective. You could experience the same adventure and have the same set of tools but ultimately tread a different path. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

GMM/Ugress/Ninja 9000: Home Site | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

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MAGFest 12: The Return of Chipspace (& some!!!)

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Sup y’all? Prez Hoodie here. =)

As y’all surely have noticed by now, MAGFest has announced all of it’s chiptune goodness for the impending glory that is MAGFest 12. This includes both the main stage chipshows (lineups here & here) & the return of the Chipspace (mentioned in the MAGProm announcement here). For those of you unfortunate enough to have missed out on the crazy, last minute party that was Chipspace at MAG 11 & are thinking, “WTF is teh Cherpspoose?” allow me to elucidate! =D

chipspace maddie artChipspace is a virtually NON-STOP chiptune open mic stage that is available to any and all MAGFest attendees interested in & capable of performing chipmusic at MAG (tl;dr – It’s a Jamspace for chiptunes). [guidelines HERE]

Last year’s Chipspace was a damn blast, and it really did all come together last minute LOLZ! This time around it’s getting a good deal more planning (& by a team of real BAMFs, including yours truly <3) & even more support from MAGFest. Basically what I’m trying to say here is…

 

EXPECT EVEN MOAR AMAZEBALLSNESS/CRAZYASS ANTICS/ZOMBOCON!!! 8)

SPEAKING OF ADDITIONAL CRAZINESS…

Special Event #1: CLIPSTREAM XIII: MAGFEST IS AWESOME EDITION
(10+ artists, THREE individual shows, FULL LIVESTREAMING)

Special Event #2: SATURDAY MIDNIGHT CHIPTUNE BLOWOUT
(9 artists, 4 visualists, playing BACK TO BACK, Saturday at MIDNIGHT, flyer below)

Special Event #3MAGFEST = WIN
(New ChipWIN album, 12 new jams from 12 chipartists, RELEASED AT MAGFEST)

Chipspace flyer - for blog

magfest 12

Chipspace: because there simply wasn’t enough chiptune at MAGFest already. 8)

Much \m||m/,
President Hoodie
Chipspace Manager

P.S. I would apologize to those that are confused by the onslaught of chiptune events, but -shrugs- I ain’t sorry, bby. #DEALWITHIT 8)

Last updated 12/30/13 (final)

Chipspace:
Guidelines (gdoc) | How to Volunteer (gdoc) | Sat Midnight Chiptune Blowout (Fb Event)

MAGFest:
MAGFest.org | Facebook | Twitter | MAG 12 (Fb Event) | Full Event Schedule

Clipstream:
clip-stream.net | Facebook | Twitter | MAG Clipstream Shows (Fb Event)

MAG 12 Chiptune Showcase Chipartists ( Part 1 | Part 2 | Fb Event )

A_Rival: Planetskill.com | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Auxcide: Bandcamp Facebook Twitter Soundcloud

Awesome Force: Bandcamp Facebook Soundcloud

Cheap Dinosaurs: CheapDinosaurs.comBandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Chipocrite: Bandcamp Facebook Twitter Soundcloud

Danimal Cannon: Bandcamp Facebook Twitter Soundcloud Tumblr

rainbowdragoneyes: rainbowdragoneyes.com | Bandcamp Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Trey Frey: Bandcamp Facebook Twitter Soundcloud

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Sladerfluous: ‘Big Steel Wheels’ by C-jeff

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Nostalgia is a word that gets overused when describing chiptune music.

nos·tal·gia [no-stal-juh, -jee-uh, nuh-] noun

1. A wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.

2. Something that elicits or displays nostalgia.

(I never understood dictionary definitions like #2. It’s like asking someone what they meant and having them just repeat their last sentence.)

Nostalgia is relative.

If you have never ridden in the cab of your mom’s (or dad’s) big rig during a cross country cargo run, you would never look at a big rig stopped beside you at a red light and feel nostalgic about it. To describe Dmitry “C-jeff” Zhemkov’s latest release ‘Big Steel Wheels’ as nostalgic is not only a disservice to the depth of the album but also relies on the fact that you’ve drenched yourself in the cartoons of the 80’s and/or the hair-metal rock ballads that served as their soundtracks. If you hear the words “hair” and “metal” together and think of this, or this, or this, then you are about to journey down a rabbit hole of awesomeness, the likes of which may add a whole new sub-genre to your musical tastes. There are those who will envy you for standing on the doorstep of their own nostalgic golden age. Cherish it. Enjoy the ride.

If you’re the kind of person who feels the warm-and-fuzzies whenever you dust off your copy of “The Transformers: The Movie” to re-experience its mind-blowing soundtrack, then buckle up because them nostalgic feels are incoming.

Film scores from the 80’s are a noted influence for Ubiktune founder C-jeff, as mentioned on the Facebook page for the ‘Big Steel Wheels’ release party, and his deep appreciation for them comes through loud and clear with a masterful display of control within his compositions. ‘Big Steel Wheels’ is much more than a love letter to hair-metal, chiptune and Rocky IV. ‘Big Steel Wheels’ by C-jeff celebrates the best of a bygone era by combining a unique blend of hair-metal, rock, and chiptune to create 13 tracks that will appeal to both the curious newcomer and the die-hard fan.

     Big Steel Wheels Album CoverBig Steel Wheels Album CoverBig Steel Wheels Album Cover

‘Black Lock’ in particular showcases C-jeff’s expert skill, weaving together inspired electric guitar riffs with a big and bold drum kit while captivating synth tones grab your attention and carry you through every beautifully intricate transition into entirely new explorations that keep you guessing right to the end (which is even more impressive when you realize that ‘Black Lock’ is an 8-minute track.) Sound effects sprinkled throughout the album guide listeners through a musical road-trip, be they big-rig engines kicking off ‘A Thousand Bridges’ or the menacing vocal additions during ‘Boiling Point’ coupled with what can only be described as “the most musical gunshots ever heard” that serve to create a borderline radio-play of desperate cat-and-mouse between riffs and silences. The result is a gripping musical experience that pulls you into the world C-jeff has created within ‘Big Steel Wheels’ that will serve as the gateway album for some, and nostalgia fuel for others.

Dmitry was kind enough to answer a few questions about his journey building ‘Big Steel Wheels’ and that mini-interview continues below:

PixelRecall: Tell me about the moment you decided to create ‘Big Steel Wheels.’

C-jeff: During the summer of last year I was watching the ‘Rocky’ series for the first time in my life. It was a great pleasure to watch it. The music was great. The movies were amazing. And then came ‘Rocky 4’. From the very start I was drawn to the music, but as soon as the training montage scene started, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing; this section changed everything. The music stylistically was so close for what I love, and combined with the montage scenes, it was just a perfect combination.

After that, I discovered Vince DiCola. Some time later, Dan Behrens (Danimal Cannon) recommended I check out ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ soundtrack, and that completely blew me away.

The music of Vince DiCola was such a big inspiration for me that I instantly started to think about my next album. I became immersed more and more into the movies and the music culture of 80s. As a result, all those influences expanded my work developing original soundtracks, building from my experience creating ‘Preschtale’.

PixelRecall: What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating ‘Big Steel Wheels?’

C-jeff: The biggest challenge was probably to keep the sound more or less consistent from track-to-track, especially when I decided to include such a wide rage of genres.

PixelRecall: Do you have a favourite piece of equipment or software that you used to help create ‘Big Steel Wheels?’

C-jeff: Native Instruments Massive was the thing I was very impressed with. It allowed me to create a huge number of patches that I used throughout the album. While ‘Preschtale’ was mostly sample-based, ‘Big Steel Wheels’ jumps on software synths and I think that it really helped improve my sound.

PixelRecall: What is your personal approach to building a track?

C-jeff: With ‘Big Steel Wheels’ I tried the technique of parallel writing. I started a number of songs, building them to a certain level, and then started another song, working on them in parallel while jumping from one to another and vice versa. For example, ‘The Path of Machines’ was the first track I started for this album, but one of the last ones I finished.

As for the songs themselves, it depends on the situation. Sometimes I just play with ideas and do some sketches, making a couple of patterns. Other times I have a theme or a scene which dictates the vibe.

PixelRecall: Now that ‘Big Steel Wheels’ is released, what’s next for you?

C-jeff: I have a number of ongoing projects. Some of them are just single tracks, which will appear on various releases and compilations. Other ones are bigger releases, such as albums and soundtracks.

We have an album in progress with my friend Megus (with whom, back in 2010, we released Around Past as Teleidofusion), that should appear sometime in 2014.

Also, I’m involved in the creation of a soundtrack for the amazing space shooter/platformer Temporus, developed by Firebelly Studios. I’m really excited to be a part of this project.

PixelRecall: Is there anything your fans may not know about you or about ‘Big Steel Wheels’ that you’d like to reveal?

C-jeff: The creation of Big Steel Wheels took me about 11 long months, so I have a lot of curious stuff to share, which I would like to feature in some kind of a diary someday in the future.
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‘Big Steel Wheels’ is polished, layered, and most importantly, welcoming. Download your copy on Bandcamp for $7, climb into the cab of your big rig, and enjoy the ride.

Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love

C-jeff
C-jeff.com (Bandcamp) | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud |

Ubiktune
Ubiktune.org | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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Aydan Appreciates: ‘Menagerie’ by halc and Tuberz McGee

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Many members of the chiptune community have heard of halc’s work. No stranger to the chipscene, halc has been featured on many albums through OverClocked Remix and has been remixing music on the site since late 2009. Tuberz McGee, on the other hand, is a relatively new name in the community. His earliest Bandcamp release, ‘Discordant Existence’, dates back to April of 2012, but his talent really shines through in his many productions, particularly Fatalism and Estimation. You might be asking, “What do these two artists have to do with each other?” Well, the two of them released an absolutely amazing collaborative effort called ‘Menagerie’ just last month. You folks are in for a real treat this week.

‘The Beginning of a Beautiful and Highly Sexual Relationship’ is an excellent opening to the album. The use of arpeggios throughout the track is fantastic, and the melody to the song is quite interesting; it sounds mysterious at the beginning of the song, but by the end of the track is transformed into something entirely different, but with only a few subtle changes. Another track on the album with quite an interesting introduction is ‘Psychedelic Panda Pounding’. The song opens with a quiet percussion, and suddenly throws the listener into some seriously awesome riffs. Adamant use of arpeggios is present again throughout certain points of ‘Psychedelic Panda Pounding’, and I really enjoyed the floaty feeling the track gave me as a result. Also of note in this track is the false ending; this is a highlight of the album, in my opinion.

It’s uncommon to hear vocal work in chipmusic, and even then I dare say that it can also be rare to hear it done as well as Tuberz demonstrates in my personal favorite track on the album, the mellow ‘Squidzilla’. With a vocal sound that reminds me of Wolfgun, one of my favorite artists of all time, I couldn’t help but love ‘Squidzilla’. The lyrics to the track are enthralling, telling the tale of a squid who faces rejection and feels like a monster as a result of society’s views on him. Even though the premise of the song itself is quite silly, I can’t help but think there’s some kind of deeper message behind it. It could be interpreted as a message of universal acceptance and understanding, alongside looking past stereotypes and other things that could be construed as social barriers. Simply put, it’s a fantastic track.

And there you have it! ‘Menagerie’ is one of the best chipalbums of 2013, if not simply for the sheer variety and incredibly detailed tunes throughout the album. I highly suggest providing a donation to these two wonderful artists when you pick up this album. Hopefully, there’ll be more collaborative efforts between these two artists in the future!

Much love!

\m|♥|m/

halc:
OverClocked Remix | Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Tuberz McGee:
Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud

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Andrew Kilpatrick Talks Chiptune and Hiatuses

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I’ll be taking a leave of absence here on the Chiptune = WIN blog following this piece. Life events (positive ones!) have left me even more strapped for time than before; but before bowing out I thought it’d be best to talk you through three of my favourite artists in the scene, why I love them and where you should begin. Hopefully it’ll keep you busy whilst I’m gone! Intro out:

little-scale: Definitely in the first wave of artists I discovered who made me obsess over chiptune, little-scale has, for years, been blowing my mind whilst tugging my heartstrings. A few fun facts: he has a PhD entitled “On The Development Of An Interface Framework In Chiptune”[read: he is literally a doctor in chiptune], he wrote a new song every single day in 2010 as part of the LazerScale challenge, he has released what must be now at least 25/30 EPs or albums AND often, entire EPs are sourced from a single sample which is then manipulated endlessly (the recent ‘Heavy Deep’ was created only from noises made by a ribbon, a metal cup and a road sign).

Musically, little-scale bridges the gap between ambience and deep, experimental house/trance. The strength of his music lies in its ability to move physically and emotionally, with songs often teetering off into trance-inducing pulsations of luscious tones and massive percussion. The title track of May’s ‘Set Your House On Fire’ displays this beautifully: emotively bittersweet and crushing, all with a confident groove behind it.

My favourite release? Whittling down a back catalogue this robust would be extremely difficult if it weren’t for ‘Nothing Has Been Left Unspoken’. Released on Saskrotch’s Handheld Heroes label back in 2009, this collection of 12 tracks does a pretty sturdy job of defining little-scale’s sound. Mixing the pure euphoric feelings of warm analogue tones in tracks ‘Wake Up, Space Cadet!’ with experimental beat-laden melancholy seen it tracks like ‘Visual Confirmation’ and ‘Delusions’; not for a second does this album cease being incredible. Download it as soon as you can, if you haven’t heard it you’re missing out on one of chiptune’s greatest opuses.

x|k: Don’t ask me how it’s pronounced. Famous (or in some places infamous) for his creation, the Midines, as much as for his music, x|k has gone almost completely silent in the last few years. Nevertheless, his 2005 release on 8bitpeoples, ‘Nestek’, is still THE greatest electronic dance release ever.

Why? Well, x|k’s sound could aptly be described as a ‘tirade of rave’. Not for a second does ‘Nestek’ let up, from the ridiculously no-nonsense breakbeat-tinged opening ‘Connekt’ through the huge accented and dance-causing claps in ‘The Bytemaster’ through the glittering pulses of ‘Terminal On City’… etc. Though the dancing may never stop, neither does the effectiveness of the melodies; and it is this duopoly of melodic emotiveness and dancefloor mastery which really lets the EP shine, as every single one of the five tracks stands out as an unforgettable testament to the power of dance music when used in the right way. You’ll dance whilst you cry.

If the pure genius of ‘Nestek’ wasn’t enough, his 8bitpeoples follow-up, ‘Outra’, is a 20 minute mix of everything from chip-trance through to deep house and sparkling techno. With only a few tracks dotted around various comps, an EP on mp3death, 40 short self-written ‘midines demos’ and a far-from-up-to-scratch full-length (seriously, don’t bother), there may not be a lot of his work, but what there is is often outstanding.  Now someone get him to comeback tour and I’ll meet you on the dancefloor.

Zan-Zan-Zawa-Veia: A background description on this incredible talent is fruitless to attempt, as shrouded in mystery as ‘ZZZV’ is. Releases from ‘it’ stretch back to 2008, with albums on Pause and inpuj shortly following, as well as a plethora (and I mean PLETHORA) of B-side compilations, the Meep series, various EPs and an entire fan label seemingly devout towards the jazz-funk deity that he is.

As hinted at above, Zan-Zan’s sound is heavily ‘Ubik-esque’ in execution. Mixing vintage VGM sounds, 70s prog rock, jazz, funk, and possibly hundreds of other subgenres, Zan-Zan’s tracks never ever sound alike, whilst still having a very particular ‘ZZZV style’ to them. If the complexity of the compositions weren’t enough, Zan’s ability to program NES modules is, quite simply, unsurpassable.

As evidence for all of this hyperbole brandishing, I point to my favourite Zan-Zan-Zawa-Veia track, the first track on the first ‘Meep’ album. Over the past few years Zan has been releasing albums entitled ‘Meep [insert rhyming word]’ with four in the series out thus far. Within, all tracks range in length from seconds to just over two minutes, are named ‘Meep #something’ with an actual title in brackets, and, most importantly, reek of a strange lo-fi genius. Nowhere is this more apparent than on ‘Meep #002 (how did i lose those things i was wearing)’.  Beginning like a soothing but extremely creepy ballad, the sliding notes eventually give way to the melody. A melody that simultaneously is disturbingly unsettling and breath-takingly beautiful, before a driving beat drives through the centre and the progjazz really cuts loose. Then, as quickly as this shift happened, the track plays nice again, with calming arps and counter melodies taking over before the disturb-o-beauty returns once again. And all in the space of two minutes and eighteen seconds. And some of his tracks are over ten minutes long.

What really gets me about his music is the depth. Everything seems bottomless, even the brief 30-50 second spurts of some tracks sound like full ideas encapsulated and perfected. Each track on the Meeps could demand their own sub-genre and following, and that limitless complexity is what makes Zan-Zan-Zawa-Veia’s music some of the best on the planet. And I mean this literally. If you’ve not introduced yourself to the fantastic work within, download the Meeps, take two hours out, get some headphones and prepare to be absolutely astonished. My mind is still being blown three years on.

And thus our brief journey ends. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the above suggestions, and hopefully I’ll be back relatively soon, but until then keep tuning in to the other fantastic writers here on the blog and all the best!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~xoxoxoxo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

little-scale: Bandcamp | Facebook | Site | Soundcloud

x|k: Site

Zan-Zan-Zawa-Veia: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Youtube

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