Author Archive

What’s On Tap – EvilWezil

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Welcome to the October edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’ and boy do we have a unique musical selection for you this month! If I had a dollar for every album that I own that features Game Boy, vocals, and electric autoharp, well… I wouldn’t have a penny to my name. But wait – get those dollars ready because EvilWezil’s new jam ‘Forever Ago’ is a frenetic EP filled with LSDJ bleeps, sultry vocals, and the dulcet tones of distorted, wah-wah drenched autoharp goodness.


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What’s On Tap – Jellica

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Welcome to the fall edition of What’s On Tap! Cooler weather pairs nicely with cool tunes and the first fall seasonal beers this month – let’s rock!

Cambridge-based musician Jellica is a veteran of the chip scene, having released 14+ EP/LP online, running the Kittenrock netlabel, and performing live both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Jellica’s style is somewhat fluid between releases, moving deftly between various genres of electro-pop oriented sounds.

Released on August 31st, Jellica’s newest offering ‘Retrotech Romance’ is a masterclass in SID sounds, with dual Commodore 64 chips pumping out waves of intense textures and funky rhythms. An interesting aspect of this album is that it takes time – each track is at least 4:00 long and all evolve organically rather than using a standard verse/chorus approach. In the style of the American minimalist composers Philip Glass/Terry Riley/John C. Adams, musical events unfold over a series of minutes rather than seconds. Sometimes these are small nudges to the musical orbit rather than colossal impacts; the addition of a higher set of accompanying blips or a 7-tone melody that unfolds over twenty seconds. In our current environment of 140-character snippets, ‘Retrotech Romance’ closes out the summer with a marathon session of electronic jams.

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What’s On Tap – Roboctopus

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Hello and welcome to the first sun-filled summer edition of What’s on Tap. This month I am pleased to be able to review the brand spankin’ new album ‘Your Heart is a Pie Chart’ by the one and only Roboctopus, released on the Cheapbeats netlabel. Not only do I get to talk about new music from one of my favorite artists, but we get to publish the review on the exact album release date of June 5th! Normally these reviews publish a few weeks to a month after a release, and this is an exciting opportunity for me to give a guided tour through an album that most everyone will not have heard yet. Grab a cold beverage and load up your Bluetooth speaker on the deck – we’re kicking off summer right… now!

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What’s On Tap – PAULA POWERED

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This month’s edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’ is fortunate in its timing, with a new release matching up perfectly with the beer style I wanted to discuss this month. Combining PAULA POWERED’s new chip punk EP ‘Level Up’ with good weather and a cold hefeweizen is a recipe for success.

Many of the artists that I review on the ChipWIN blog – most notably Danimal Cannon and Norrin_Radd – gravitate towards heavy, complex music. While I enjoy music in this vein, the simplicity of the textures and importance of the message inherent in punk music is something that also really speaks to me. In their new EP, PAULA POWERED┬áblends punk ethos with well-produced chip music mixing vocals, guitar, and the Amiga 1200. Although punk is often intentionally lo-fi, fans can expect to hear slightly more melodic singing and fantastic production from this release; think less Germs/Minor Threat and more Clash/Stooges. Onward!

Level Up

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What’s On Tap – Pete Ellison

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This month’s edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’ combines three of my favorite things into one deliciously awesome cornucopia: video games, breakfast, and beer. VGM veteran Pete Ellison returns to the soundtrack world with #Breakforcist, a breakfast-themed brick breaking collaboration with Kevin John at Lucid Sheep Games. Demonic waffles fall from the sky and your task is to destroy them by any means necessary, augmenting your ball with bacon lasers and pancakes. #Breakforcist is currently available on iOS devices, with an Android port coming in the near future. In addition to the soundtrack, Pete did the artwork for the game and you can unlock iMessage stickers by progressing through the levels. Play this game for ten minutes and the only person more enthusiastic about breakfast than you is Leslie Knope:

Musically, #Breakforcist sits squarely in an uncanny valley between retro gaming and contemporary music production. Soundfonts resembling the SNES and Dreamcast-era classics mix freely with Absynth-like patches and filters, wrapped up in a tight and clean package. Although designed for handheld devices, the #Breakforcist soundtrack plays well through laptops, headphones, and normal speaker setups – a testament to Pete’s solid production skills. The soundtrack has a common theme of uptempo, danceable grooves to keep the player’s energy high, but there are a surprisingly wide variety of sounds from beginning to end. The more ambient tracks function well as both background music and standalone pieces, with several standout melodies and funky basslines to keep the listener engaged. Perhaps the most unique portion of the soundtrack are Pete’s tracks that utilize the sexy vocaloid known here as Cyber Diva. If you are having trouble envisioning this sound, imagine Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’ with a thumping backbeat and lyrics about waffles instead of nuclear war.

Now, let’s bust out the maple syrup and dig into some of these sweet tunes, shall we?

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What’s On Tap – chibi-tech

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Hello and welcome to the February edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’ After a work-related hiatus of a few months, we are back and ready to brew up a review for the ChipWIN blog! This month I have an excellent pairing of the earthy, spicy saison style with a brand new EP ‘The Mutual Promise’ from chiptune legend chibi-tech. Here w-

*record scratch*

Yep, that’s me. Bet you’re wondering how I got into this spot, huh? Reviewing new music by chibi-tech, chiptune mad scientist and compositional hero to anyone who has even considered installing Famitracker. Well, that’s an interesting story and I’ll try to keep it short – I called dibs.

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