Volume 7 is a thing ChipWINners, and what a thing it is, am I right?
With this release refusing to buck the trend of each Volume being a new flavor of amazing, I’m honored to be here to bring you the first ten track reviews. So honored that I’ll cut the rest of the standard opening poppycock and get right to work.
Amazing V.7 album artwork by Nate Horsfall aka Foxxdragon of lightningarts.com
Happy New Year ChipWINners! The artist that’s firing up my auditory nerves this month really needs no introduction. chibi-tech is a legend in the scene, and someone who’s work was instrumental in sinking Chiptune’s hooks into my heart. Her December release, ‘Psycho Somatic Generation’, was originally an exclusive Kickstarter stretch goal for Bitmap Books’ “NES/Famicom: a visual compendium” 2016 funding drive. Now its available for the whole world to hear, so hop past the fold to get a taste of how delicious these tunes are.
Straight away, it is self-evident that ‘Beyond Bounds‘ was the correct choice to open the album with. Soft, twinkling plucks combined with dreamily flavored square waves conjure a feeling of purposeful centering. A palpable feel of bringing one’s self to rest in light of excitement to come. That peacefulness gives way to a heart fire stoking breakaway mixing that uplifting wind with a crushing bassline and thick snares deeply reminiscent of the NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s soundtrack. Together, their breakneck speed is given an surf twinge, spurring an exciting adventure feel. These two motifs juggle back and forth for the duration of the track, not only mixing well, but serving as palette cleansers for one another and preparing a listener for wonderful compositions to come.
‘Sapient Amphibians on ATVs‘ elicits a very interesting sort of nostalgia. That fondness for the past mixed with a healthy amount of bitter frustration. Battletoads’ Turbo Tunnel was singularly one of the most infuriating levels I threw myself against as a child, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling. However, the music kept pulling me back in for repeated high speed face splattering collisions with concrete walls. chibi-tech’s style and composition in this track ripped those memories up from the depths violently and wonderfully. The rapid clip to the drums, the jazzy bass tones, the bright and evenly paced melody mixes the obvious homage with chibi-tech’s own unique contributions into something so good that I almost want to play Battletoads again.
‘Smugface Mafia‘ is an excellent complete switch up of style, keeping that toe tapping pace alive, and adding an interesting Prohibition era flavor atop it. Fitting to the title, the track takes a turn for the nefarious, introducing minor chords, strained tones, and plenty of tension. These elements are mixed with enough contrasting lighthearted energy that an element of comedy pokes through in places. The strength of that light-hearted energy ebbs and flows throughout the track, leaving me wondering just how seriously one should take these self-satisfied ne’er do wells. Are they expert rum-runners who will sink you to the bottom of a river, or bumblers just barely staying out of the reach of Johnny Law? Either way, a good bit of music here.
As excellently chosen as its counterpart, ‘Return to Bounds‘ makes for a beautiful close to the album. Not just because it hearkens to the lovely closing of a hard-fought Metroid game, but because chibi-tech’s unique additions to that underlying theme leave a track that is as hopeful for the future as it is a closing to the past, especially when mixed with her signature pacing and crisply hitting instrumentation. This is just shy of five minutes that evokes a tinge of sadness that the album is over, but almost more-so encourages that the ending be accepted with energetic dance. By the end, the phrase ‘See you next mission’ can be seen in a much more eager light.
That’s just a handful of tracks from the album, and they’re all worth listening to. I’d highly suggest ‘Meta Within Meta‘, and ‘Young Crescent‘, as a couple honorable mentions. Regardless, I highly encourage anyone and everyone to pop on over to chibi-tech’s Bandcamp page and pick yourself up a copy of this album to enjoy extensively and repeatedly.
With that, I’m closing the Forge – so get out there, share the love, and enjoy yourselves some Chiptune!
Chipmusic Heroes veteran Square Punch brings us a little bit of the sentimental and a lotta bit of the fresh with his late October release ‘Hurrigwen‘. The album is three tracks of excellent collaborations, and six fresh new tracks to tantalize cochlear nerves and move feet. A couple of these collaborations appear on previous Chipmusic Heroes releases of which I’m a big fan. You should check them out, but today we’ll be honing in on Square Punch’s newest tracks down past the fold.
An October salutation to all of the probably pretty dang awesome readers of The ChipWIN Blog. Frankly, October is one of my favorite months of the year, at least in Oregon. The temperature tamps down to something a bit more reasonable, the rains start to return, and the local dessert shop starts making their kickass October only pumpkin pie. This year, there’s a little zaniness making the witching month extra special. JANX is back with fresh material on their latest EP, ‘IDGAF’. With each track replete with JANX’s signature ridiculous rhymes and sick chiphop backing, this is an album not be missed. Jump down below the fold to dive into a few tracks, and check out a few words from the artist themselves.
Happy total solar eclipse of the heart Monday to one and all Chip-denizens! On a momentous day such as today, why bother with watching rare astronomical phenomenon when you could instead have your ears rocked by the constant stream of epic that is another ten tracks from Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 6. Don’t risk your valuable retina, and join us past the fold to hop right in!
A fair and wonderful July to one and all of the Chiprealm! This month, I’m excited to be getting a chance to review the three-times wonderful compilation ‘Chip For Change‘. One time for the amazing talents that are present here, both musically and illustratively. A second time for its dedication to bringing positive vibes into the world, and a third time for donating all of its proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union. Hop on past the fold where I’ll be diving deep into a few of my favorite tracks, and as an added bonus, the curation team behind the album was kind enough to answer a few questions for our reading audience.