Archive for April, 2013

Andrew Kilpatrick Talks: Jay Tholen’s ‘The Low Drone of the Earth’

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Jay Tholen has been creating his unique blend of chiptune and progressive rock for years now. He’s had releases featured on labels as prestigious as Ubiktune and Pause, and ‘moonlights’ as a game designer and artist (seen through his work on upcoming adventure game ‘Dropsy The Clown’). Adding to his already sizeable musical repertoire, this week Mr. Tholen released ‘The Low Drone of the Earth’, an electronic progressive opus in 7 parts on Swan City Sounds

The album’s opener, ‘Before The World Began’, sets the mood of the release perfectly. Pink Floydian tones and highly layered melodies flutter over each other, tied together by Jay’s distinctive vocal styling. Despite the high amount of musical layering, dynamics are never affected; Tholen’s compositions regularly drift into subtly soft phrases before building back into a crescendo. Tracks 2 through 7 are tied together into a loose conceptual album, and they blend in to each other seamlessly, helping emphasise a prose-like feeling of the album.

Unsurprisingly for anyone already well-versed in Tholen’s previous works, there is flirtation with a multiple of genres en-masse. ‘I- Voice of the West’ mixes psychedelic rock with electronic meanderings, ‘II- Golem Apollo and the King of the Badlands’ features heavy use of electro-pop vocoders and ‘VI- A Lament’ boasts a weighty post-rock atmosphere. Despite the huge range of instrumentation and musical influence, ‘The Low Drone of the Earth’ still manages to be Jay Tholen’s most cohesive piece of work to date, achieved only through the compositional strength of the music within. Whilst earlier works like ‘Blood Fete‘ suffered from brief interludes of dissipation, ‘The Low Drone…’ feels eclectic and meticulous.

The vocals also sound better than they ever have before, though if you weren’t a fan of Tholen’s warblings or explicitly religious overtones before this record won’t change your mind. Also, the title track fizzles out messily, though these small qualms shouldn’t distract you from the truly fantastic music within.

These negatives feel small in comparison to the release as a whole, however. If you’ve been a fan of anything Jay has released before, you’ll be championing this as his magnum opus minutes in. If you’re new to his work, I can’t think of a better place to start. Tightly-bound, full of direction and boisterous in both its scope and execution, ‘The Low Drone of the Earth’ sounds like the album Jay Tholen has been working towards all these years. 



The Post-PAX PAX-Packed PAX Post

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You thought we forgot, didn’t you? You thought that PAXEast happened, and we all just got belligerent and completely blacked out from sensory overload and that we were going to let it go by without doing a recap for people, didn’t you? Well, you know, honestly that’s quite an easy assumption to make – truth be told, we WERE all on sensory overload, and I highly doubt that any one of us there remembers everything. But that’s why we’ve got the whole crew working on this! I made sure to check with everyone from our group who was there, as well as a few queries to the main Facebook page, so this should be about as complete as anyone could reasonably expect. We here at Zombocon the Chiptunes = Win Hivemind aim to bring you all of your geeky needs in the easiest and most complete format. That being said, this post is going to run a little long, so I’m going to put all the real meat under the jump. (more…)

Andrew Kilpatrick Talks: Holy Konni’s ‘Fetushouse’

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Debuting on the Cheapbeats label this week is Swedish Sweetheart HolyKonni with his first release since last year’s ‘lgpt_princess. Holy Konni’s style is a fairly unique one, forming a bricolage of multiple genres from ambient and juke to seapunk and deep house. In short however, this is certainly Konni’s most refined work to date.

Let’s rewind a bit first though. Holy Konni’s style has been in a continuous state of reconfiguration. There’s always been a standard ‘base model’, but nearly every release that he’s put out has substituted various components to form a new take on old ideas.’LET MEKILL!’, released in November 2011, featured a selection of chillout tracks, and the following release ‘lgpt_princess’ flirted with seapunk and trip-hop. ‘Fetushouse’ fits somewhere in between.

This new styling, self-proclaimed by Konni to be the first iteration of what he’s dubbing ‘fetushouse’, sounds exactly as its own label describes. Warm ambient tones flow fluidly through house beats with heavy sampling and melodies reminiscent of seapunk and a short gander into trip-hop beats on occasion. Think quiet Aphex Twin crossed with Whitley’s seapunk outings. Summer audiofied. That’s the style covered, what about the songs themselves?

The strongest set of tracks he’s produced yet. The five songs work as a unit perfectly, leaving you begging for more (as all good EPs should). ‘Self Portrait 19’’s juke inspired sample work was definitely a highlight, as was the oceananarchist throes of ‘Natalie Portman’. If anything, the songs work so well together that my only real gripe with the release is that the tracks weren’t presented as a single mix instead of separate tracks.

Should you download this? Of course you should. It’s Holy Konni. It’s not just Holy Konni, it’s Holy Konni at his very best. Get hyped for summer people!

You can grab it via the embedded Bandcamp link below! Digital downloads are $3 and you can nab a physical copy for only $7!

koly konni art

ChipWin-tern Spotlight: Transitions by softRESET

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Wahey! Welcome back to the Spotlight, where we’re covering Transitions from Casey VanAntwerp, better known ’round these parts as softRESET. This was supposed to be a release-day article, but Casey shook things up and dropped the album two days early.
And then there was PAXEast. But it’s about time we talked about this, because he’s taking PREORDERS RIGHT NOW for a PHYSICAL COPY of his SWAGTASTIC ALBUM. DAWG.

Wait, what?

So Transitions is the bomb-diggity, let’s just get that out there. But I figure before we get into the meat I should tell you to go check out the first EP simply titled softreset. It’s just four songs, and it’s free, so there’s literally no reason for you not to just pop over there and get it. It is quite good – I honestly couldn’t tell that it was a first release album, as it sounds just as polished as anything else I’ve come to expect from the LSDJ world. But as sick as those jams may be that’s not why we’re here today.

So, Transitions then! It’s seven tasty, tasty tracks, and you can pick it up from the softRESET Bandcamp page or from the Piko Piko Detroit page, whichever floats your goat. If you do head over to the PPD page, though, you can pre-order a physical copy of the album – though it needs to get a certain number of people to sign on first before the run gets printed, so tell yo’ frands!

Now, this album contains enough swag to fulfill your Daily Recommended Values on the nutrition scale, and comes with an extra dose of Bubu! Their collab track, Hyperbolic, sounds a little something like this:

“Raveworthy” comes to mind when listening to that track. It’s slow enough that you can just bob your head around at your computer while listening (like I am right now), but the beat is phat enough that you could see this being played live at MAGFest (HINT HINT) and have everyone bouncing around and being ridiculous. Another great track is the eponymous track of the album:

I’m an especially big fan of the beat to this track, because it has you going along, thinking that you’re okay, and then every once in a while it’ll hiccup, making sure you stay on your toes and not just blindly bobbing around to the song.

That’s all for today guys! Check back next time for the POST PAX POST…pax…post…pax post…pax…post-


softRESET Bandcamp
softRESET Book of Faces