Archive for January, 2014

Tales of a Chiptune Newb, Chapter Two: Stenobot

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Forging further into the depths that is chiptune (Oh, gee! Its up to my knee!), our intrepid Newb sets out once more to discover something new, something wonderful, something with a gooey chippy center…

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Chapter Two: Stenobot

“Here, you’ll like this!” Brandon exclaims as the throws a CD in my lap.  “What is it?” “Chip.  It’s called Stenobot.  Put it in your car, trust me.”

I was not disappointed.

I’m an elementary teacher and future librarian.  My favorite video games are RPGs.  I asked for bookshelves for Christmas.  These things in combination should indicate to you that I love a good story.  The thing that grabbed me about Stenobot’s ‘Thirteen Orphans’ is that every song is a story.  Opening with ‘The Green Dragon, Part 1’, the adventure begins with the story of young Maud, who rescues a young dragon only to be ostracized by her townsfolk.  The childlike wonder of this first song continues throughout the entire release. From the frenetic musical highs of ‘Her Brightness’ and the melancholy mood of ‘Melora’s Song’, to the aggressive stance of ‘The Bronze Snake’, the release hits all of the emotional highs and lows that children experience on a daily basis.  Layered upon lush chipsounds are guitars and vocals that somehow manage to evoke both Tom Petty and Jack Johnson in the same album.  The more I listened, the more I liked it.  Like many of my favorite young adult books, there is unexpected depth present in ‘Thirteen Orphans’ waiting to be discovered as the album is experienced over and over.

The industrial sounds of the opening track ‘Running and Jumping’ and the aggressive vocals present in the second song, ‘Far too Far’, are indicative of the moodier edge present on Stenobot’s first release, ‘Sink or Swim We’ll Go Together’.  You might say that the feeling is slightly more Grimm’s Fairy Tales than Disney, but the inclusion of little surprises like children singing on ‘Fallen Leaves’ keep the mood from becoming too gritty or dark.  The fanciful roots of ‘Thirteen Orphans’ are very present.  Songs like ‘Count’ are heavy with storytelling elements, with the vocoded narrator spinning the tale of fiery dragons terrorizing the helpless countryside.  The album includes more high-energy offerings such as ‘Sleeping Room’ and ‘Veil’.  For low key tracks, Stenobot offers us what is possibly my favorite track, ‘Dancing Shadows part 1’, and its companion ‘Dancing Shadows part 2’.  While I usually lean toward lyric heavy tracks, there is something special about the interweaving of mellow acoustic guitar, echoing chip aesthetic, and the haunting, heavily effected voice used in these tracks that grabs at me.  Other addition of note include a song featuring Jen Wood (of Postal Service renoun!) on the track ‘Butterfly Wings’.

And this is where I found that the rabbit hole leads ever deeper, who is this Supercommuter that you speak of?

Turns out that Stenobot is a busy man!  But that, my dear readers, is a Tale for another day.  For now, use the links below to discover this amazing artist for yourself!

HomepageFacebookBandcamp

And remember: the little things count. Show your love to the artists! Post, Share, Like, Give <3

stenobot

 

The President’s Manifesto: Beer & Chip Vol.5

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MAGFest 12 has come and gone, leaving in its wake the usual horde of happily exhausted nerdy folk (my newly engaged self included of course! ).Tho I’ll be damned if I fall prey to PMD (Post-MAGFest Depression)! Got WAAAAY too much awesome to do this year!! =D

And on that note, time to rock on with today’s most excellent beer & chip pairing:

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout &
D&D Sluggers

While admittedly few in number, most of the “chocolate” brews I’ve sampled have not been much to my liking (generally a bit too chocolately, sweet and/or rich). That said there’s something about Young’s Double Chocolate Stout that gets it just right for me.

st louie hoodie

I am totes a fan. *TOTES*. #Totes

It’s a genuinely smooth, flavorful stout with just enough chocolate added to give it a bit of extra magic. The chocolate isn’t overpowering though; it’s present, sure, but it doesn’t take over the entire brew (the “Double Chocolate” part of the name is derived from the mix of chocolate malt & actual dark chocolate added to the brew). Honestly, the chocolate is more apparent in the aroma than it is the actual flavor, which is fortunate because it smells just a tad too sweet, chocolately, and rich for my tastes. When it hits the tongue, though, you get a really fair balance of pretty much all of the elements that make up this positively delightful brew.

The intertoobz are overwhelmingly approving of this tasty stout as well; Ratebeer.com gives it an astoundingly high 98 overall. For a notoriously picky group of beer nerds (and on the internet for that matter) that’s one helluva consensus!

While Young’s Double Chocolate Stout isn’t a brew that I’d want to drink everyday (would be the fast track to a solid beer gut!), it’s a sincere pleasure when I’m in the mood for it.

On the other hand, today’s equally delicious & chocolate chiptune counterpart, D&D Sluggers, is always a pleasure. #AWYEAHBBY 8) In fact, I’d go so far as to label them as one of my favorite combos of chip (LSDj & DS-10), soulful vox, guitar, & keys yet!

D&D sluggers

Bringing the aforementioned array of instruments, D&D Sluggers merges numerous musical genres with fun, solid songwriting, and an engaging & entertaining live performance. This chipact is definitely a party. See their most recent full length release ‘This Album is a Party‘ for evidence of such.

Recorded at Red Room Recording in Leland, NC, this 10 track release from mid 2011 is a mix of interactive party anthems (‘Jam of the Year’, ‘Alive’, ‘She’s Got a Job’, ‘Johnny Depp’) soulfully funky joints (‘Gloria’ [DAT HARMONICA], ‘Walk’, ‘Very Direct’) and all around danceable jams (‘Wicked Touch’, ‘I Will Not Be There’, ‘Brodown’); overall, it’s a quality set of extraordinarily catchy tunes. While I didn’t stumble across it until mid 2012, it has quickly become one of my go-to albums, period. Particularly on craptastic days; it always brings me out of a funk. It’s just too damn fun to stay bummed while jamming.

If I had to pick a favorite track, it would easily be ‘Very Direct’. Such a damn groovy, chill jam. I HIT REPEAT EVERY TIEM. Specifically at 3 o’clock.

Also, I REALLY LOVE the handful of various VGM motifs that are carefully worked into several of the songs in various forms and fashions (chiptune taboos be damned!!); sometimes very subtly, sometimes not so subtly. I’d point them out, but I really don’t want to ruin the fun. Listen closely (sometimes not so closely) and you’ll surely catch ’em. ;)

Although to clarify once and for all (or not, lulz~), where D&D was once two crazy cats (Dustin Overcash & Tim “soultron” White), the current iteration is purely the soultron show (Dustin left the act mid-summer 2013 for work related stuffs, taking his keys & LSDj with him :*( ). And to be honest, it’s this version of D&D Sluggers that I’ve personally become the most familiar with; particularly the live aspect.

thug life tim

DAT SOULTRON.

I caught Tim performing live a good handful of times in 2013 (at PAX East Jamspace, twice on the “This Tour is a Party” tour, at MAGFest: Game Over Durham, and, of course, at the recent craziness of MAGFest 12’s Chipspace party). Tim’s level of hilarious banter, tongue-in-cheek humor, & general interactivity with the crowd is levels beyond that of the typical chiptune perfromer. He brings an energy, and maybe even additional level of accessibility (the ability to sing along is always a plus there), that isn’t always found at a chiptune show. & I LOVE IT.

#REALTALK: I love Tim’s soulful singing voice a whole gorram lot. Everything about D&D Sluggers is super swell, but I could totes listen to him sing all damn day long (in fact, I did today while writing this article! -swoons- ). How often does one say that about a chiptune act? ;)

Regarding new jams, don’t be surprised to see a new EP and/or full length release from the now one man party sometime this year (hopefully? Tim? TIM???). It’ll no doubt be comprised of finalized versions of some/all of the demos found via this Soundcloud set, which is fine with me as they’re some damn good jams. Most of them I’ve heard live performances of (‘About Time’ & ‘XX demo” in particular), and they’re some of Tim’s strongest compositions yet.

To summarize, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, BEYOTCH. 8)

And thus ends my first chip & beer write-up of 2014! It’s a pretty damn good combo of tasty chocolate chiptune & beer to start the year off right if you ask me. Which you didn’t. But I don’t care. 8) Until next month, cheers y’all!!

Much \m||m/,
President Hoodie

D&D Sluggers:
D&DSluggers.com | Bandcamp | Facebook Twitter Soundcloud

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout | Ratebeer.com entry

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Chris Considers: ‘Space Trip’ by PICE

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“Outer space,
Is a mystery.
And I know,
That we will solve it.”

Chipzel’s ‘Spectra’. crashfaster’s ‘Further’. Auxcide’s ‘Pixel’ and ‘Speck’: these are all amazing albums that have been reviewed on this very blog over the last few months. And while they vary in their musical approach, they share a common theme, that being a style of chipmusic I’ve heard fondly referred to as “spacechip”. Moreso than any other musical genre, chipmusic exhibits a remarkable ability of creating astral soundscapes. It’s a style that I’ll never grow tired of, and since my review of his album ‘Insert Coin’, PICE has been hard at work crafting his first fully space-themed album, ‘Space Trip’. It’s a beautiful trip that I encourage you take, and it deserves a place in your library amongst the aforementioned greats.

PICE logo and album art by SaHeMeRa
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Raw Cuts with Kuma #18: Wizwars & Frequency 3.0

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Hey, what’s up ChipWINners? Welcome back to Raw Cuts!  This time around, I managed to snag a chat with super chiptune veteran whom, after years of performing and organizing shows, has pulled all the stops out for what may be his biggest venture yet!  So sit back, relax, and unwind as I talk music, creativity, family life, and one of the biggest shows of the year with Kevin Martinez, the dynamic artist known best as Wizwars!

wizwars logo

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Kuma:  So first off, Kevin, I want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me for this interview!  I know you’re a busy guy, and I know it’s not easy for you to take the time to sit down and derp it up in a convo with someone between parenthood, musicianship, and whatever else life throws your way, but I appreciate it.

Wizwars:  It’s my pleasure!  I even just almost broke three toes about five minutes ago and I’m still glad to have a chat with ya!

Kuma:  Damn! That is some dedication!  I’m honored, and sincerely hope you’re alright, man!  That being said, let’s start from the beginning.  You’ve been in the chiptune game for a long time, you’ve put out numerous EPs and recently put out your very first LP.  What got you into chip in the first place, Kevin?  What made you become the man we all know as Wizwars?

virt+jakepic

Ah yes, Virt: a man so talented and gifted with cluckies he could inspire Wizwars to make cheepy chippy tunes for himself.

Wizwars:  Ever since I was a little kid, I was really intrigued by the sounds and the music found in old video games, especially Nintendo games.  I was one of those nerdy kids who used to make cassette tapes of the music from games and whatnot…anyway when I was fifteen a friend of mine gave me a pirated version of the music software Acid, and of course I used it to primarily take clips from Nintendo songs and layer drum beats under them…this was all in 2001-2002.  I never did anything with this stuff except annoy my mom with it.  But anyway, in 2003 I think it was, I found a chiptune cover of a Dream Theater song that Virt had done (at the time Dream Theater was my favorite band, facepalm), and I was like oh fuck yes, people can make music with Nintendo sounds!

So I did some searching and found 8bitpeoples and became hooked on that chiptune sound for life.  Got into tracking in 2004, finally felt brave enough to release an EP in 2006 under the name Wizards and Warriors, later shorted to Wizwars. Probably 15-16 demo EPs, 60+ shows (including a Blip Fest) and one LP later, here we are today.

30STM-logo-4

I…I still really like this band’s early work. …I’m still very much 17 inside

Kuma:  God damn!  That is quite a journey!  And so concisely put, as well!  I love it!  I gotta say, I’m with you in being one of those weird kids that always liked game music.  My first walkman was my gameboy (I’d listen to the sound test on king of fighters 95 constantly). Also, if it makes you feel better about the dream theater thing, I still sometimes listen to 30 seconds to mars and saosin.  That digression aside, lets delve into those years a little more, as well as your personal tastes and inspiration in music. Where do you draw your inspiration from to make your music and from whom? Which artists–scene or otherwise–make you keep doing what you do?

Wizwars:  I listen to a lot of different music, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of both subconsciously and consciously incorporate elements of whatever I’m listening to at the time into my own music, so it’s kind of hard to pin point exactly who or what my influences are at any certain time.  Within the chip scene, I’d say my biggest influences have been Bit Shifter and IAYD.  Outside of the chiptune scene, damn…there’s too many to list, haha. In the earlier days I was also heavily influenced by NES soundtracks such as Wizards And Warriors, Castlevania 1-3, Mega Man 2 & 3, and Willow.

My main inspiration to write my own music these days just comes from a deep rooted love of music that is both high energy and melodic. Anything happy that can put a smile on your face just by listening to the beautiful, infectious melodies.

Kuma:  Awww. That’s freakin’ beautiful.  Although considering the love I’ve heard you express for groups like Jimmyeatworld, I’m surprised you didn’t just say, you know, jimmyeatworld.  That aside, you certainly have done a great job of crafting that sort of sound.  Hell I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m moved every time I hear “Handheld Hero”, which may arguably be your best known song.  It certainly has strong emotional resonance with me being as its one of the few songs I distinctly remember for Blipfest.  Which brings me to my next question: since I first came into the chipscene via Blipfest, that weekend was also very significant for you because it was the weekend you got married.  Has marriage and also parenthood affected your creativity in anyway?  Do you find you approach music differently now that you’ve gone home and become a family man?

Kevin:  Note to anyone reading this – never plan your honeymoon around a Chiptune festival, too much stress! [Note from Kuma: that means you, Hoodie. ;) ].  But yeah, I’d definitely say that taking Guile’s advice has affected my creativity in a number of ways. Throughout 2011 and some of 2012 I was part of the “Chipthrash” movement of musicians, which for those who do not know was a few people taking Game Boys and trying to push them to extreme limits with incredibly harsh, noisy and chaotic music that made you want to thrash about and punch people.  Various people in that movement had different reasons for wanting to make this kind of music, but I did it because I was coming out of a really dark depression and not very happy in my life, and I vented my frustration through my music.  But after I met Monique (my now wife), got engaged, and especially after we found out we were expecting and got married, I was filled with so much happiness that it made it really difficult to write that kind of music anymore.  Without the anger and the inner turmoil behind it, it just fell flat, and I found myself drawn to writing more happy and melodic music because I had finally found some happiness in my life.

On the negative side, having a child has of course limited my ability to write music as often as I was once able to, as it’s rather difficult to compose when a baby is crawling on you trying to steal your Game Boy!

Kuma:  Well if Bob Baffy’s song “Forgetro” is any indication, one day that lil man of yours is going to figure out that what you’ve been doing all this time is playing music and games on an ancient version of his Xbox and that he’d rather just play that instead. XD

I’m happy that you found your way out of that dark place, though, because if you were still there, I don’t think we’d have what I’m about to bring up now, or at least, we wouldn’t have it to the scale it’s reached.  Let’s talk about Frequency, which is now approaching it’s third installment! Tell me, what prompted you to create it, along with 8bitLA?

frequency poster

Wizwars:  My reasons for creating both Frequency and 8bitLA are the same – the chiptune scene in Los Angeles had become really stagnant, and, hopefully I can say this without offending people…after a certain point, most people really weren’t willing to do anything.  In 2011 I was part of a large collective called Obsolete, that consisted of many of the LA chiptune artists working together to run a monthly chiptune event.  It lasted for the summer of 2011 and it was great, but then we lost our space and we couldn’t really agree on a new location because everyone had a different opinion as to what the event should be like or where it should be held (warehouse party vs being at a bar vs all ages venue).  And thus it kind of just died, and after that no one was really making any moves towards booking regular chiptune shows out here.

So in the Spring of 2012 I said fuck it, I’m going to throw together a chiptune festival and shake shit up a little bit in LA.  If no one else was going to step up and do it, it would be hypocritical of me to complain or to talk shit about others for their lack of activity if I wasn’t putting out the effort myself.  And the first one was a flop. The music was great but we did it at a tiny (now defunct) DIY spot that very few people knew of; not many people came out, but I did meet Jesse Avila of 1000 Needles there, who is the other co-founder of 8bitLA. Without him I probably would’ve never moved Frequency from a small DIY space to one of the more popular indie venues in Los Angeles (The Smell), as we did with the second edition, which was exponentially more successful than the first, and we’re hoping that the same will continue with Frequency 3.0

Kuma:  Let’s talk in depth about Frequency 3.0.  I take it that considering the line up you got, that this is not only the largest show the 8bitLA crew has put on to date, but it looks like you’re really looking to raise the standard of large scale shows!  Tell me, do you draw inspiration from the other pockets of chiptune that have done well in pulling off these events like 8static and BRKFest, and if so, what do you feel they did that you’d like to emulate, and what sets you apart from them that you’d like the community to take away from this experience?

Wizwars:  It’s definitely the biggest show I’ve ever worked on.  I’m actually cocky enough to say that Frequency 3.0 is probably the largest and most ambitious chiptune event that has been held on the West Coast.  As far as I know there has never been a 20 artist 3 day chiptune festival west of the Rockies, and I’m pretty proud of that! (Hopefully no one can prove me wrong :P)

I actually do not really look to the other chiptune festivals for inspiration.  I have a lot of respect for people who put these kinds of events together because I know firsthand that it’s a lot of work coordinating everything, but since I haven’t been able to firsthand experience any of those festivals (being poor sucks), we (8bitLA) just kind of look inward and think what we would personally enjoy as someone attending a chiptune festival, and try to make it happen.  We’ve got a line up of fantastic chiptune artists ranging from scene legends to up and coming folks you might have never heard of, but are incredibly talented. We have (in my humble opinion) the best chiptune VJ around, Tim Abad.  And we’re having a pizza party, and there will probably be some video games somewhere.  What more can you really ask for?

Kuma:  Yeah, I guess you’re right. I really couldn’t ask for much more than that, other than I’m curious to know what’s on the agenda for you guys after Frequency?

Wizwars:  Well, the first order of business will be recovering from the inevitable Frequency Flu.  After that, hopefully by summer of 2014 8bitLA will usher in the return of a monthly chiptune event in Downtown Los Angeles.  We just have to find a space first.  There will also be random one of shows (hopefully more than we’ve done this year, now that we have a bigger and better crew) and also our soon to be legendary annual 4th of July BBQ show (which will also apparently be a pool party this year).  And of course, planning for Frequency 4.0!

Kuma:  Nice. I know the steady venue thing seems to be what the scene struggles with most in the various pockets it exists in, but I’m glad to hear that you’ve got a plan to keep moving things forward.

Kevin, once again, I’d like to thank you for sitting down with me and taking the time to conduct this interview. is there anything you’d like to say in closing to our readers?

Wizwars:  Hey thanks for asking awesome questions and making this a fun interview! Everyone reading this should feel free to book tickets to Los Angeles over Martin Luther King weekend next month and come rock out with us in DTLA at Frequency 3.0!  West Coast is the best coast, y’all better watch out for that real Cali chip!
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And with that, we close out this month’s edition of RCwK!  I’d like to thank all ya’ll for sticking with us here at ChipWIN and highly recommend you heed Kevin’s advice!  If you’re on the west coast and haven’t done so already, snag yourself tickets for Frequency 3.0 cause not only is that show going to be awesome, but it is a wonderful substitute for those who couldn’t make out to MAGFest this year and an excellent follow up for those who did!  I also urge you to check out Wizwar’s music and keep up with both him and 8bitLA on social media to not only stay up-to-date on frequency goodness, but to be in the know about the cool events and music coming out of the Best Coast chipscene.

Peace and Love to all my fellow ChipWINners.  Keep on rocking.

\m|♥|m/

kevin wizwars

Wizwars
Facebook | Bandcamp | Tumblr | Soundcloud | Twitter

8bitLA
Facebook (Page) (Group) | Bandcamp | Twitter | Frequency 3.0 (Fb event)

[Editor’s note: Be sure to catch both 8 Bit Power Hour (8pm EST) & geekbeatradio (10pm EST) this coming Monday (1/13) to hear directly from the 8bitLA folk about Frequency 3.0!]


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Stoking the Forge: ‘Erasable Programmable Read Only Memories’ by Diode Milliampere

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Greetings and salutations my chiptune enthused fellows, and thank you for joining me for a second go around at the Forge. This month, I find myself reflecting on the mix of LSDJ and AdlibTracker2 tunes contained within ‘Erasable Programmable Read Only Memories’ (which I’ll shorten to ‘EPROM’) by Diode mA.

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Diode got his start working with synthesizers in 2009, and transitioned into working with FM Synthesizers in late 2011.  This work led to the discovery that many of his beloved FM Synths were chips.  Of them, his favorite was the OPL3, a.k.a. the Yamaha YMF262, the auditory heart of any sound device remotely related to a Creative Soundblaster and near cousin to the YMF2612 powering the Sega Genesis.

ISA SB

Did you guys have one too?

From there? To use the man’s own words, “it all just rolled down, and I was just a straight-up chip musician.”

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Andrew Kilpatrick Talks: ‘MAGFest = WIN’

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If you’re reading this you’ve probably had MAGfest happenings drilled into your skull for the last two months or so (definitely not the words of an incredibly jealous man -______-). For the uninitiated: MAGFest is an annual video gaming & music festival taking place just outside of Washington D.C., this year in its 12th iteration and featuring a chipmusic stage curated with the help of the Chiptune = WIN team [read: Brandon]. The ever-genius that he is, Brandon thought the best way to celebrate this momentous coalition was to create a compilation comprised from twelve of the MAG 12 chip performers and release it under the Chiptune = WIN banner AT MAGFest…. AND THAT HE DID. My thoughts/feels/jealous insults regarding the release below:

01. Chipocrite – High Fives (To The Face) [new remix]

8static veteran and Philly’s resident chiptune-cover artist, Chipocrite, starts the album with a huge, monstrously catchy track. Dipping and diving between tense build-ups and ballad-pop phrases, ‘High Fives…’ has more twists than a dozen oxbow lakes and some masterful melodic play too, all sounding rather melancholic and compositionally mature, with so much ground covered in so little time. It’s clear from this single track why the talent has gained such currency in the live circuits.

02. Roboctopus – Good Night Stars

Roboctopus. Multi-instrumentalist, composer extraordinaire and writer of one of my favourite 2013 release, the godly ‘Disco.txt’. If that isn’t enough to get you soaking about hearing this, then hopefully the following hyperbole will. ‘Good Night Stars’ is exactly what you would expect from a Roboctopus track, in that it is masterfully composed with incredibly affective melodies, a range of styles too large to be represented empirically and those beautiful LSDJ instruments which solidify both his sound and his unique voice so succinctly. A masterclass in how LSDJ should be programmed, and how to stand out strong in the sea of mediocrity that the chiptune scene can be.

03. Danimal Cannon – Red Planet

Member of Armcannon, releases on Ubiktune, split with Zef, known for his flagrant flaunting of untouchable guitar skills alongside demanding but rewarding melds of progressive metal and chipjazz. Yep, Danimal Cannon makes an unsurprisingly incredible appearance on this compilation. Sounding not unlike label mate Yoann Turpin via Dream Theater/ [insert djent band of choice], ‘Red Planet’ sees Danimal scratching another notch off his ‘top ch00ns’ bedpost, with some incredibly well-produced guitars thickening his masterfully composed chiptune in a genuine musical spectacle.

04. Trey Frey – Vox Humana

A king in the dying days of 8bc, over the last few years things from Trey have been fairly scarce. However, following a recent slew of highly regarded live performances, the promise of a new full length in the pipeline, a track finishing off the WeeklyTreat project for 2013 [*cough cough* self-advertising *cough*] and now this, it seems the stars have aligned in the Earth’s favour. It appears Trey Frey is back. Coming home only like he would, ‘Vox Humana’ is a seething patchwork of fluid noise, beats, melodies and EDM, foaming at the mouth with groove. If you’re at MAG and you missed his performance shut up forever.

05. Rainbowdragoneyes – JjasonSalazZ

Known under for his blending of metal and europop, Rainbowdragoneyes doesn’t let his slightly bewildering reputation down an iota. Returning to that oddly effective genre mashing, (but more on the side of europop here), RDE throws together guttural “hey”s, scalic arps and polka inspirations into a full broth of addictive, chantable and down-right ‘barmy’ (so Radio 4) funky chip pop. There are a few overzealous pirate analogies in there somewhere to explain this, but I’ll let you find them yourself.

06. nickelPUNK – Outrun 2.1 (ft. Ryn)

Funky 80s house from nickelPUNK with accompanying vocals from the President’s First Lady. May seem a bit mis-matched on paper, but the music itself is precise and gorgeous, rife with Miami House vibes, the Hotline Miami soundtrack ran through the Telefuture mincer. Not only that, but the vocals on the top are, well, simply put: Erin’s singing sounds as good as her cooking looks. Only let-down is it’s mixed by Brandon, so if they’d shaken the dead weight it could have been a straight ten but, oh well. He’s always gotta let the side down. [Editor’s note: Suck it, Kilpatty, you smelly buttfart.]

07. Inverse Phase – Unit F [Amiiiiigaaaaa edit]

Originally written for a compilation in 2010 to help aid the fight against cancer, Inverse Phase has re-imagined his own track with Amiga sounds. Known probably better for his many cover releases, tracks like this solidify why he gets called to make soundtracks, play live and put forth for compilations like this time and time again; ‘Unit F’ is incredibly well-written. Simple. Lurching around with incredibly eerie tones, an unsettling atmosphere and some ingenious counter-melodies and scalic work running over the track, turn out the lights and prepare to weep (and not because you missed MAGfest [well this time anyway]).

08. Awesome Force – The MAGnificent Sinner

If his mind-blowing BRKfest set (still streamable on his Bandcamp) didn’t clue you in already, Awesome Force is an awesome force to be reckoned with live (just kill me now). The track he’s supplied jumps between nods to drum n bass, huge melodic motifs, syncopated funk bridges and a slowly building intensity that is as all-encompassing as it is effective; it will literally asphyxiate you with squarewaves. Dripping in as much energy as there would be sweat if you’d seen him live, this track only goes to further highlight Sean Baker as a rising and incredible talent in the chiptune scene.

09. TheDutchess – The Private i

Sega Genesis chiptune, reeking of the 80s and melodically focused? And melodically focused it is, every single second is swarming in unforgettable motifs, as jabbing basslines, glittering leads and clinking counter-melodies build into layers of jazzfunkprogchip. If this doesn’t contain elements of live jazz-esque improvisation, then TheDutchess certainly does a fantastic job of emulating them. One of the strongest composed tracks on the compilation, or on any Chiptune = WIN compilation for that matter. MAG’s booking of this artist was an act of genius. Be sure to check him out before his popularity explodes, if not for support than for bragging rights at least.

10. RobotSexMusic – South Station Breakdown

The Andrew W.K of chip, Boston’s party-chip ambassador Peter Hegarty (aka RSM) is up to his ol’ cheeky tricks again. Inescapable beats, affecting melodies, diverse and powerful wav work, and a shed-load of dance-floor filling attitude, this is RobotSexMusic almost as it should be heard, lying somewhere between EDM, drum n bass and with the ever-so-slight tinges of unce. Another un-missable live act that somehow translates a live energy into the studio. All hail the party king.

11. Auxcide – Revelry

Resident artist at Pxl-Bot and 8static, been on more compilations than memory can serve and rose meteorically to popularity within the scene, and all since 2012. How? This track does a fairly good job of explaining. Auxcide’s ability to meld truly jaw-dropping, heart-rending melodies reeking of the astral has always been unparalleled, and mix that with a genuine ear for dance music and attention paid to audience reaction to music, Auxcide manages to craft another trip through musical space, leading you by hand, captivating as always. Words are pointless at this stage, if you’ve not listened to him before, partake and fall in love.

12. Kubbi – The Cairn

That bloody cat-loving Norwegian. Not content with being one of the most talented composers in the electronic music scene altogether, with the ability to seemingly pluck unendingly grandiose and emotive pieces from nowhere, whilst retaining generic sense in the fields of progressive rock, classical music and electronic dance simultaneously, the Scandinavian devil has decided that one country is not good enough to be graced with his presence. The very nerve. Now he’s off gallivanting to the New Frontier, seemingly hell-bent on world domination, bringing this predictably ingenious, poignant and stylistically diverse track with him. Makes me bloody sick it does.
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And so that’s it! Whilst being one of the shortest Chiptune = WIN compilations to date, it is definitely also one of the most consistent and eclectic. If you missed out on all the MAG 12 fun here, I guess, is a small token to help you through the tough time. Or it’ll push you over the edge and you’ll cry for days. Good work Brandon, idiot.

C=W logo redux (larger)