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Remy Interviews the Hypesquad and Outerviews a Turtle’s Dream

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Featuring tonight on The ChipWIN Blog, for one night only, the Hypesquad! Consisting of Air SeaWorld founder Lil’ Janx and former WCW Champion Sammy Sam, the Hypesquad is renowned as a blasphemous memetic audiovisual offensive by some, and by others, an incredible blasphemous memetic audiovisual offensive. I was fortunate enough to secure a telephone interview with both members of the band earlier in the week. What follows, I frankly do not remember.

AutoReMi-PK: Lil’ Janx, Sammy Sam… Thank you for taking time out of the rap game to be here today.

Lil’ Janx: It’s good to be here.

Sammy Sam: You are most welcome! Please, let’s keep this brief, for we have some hustling that we must do… I mean, yeah, it’s good to be here. Thanks for talking with us!

Lil’ Janx: We’ll tell you almost anything you wanna know about the rap game. How we started from the bottom, and now we here.

Sammy Sam: Emphasis on almost. There is some stuff we definitely can’t talk about.

Lil’ Janx: Secrets, man. I don’t wanna have to get shot again

Sammy Sam: I don’t want to have to shoot you again.

AutoReMi-PK: How would you define “here”?

Lil’ Janx: Here would be at the top of our rap game. Sammy Sam and I have a long history dodging bullets. Rough shit.

Sammy Sam: Yeah, I agree. Here is where we are, and that’s probably where we will stay for a bit, until we go “there”, y’know? I don’t want to go back to dodging bullets… Those things are so fast.

Pictured above: Accurate depiction of The Struggle

AutoReMi-PK: After fifteen studio albums spanning one tenth of one decade, what is it like to be at the top of the chip-hop ladder?

Sammy Sam: It feels good to be at the top, but I have gone through lots of therapy to forget what it was like being at the bottom… So I can’t say for sure, since this is the only way I know how to feel now.

Lil’ Janx: It’s a good feeling, man… Having a message that people will listen to, you know?

Sammy Sam: Yeah, the message. That’s what’s important! Like, I want people to know about #jmolo, that’s a message I can get behind.

Lil’ Janx: It’s all about the message.

Sammy Sam: First and foremost, the message…

Lil’ Janx: Jason Mraz is a role model.

You’re a wizard, Harry

Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, he is such an inspiration. He’s the reason I wake up in the morning. Also the reason why I bought a fedora and eat kale.

Lil’ Janx: He’s the reason I bought a white polo. And drink coffee.

Sammy Sam: Is he big into coffee? I am embarrassed to admit that I skipped over that chapter in his autobio.

Lil’ Janx: Sometimes I just want to BE Jason Mraz, you know? It’s a hard life trying to live up to that.

Sammy Sam: I wanted to read about his philanthropy and the amazing things he has done for cats in need.

Lil’ Janx: Definitely. A well-deserved reputation in cat salvation.

AutoReMi-PK: Your fanbase has described your hashtags as being a mix between Shakespeare and Marky Mark, perhaps two of the finest poets of our time. What would you say in regards to this?

Lil’ Janx: I would say “thank you” because, damn, I love me some Shakespeare and Marky Mark.

Sammy Sam: I would and have said, “To funky bunch, or not to funky bunch. That, is the question.”

I’ll let you decide the answer to that question

Lil’ Janx: That’s a good question. I think I feel an epic freestyle coming on.

Sammy Sam: I mean, I’m in the rap game to pay the bills. #hashtags are my true passion.

AutoReMi-PK: Truly a timeless message. I think one we can all relate to.

Lil’ Janx: Hash tags and drank. That’s what we live for.

AutoReMi-PK: Is there any bad blood lingering over your group being denied to play Coachella this year?

Lil’ Janx: I mean it was a huge disappointment, but we knew that it was because the mainstream just wasn’t ready for our message and passion for hash tags.

Sammy Sam: No bad feelings whatsoever! They can go eat crap, it’s their loss, we don’t care at all. It’s just on to the next thing, you know?

Lil’ Janx: The people who want to hear the truth know where to find us. They’re the ones that matter. The ones that understand and appreciate what we fight for and the daily struggle.

Sammy Sam: I think they knew we were too much for them, but I don’t know, where are we supposed to play? Jupiter? What planet can adequately support our talent? We’ll never know until we know, and then that will be when we know, probably. Those are the people we care about, and pander to.

Lil’ Janx: Damn straight.

AutoReMi-PK: Insightful as always, Sammy Sam! Speaking of pandering, what do you say in regard to your detractors who claim The Struggle is less real than you make it out to be?

Sammy Sam: I made a pact to not talk to those people. #thestruggle is #realtalk

Lil’ Janx: Yeah, fuck ’em. Ain’t nobody got time for haters.

Sammy Sam: Our haters are really what keep us going. I mean, really, they are our biggest fans.

AutoReMi-PK: No such thing as bad publicity, right?

Lil’ Janx: Yeah, so I guess we have to make time for haters.

Sammy Sam: You know what they say, “You can only hate something if you really love it more than yourself.” Someone might have said that, I haven’t been keeping track of what everyone has been saying. That would be so much work. I’m not so good with quotes, I’m sorry.

AutoReMi-PK: What was it like working with Bono?

Sammy Sam: I kind of phono-ed it in… Just another collab, y’know? That one was definitely just for the money, and I had some… “bills to pay.”

Lil’ Janx: Yeah for real, though. Gotta feed Dennis and all.

Sammy Sam: I mean, I still spit some hot fire on that track, and tried to make the beat fresher than Rice Krispies, but it was not my proudest moment. I did it for Janxy, cuz I know she’s a HUGE U2 fan… Do we have any time to talk about our sponsorship deal with Rice Krispies? They’re snap, crackle, poppin’ off the chaaaain DELICIOUS!

You’re welcome, Sam

AutoReMi-PK: Speaking of Dennis, PETA has recently launched a string of attacks deriding your “cruel treatment of inflatable sharks”. You two have been notoriously hush about this in the media. Any intention of setting the record straight?

Sammy Sam: Well, that’s a tricky question, so I’ll pass the mic to Dennis.

Lil’ Janx: I mean, I dunno. PETA doesn’t know shit. Dennis chose to be our main shark, man. So, like, whatever… They can talk to him. What’s more cruel is putting Dennis in a zoo. With us he’s living the dream.

Dennis: I am aware of the attacks, and PETA’s concerns. They are unfounded, and completely false. Really, People for the Ethical Treatment of People should be the ones concerned, because I have been eating peoples’ legs without their permission. And what’s that about, am I right?

This article just got NSFW

Lil’ Janx: We saved him when he was a little shark pup, so suck on that PETA.

Dennis: It’s true, I am very happy, and love my chip-hop family. They are the bee’s knees.

Lil’ Janx: Where was PETA when Dennis was starving in the streets? Nowhere, that’s where. Our shark loves us, and we love him too. Plus his whole eating people’s legs thing comes in handy.

Dennis: Where was PETA when I was running low on helium, air-swimming precariously close to cacti?

AutoReMi-PK: Dennis, I’m going to shoot straight with you. You sound like Sammy Sam. Do you have a cold?

Sammy Sam: Rob, I’m going to shoot straight at you if you don’t watch it. GET IT?

Dennis: Whoa, Sam… Chill. That’s not necessary.

Sammy Sam: I am sorry, Rob. I shouldn’t have lost my cool.

AutoReMi-PK: It’s okay, I was out of line.

Lil’ Janx: Yeah, Sammy. We gotta calm it down. Just remember… JMOLO.

Sammy Sam: It’s just… we’ve been through a lot, which I know is no excuse. Again, please accept my apologies. I will not shoot straight at anyone, I promise.

Lil’ Janx: Those days are behind us now.

AutoReMi-PK: Moving on! What would you say in response to loaded questions?

Lil’ Janx: Loaded like loaded baked potatoes loaded? Or loaded like bazookas loaded?

Dennis: Whoa, hold the phone. I see an air-swordfish a couple nauts away… I’ll catch up with you all later. Dennis needs to feed.

Sammy Sam: Yeah, I don’t understand what you mean. Those are the only two options that make any sense to me.

Lil’ Janx: Straight up.

AutoReMi-PK: You two are frequently accused of not owning nearly enough sports gear. Why do you hate America?

Lil’ Janx: I think that question answered itself.

Sammy Sam: Yeah, we never get falsely accused of not owning enough sports gear when we’re in Colombia. I mean, France. Sorry Janx, I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to mention the Colombia tour ever again.

Lil’ Janx: Are you serious? Everyone wears sports jerseys and soccer shoes in Columbia… I mean France. So people looked at us weird. We stood out. Especially with a floating shark.

Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, it’s like, I’m sorry, I can’t be held accountable for what or who my pet shark is eating, right? Step off, playa.

Lil’ Janx: Hell yeah, bitches be jealous they don’t have a flipping sweet floating companion shark.

Sammy Sam: Yeah, it’s rare to have a shark-buddy at all, never mind one that can fly through the air.

Lil’ Janx: Haters gonna hate.

AutoReMi-PK: Lil’ Janx, your group is known among many things for its controversial merchandise. Parents were livid regarding your controversial shirt that depicted Jason Mraz crucified on a hashtag. What was your reaction when Hot Topic pulled the item from their shelves?

Lil’ Janx: I’m all like, “Damn, we hard as fuck.” If even Hot Topic can’t handle our swag merch, we gotta be doing something right.

Sammy Sam: Truth, everyone knows Hot Topic is the swaggest, so if they can’t even handle our stuff…? WHOA. Y’know? WHOA.

Lil’ Janx: F’reals, though.

AutoReMi-PK: Indeed!

Lil’ Janx: It’s like, #swagception… Or like, the #swagpocalypse.

Sammy Sam: Like, maybe the Jupiter locations of Hot Topic stocks that shit, I don’t know, but maybe. #swaggicane

Lil’ Janx: #swagnocerous

AutoReMi-PK:

Lil’ Janx: They be sprayin #swaggicide on our merch.

AutoReMi-PK: I don’t know how you’re both speaking in hashtags but there’s way too much swag in here!

#journalismisdead

Lil’ Janx: Bask in it… Embrace the swag.

Sammy Sam: #swagcopter dropping #swaglemmental #swagplies

AutoReMi-PK: Ahem. You two formed your legendary group a month ago and embarked on your first world tour. How did this happen? Did you feel an innate swag chemistry?

Lil’ Janx: Yes.

Sammy Sam: Yes. Next question.

AutoReMi-PK: Now, some people claim that a guitar is not a real musical instrument. What’s it like to find legitimacy in a Nintendo Game Boy?

Sammy Sam: It’s the most freeing feeling I’ve ever felt.

Lil’ Janx: Definitely the end of my soul-searching.

Sammy Sam: I was getting sick of the guitar, and it’s limitations.

Lil’ Janx: Definitely.

Sammy Sam: So to be making the dopest beats this side of Saturn with a Nintendo Gameboy… every morning I wake up and things just make sense. Y’know? My vision is no longer mad blurry, and I haven’t eaten cheese for a month, so things are looking up.

AutoReMi-PK: It sounds very fulfilling! As innovators in the true sense of the word, what was the thought process behind your invention of the JMOLOsound™ mod?

Lil’ Janx: Cutting back on unsaturated fats and high fructose corn syrup was also directly related to discovering the beatmaking magic of the Gameboy. Sammy Sam and I were basically like, “We need to just make this JMOLO as hell.” And then we did, just like that. We got it copyrighted.

Sammy Sam: Trademarked. The whole eight yards. Pasterighted, you name it.

Lil’ Janx: Commercial license, et cetera.

AutoReMi-PK: Et cetera, indeed!

Sammy Sam: What? What was that you just said.

AutoReMi-PK: I don’t recall saying anything.

Sammy Sam: Janx, what’s he talking about? What is happening right now?

Lil’ Janx: Eh? sorry my mind was on swag. And Jason Mraz.

Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, me too.

AutoReMi-PK: Being a human cartoon, do you think it’s necessary to sometimes draw outside the lines?

Lil’ Janx: Definitely, we use it to undergo interdimensional space travel. Makes touring exponentially more interesting. We’ve toured in Flatland several times. Probably one of the best crowds, really.

Sammy Sam: Yeah, I mean, I have a hard time reading and doing math, so drawing INSIDE lines? I’d like to see YOU try it. Being a cartoon, human or not, definitely makes some interesting things possible.

You will never get back the time you’ve spent reading this

AutoReMi-PK: Indeed! Some people have claimed that psychoanalysis has no place in a fluff interview. What’s your favorite television show?

Lil’ Janx: Pokémon. I can really relate to it, you know? We wanna be the very best. That no one ever was.

Sammy Sam: I love reality TV, my favorite is LOST, but I haven’t watched tv in years
because Janx sold my tv to “pay some bills”.

Lil’ Janx: Um, hello, Dennis needed those sunglasses. They had to be Gucci, otherwise he wouldn’t meet the swag quota.

Sammy Sam: He really did, I’m cool with it, he is super fly now. Those glasses really put him deep into swag territory. #swagtory, if you will.

Lil’ Janx: I will indeed.

AutoReMi-PK: The NSA has gone on record as saying that YOU are their favorite television show. At what point did I get too drunk to continue this interview?

Lil’ Janx: I’d say about twenty minutes ago. Probably at about the point we were talking about Flatland… Maybe the PETA part. I dunno, man. I dunno your life.

Sammy Sam: When were we talking about Flatland?

Lil’ Janx: We toured there.

Sammy Sam: Oh, yeah! I’m sorry, I forgot most things.

AutoReMi-PK: Speaking of your tour of Flatland? Which incomplete sentence.

Lil’ Janx: That one.

Sammy Sam: I concur.

AutoReMi-PK: Much indeed! Many thank you.

Lil’ Janx: Such yes.

Sammy Sam: Thank you! It was truly a pleasure!

AutoReMi-PK: What’s next for Lil’ Janx and Sammy Sam?

Lil’ Janx: Our epic rap battle with Roboctopus! He be frontin and we gotta set him in his place before he disrespects the Hypesquad and all we stand for. Which is hashtags and Jason Mraz. Mad beefs gotta be sorted out.

Sammy Sam: That is all we stand for. That’s going to be really good. Also, probably a quadruple platinum album.

AutoReMi-PK: Thank you so much for your time! Any closing remarks?

Lil’ Janx: Um…

Sammy Sam: Uhhh…

Lil’ Janx: Don’t do drugs, kids… And buy our shit.

Sammy Sam: Yeah, buy our albums and t-shirts. And come see us when we are on tour!

Lil’ Janx: Seriously. Spend all your money. #jmolo

Sammy Sam: Give us your money. #$wag

What the hell just happened.

Sam Mulligan
Soundcloud BandcampFacebookTwitter

Janx
Soundcloud BandcampFacebookTwitter

Hype$quad

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ReMi-ReViews: ‘Hyper’ by Vegas Diamond

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Let it never be said that Vegas Diamond is unwilling to defy expectations. ‘Hyper‘, with all the implications of its name, would be a bullet train of sugary melodies and four-on-the-floor dance beats in anyone else’s hands, but Vegas Diamond is not nearly so predictable. It might be just a BIT pretentious to imply that the album’s title rings true in a more cerebral sense, but something about that theory just… clicks.

Apparating seemingly out of the blue with his debut chip album Sea in mid-2012, Stephan Tul, a.k.a. Vegas Diamond, has stood tall alongside fellow Netherlands-based chiptune artists in creating what I can only describe professionally as “some seriously mindblowing shit”. The Waveform Generator‘s eleventh release, Vegas Diamond’s ‘Hyper’, may not initially give off the feel of a concept album. That’s understandable. It’s only through repeated listens that this meticulously crafted collection of tracks truly reveals itself, as each one satisfyingly builds off of previous ideas while maintaining a sense of individuality unique to each of its four parts.

“Visor”, for example, shifts in a bold tonal direction away from the opening track “Ion”, yet retains enough hints of its predecessor throughout its own structure to be sensationally rewarding when noticed… and somehow this feat is performed with the right degree of subtlety for these two songs to FEEL completely different. It’s impressive, especially considering Vegas Diamond’s tendency to induce a trance-like state upon his listener through ridiculously dense sonic tunnels and phenomenally layering.

“Real” continues to showcase Vegas Diamond’s unique approach to the chiptune medium, almost in an ironic fashion, delivering the EP’s most ethereal and mystifying melodies, unorthodox to the extent that I nearly hesitate to classify them as such. Much of the songwriting seems to eschew instruments as simply being means to convey melodies or rhythms, each individual one instead being an atmospheric storyteller… having a voice, so to say, that carries the various threads throughout ‘Hyper’ to their conclusion. If I’m gushing or going a little too far into space here, allow me to break things down: I absolutely love this album and my words are insufficient to describe it.

So despite having no less than a million things going on simultaneously, what’s perhaps ‘Hyper’s’ single greatest accomplishment is how paradoxically tight the whole thing sounds. Every single element of this release complements the last, unifying in what is one of 2013’s top chiptune albums. This is a must-have release among what I’m sure are many to come. Thanks, Vegas.

Vegas Diamond
Soundcloud | Facebook

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Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 (Tracks 37-41)

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Enough expository dialogue! Have at you!

Track #37: subPixel – Tiny Fungi

Tiny Fungi? More like Famitracker Masterclass, if you ask me. subPixel’s contribution to ChipWIN is demonstrative of the same qualities that made The Wave, along with his slew of prior releases, so good to begin with. Starting off minimally with great use of Famitracker’s tri channel, subPixel doesn’t waste any time before laying down sweeping arpeggios alongside his magnificent use of the FDS synth. Tiny Fungi is a WORLD of melodic bliss, and subPixel’s use of note cutting and  triangle channel alone is reason enough to appreciate this fantastic piece. It’s always inspiring to hear an expert Famitracker composer at work. And subPixel, as always, delivers the goods.

Track #38: SSD Engage – Floating Space Toast Void

I have seen the Floating Space Toast void… and it is immaculate. The trio of SPRY, Disabletron and Sp00ked stand tall on their own, but together they are a force that destroys universes and invites you along to the mayhem. SSD Engage frequently conveys the feel of three great musicians coming together to jam out, with always-spectacular results. While there’s certainly a steady rhythm and beat to be found, the amount of aural space and melody present establishes an atmosphere of cosmic chaos. It crunches like toast, yeah…if toast had the propensity for universal contemplation. Maybe it does, though. These guys have vision.

Track #39: Ryuno – Wub Dub De Club

Wub? Check. Dub? Check. Club? Check. I really did consider dedicating this whole blurb to how much I love the kick drum but that would be a disservice to the rest of this composition. Representing the more melodic side of chipstep, the Brazil-based Ryuno has already established himself with a Soundcloud presence chock-full of standout dubstep, chillstep and dnb tracks. With Wub Dub de Club, Ryuno has distilled these influences into a 2:45 manifesto that any DJ would be proud to unleash upon the unsuspecting masses. And seriously, can we talk about that kick?

Track #40: Pieces of Eight – Rescue Drama

Utilizing the oft-overlooked OpenMPT that composers like Fearofdark have used to such great effect, Pieces of Eight a.k.a Adam Lankford, serves a mid-tempo rocker that is by far one of this compilation’s strongest tracks. The beginning section’s angelic synths are portentous of the building storm, with the first kick at 0:24 confirming what you knew all along: This is going to ROCK. Through an enviably catching melody augmented by some great accidentals and scale-defying arps, my favorite bit is the breakdown at the 3:34 mark where I swear he’s channelling the great Motoi Sakuraba. This dude knows how to build and maintain, further proven by the wailing melody that sets this beast to rest. If you didn’t know the name Pieces of Eight before, you damn sure do now. Respect.

Track #41: Nestrogen – Torpedophile of Wonder and Joy

Questionable (but awesome) title aside, it’s a bit rare that you get a chance to see the pop side of Nestrogen. This is, after all, the same Nestrogen that just recently the FUCKING AWESOME EP, Famithrasher, through Datathrash Recordings. I’ll give you a moment to adjust. Aggression is still an omnipresent factor, though the blastbeats are traded in here for a more conservative percussive approach. Which is fine, since Nestrogen has a grasp for sick drums. The melody throughout is hella catchy, definitely encapsulating that sense of wonder buried beneath the unrelenting instrumentation. But the major standout is the change-up and quick breakdown at the 1:43 mark along with some really nice panning. Really solid track.

Make sure to check back in next Wednesday for continued coverage of Chiptunes = WIN Volume 2! Until next time~

subPixel
Bandcamp | Facebook

SSD Engage
Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Ryuno
Facebook | Soundcloud

Pieces of Eight
Facebook | Soundcloud

Nestrogen
Soundcloud | Facebook

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Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 (Tracks 7-11)

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Oh thank heaven, et cetera. Volume Two keeps its momentum going with none other than…

Track #7: 505 – Dataride

The best tracks always leave you wanting more. No stranger to crafting epic journeys, 505 exhibits the same songwriting qualities on Chiptunes = WIN Volume 2 that made his 2012 release Interlude an absolute gem. Taking just the right amount of time to introduce the key elements, 505’s track shines even brighter at the 1:02 mark, stuttering into a perfect stride as the kick drum drives everything home. At two minutes in, a great melody starts to overlay the foundation of this one while an amazing solo closes out the final sixteen seconds. Dataride could go on for twice as long without overstaying its welcome…but that’s what the repeat button is for.

Track #8: James Landino – Blue (Dj CUTMAN mix)

Boston chip artist James Landino, a.k.a. KgZ, serves up his own wicked brand of house alongside a very special guest. Stepping out from behind the curtain, Dj CUTMAN puts his own spin on an already-solid work. CUTMAN’s presence is notable here, adding a whole new dimension of sound and definitely bringing the bass. The minimalism present around the 1:42 mark is welcome and while this segment closed out the original version of the track, CUTMAN wisely uses it to build upon and reprise the opening melody. Which, really, is a testament to the quality of James Landino’s composition. Excellent collaboration.

Track #9: Twistboy – Springs

Relative newcomer (to chip, anyway) Twistboy supplies one of the few LSDJ tracks on Volume Two, but it’s here for a reason. A delightfully funky work with some amazing spacing, allowing it to breathe, Springs is aptly-titled. Perfectly suited for the dance floor, it’s somehow both soothing and energetic. If you dig this be sure to check out his On Vacation EP. This dude’s going places.

Track #10: Vince Kaichan – Iskloo Dandruff/Morningstar Express

Vince Kaichan…There’s only one Vince Kaichan. While Iskloo Dandruff strikes me as a very Kirby-esque song, the swirling melodies add a unique touch. There’s not many composers that can pull off something this impressive so seemingly effortlessly. The subtle pitch bends and notes add a lot of flavor. If I’m at a loss for words, it’s only because this is one of my absolute favorite tracks. Vince Kaichan has a natural gift for composition and I’m always excited to hear what he produces. This is an essential listen.

Track #11: Zackery Wilson – Ain’t Got Time to Bleep

At a brisk 1:39, who am I to argue? This track tears out of the gates with furious purpose and MINDBLOWING technical prowess. With no disrespect intended, you could tell me Yuzo Koshiro himself wrote this and I would ACTUALLY believe you. Zackery Wilson has more raw passion, ideas and skill jam-packed into this amazing 99 seconds than many artists can muster for an entire album. Not exactly a surprise, though! As a trained (read: professional) composer, pianist and old-school Nintendo enthusiast, with numerous awards and accolades to his name, Zackery knows his craft VERY well. His influences are especially notable from the :40 mark on, as a Jun Ishikawa-like segment flows magnificently from this point. Simply put, Zackery Wilson has mastered brevity as an art form.

That’s it for our second round of artists! Stay tuned for next week’s coverage of Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2! (OH AND MAYBE BRKFEST)

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Relevant links:

505
fiveofive-music.com | Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

James Landino
Soundcloud

Dj CUTMAN
Dj CUTMAN.com | Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter | Tumblr

Twistboy
Bandcamp | Soundcloud |

Vince Kaichan
Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Zackery Wilson
zackerywilson.com | Youtube | Soundcloud | Twitter

ChipWIN Tracks: #46 – #51

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Hey there, guys and gals! We’ve hit the home stretch of ChipWIN Volume One, so let’s get ‘er done amirite? Take her away… MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

…Ahem. Anyway, I’m sure I don’t have to introduce you to our next artist…

Track #46: Active Knowledge – Lucidosity

…Boston chiptune hero Active Knowledge! What we’ve got here is a slice of his self-titled album for all to enjoy, chock-full of dripping square waves and a series of triangle basslines that are so well-executed they make my inner tracker weep tears of envy and joy. This lucid trip is grounded by the repetition of elements that somehow never get tiring, and I really do mean that as a pure compliment. Halfway in, the drums cut down steadily only to resurface stronger than ever alongside some very interestingly layered harmonies. Making a six minute track takes dedication. But making it work takes SKILL.

Track #47: Nario – Hallucinogenic Ethics

Did anyone intend for this chunk of the compilation to be so…uh, ethical? But I digress. We can’t stop here…this is bat country. Nario’s EXCLUSIVE track is a great head-bobber, at parts something I’d consider to have a strong VGM feel but with a rocking kick. I absolutely love the melody beginning at the 0:58 mark, and the way things pick up from there as the lead finally climbs up to a perfect wail. If Nario doesn’t compose on a dance pad, he sure as hell knows how to make you move vicariously. Very cool.

Track #48: Brick Breaker – Dusk Runner

The opening notes inspire flashbacks of Sunsoft’s golden era of video game soundtracks and, yes, that is a really good thing. Brick Breaker brings a flat-out ROCKING track to the table and flips that baby completely upside down. I absolutely love the drum sounds in this track and, while it’s a short one, it’s so very sweet.

Track #49: Sean Monistat – This Computer Can Read Lips

AWW YEAH. Great rhythm? Check. Tight snare? Check. This computer can read lips and then some. Establishing a setting that would feel right at home in any city prefixed by “Neo”, Sean Monistat proves himself here as a talented architect of dystopian vibes. Closing out with some killer glitching, this is one contribution that begs repeat listens…especially for the nicely understated FM-esque synths.

Track #50: SKGB – Infinite Cheap Death Tricks

This is the Konami Code of Neo Killadelphia if ever there was one. Trying to summarize anything SKGB does is a task and a half, and here’s why: He can do so damn much, do it so well, and completely change up an entire song’s game in an instant. This death trick can crunk and thrash with the best of them and everything after the blastbeats around the 3:01 mark dives so far into the realm of completely insane LSDJ wizardry that I could spend literally two weeks fumbling for the words to even describe what I just heard. Easily one of my favorite tracks on the compilation. BASSCHIPTHRASH FTW.

Track #51: PROTODOME – Four Color Hero

It’s a bittersweet reminder that all good things must come to an end, masterfully executed by the always-spectacular PROTODOME. In brilliant technicolor, PROTODOME crafted what is easily the ideal bookend for this massive project, styled ingeniously in the form of what could easily be the end credits of a legendary video game. And true to the spirit of chiptune, sometimes four colors and a wealth of vision is all you need to create a masterpiece. A perfect sendoff, really…one that invites you back to visit its world time and again.

Active Knowledge
Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Boston8Bit

Nario
Bandcamp | Twitter | Facebook

Brick Breaker
Soundcloud | Facebook

Sean Monistat
Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

SKGB
Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

PROTODOME
Protodome.co.ukBandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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ChipWIN Track #8: You & Him by Whitely

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First & foremost, give it up for our newest team member, music student and fellow chip enthusiast, Adam D. Seats! I really don’t need to hype Danimal Cannon or his interstellar contribution one bit more because you all know who he is and how much he rocks.
Although speaking of artists contributing rocking tracks….

Whitely

Leading with a nice mellow front – introspective even – You & Him opens in a tease of deceptive calm. Yet with notes progressing like an overture of storm clouds against an undercurrent of increasingly warped tones, you KNOW shit’s about to get real. Confirmation strikes hard at the 1:42 mark and, with a knowing nod, the doors are metaphorically kicked down leaving you one of two options: get moving or perish in a hail of aural gunfire. This is strong stuff, the likes of which overtakes you as the tension continues to build from here. As boss beat-downs steadily manifest, there’s enough of a let off at the 3:20 mark to feel a measure of catharsis before the reprise leads to the final breaths of a transmission cut. Awesome.

First appearing as the opening and title track of the album “You & Him,” I can’t stress what a welcome addition this piece is to the compilation. In the words of the mastermind Whitely himself, who was so kind to provide some insight: “As far as the song is concerned, I started writing it as a generic electro-house song. It’s probably my most favourite song I’ve written, mainly because it was the first song that stemmed a new style for me.” Kudos to the guy on a choice that is very much sentimental and still right at home in this compilation.

Regarding the original album, it’d certainly take some oversight not to observe, or at least imagine, that You & Him as an entire work is wrapped in a darkly personal vibe. Coupling sheer emotional intensity with a blunt approach, this is perfectly summarized in the song “Go Fucking Die Bitch.” Nothing cryptic about this album, just pure full-throttle rage and heartbreak bottled into sick dance tracks. All conveyed with might aplenty.

But Whitely’s skill far extends beyond pathos and, though You and Him has the sound and conviction of an album that NEEDED to be made, his other works showcase a skill and versatility in songwriting that would be expected of a composer with twice the years and experience.

Evidenced by his more recent work, Wonderful Life, as well as his prolific Soundcloud submissions, chip is merely one of many tools in Whitely’s eclectic bag. Whatever the future has in store for Whitely, chiptune or not, I guarantee that he will continue to set the bar high and impress. Cheers.

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Whitely links:
http://whitelymusic.bandcamp.com/
http://soundcloud.com/whitelymusic
https://twitter.com/IamtherealTom