As I first came to know of Toni through ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 3‘, his first impression was a lasting one. I can count at least on 50 different occasions showing that track specifically to friends (who were really never too keen on electronic music in general) that there’s a lot that can be done in the genre. While most just turn towards popular artists and whatever is blaring on the radio, it’s amazing what you can find with just a little research. Now, being a part of this community, I guess it eases the amount of sifting through unpleasant tracks because, by and large, this place is filled with talented musicians and amazing composers. We come here to hear new tunes but we stay for the wealth of knowledge that gets passed around. Now then, ladies and gentlemen, I present Toni Leys.
With a cover like that, you can tell at least one of two things.
I can appreciate an artist who gravitates towards a persona for his or her music, but gathering 2-3 different pseudonyms for yourself, takes skill. Not only do you have to maintain each one of these on a regular basis, but you have to separate yourself from….yourself to generate compositions for the correlating genres for each name. Such is the case of Snareskin (a.k.a. froxic, conceptor). Whatever you wanna call him, there’s no denying he has a unique ability to blend the chill and smooth with the loud and aggressive.
Whatup ChipWIN! Been too long. Having had a lot of time to ponder over this next review, I really wanted to explore a unique facet of talent among the community. There’s a ton of creative material out there being produced at an exponentially increasing rate, and while that’s incredibly awesome, it isn’t without a sense of struggle. The more material equals the more time listening which equals a more specific approach to writing these reviews. You can’t write it exactly the same way every time, variation is key. And while I’m sure you’re reading this because either you’re genuinely interested in a proficient artist or because you just like reading about all things chiptune, just know that I hope you all gain a new perspective, and challenge yourselves to find music that’s outside of your comfort zone. Gain new, different ideas about music you wouldn’t normally listen to.
Through endless searching and a few suggestions thrown my way, here we are, reviewing ‘Insomnia‘ by tiasu.
Shirobon is quite the shapeshifter. Making the most out of modern production plugins and old school synths, ‘The Arcade Dream’ stands as a testament to how differently we as humans understand sound and utilize it to create something much larger, much more in-depth, and much more complex than the decades preceding. It’s magical – but more importantly, proves evolution. That’s right, I just said this album proves evolution. Sure, we could go down the more literal path, and say, he hit all the right notes, but it’s something more than that. The detail, the nostalgia you didn’t know you had, it’s here, ‘The Arcade Dream’.
Relive the good ol’ days, hit up your local arcade and bust out those quarters.
Composer, arranger, performer, health nut, net streaming personality.
Quite the character, Ben has been composing and producing music for the past decade in an effort to achieve super stardom. Starting out at OverClocked ReMix, he moved up the ranks of remixers with an impressive collection of re-imagined video game tunes; sometimes collaborating with fellow artists and creating newbands in the process.
Yes, Ben has been around for quite a while. Having worked with the guy in the past and coming to know him as a great friend over the past 2 years, I can certainly tell you he was determined about one goal throughout the years, far above the others: being a video game composer. Ben has picked up quite a lot with his time spent in FL Studio. Utilizing his abilities to create originals and video game remixes alike, his skills grew exponentially. When he had told me he got a gig as a video game composer, I knew one of his lifetime achievements was met. (more…)
Hello hello everyone, been a while! Time for another DjjD review, specifically ‘Helix’ by Casshern.
Debuting back in May of 2013, Casshern has been progressively been moving around the chiptune scene pushing the limits of what just one single DMG can do. His tracks consist of rich, deep melodic content; it’s truly amazing how not one track sounds similar to another. Sure, it’s all done with the same interface, but the way each track progresses is distinctly different from another. While some of the tracks might hit the ground running with fast tempos, Casshern shows a softer side towards the middle of the album.
The first track of the album is quite the energetic toe-tapper. The fast paced drums keep the song driving while not being too overwhelming. The vibrant arpeggios in the background give a sense of euphoric frolicking and overall it’s a great way to begin this collection of tunes. The song switches up around 1:20, causing an almost alarming panic mood to the soundscape. A sense of urgency is enacted, and you’re left in the frenzy tumbling for safety. Very energetic, very awesome.
A bit slower paced, this tune allows the listener to chillout a little. It explores another side of Casshern’s music and while it’s not made for the dance floor, it’s equally complex utilizing panned percussion, automated leads, and small stutters that makes for an intricate and dynamic arrangement. This is quite possibly my favorite track of the album. Whenever I hear a track like this, I begin to ponder the wonders of the universe within the deepest fathoms of my mind. One track comes to mind when I hear this.
The title track of the album, this one stands out on its own. Like the previous two entries, it displays a sense of expertise with the amount of variation and production techniques utilized. For the first minute, panning and automation take the front seat as the song unfolds. As I’m a sucker for long tracks, this is the longest one of the album. It has the most time, therefore it has to do more to keep the attention of the listener, and it definitely does. Smooth arps to a plucked lead, I begin to notice a pattern with Casshern’s music: He’s damn good with intros. He draws you in, and explores the range he can produce with one gameboy. It’s really incredible.
I contacted Casshern (Daniel Park) about his album with a few questions to ask just what exactly inspired him to create this compendium of tunes.
DjjD: What was the first track you completed for “Helix” and did it inspire what the other tracks would sound like? Casshern: Out of all the tracks on Helix, I ended up writing Exosphere first, and rather ironically, in the final production checklist, Exosphere ended up being the last song I did minor fixes to. My sound is derived from plenty of different sources, so it’s really unlike me to stick to a common theme in my music. I find that when I’m able to create many unique songs, I have a much better feel about the project as a whole than if I do when I have several songs that have the same motif or general theme. I reckon I will go into that mode of thinking for another release, but that’s news for a different day, I think.
DjjD: How long have you been composing/producing?
Casshern: I’ve been composing for many years, upwards of 15 years just coming up with different styles of music that I enjoyed writing, outside of my chiptune stuff, I have a small side project called Minished which is kind of a Post-Rock/ambient take on my unique writing style, where everything I tend to do flies in the face of conventional thought processes. That is going to be my main focus once I finish writing everything I want to for Casshern.
DjjD: Any reason behind the name Casshern? Casshern: The project name itself came from the 1970s anime of the same name (also known as Robot Hunter Casshern). I absolutely love the premise behind it as it is literally the main basis for Mega Man, my childhood gaming hero. I just chose it for no other reason than it just sounding cool. I reckon because it’s the name of an anime I should probably change my name in the near future, but I want Helix to play out its life before I make any major changes to the project.
DjjD: What got you involved with using LSDJ? Casshern: My start with LSDJ came when a good friend of mine, Pat Koch (Craphazzard) gave me an old bleepbloop cart which I now have locked away never to be touched because of how important it is to me. It took me a while to actually get into it though as at first I thought it was the toughest thing in the world to learn, tracking was, but that changed when I visited 8static, Philadelphia’s premier chiptune monthly stage, for the first time in September of 2012 and rediscovered chiptune. I fell in love immediately and by next January’s show, I had written my first LSDJ track. Mind you, everyone starts off horribly, and I was no exception when it came to my first foray into chiptune. Now I find it very easy to use, yet I’m always finding new things to do with it, which is why I love the platform so much. The possibilities are endless.
DjjD: Anything else you’d like to add or say to your fans?
Casshern: If there’s anything anyone can take away from my experience, I’d say never give up. You can take a break on things, but never be afraid to keep trying to reach your goals. You gotta take the first step before you can take the second and third, and the same goes for chiptune or any kind of music composition!
‘Helix’ is a well crafted, fine tuned piece of audible bliss. Working under very limited parameters, it’s a testament to the creativity of the artists who hold this piece of software above all others. Despite the amount of digital audio tools at the disposal of every person who lives on the internet today, sometimes it’s just best to remember the roots and stick with the classics. Great stuff!
I highly recommending checking out the rest of the tracks as some of these tracks were just some of my favorites, not necessarily yours.
Check out the links at the bottom, and thanks for reading!