Author Archive

Clover’s Comp Corral: Chiptunes4Autism Volume 4

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Chiptunes4Autism has been going for 4 years strong now, and another spring season brought us what may be their most exciting compilation yet! 28 tracks showcase a varied, fun, and hard-working collective that will take anyone who wants to help. All proceeds go to charities proud of neurodiversity, supporting autistic self-advocacy, mental health resources, and networks for marginalized groups. It’s really great. Also, the music kicks ass, and the people involved will steal your hearts.

By ‘steal your hearts’, of course, I mean I’m going to try and cast them in a heist movie.

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Meaning in Chaos: Cityfires – ‘CCL Dive’

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Cityfires’ latest release is fire. That pun is too easy not to make, but I really mean it. With buoyant emotional synthpop, some of the most magnetic sound design I’ve heard all year, and fascinating lyrics – this album’s spirit is most deserving of the title “adventure” out of all that I’ve written about. It’s full of surprises and seriously fine-tuned, with tracks like ‘The Tangle’ trimmed down to interesting ideas, while others such as the titular song take the time they need for a core feeling to hit home.

Full to the brim with electric melody lines, immersive sound design, and creative mixing decisions, this fifteen-track masterpiece never sacrifices quality for quantity. Tight vocal tracks are infused with textured electronica, and organic instrumentation as well. Instrumentals are just as diverse: ‘Daybreak Apparatus’ echoes the peppy videogame joy of earlier ChipWIN comps, while ‘Dreamshifting’ feels like some more recent chiptune which draws from mathrock. Alternatively, ‘Mothfold’ defies description. The whole album is kinetic, and really integrated, a trip through clear landscapes and sights to behold.

It is also a story of hope in moving forward.

Art by Alex Spivey
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Wounds and Resolutions: Curious Quail – ‘Twelve Months’

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Curious Quail’s ‘Twelve Months’ opens with a simple, quiet guitar chord, E major. A single pulse plays, E, the tonic, a perfect resolution in isolation.

The gameboy falters, falling down until it reaches a B. Perfect fifth. The next best thing.

For the first minute, each phrase ends in one of these two notes.

This song is titled ‘Resolutions’.


“a collection of twelve songs about life, love, loss, beauty, and so much more told through a canvas of hasty melodic decisions and instrumentation that you don’t often get together”
(photo and quote by Curious Quail)
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Clover Chain Reacts To: Purely Grey – ’27’

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On January 11th, 1992, Alex Soborov was born. Since then, he has made dozens and dozens of chiptune tracks and other music as Purely Grey and, previously, Twistboy. He has contributed to Chiptunes = WIN as both a musician and a judge, and he’s run a family-owned (aren’t they too cute?!) netlabel called Tracked for chiptune releases and cassette tapes for nearly three years now. In 2018, Alex released a track every single week, and on January 11th, 2019, many of them were put together to form ’27’, a celebration of Soborov’s 27th year on this earth. Supposedly. Based on this music, he may have been studying the arts somewhere else, learning another plane’s stellar wisdom.

Bursting with clarity, consistency, and an endearing freshness to it, ’27’ is shaping up to be my favorite album released this year, and I’m saying that in February. It’s full of enthusiastic decisions, delicious instrumentation, fun harmonies, interesting melodies, gutsy and smart rhythm, and an integral originality in how each track is structured and how they bounce off one another.

Let’s start at the ending.

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THE CLOVER AWARDS: 2018

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The new year is in full swing – MAGFest has come and gone, Chipwrecked is preparing for another great lineup, and we’ve already got a few fun 2019 chiptune releases! But such an active community also makes for a lot you may have missed, and I’d like to give the last year a final sendoff before moving onto this one. I’m proud of the work I did in 2018, but there was a lot I didn’t get to talk about as well. This scene is bursting with music to enjoy and appreciate, so while I can only cover a small portion of it, I’d like to try and spotlight some tunes that deserve the attention.

Naturally, I will be doing this in the silliest way possible.

(Collage by Hoodie)
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Clover Chain Reacts to: Impulses – ‘L | \/ E’

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Impulses’ Bandcamp description is simply “Emotional Underground Chiptune.” Started by Trevor Stafford at least a few years ago, their music is consistently calming, pretty, melodic, natural, and always makes me feel things. I haven’t stopped listening since I discovered them last month through the ChipWIN discord. Impulses’ sound is filled with the sincerity of 8-bit synths, and the occasional boppy modernity of edm, and I’ve enjoyed going through their full discography quite a bit. That being said, the latest release ‘L | \/ E EP’ easily stands out, with a polished cohesion, tightness, and clarity.

Album Artwork by Manuchi.
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