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 sinceI 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.
My friend was on TV recently. He was shopping at a bookstore, and the local news was doing a segment on reading, interviewing customers there. When asked to “talk about your favorite book”, he panicked, grabbing the first book that came to his mind: ‘The Crying of Lot 49’, a mere 160 page novella. Now, the interview went fine; he talked about its good writing and such. Upon relaying this story to me, however, my friend expressed regret. He told me it really is one of his favorites, and it’s surprising to find so much value in a pretty short book, and he wishes he could have pointed that out. He’d say something like, “It’s a really small book that says a lot of big ideas.”
meganeko’s ‘Nascens’ is one of my favorite music releases. It’s full of originality. It surprises me. Yes it’s short, but it’s a small EP that shows a lot of big ideas.
Tuxic’s riveting concept album ‘Oblivion’ was released through Russian netlabel BleepLove in June 2018. Featuring some fantastic LSDj chops, low-fi drum’n’bass grooves, and hostile progressive metal, this music stood out to me from the moment I first heard it for its strong drive and dynamic execution. Making use of some really interesting pacing decisions alongside active melodies and uneven rhythms, the tight composition creates an intriguingly mechanical feel with incisive focus. This is balanced out nicely by the more free-spirited sound, full of surprises, where even the vocals display quite the stylistic range – composite instrumentation with a penchant for harsh qualities and sudden appearances. The most natural aspects of this album are presented through an artificial texture. The result is engaging, self-contained, expressive, abrasive, and GREAT.
A little over a month ago, Chiptunes4Autism released their highly anticipated ‘Volume 3: Forces of Neurodivergence’ compilation. Spanning around an hour and a half, the album is part of an ongoing fundraising nonprofit run by Gustuf Young (Asperkraken), focused on promoting autism positivity, and empowering people on the spectrum. Uniting a diverse group of chiptune artists from all around the world, with all kinds of backgrounds, Chiptunes4Autism organizes live showcases and a yearly compilation album. The earnings are donated to a few different causes that support opportunities, advocacy, and resources – all while giving musicians, neurodiverse or otherwise, a helpful and accepting community in the process.
Knasibas has been my friend for awhile now, and I’ve been a fan of his music for even longer. In case you haven’t heard of him, he’s a chiptune/bitpop genius who has been featured on Tracked and Chiptunes = WIN compilations, along with releasing music independently since 2015. Inspired by the sugar rush of jpop, the writing in heavier rock/metal, the appeal of videogame music, and EDM sensibilities, Knasibas has a unique overall sound with distinct and memorable melodies.
So now that you know what to expect, I’m really excited to talk about his latest album ‘CRY’. This release has a lot of depth to it, but the great sense of style speaks for itself. It’s inviting, open and up-front, and I find that… comforting. So rather than try to talk about everything and how it works, I’ll be honing in on that sense of comfort, and figuring out why it stuck with me. Hope you like it!
My introduction is going to be a bit of a gushy personal disclaimer. Sometime in mid-February of 2015, I was chilling out at home browsing Bandcamp, skimming ‘videogame’ tags and fan accounts, my primary way of finding new music back then. I stumbled across Kubbi’s album ‘Ember’, a breathtaking experience that I fall in love with every time I hear it. It’s stuck with me all this time, and while I’m sure it’s influenced me as an artist, Ember has done much more to help shape me as a listener. Looking back, some things have stayed the same (I still spend an occasional evening all to myself on bandcamp), but there’s just so much that has changed since 2015. I discovered Chiptunes = WIN, learned new things. I made new friends, left high school, grew up… and now I find myself here. I know I wouldn’t want to be judged for who I was three years ago, and I certainly wouldn’t want my music to be judged by what I made back then either.
So, as honored as I am to be talking about one of my favorite artists, on one of my favorite blogs – I’m going to try and set that aside, and refrain from any comparisons in regards to Kubbi’s past work too. I’m honestly more excited for right now, and the memories that haven’t happened yet. I used to have one definitive favorite album. With ‘Taiga’, I now have two.