ChipWINners might remember Ayoshutduff from his tracks on volumes 2, 3, 5, and Celt-tunes, which were all quite memorable in their own rights. While he may have released a limited number of actual albums, his library of singles is quite expansive, both in quantity and in a stylistic sense. From bass-heavy hits to video game remixes and symphonic, atmospheric RPG-inspired sounds, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that he CAN’T pull off. His latest album, ‘CHIP ZONE • #003’, is an aural journey with underlying tinges of nostalgia and an insatiable curiosity for space. Make sure to secure yourself in your seat, and ensure that your listening pods – be they external or semi-internal – are functioning properly. This is your captain Aydan speaking, and we’ll be reaching your tonal destination in 3…2…1!
Our first stop will be at the renowned ‘STAR ATLUS’ in which we’ll encounter colossal kicks, explosive snares, and an overall marvelous, electro-house themed introduction to this adventure. A catchy riff by the beginning of the track works quite well when combined with the machine-like hammering of the percussion. Melodically, synths are the dominant voice throughout ‘STAR ATLUS’, and after your second or third listen you may or may not find yourself air-keytaring along with the music. You have been warned. Its musical structure may not be particularly groundbreaking, but what it does, it does well; it’s a wonderful way to ease into this chill, relaxing soundscape of an album.
Next, we’ll be peering into the cosmic oceans of ‘YEAR 20XX’. This song is introduced with a memorable riff, and instruments are layered with each phrase until noise percussion enters, rounding out the suite. Hi-hat runs in the background of the listener’s experience are an appreciated touch, as are the percussive sequences that follow soon after, which can be described as a sort of static, staccato shuffle. Square sweeps are present at multiple intervals in the track, with them being utilized to their fullest starting at around the 1:18 mark. The transition from this phrasing to an arpeggiated version of the same tune is quite interesting, and is a highlight of the track. Square voices are later used after the 4:00 mark during a brief break to give the impression of seagulls flying overhead; this particular effect is reminiscent of Disasterpeace’s work on the FEZ soundtrack, one of the most recognizable game soundtracks to this day. At the very end of ‘YEAR 20XX’, a slow increase in volume over a tone in the noise channel calls to mind waves crashing to shore, and combined with the repetition of bird-like pitch bends, the track closes out quite nicely and is certainly one of the best on the album.
The bright, calming nature of ‘PHAZON LIGHTS’ will be our penultimate stop here in the CHIP ZONE. Harmonic synth chords evoke a nostalgia for the 80’s and open up the song nicely. These chords are prevalent throughout a majority of the track, with other voices floating back and forth fluidly between different rhythms and melodies. During the latter half of the track, the voicing of the chords changes for a moment and becomes significantly quieter; simultaneously, the bassline vanishes while the percussion and lead voice are altered, leading to an interesting bridge consisting of claps, a pizzicato-esque version of the main chords, and a lead melody similar to the type of whistling you might hear in an old Western standoff. If you’re into chill jams, ‘PHAZON LIGHTS’ will be just as beloved to you as it is to me.
Finally, we arrive at our destination – the ‘FINAL ZONE’ of our travels is at hand! The song begins rather calmly before supernova snares punch into the listener’s perception, and the track swells to the point of bursting. A rapid decrescendo into a flawless segue between phrases is nothing short of genius, and the stellar arpeggiation featured not long after is equally amazing. My solitary qualm with this track would be a pause in the track that feels just slightly too long; this is a minor blemish on an otherwise deep, heartwarming song. The climax of the track hits just before the end of ‘FINAL ZONE’ at about 5:10, notable for its use of sweeps in the noise channel that are calligraphic in nature. Each hit is a brushstroke, painting the finishing touches on this galactic canvas of an album, while every other voice is the ink. Rapid decay marks the very end of our voyage, and rounds out this piece of artwork nicely yet modestly.
‘CHIP ZONE • #003’ is available through Russia’s blossoming Tracked label, from which you may recall a number of phenomenal chipmusic albums (and a review of mine from last year!). The album can be purchased for $4, which includes seven tracks from the main album and two songs remixed by Masikus and Purely Grey, both wonderful artists in their own rights. This is DEFINITELY not a release to be passed on for such a low price tag. This voyage is worth every penny; I know I’ll be getting light years of mileage out of this album. Until next time, this is your captain Aydan, signing off!