Hey ChipWINners! 2016 has been a breathtakingly impressive year for chipmusic. It’s not even the end of February yet and we’ve already seen amazing work from the likes of LITTLE PAW, Awesome Force, Conquer Monster, and many others. While there have been some rising stars and a lot of new talent hitting the scene, chiptune veterans are strutting their stuff as well, pushing our community into the brink of mainstream music culture. One such example would be the legendary Shirobon, whose most recent releases, ‘The Arcade Dream’ and ‘Infinity’, blew a lot of his impressive earlier work out of the water. Just last week, he released his latest work through Hyperwave Records, ‘Dimensions’, and it’s already been received with astounding applause and praise from the community. Let’s take a look at what Shirobon’s EP has in store for us!
Starting off ‘Dimensions’ is ‘Fox’, which combines elements of trance, electro house, and chiptune to create a real banger of a track. A memorable, catchy melody provides an awe-inspiring overtone that’s supplemented by precisely perfect percussion and strong harmonic LSDj arps. The focal riff of this song appears right around the one-minute mark, with the track heightening in intensity until the halfway point. A bassier voice takes over, with sweeps and intricate tonal touches taking a front seat shortly after. The repetitive nature of the song’s theme works in tandem with returns to previously established voices and riffs, and the track is an absolute dancefloor destroyer from beginning to end. Other notable touches include a distortion effect close to the end of the track, in addition to a clear house influenced kick-hihat combination near its introduction.
The third track off of ‘Dimensions’, ‘Crystals’, features Shirobon’s LSDj chops more prominently than any other track on the album. More modern-sounding voices take a supportive role in this techno jam, with the main theme barely straying from strictly 8-bit voices, save for the occasional crash or other percussive swell. Many vocal elements in this track sound as though they’re being processed through the WAV channel, giving them a lower-quality tone commonplace in chipmusic. Noise elements are reduced to a minimum during the halfway point break in ‘Crystals’, and are slowly reintegrated via a hihat-snare duo. The track explodes vigorously, and really kicks things up a notch in terms of its grandiose, splendorous cadence into its chorus just when you think you’d have a break from all the head-banging you just did.
The drum ‘n’ bass masterpiece that is ‘Out Of Love’ is the penultimate track of ‘Dimensions’, with vocals reminiscent of last year’s smash hit, ‘The Ghost That Haunts Us Both’ by Sabrepulse. Duty/noise changes in the introduction are employed cleverly, providing an awesome hook to an already phenomenal phrase, and are utilized throughout the majority of the track’s main voicing. Square octaves are a nice backbone to this marvelously-produced song. The more modern-sounding synths are a nice touch too, whether they’re more of a focus or swelling and pulsating in the listener’s aural background. Fast-paced and containing just the right balance of aggressive kicks and snares, and showcasing a number of thematic elements common to UK chipmusic producers, this is sure to be a fan favorite among followers of the English chipscene.
The last track I’ll be covering, and my personal favorite on ‘Dimensions’, is the hyperactive eurobeat-esque ‘On The Run’. This song closes out Shirobon’s powerful work with one hell of a bang. It’s significantly faster and more aggressive than anything else on the album, hearkening back to the days of popular eurodance music in the early 2000’s. Seamlessly integrating 8-bit and the raw power of eurodance instrumentation, this is sure to turn any typical drive or walk to the local supermarket into the most heart-pounding adventure of your life. The WAV bassline in this song is particularly impressive, but that’s not to say any other instrumentation in this track isn’t. The midsection of this track changes things up a bit by throwing the listener into a triplet-oriented segment, which would probably have caught you pleasantly off-guard had you not just read this.
I had the pleasure of being able to speak with Shirobon concerning his new album and more. I’m ecstatic to present to you our exclusive interview with Shirobon!
Aydan Scott: What’s the concept for ‘Dimensions’ and how did you come up with it?
Shirobon: I’m currently working on a ‘Sega funk’ concept EP. I would say you can expect something mid summer :)
This album is an absolute STEAL at just over $4 USD, and any fan of chipmusic is sure to love this album. This is also an excellent introductory album to get a friend listening to chipmusic, as it combines elements of modern electronic music with the square and triangle waves we’ve all come to know and love. Shirobon’s been an inspiration to chipmusicians worldwide, and his latest release shows that even after many years of being involved with our scene, he’s still got it. Be sure to check him out at MAGFest; he’ll be performing there this weekend!