Aydan Appreciates: ‘Klingsardry’ by Kplecraft

- Posted July 18th, 2019 by

Long ago, deep in the archives of the 8bp community, there was an experimental, Japanese chiptune duo by the name of Kplecraft. Utilizing a wide variety of percussive instruments and a saxophone to name just a few, Kplecraft’s sound is complex in theoretical scope and instrumental diversity. After an eight-year hiatus, they’ve released a new album titled ‘Klingsardry’. Having been released through the Cheapbeats label and recommended to me by Brandon himself – not to mention, its teaser being a fully animated video set to a portion of each track – it’s safe to say that this album was destined to blow my mind.

Commencing the album is ‘Mayayama’, a soothing piece that helps the listener settle in for the easy-going, slow-building…

Wait. Is there something wrong? Is my file corrupt? What is this cacophonous, intimidating…

Oh. The main theme’s returned. Okay! This is…nice. Pleasant, even. I still don’t fully understand what just…

Dear GOD, IT’S BACK! The earth swells to bursting, and something is – or are they THINGS? – writhing beneath me. Soil begins to tear with an arduous crack, and…

Things are not as they seem. ‘Mayayama’ opens falsely, belying the piece’s true psychedelic, progressive nature via a thin, peaceful veil. I get the feeling that the piece originated from its improvisational-sounding saxophone melody, matching perfectly with square instrumentation. Demons and spirits howl and cackle, as the crescendo starting at the 1:28 mark comes to a climactic, cluttered finish. The piece seamlessly integrates its main theme in interesting ways throughout the track, whether it’s the saxophone chugging away in the background as the percussion is brought to the listener’s attention, or slight variants interspersed throughout. There’s a lot going on in this track, and each listen revealed another layer of new techniques and elements hidden within.

The second piece I’d like to introduce to you is ‘Uwabami X’, one of the faster paced tracks on ‘Klingsardry’. Organic instrumentation isn’t immediately introduced, and we’re allowed to experience the full extent of Kplecraft’s brilliant use of the 2A03 sound chip and its VRC6 expansion chip. The VRC6 adds three new channels – two pulse channels and a sawtooth channel – allowing for much deeper, expansive tones than the four-channel 2A03 alone can provide. Explosive chords are intricately and frequently sown across the first forty seconds of the track before the focus is shifted again to stunning brass work. A hauntingly beautiful duet between the focal, forte trumpet and its ethereal, quiet saxophone counterpart ensues before we return to sweeping, gallant arpeggios and chords. The subsequent rapid, staccato square chords combined with pulse channel melodies are jaw-dropping.

Finally, we’ll take a look at the psychedelic, trance-like ‘Shibatomoya 629’, the final piece on ‘Klingsardry’. The track opens with a hypnotic, glitchy crescendo as square channels ascend and descend in pitch repeatedly and with increasing speed. A catchy, hard-hitting melody brings us down a winding aural path. It’s easy to lose oneself in the rhythm of the chorus phrases, yet the incredible sax work somehow snaps us back into focus. The piece returns to its rousing chorus, and starting at the 2:33 mark, something truly otherworldly happens in terms of composition. A brief build occurs before an incredible, partially distorted saxophone solo further breaks the already virtuosic standard set by everything prior. This solo is genuinely one of my absolute favorite moments on any album I’ve ever heard in my life, and I implore you to listen to it thoroughly and with an attentive ear.

Prior to this album review, Kplecraft hadn’t even been on my radar. I’m absolutely ecstatic to have been introduced to this artist by my colleagues, and am honored to have been able to review an album of this caliber. ‘Klingsardry’ is available on Bandcamp for $5 USD as a digital download, and $10 for a CD. Pick up your piece of chiptune history today, because this is an absolutely groundbreaking work of art.

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