Based out of Melbourne, Australia, tiasu is an incredibly prolific chipmusician. His name should ring a few bells in the minds of avid fans of the genre, but especially in followers of the Chiptunes = WIN blog. ‘Rising’ is the most recent in his series of uniquely charged chipmusic albums, and can be considered the direct sequel to his last album, ‘Insomnia‘. Additionally, this album is his third full-length release in 8 months, and the quality is just as good as – if not better than – ‘Insomnia’. Combining elements of chipmusic, progressive metal, synthpop, electro, and other types of modern electronic dance music, this album is truly one of a kind. Let’s explore it in a little more detail.
The album’s title track opens calmly and harmoniously, utilizing ambient effects and chip-voiced arps in order to set the mood for this aural odyssey. A crescendo allows tiasu to segue into the track’s melody and main groove. Rhythmically an almost swing-like structure can be heard, with fluid triplets and open-sounding percussion helping to carry the track’s main melody. As amazing and fluid as ‘Rising’ is, I have one qualm with this particular track: the cut at the end of the song feels too sudden, and it’s a tad disappointing to have such an epic track end with such an abrupt transition. Let it be known, however, that this is quite literally the only problem I encountered when listening to this album, and it’s one of miniscule proportion.
Not long after the album begins, the listener is bombarded with the hard-hitting, electro-influenced ‘Metamorphosis’, my personal favorite track on ‘Rising’. The entire song sounds like it could be from a shmup game (shoot-em-up), featuring a memorable yet complex and frantic melody. Numerous synth solos dot this soundscape of a song, and are brought to the listener on a sort of musical platter; the heavy bassline coupled with simple percussion and chip arpeggios sprinkled throughout create a wonderful garnish. This track is energetic up until the very end, where a quick fade-out is executed perfectly.
Immediately following ‘Metamorphosis’ is another phenomenal track entitled ‘Exacerbate’. The first time I listened to this song, I had to check the song ID to make sure I wasn’t listening to Benjamin Briggs. Stylistically, the instrumentation sounds very similar to Briggs’ work on ‘FEARLESS LIVING‘. tiasu quickly transitions to his signature electro/chip fusion sound, and the second he does, all of the voices change instantly, which I feel is a nice and expertly executed touch. This sharp change in mood could have been used multiple times in the track, but tiasu rejects that notion and instead uses this initial change as a gateway to an impressive, almost minute-long solo that hits around the 2:26 mark. A brief return to the originally established mood occurs in the last seconds of the track, and provides a clever finish to ‘Exacerbate’.
The influence of progressive metal is sparse throughout the album, but no track exemplifies its effect on ‘Rising’ better than ‘Descend’. The penultimate song of tiasu’s latest masterpiece mixes two time signatures together flawlessly, alternating between a regular 4/4 and a complex 7/8 flawlessly. A combination of rhythmic guitar, chip voices, incredible synth solos, and heavy percussion makes for an unforgettable and incredibly intense song. Tensions rise with every transition to the main melody and its variants, up to the extended solo in the last minute of the track. tiasu proves to his listeners with this track that his knowledge of musical genres and styles knows no bounds, and this is sure to be a favorite among progressive music lovers.
The album’s final track, ‘Plummet’, begins as a vast departure from the remainder of tiasu’s musical material within ‘Rising’. Opening with a variety of orchestral instruments ranging from the xylophone to the flute and even incorporating string instruments, the track lulls the listener into a melodic realm before morphing into the familiar swing-esque vibe of ‘Rising”s title track. The throw-back to the familiar sounds of the first track is a splendid way to close out the album, while intermingling several orchestral instruments throughout provides a significant difference that entirely changes this almost official anthem to the album.
All in all, ‘Rising’ is the culmination of tiasu’s musical talents into one of his heaviest and technically impressive albums. From here, tiasu’s sound and style can only expand, and I’m truly curious as to what tiasu will be releasing in the future, especially should he continue this Savant-like trend of releasing music. Each track is polished and perfect, and given the brief timespan in which ‘Rising’ and ‘Insomnia’ were released, the content within has left me simply awe-stricken. Consider sending a few dollars this artist’s way to support his future musical endeavors; if not, tiasu denies no one the enjoyment of the ‘Rising’ experience, as it’s a pay-what-you-want release should you choose to download it.