Square Therapy, also known as Jason Doss, is a relatively new artist within the chiptune community, but has made a splash with his debut on Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2. ‘Miracle Max & The Cliffs of Insanity’ has an upbeat sound similar to many tracks by chiptune musicians such as Anamanaguchi and Slime Girls. Square Therapy’s self-titled EP, however, reaches deep into his progressive rock and metal roots to create a phenomenal sound comparable to the likes of Danimal Cannon.
Two tracks on the EP stand out as entirely different from the others. Opening track, ‘Sleeper’, is reminiscent of Trent Reznor’s (Nine Inch Nails) earlier work on ‘The Downward Spiral’. The track has a very industrial, rough quality to it. ‘Only the Unloved Hate’ can be seen as a prelude to the final song on the EP, ‘Dreamer’. It provides a lavish, calming piano backdrop to the famous, motivational speech on liberty given by Charlie Chaplin at the end of the classic film, ‘The Great Dictator’. The chords and soothing melody are absolutely beautiful, and provide a striking contrast to the tracks appearing before it.
As was previously mentioned, Square Therapy’s metal influences shine in the earlier tracks. ‘The Annexation of Puerto Rico’ blasts the listener with blistering riffs and is extremely high energy. Catchy melodies between the solos bring the listener back to a familiar theme before launching them back into a heavier, more intense sound.
The third track, ‘I am the Gate Keeper’, is a little bit faster than the previous track, but has an even heavier feel to it. This is the kind of track that, if it were to be played at BRKfest or MAGFest (wink wink), would start up a mosh pit. This is by far the track with the most energy on the EP. In addition, Captain Falcon shouts out his Super Smash Bros. catchphrase; listen closely before the breakdown. One of my favorite chiptunes to date.
The final track on the EP, ‘Dreamer’, returns to a brighter, more pop-ish sound, similar to ‘Miracle Max’. Fantastic guitar riffs are showcased throughout the song, showing that Square Therapy’s musical talents don’t only lie within the realm of chip composition. The track takes a short breather around the halfway mark, but with an exciting build-up the track returns to the same fantastic, upbeat theme showcased throughout the first half.
This up-and-coming chiptune artist brings something new and innovative to the chiptune community. His second release is in the works, and while a release date hasn’t been announced, it can’t come fast enough. Expect BIG things from this man in the future.