Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here again to intro another lovely multi-writer full review of our latest compilation, ‘Celt-tunes = WIN‘! Got four different writers on the glorious task this time, bouncing around from track to track to share their thoughts on this delightful collection of tunes. What are you waiting for? Get to readin’! #Cheers
1 – ‘Cork Hornpipe’ by For Astronauts and Satellites
Right from the vocal sample used at the beginning of ‘Cork Hornpipe’, For Astronauts and Satellites lets their listeners know that they’re in for a new and different feel. This bright
track displays some pretty impressive work in LSDJ. For example, at :43 we’re caught off guard with an attention-grabbing bloop, panning directly into a clever transition. The
sampling and added textures, alongside LSDJ that FAAS uses, keep my attention as the dueling phrases flip back and forth, never getting old. The textures and waveforms, along with vocal samples and cleverly increasing the tempo, emulates the style Irish dance. I’ve revisited this track numerous times, not just because it gets me dancing (and looking like a total dork!), but also as a means to improve on my own LSDJ skills.
~The Unicorn Princess~
2 – ‘It Comes In Pints’ by Soleviio
I personally believe that no track is complete without an arpeggio or twelve, so I was more than pumped to hear Soleviio’s contribution to ‘Celt-tunes = WIN’. Melodic and well thought-out harmonically, the same playful phrase used at the beginning is used to end this tune. I couldn’t help but smile while listening to ‘It Comes In Pints’ because of how the vocal sample choice and playful melody that weaves the story of quirky adventure… and because he gets an A+ in counterpoint! If I was teaching music theory, this track would be my prime example on how to seamlessly navigate through chord changes and scales while making everything sound effortless. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from Soleviio; there is nothing more special than coming across a new artist by chance and being inspired to create music from listening to theirs! ~The Unicorn Princess~
3 – ‘PUBSTEP’ by Phonetic Hero
Normally, seeing dubstep as a descriptor would bring me pause, but my worries were entirely misplaced with Phonetic Hero’s ‘PUBSTEP.’ Having both emulated instruments and chiptune throughout, what results under the artist’s expert craftsmanship is nothing less than an unexpected, exceptional fusion of traditional Irish motifs with modern club aesthetic. The liner notes for the track call this song “the aural representation of the time you went way too hard,” and with the driving rhythm and revelrous melodies, I couldn’t have put it any better myself. ~The ChipWIN-tern~
4 – ‘Foggy Dew’ by Solarbear
It’s solarbear. It sucks. Can we move on? No, I kid – this song, a cover of ‘Foggy Dew,’ written by Canon Charles O’Neill in 1919, is, like the whole of Solarbear’s discography: the furthest thing from suckage. What we have here is two minutes that do everything you’d hope for – it leads you in with the nice, obviously Irish intro; a red herring of the worst kind. ‘Foggy Dew’ then proceeds to break wide open, the panning and increasing pace spinning your head into a frenzy. Then, just as suddenly, you are sat back down at a quiet table with a pint, dizzied in a way that only Solarbear can manage. What a wild ride.
5 – ‘Ferris Wheel’ by Masikus
With live drums and bass plucks that give an FM feel, this track rolls in with an easy-going pace. Combined with its eerie tones, this track gives a feeling of uncertainty, of being lost in a fog. Of the CeltWIN tracks I’m reviewing, Masikus’ gave my ears the most original experience. The ghostliness kept me on edge, and I was fully sold on his creative ability when Baby Mario’s cry gave me a shock near the end.
6 – ‘St Ciaran’s Well’ by Let’s Disinfect!
When I first started listening to this track, I was heavily reminded of a countryside; lots of green fields in my head, lots of acoustic instruments being used (especially a guitar that plays a cute and happy melody), and as I started to wonder when 8bit samples would come in, and if they’d harmonize over the guitar or be used as textures, the LSDJ tracker comes in and totally takes the floor, grabbing the guitar’s melody. A heavy demonstration of good instrumental arrangement, I was especially taken by the heavy bitcrushed percussion; a surprising contrast to the snare used at the beginning. Both on the acoustic frontier, but also in the world of note-trackers, ‘St Ciaran’s Well’ shows Let’s Disinfect!’s love for music; it takes a certain type of artist to take two disparate worlds and melt both into one song. I have respect for any artist who does something different with a sense of confidence, which is what makes Let’s Disinfect! unique to me. ~The Unicorn Princess~
7 – ‘O’Cat Sullivan’ by Janx
True to form, Janx’s entry blends artistry with absurdity and creates a truly unique addition to St. Patrick’s Day history. Not only did she find a way to refresh the classic lament of longing for one’s distant love with the relationship between a human and their cat, she managed to make it ear-wormingly good. Besides, how many laments have you heard that stop for a freestyle breakdown? #EatAFishFillet ~Viridian Forge~
8 – ‘Kernow’ by Windfallen
Close your eyes and picture a group of adventurers in long cloaks wandering through a deep forest during light rain. Hit play on Windfallen’s track and you’ll hear the soundtrack to those images. ‘Kernow’ is nothing short of gorgeous. Flutes make for a haunting
melodic lead along side powerful rhythms and sidchip. Here, Windfallen displays a knowledgeable mixing hand; pairing instruments together without losing a single one in the mix. This song represents all the fantasy-inspired themes from Celtic folklore – a sense of nostalgia, wanderlust, and mystery. Listening to this lifted me and made me feel like I was back in the UK. There’s something dark and enchanting about that part of the world, and this track is the perfect score to it’s rainy levels. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Windfallen composes for video games, and I’d definitely love to play one scored by this musical storyteller. ~The Unicorn Princess~
9 – ‘Pints’ by Together We Are Robots
If anyone ever says that you can only listen to Celtic music around St. Patrick’s Day, they’re a liar. Being from the Boston area, ‘Pints’ by Together We Are Robots hits close to home. This is what Irish pubs around here sound like. This song kicks off with a duet of LSDj and background chatter, adding in vocals perfectly suited to the genre. The singer’s forceful voice narrates a drinking song, as the notetracker leads the way with blips, and the guitar harmonizes. Emulating the sound of a pub, background noise and friendly chatter come back at the end, putting the listener in the space with the sound of glasses clinking. You can hear how fun it was creating this track; there are so many voices in the background, breathing life into the recording. I think he would do well if he a set on the road and played in this area, especially around March 17th!
~The Unicorn Princess~
10 – ‘The Adventures of Zoe and Bertrand’ by Orion Reilly
Dedicated to Orion Reilly’s two friends who just had a baby, ‘The Adventures of Zoe and Bertrand’ is a pastoral composition soothing enough be played in any baby’s crib. Reilly’s love of Final Fantasy shines through, with a blend of chipsounds with piano/bells and slowly building choral backing in parts. At over six minutes, this looping piece hearkens back to those classic RPGs. The overall effect of the piece is calming enough for a town theme, while still inspiring a sense child’s sense of wonder. ~The ChipWIN-tern~
11 – ‘Aibhleog’ by Azuria Sky
While this song wouldn’t fit a raucous night at the pub, its combination of determination and smoothness
do well as the backbone of a chanty. Imagine a crew at sea, and while their destination is unclear, and the seas whipped by storms, their spirits are unshaken. Belting ‘Aibhleog’ from deep within their bellies, these salty sailors find their spirits floating above the thunder and lightning. Take that to heart, and this track will surely see you through difficult times. ~DjjD~
12 – ‘SOULS OF WAR’ by Ayoshutduff
Opening steadfast and resolute with smooth horns and fading strings, ‘SOULS OF WAR’ gave me the impression that I observing the self-reflections of veteran who’s seen too much. At 1:15, the sound of a sword being unsheathed heralds an end to that reverie. It is time to move. The pace quickens, the tension heightens, and the drums entering at 2:15 drives the music forward to its climax. A squelch of noise relieves the tension, and the track fades to silence leaving the listener to decide the veteran’s fate. ~DjjD~
13 – ‘Gold In The Coffin’ by The Fluorescent
THIS is what I wanted out of this album. As I sit here drinking my Guinness, drunk at 3:30 in the morning, this track is so infused with the spirit of St. Patrick’s day that I don’t care that it’s already passed. I’m just so glad to hear a chip-jig, and this track should be the textbook example. It is amazing with great vocals, and a clap track that demands your feet on the floor. So, pour a drink, dance around in your 8-bit glasses, open your windows and pour green shamrocks onto the street. ~DjjD~
14 – ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ by Ap0c
Ap0c’s cover of Whiskey In The Jar puts an upbeat FM-synth spin on the folk song about a highwayman betrayed. The warmth and fullness of Ap0c’s sound design brings a zest and life that gives the song a new lease on life, transforming into a drinking song fit for any room filled with friends, booze, and PCs full of good old abandonware games.
15 – ‘An Cailín ó Neidín’ by Joseph Eidson
Faith and begorrah, chip-bagpipes! Of the tracks I’ve reviewed, ‘An Cailin ó Neidín is quite possibly the most Celtic in the traditional sense. I’d expect no less of one of ChipWIN’s own, and I fear what I can write won’t do him justice. The instruments are excellent chip renditions of their real world counterparts. The composition is, simply put, the very definition top class work Its themes simply seize hold of my mind, flooding it with images of a idyllic hill villages, where time slows and life is merry. If I had to describe this track with a single sentence, I’d ask you to picture Final Fantasy meeting Irish folklore.
16 – ‘Rain For The Waiting’ by NESMETAL
‘Rain for the Waiting’ embodies the atmosphere of a tempestuous mid March storm. Channeling the spirit of the heavy hitting music of SNES era RPGs, NESMETAL brings a track that hits like March weather. The composition comes in with whipping winds and spitting rain and exits with the parting of clouds and warmth of the sun. ~Viridian Forge~
17 – ‘Quare Frolic’ by Origami Repetika
Origami Repetika’s ‘Quare Frolic’ is a light and airy two minute romp. In a world of straightforward time signatures and Game Boys, it’s refreshing to hear something like this inspired Renoise composition. It’s a breath of fresh air! Quite apropos, with its light runs and shining motifs, this song conjures up images of sunny days and cool breezes. So much so that this song literally made me want to go frolic outside. ~The ChipWIN-tern~
18 – ‘Seven Drunken Nights’ by Sam Mulligan
Sam Mulligan delivers a chip-rendition of Seven Drunken Nights that works on every conceivable level. Rendering a traditional drinking song with chipsounds redoubles its ability to encourage the mass consumption of liquor. However, Sam’s delivery of the lyrics puts the ribbon on the package, as he grows drunker and more incredulous with every new explanation the tale’s wife uses to hide her infidelity. A tin whistle indeed.
19 – ‘Danny Boy’ by Nestrogen
The epitome of the Irish Trad, if ‘Danny Boy’ hadn’t made it onto this compilation I would have been left feeling incomplete. So thank you to Nestrogen for coming through with the cherry on top. This is the quintessential chiptune remix – while only clocking in at only barely over a minute, the quality composition makes up for its brevity. Starting off slow and heartfelt, the tune immediately jumps into a peppy rave mix. This short track packs in everything you could want: supreme instrument crafting within LSDJ, a high enough BPM, and a thumping bass that makes you want to move. ~The ChipWIN-tern~
20 – ‘Goodbye’ by Stenobot
Beyond the obvious reason, this is one of the most appropriate ending tracks chosen in the history of album track organization. Stenobot’s combination of hammered dulcimer and sweeping chiptune arps will put the warmth of fond remembrances in even the coldest heart. It’s Stenobot’s haunting lyrical performance the really pushes the track to the edge of tear welling. So, pints up around the bar, and here’s to another gorgeous compilation! ~Viridian Forge~