This week I’ll be looking back on an album that was released early this year. 2xAA has been a huge impact on the chiptune community supplying it with interesting music, intuitive coding, amazing VJ software, Micro collective and finally the almighty Chiptune Bot!
That’s a lot of stuff he’s contributed to the community! So you can be certain that when 2xAA released his highly anticipated album, ‘Flow’ on ‘Data Airlines’, it’s a big thing. 2xAA made ‘Flow’ using Nanoloop 2 on a Gameboy Advance and has been something he’s working on for a while now, with a few tracks actually played at ‘Chip Bit Day 16’ . Because much of ‘Flow’ has been recorded and is supposed to be a mix, in order to understand each song, you have to listen to the whole album.
The album gets off to a great start, beginning with the party pumping track, ‘Work’. It begins with an incredibly downtempo beat, opting for my staccato melodies and rhythm rather filling the whole scope with sounds. Each sound and instrument sounds tight as hell, both providing a sort cool and elegant style, whilst also remaining mysterious through its choice of grooves, beat and key. ‘Work’ then morphs into the largely different track, ‘Delta’.
Even though both songs use much of the same instruments and styles, ‘Delta’ and ‘Work’ are totally different. You’re immediately introduced to a pounding tonal sound, until breaking into heavy bassy and soulful keys. To me ‘Delta’ moves better than ‘Work’, mainly due to the keys that seem to take it places, from the epic introduction, to the bassy hook, and finally the rather melancholy lead. It is rather majestic and beautiful, and is hard to believe all these soul inspiring sounds are just made on one gameboy advance. The ‘majestic-ness’ is then taken further with a slow and elegant lead, that both full of character as well as sorrow.
From ‘Delta’ we go onto ‘Memory’ which begins on a much lowly note, it’s energy used up in both ‘work’ and ‘delta’. This is a good thing though, as it allows ‘Memory to be a completely different track on it’s own, and building up to an eclectic and hook in middle at ‘1:39’, which is both a shock and also highly addictive. It does this by using the pulsating bass and frantic drums to captivate you, whilst the minimalistic keys add a more sinister tone. ‘Memory’ is a very interesting change from what at the beginning with ‘Work’ and ‘Delta’
Overall Flow is ultimately a masterpiece in its own right, giving something that outsiders could definitely get into. I constantly found myself going back to this album again and again, listening to it’s entirety (with one person I know, citing it as their ‘go to album’ whilst at the gym). It’s also a huge milestone for the use of the Gameboy Advance and Nanoloop. Before this I had only seen people use Nanoloop through very minimal House, and not much else. However, 2xAA has shown Nanoloop can be pushed further! Let’s see if anybody follows suit!
(I’d like to add: I’m glad I got the cassette edition of ‘Flow’ before it sold out. It is the only way to enjoy it, without any pausing.)
This has been a blog post from Chip Bit Sid, a UK based Chiptune Blogger. Along with monthly features here on The ChipWIN Blog, I post once a week on my own blog. To get in touch, please message via the social media links below! I also do my own music under the banner as ‘Kojin’.