After a month off to focus on other matters, it feels good to be back reviewing music at ChipWIN. ‘Lost’ by Shortee was an album that slipped under my radar last year, but as soon as I started listening to it, ‘Guten Morgen’ immediately became one of my top 10 tracks of 2018. That said, the album has plenty more songs worth delving into, so I wanted to do a showcase on The ChipWIN Blog and dive into Shortee’s debut album.
Whilst LSDJ is used throughout ‘Lost’, Shortee utilises another piece of kit which can be seen as unconventional in the chiptune scene: a turntable. Being a huge fan of ‘DJ Shadow’ and his disk scratching, I was immediately enticed by Shortee’s unique style. Needless to say, my expectations were not misplaced.
We begin with the opening track of ‘Lost’, ‘Guten Morgen’. You may recall that this song was high on my top 10 list, and for good reason. We begin with LSDJ opening up the stage, the rhythm hitting hard from the pulse, wave and noise channels. We then get a sample of Glaswegian woman yelling out, “GOOD MORNING T’ YA”, a somewhat call to something new. Next we get to a sick fill which has an interesting technique, especially for the kick. Instead of cutting it off earlier like most do, Shortee lets it continue, allowing it to spread out. You’ll hear quite a bit through out the album as he likes to utilise it often. It’s welcome a change from the usual clean and cut WAV kicks you mainly hear.
We then get to the meat of the track; the turntable scratching, and Shortee doesn’t disappoint. He definitely has skill and is in his element, constantly on the beat whilst generating creativity with every scratch. It comes to a head after a minute when Shortee sets the scratching into overdrive, the sawtooth sound of the wave channel cutting through everything like butter. This moment of ‘Guten Morgen’ really reminds me of DJ Shadow’s killer track, ‘Walkie Talkie’, having a similar mash up between the scratching and bass. Both clash against each other perfectly. Out of everything ‘Guten Morgen’ is the best example of Shortee’s skill on the turntable and while it’s short, it is extremely sweet.
My next pick is track 3, ‘Smiling Is For Losers’. Whilst this has a lot less scratching compared to ‘Guten Morgen’, Shortee’s attention to detail in sound design, cannot go unnoticed. As usual the kick is thick and bassy, doing much of the work. However we cannot forget the pulse channels, as the melodies they both supply are sublime. as they play off each other. They noodle about left and right, even working with the percussion. Finally, there’s the bass. What I like about this instrument is that, instead of being big and fat, it feels like light and warm. It flows freely around the each each sound and becoming the crux. A nice and fast song, ‘Smiling Is For Losers’ is an upbeat change to what was featured prior.
The final track I’d like to mention is the penultimate song
‘, ‘Guilty’. This has to be the heaviest track off the entire album and really puts the WAV and pulse channels into proper overdrive. It begins with PU1 and PU2 both pulsating through the use of vibrato, whilst Shortee does a little scratching with the turntable. Exciting stuff, however, ‘Guility’ doesn’t really take off until getting to the 1:50 mark, when the devil itself is exorcised out of Shortee’s own Game Boy. Seriously, this is heavy stuff and something I haven’t heard since HarleyLikesMusic’s song, ‘Anchor To Reality’ first killed my headphones! The WAV channel really sounds like it’s screaming as every note rolls out of LSDJ.
My journey listening to ‘Lost’ by Shortee has been a spectacular one. I never thought that you would be able to fuse chiptune with a turntable, let alone play LSDJ alongside it! That is one amazing feat, and one I hope people take note and give it a try for themselves. What a great listen and I hope to see Shortee play live in the near future!
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’.