HEXAWE (which is brilliantly abbreviated from Hexadecimal Awesome!), is an international net label featuring artists and tracks created with LGPT, also known as Piggy Tracker (which is programmed by Marc Nostromo). Managed and run by several bosses who created a ‘low-level chaos wiki’ website, this label has released several compilation albums which include the HEXAWE catalog, casio relapse compo, and the very compilation this review will cover, ‘TURNTNES‘. This 17-track compilation — released on July 16, 2015 — features submissions from an eclectic mix of artists including Peter Swimm, PaK-Zer0, and overnrake (to name a few), and celebrates the 10-year birthday of this beloved program. The hitch? Submissions include a sample pack recorded by Doomcloud (an artist that boasts having traveled around the world 31 times by the ripe age of 14) straight out of his Nintendo Entertainment System with a MIDINES, and were only allocated up to 500k worth of the artists’ ‘own’ vocal samples.
‘ICH.BIN’, the compilation’s winning track, is the product of Peter Swimm. Swimm, whose style can be described as Doom Chip, currently hails from Southern California and is the ‘faceless power’ behind T.C.T.D (True Chip Till Death) and the brains behind the creation of NYC’s Pulsewave concert series. ‘ICH.BIN’, which is German for “I Am”, clocks in at 3 minutes and 33 seconds (half evil, anyone?) and is very reminiscent of early NIN tracks (think ‘Terrible Lie’ and ‘Sin’ off of the 1989 album ‘Pretty Hate Machine’), and boasts an impressive integration of vocal samples, melody, and overall song structure, which is sure to land itself on repeat.
Spanish chip musician PaK-Zer0’s ‘ARISE’, the fourth track of the compilation, is a perfect segueway from Peter Swimm’s melodic ‘ICH.BIN’. His rhythmic, grungy intro is a great accompaniment to the song as a whole, as listeners are sent on a journey into heavy-hitting drum patterns, high-frequency notes, and an insane breakdown by the latter half of the track. The cathartic, punk rock lyrics are reminiscent of the rise of the UK’s hardcore breakbeat music:
New Europe is rising
against the corporate terror
people is fighting,
city squares are our canyons
Some said we were nothing,
Some said we should stop,
our freedom to cry
was there and now it’s gone
‘Ume okaka’, whose track title alludes to both the plum fruit and dried, fermented, smoked skipjack tuna (katsuobushi), is the compilation’s seventh track by Philadelphia/Washington’s ovenrake, whose previous releases include Dreadful Dub, Boys Club and 21 Years of Disappointment. Clocking in at four minutes and thirty-four seconds, ‘Ume okaka’ is stylistically different — less grungy and industrial — than that of its precursor tracks gracing ‘TURNTNES‘ but still very engaging. Noticeably, ‘Ume okaka’ features NO vocal samples, and relies purely on the strength of composition and song structure to lead the audience to its frenetic buildup in the latter two-thirds of the song. Very similar to a 16-bit side-scrolling chase sequence game (or even a cybernetic geometric indie title), ‘Ume okaka’s catchy melody and bright, pop-ish sound contributes to the compilation’s eclectic tone without any hesitation.
‘TURNTNES‘ can be downloaded through Bandcamp at ‘name your price’, and each track’s .dat files (AND samples!) over here. While I have only reviewed three of the compilation’s tracks, I certainly recommend checking out the other submissions which include appearances by New York’s BLEO, Los Angeles’ MrWimmer, Chicago’s d_strct and a heaping amount of more!
This concludes this month’s Chip Treatment — Professor Oakes signing off!