Those of you who are in the know have probably already heard the 51 rockin’ tracks that comprise the newest compilation from the team over at Chiptunes = WIN. But for those of you who are looking for some more info, that are new to the Chip Realm, or are seeking different perspective on the tracks, the crew here at the ChipWIN Blog will be, over the course of the next few weeks, reviewing the *massive* Volume 3 compilation track by track, artist by artist. Starting off this week it is I, First Lady Ryn, the resident Chiptune Newb and Chip Mom, who will be sharing the first six amazing tunes with you!
Victory Road – Ceilings
Starting off the compilation with upbeat melodies, Victory Road begins the album with a beautiful deception. Not only does the bouncy beat belay the true message in what the artist dubs his “first ‘my town sucks’ song”, but the lengthy build-up eventually gives way to some of the best recorded chip vocals I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The song is so excellently crafted in LSDj that you would swear you were listening to a full band complete with all the traditional trappings. What you are getting instead is one man with a Game Boy rocking your face off.
Phonetic Hero – Super Bravo Boys DX
The only artist that can boast a track on all three ‘Volume’ compilations, Phonetic Hero – known as honetic hero to his close and personal friends – is back once again with his latest funky selection, ‘Super Bravo Boys DX’. The wide variety of textures and tones that are blended masterfully by Mr. Hero are what I’ve come to think of as part of his signature sound. Here he has crafted a melody that, even for the most two-left-feet of us, helps grooving come most naturally. So kick off your shoes and do the Hoodie Shuffle!
Wizwars – Splash of Summer (4 Loko)
If you want an example of the excellence that West Coast chip has to offer, vetran Wizwars is your man. Often labeled a chipthrash artist, this time around Kevin is channeling the sun soaked sands and palm tree lined, skateboard infested sidewalks of LA with ‘Splash of Summer (4 Loko), a high energy tune blending 2xLSDj and guitar. The catchy melody will stays with you for days, pumping up your mood and helping the time fly by. This song goes straight to the top of any summer anthem list!
Zackery Wilson – Straight Chownin’
Named for the father of FM synthesis, John Chowning, Zackery Wilson’s ‘Straight Chownin” blasts out of the gate. Lush textures paired with powerful leads gives this track an immersive quality. The feel of the song is, to me, very much the best of Mario Kart. Listening, you can see yourself power-sliding through the last curve and then taking your victory lap on Rainbow Road. Don’t let the stereotypical Mario comparison fool you, though! This song is as intricate and strong as it is catchy and nostalgic.
James Landino – Red
There is so much sheer power in this song, I am at a loss to describe it. I know very little about composing software, so to me, what James Landino has achieved here with ‘Red’ is much akin to magic. There is an expansive quality to the song, something that tugs at the memory of fighting up a long hill while running, being pushed along by the rhythm more than my legs, wanting to quit, but instead conquering. The prize at the end of my trek? A vast expanse of sunset, the sky turning ever deeper shades of red.
Astroskeleton – Far From Home
A little bit surf rock and a little bit punky, this selection from Astroskeleton combines Famitracker with live drums, bass, and guitar. Getting away from home is a right of passage that almost all of us can relate to, and that leave-taking evokes excitement, trepidation, and the sense of longing that come when you realize that no matter how hard you try, your grilled cheese will never be as good as Mom’s (or was that just me?). ‘Far From Home’ has the high energy typical of an Astroskeleton offering with the slight sense of longing one would expect of an album of this title. The artist reminds us, however, “no matter how far from home you are, we still love you”.
Much love to you folks, and stay tuned for the next section of track-by-track breakdowns for Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 3, available now to download for the price of your choosing at the Chiptunes = WIN Bandcamp!