Hello, ChipWINners! We’re nearing the home stretch of our track-by-track look at the awesomeness that is Chiptunes = WIN Vol. 3. We’ve heard some incredibly talented and diverse artists so far, and that trend definitely continues here. We have some seriously impressive tracks to cover in today’s batch, and would you believe that 4 out of 5 of them are newcomers to a ChipWIN comp? Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
STAR☆DRIVER – Super Collider
STAR☆DRIVER wastes no time in getting straight to the hotness in his ravetastic track ‘Super Collider’. Combining a frenetic lead with a solid four-to-the-floor beat, ‘Super Collider’ is the musical embodiment of kinetic energy. About halfway through the jam,
STAR☆DRIVER unleashes many extra flourishes which take things to the next level such as bleeps on the upbeat, a growling WAV channel, and effective use of stereo, all of which keep things interesting and very upbeat right up until its abrupt ending. To those who are of the opinion that 1 X LSDJ isn’t enough at this point to make a splash in the scene, let this track serve as a friendly reminder that a single Gameboy in adept hands is more than enough to craft a killer jam that makes people stand up and take notice.
Talkboy Arcade – Azure Skies
Talkboy Arcade returns to the ChipWIN comp since his awesome Vol. 2 track, ‘The Longest Distance’. This time around, we have a much more subdued, but no less rich of a track on offer. A sweet lead melody yo-yos to and fro and is complimented by a softly undulating supporting voice which adds to the serene atmosphere. Like a dandelion on the wind, these tones drift and flutter about, while always remaining beautiful and coherent. The bass and percussion remain quite upbeat, leaving the track to ultimately lay somewhere between ambient and energetic. Upon repeated listening, I’d have to say that Talkboy Arcade has crafted a unique style of energetic ambience, which is in and of itself a breath of fresh air.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to give props to Kubbi‘s excellent sequencing on Vol. 3. Sequencing a 51-track album is no small feat, and here once again the listener is wisely given a moment of respite between 2 intense tracks, and hoo boy when we get to this next one, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Masikus X Mega Beardo – Across the Chipth Dimension
Masikus and Mega Beardo join forces for the benefit of all humanity in their sci-fi flavored chipmetal odyssey, ‘Across the Chipth Dimension’. It’s been great to see some solid metal tracks materialize on this year’s compilation, all of which perfectly combine and balance chipmusic with supremely rocking guitar and double bass. In the context of the theme of this particular track, it could not be a better fit. A spacey opening sets the stage and quickly gives way to a thunderous, glorious metal guitar riff. Eventually the main chip lead follows and plays along with the guitar exactly, including the solo, creating a delicious blend that is backed by atmospheric synth pads all the while. It doesn’t get much more grandiose than this, and by the end of the 5 minute excursion, you’ll be searching for a new face.
Chema64 – Kahlo Overdrive
Here we have another 1 X LSDJ masterpiece, ‘Kahlo Overdrive’ from Chema64. Hailing from Mexico City, we’re shown again (and not the last time on this comp) that the language and love of chipmusic spans worldwide. Chema64 brings some serious glitch aesthetics to his contribution. A hypnotic lead melody travels up and down its scales with wild abandon while a deliciously dirty and glitched-out bassline sizzles the low end into submission. About the only thing that can be predictable about this track is the steady beat. That is, until one of the song’s many headbangingly climactic breakdowns. This is a track that begs to be cranked up to 11 to hear the clarity, as well as the beautiful method to Chema64’s madness.
Tuberz McGee – Cathexis
Utilizing Famitracker with the VRC7 expansion chip, Tuberz McGee brings us a truly astonishing contribution to ChipWIN Vol. 3. ‘Cathexis’ starts out with a suave, almost jazzy opening phrase, its lead melody gliding and modulating to create a distinctly memorable tone. Percussion is somewhat hollow, placing the majority of the emphasis on the exceptionally crafted chipsounds which evolve before our very ears over the course of the song. Somehow Tuberz McGee has managed to squeeze multiple Acts into a 3:20 long composition. After the rising tension of a blissfully staccato solo, ‘Cathexis’ retreats back to mellow territory at 1:26, the bass rising even higher than the lead melody for a moment. This isn’t even its final form. We’re suddenly in the midst of a full-on classical baroque composition with all the requisite ornamentation. The unexpectedness of it all makes it that much more effective. This is definitely one of those tracks that needs multiple listens in order to catch everything and fully appreciate this highly expressive work.
That’s it for today’s collection of tracks for Chiptunes = WIN Vol. 3. We’re going to take a short weekend break and will be back for the big finish next week. I don’t think you need me to tell you that you do not want to miss the finale! Until then… keep your heart and hands held high!