As I sat down to continue my portion of tracks from Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 4, I found myself rather overwhelmed by the breadth of the task laid before me. In my small chunk of tracks alone there is to be found: a floating sanctuary, a carnival of children, inner strength, the hippest basement you’ve ever not wanted to go to, and the spirit of the universe. To quantify the talent of those involved in this compilation as a whole, or even just my small slice of it, would be an impossible task. Instead of attempting to analyze something that is ultimately beyond my n00b-level knowledge, I’d like to invite you on a journey with me. Over five tracks, we travel through the many realities created by the artists gracious enough to lend their imaginations to us.
6. Parallelis – ‘Eternal Bioluminescence’
The soft tones of piano reflect across the quiet night sea. From above, the stars shine with their eternal light, reaching out from hundreds of thousands of years hence to dance before your quiet eyes. From below, the rolling water gently rocks you up and down as if to slumber. Out of the corner of your eye you spy the rising form of a glowing figure. Drifting, you feel your heart lifting with each soft wave, and with each swell the glowing figures drift ever closer, enveloping you. The soft light warms you in the cool water and, for a moment, your spirit seems to drift free on the tide, lifting upward toward the shimmering surface of the ink-stained sky. Unable to orient yourself in the expanse the dark depths envelop you, welcome you, lead you home. Cradled in the cosmic night, your eyes close. You are content. You sleep… until the gentle sound of lapping waves wake you.
7. Asleep Droid – ‘Dithering’
The sweet scent of cotton candy fills the air, when suddenly she grabs your hand and drags you toward a whirligig of color. Your heart skips a beat as she smiles. Bouncing on toes as the line inches forward, you worry that maybe the day’s heat has made your hand too sweaty, your shirt too clingy, your hair too messy. But she’s perfect, even with the stain on her shirt from where the snow cone dripped. Suddenly she races across the platform to the car, and you have to chase after to catch up. The feeling of steel and a hand on your arm is the only indication that you fell. The heat of the steel is nothing compared to the heat in your face as she helps you up. You mutter an awkward thanks and try not to think about how stupid you must have looked halfway to the floor. How many times have you messed up today? She’s gotta think that you’re the biggest buffoon in town. Taking a deep breath, you sit down beside her, resigned to making it through the ride without looking at her. Buckled next to you, she puts her hand on yours. You meet her shining eyes for a moment before she lightly kisses you on the lips and says, “I wasn’t sure at first, but I think today is gonna be the best day!” You never feel the cart fall from under you as you crest the hill. You’re already flying.
8. Pixeltune – ‘Revolution’
Again. It happened again. It was never supposed to happen again. Dragging yourself to a mirror you look at yourself. Alright, self. What’s the excuse this time? Tired eyes stare blankly back at you. There is no excuse reflected back at you, no convenient ‘why?’. Pushing yourself away from the wall, you throw a jacket on over last night’s clothes. It’s ten minutes before you look up to see where your feet have taken you. A glimpse of a face in a mirror. No excuses. Your body moves away from the window and you push yourself forward. Your footfalls don’t even register in your ears as people flow by you. No excuses. So what’s left? Your breath comes heavily. What now? The texture of the ground changes. Again. Again. Your heart pounds. Your breath finds its rhythm. Your feet find their flow. The ground flows beneath you as one step follows another. One more step away from all the excuses. One more mile away from the memory. You crest the hill and look down on your city. The sun sets on it all. You don’t know what’s left, or what’s next, or what the next step is, but you know the world is still turning and smile as one foot falls in front of the other, taking you home.
9. Theory of N – ‘Pyrrhic’
I am not cool enough to be here, she silently berates herself. She could have been home in her pajamas with her cat, but her friend had insisted on coming her. The lights are dim and only manage to illuminate the abstract motes of smoke that float up toward the ceiling. Fingers tickle ivories and the behemoth of a stand up bass quivers and dizzying notes twirl out of the horn. The music is intoxicating, the intricate notes making her head spin… or is that her drink? It’s gone. Oh well, if she’s going to be forced to sit here she might as well get another. On the way to the bar, a friendly smile catches her eye. Would she like to dance? Oh, I couldn’t, she waves a hand dismissively, I don’t know how! She plunks herself down on the bar stool. Another round. Another song. She checks her phone, another hour passes. The music swirls around her, inviting. Her friend is heading her way. Yes! I’m fine! Dance? No, I couldn’t. Well, maybe. Ok! Fine! Yes. I will try. Determined, she downs her drink strides purposefully onto the dance floor. She swirls. She steps and twirls. She lets her hips bend to the beat as it swings. She becomes a frenzy of movement fueled by liquor and saxophone. She slips. A shoe heel breaks. Her dress catches. It rips. Suddenly sobered, she hobbles to her table, flushing with the realization that, while she may have conquered her fear, she may have payed too dearly in pride. I am not cool enough to be here, she huffs as she sips the water in front of her.
10. Auxcide – ‘Continuum’
She didn’t notice at first when she sat down on the bench next to her. She was too busy watching. All around her people surged in and out of doors, scampered up and down stairs, or shouted above the din. She didn’t notice him until he spoke. “I think you might be the only one that sees it. That each one of these figures is a life, a story, a past, and a future. You see it in them. Do you see it also in the mouse in the corner? Do you see it in the leaves of the trees outside? Because it is there, if you look.” He gestured outside and she her eyes felt compelled to follow. As she stared at the sunlight filtering through the dancing green, she felt a gentle touch on her shoulder. Later she would say that she couldn’t remember his face, even though she must have looked right at him as she spun. All she could remember, she said, were the colors. The beautiful, vivid, glorious colors misting about the room. They were gliding behind a skipping child. They floated, ethereal, among the passers-by. The glimmer around the tree leaves was no longer sunshine. The glow of a woman’s smile was no longer simply the joy inside her, but also the visible spirit within her. “It connects us all,” he intoned. “We are not all born to see, but if we choose to, we can learn to see with our hearts. We are not all born to hear, but if we choose to, we can learn to hear the music.” And for a moment, the colors flashed and moved, each pulse became a note, each breath struck a chord, and the she heard the music that binds us all.
Volume 4 coverage continues next week with five more amazing tracks. Please join us then to see where our next stories will take us…