It’s another year, another excellent selection of 51 tracks, and if you have no idea what I’m talking about then you must be living under the biggest rock. ‘Chiptunes=WIN Volume 5’ is the definitive entry at this point in time. Every track in this compilation was handcrafted almost perfectly for the listening pleasure of the thousands of people who listen to this kind of stuff. And HOLY SHITBALLS LOOK AT THAT ART.
While I’d love to sit here and review every track until my arms bleed, I have other things to do (like listening to Chiptunes=WIN Volume 5). SO, I have been given the task to review the first 10 tracks, and I’ll be doing something a little different for track 9. I’ll let you figure out wh- wait, don’t scroll do- fuck, you really are impatient? Ugh. I guess we’re doing this anyways!
First up on the “chopping block” is ‘Downpour’ by Purely Grey. This starts off the compilation right, with a blaring detuned chord that you could fall asleep to (in a good way). It’s a very emotional start that leads to another pitch rise and a nice, slow, but absolutely infectious beat. Every part of this song, though slow and almost ambient in feel, really makes your head bob to the beat. Leads and instrumentation are near perfect here, and I’d go so far as to say that it’s some of the best I’ve heard in a while.
Now for track 2; Knasibas’ ‘Green Moon.’ Without skipping a beat, Knasibas goes right into it with a totally catchy melody and an absolutely crazy drum and bass beat (which I have a serious crush on any artist that can pull this off). While parts of the song may seem a bit repetitive, it’s a GOOD repetitive. This is one of the few songs you can listen to over and over and not get bored of the sounds. Solos that come in the later half are expertly crafted, and the song as a whole offers some of the best instrumentation I’ve heard from EDM-inspired drum and bass chiptune.
‘Artefact’ by Pain Perdu immediately follows this up and does not give any fucks. Starting off slow, Pain Perdu knows exactly how to set the mood. Even while starting with seemingly simple programming in LSDj, he immediately flips it all around and astonishes you with fantastic swirling arps and a hardcore beat to match. Instrumentation is second to none here, and really makes every moment in this song shine, especially when getting to the chorus, featuring harsh but soothing vibrato chords paired with an amazing melodic lead that I can’t seem to get out of my head. Everything about this song puts it up as one of the best on this album, which is hard to say considering there are 51 others.
After this, we get another amazing track by the one and only Shirobon titled ‘The Itch.’ Shiro is taking NO shit from anyone and immediately coming in with the funkiest track on the entire compilation (in my honest opinion). His mastery of different soundchips really comes to life in this song, and really makes you want to move to the beat. Leads and chords are really well made, and the beat, even after kicking up the pace towards the end, is absolutely solid. Everything about this track has Shirobon written all over it and then some, and that’s saying something.
Next up is ‘Plasma Luna’ by the ever-talented returning artist to Chiptunes=WIN for track 5. Petriform continues to astonish me with his amazing use of chip choruses, and this is quite possibly his magnum opus. Melodies are consistently fresh and never sound dull, boring, or repetitive. The structure of the song is also masterful, as it drifts in and out of hardcore into orchestral and spacey, more-so than his usual style. His signature leads and style is all there and better than ever. It might even be hinting another great full length soon, WHO KNOWS?!
PROTOFLIGHT immediately follows up with a serious mad banger on LSDj titled ‘INFINITE.’ This is the quintessential kind of LSDj track that keeps people moving and grooving. Instrumentation is on point, using detune and vibrato at the right moments, never skipping a beat. Not only this, but the track as a whole is catchy as all hell. PROTO knows what he’s doing in all departments, and it’s why his track shines above a lot of the other LSDj compositions in this album. Definitely one of my favorites.
You thought we were done with jazz? HOO BOY WERE YOU WRONG! pr0xii comes in throwing down with ‘Drift,’ a seamless and beautiful combination of trap, swing, and jazz. While the majority of the backtrack is piano and traditional drum kits, the foreground offers a nice array of samples, crazy leads that will melt your mind, and beautiful arps for good measure. Catchy as all hell, and you’ll find yourself coming back to this track every so often while doing work or even just for fun. An absolutely amazing addition to the compilation.
‘Sex Appeal Towel’ by The Chunderfins certainly lives up to its name. The song is just sex. Blaring guitar solos mixed with the pure pulse lead really get you in a head-banging mood. Arpeggios are masterfully incorporated into the track and provide a nice contrast to the recorded back track and guitar. The song is probably one of the most upbeat ones on this entire album. If you’re ever feeling down, just throw this one on and I guarantee you it will make you feel instantly better.
Next, we have my track, ‘Revenant.’ Rather than being a narcissistic asshole and review my track though, I’d like to go in depth in terms of the technical stuff that I did, my inspiration behind it, and why I even made it in the first place. I tried to really go ham with samples, as not a lot of people who I regularly listen to mess with them in a way that it becomes a major part of the song itself (melodically), even with pitch manipulation and such. I wanted to bring my own sort of style to sampling using a few jazz LSDj patches, and pair it with probably the catchiest melody I’ve written to date (as portrayed further by Stemage).
In terms of why I made it, I have to do a bit of shameless self-promotion. On January 1st 2017, I will be releasing my first LSDj LP (under the name Nanode), and I entered this as a preview of what to expect. So, if you like this track, be sure to follow me on Soundcloud, like my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter for that fun stuff! (Also maybe get some of my older releases off my Bandcamp?)
Finally, Aethernaut comes back with The Chunderfins with ‘Song of Stars – Part 1.’ While I could just cheat here and say “WHOAH IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU BEAT THE GAME AND IT’S THE CREDITS” or something like that, I’ll give you guys a bit more. The track has a lot in the way of soothing melodies and leads, and is a great song to just relax to or even play Animal Crossing (which hot damn it works too well). This track is just packed with a childlike wonder feeling that not a lot of songs can really accomplish. The instrumentation really drives this home too, while still being simple but adding another level of lightness, especially with the use of a music box-like melody towards the end. All and all this track is a soothing one, and definitely deserves your time.
The first 10 tracks of this album really bring the album off to a great start, and set an example of what you’re going to be hearing for the rest of the album. That is to say that there are still some unexpected surprises that I’m sure the other bloggers here will share with you.
GO LISTEN TO CHIPTUNES=WIN VOLUME 5!
– Nanode OUT!~