Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 6 [Tracks 21-30]

- Posted August 18th, 2017 by

Howdy-ho Chipperinos! No need to waste any time here – you and I both know you’re here to get the hottest takes on these V6 tracks, so let’s not keep you waiting!

Bonus ‘Volume 6’ album art by Guerin,

‘Purple Trampoline’ is what one might call a ‘summer banger.’ It’s a song that starts off slowly, then quickly picks up speed and hooks you with a simple melody that it plays around with – nothing heavy, no proggy complex time signatures, just something very light and fun. It’s one of a rising trend of chipmusic to pair light synthetic chip sounds with synthetic voices from things like Vocaloid for a really interesting effect that you just can’t achieve with hardware-restricted chipmusic. It’s extremely apparent that Tokyo Elvis has worked with the boys at GameChops – this track has all the trappings of the tight driving percussion you might expect out of one of their hip hop remixes. Even the notes of the melody have a percussive quality and every staccato hit of a note helps keep the beat going even when there’s not actual percussion happening.

I love ‘The Light of Justice’ for a lot of silly reasons that have nothing to do with the song itself. I respect the fact that CarboHydroM took the time to compose this in Cubase instead of one of the other DAWs (it’s my DAW of choice, personally). I love that this was CarboHydroM’s love letter to the works of Hyakutaro Tsukumo, composer for Technosoft. And really, as much as I love light summer bangers, my real home is with heavy driving proggy songs like this one that feel like they could have been ripped out of any arcade shoot-em-up over the last twenty years. About the song though – although this song trails off into infinity, I really appreciate how you can really parse apart the different movements within the song. It’s definitely well balanced insofar as you’ve got heavy head-bangy bits alternated with calmer portions with clear bell tones to give you a chance to relax.

‘Funkrstop’ gives you two choices: you can funk, or you can stop. Show of hands, how many of you picked funk? All of you? Exactly. This Bitonal Landscape track is groovy in the traditional sense of the word – it grooves. That’s all this track is just three whole minutes of that good good funk groove with a breakdown in the middle which builds right back into the main melody. It’s a well balanced track that honestly were you to remove the obviously beepy-boopy-bits from it would feel at home in most funky club mixes.

When ‘Puddel’ first started playing, I thought this was a new track from quite a different Nordic duo – namely, it has all the trappings of a xyce song, but actually comes from Fark and Sacio! It’s a pretty short track, but it manages to fit in a few pretty sneaky thematic shifts even though they happen at pretty regular intervals. Just from a compositional standpoint, it’s always fun to pick apart songs like this because it’s interesting to see how people who understand how the ‘formula’ of music works will go and stitch their variations on a theme together over and over until they have a full song. That’s not to say this track is formulaic or predictable by any stretch – merely that with enough time to analyze, you can see what Fark and Sacio were thinking in terms of timings. Is that just a me thing? Am I the only one who likes doing that? Okay…

I’ve said it time and time again on this blog, but I’m always a sucker for well crafted chip-percussion. I don’t THINK Please Lose Battle used drum samples in their track ‘Double Bison’ which makes just how crisp and clear they are really impressive. Aside from the percussion, this track is a fun little heavy metal Famitracker track. It’s always good to see tracks that are there to remind people that there’s genre diversity in the chiptune world – with clear harmonies coupled with harsh dissonance and pounding percussion, Please Lose Battle follows in the grand tradition of Danimal Cannon, Rainbowdragoneyes and so many others who live to show that you can still write headbang-worthy music and play a chiptune show.

SLOW FUNK, BABY, SLOW FUNK. That’s what we get with Masikus’ ‘Stormdancers’ – like if you took a samba and gave it a hit of the good stuff and told it to just chill out a little. The realistic drums over the soft and fuzzy synths really sell this track. I don’t think we ever get songs through here that you could sneak on at a jazz club, but I think Masikus may have just given us our first. Also, much respect for the tactfully placed COME ON – I much prefer that ‘stock chiptune effect’ over things like the LSDJ YAWYAWYAW.

Boy Meets Robot has so much going on in ‘Virtual Duality.’ The whole interplay of the guitar with the LSDJ is a really neat thing musically – it really does feel like there are two different stories happening in this piece that intertwine to tell a bigger one in a way that’s much different than, say, your now-standard chiptune rockband. This doesn’t try to do the epic prog rock guitar chiptune hybrid, it doesn’t try to do pop punk with a Game Boy, it’s just two different voices coming together to play. It’s quite refreshing.

Petriform is one of our repeat offenders – between all of our releases there are now 7 Petriform tracks on ChipWIN compos, and each of them have been really punchy fast tracks except for this one. It’s called ‘Something’s Wrong,’ and I have to ask, Petriform – is something wrong? Are you doing okay? This track is quite the slow heartfelt ballad right up until the end. This is definitely not the track to listen to after watching an emotionally draining movie unless you’re ready for a musical catharsis.

I’m never really sure what to expect with a DonutShoes track – I’ve seen this man do a lot of strange things on stage, but ‘All She Can Have’ is a neat little jazzy tune. So much of this song sounds like it’s being played live in front of you I honestly don’t know how to process it. In my mind I know that yes, this is going to be the same every time, these notes were programmed – but that doesn’t change the fact that it sounds just like someone walked up to a piano and just started laying down the groove. DonutShoes dedicated this song to his daughter, his “ultimate critic and composition advisor.” Maybe we should get her on the next judging committee – she clearly knows a good song when she hears it.

Rounding out this batch of tracks we have ‘I Can’t Sleep’ from RoboRob – a track that I first listened to, in a bout of cosmic irony, when I in fact could not sleep. This track feels much more like a DJ mix than some of the others – there’s a very clear progression of rises and falls with just the right amount of neat effects sprinkled in to keep you guessing. It’s got that strange nonsense-vocal sample thing a lot of songs do these days – and I know it sounds like I’m being down on that but actually I just find the instrumentification of the human voice fascinating since it’s a non-traditional use of those sounds. And really, isn’t that what chiptune is about anyway?

That’s it for this time around. This coming Monday is the solar eclipse – please do your self a favor and ONLY stare at the sun if you have the correct equipment to do so. If I see any of you guys walking around with a stick and huge sunglasses because you melted your eyes watching the solar eclipse…well I mean I guess I wouldn’t do much because honestly that sounds way more hardcore than me, but maybe just don’t okay?

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