Hey there, familia. How’ve you been? Myself, I’ve been digging these here tracks on this compilation.
I, too, am going to go ahead and skip what could be a wordy introduction, and delve into tracks 31 through 40 of this simply amazing volume.
31. ‘Night train (to your town)’ by scythe
Moderately energetic and hopeful in tone, newcomer scythe crafts this melody-focused piece with great care. Layered with arpeggios, sweet chord transitions, and a smooth bassline, it’s not difficult to set this track to an image of meeting one’s love. The wittily executed key change in the final leg of the track gives off the feeling of two long-lost friends reuniting at last; a touching sentiment, indeed.
32. ‘Ich kann dich nicht hören’ by ap0c
Literally translating to ‘I can’t hear you’, ap0c introduces this piece with a rather catchy hook that leads into a series of chromatic ascents and descents. Tempo and time signature changes, in addition to the piece’s constantly changing mood, give the sense of a conversation; for each aural question in ‘Ich kann dich nicht hören’, a response is given, regardless of whether or not said answer ‘fits’ with the theme. ap0c has written yet another masterpiece.
33. ‘TMDC ANTHEM (初音ミク loves 兎眠りおん)’ by 5% SODA
5% SODA’s SoundCloud artist info reads simply: ‘soda writes, miku sings’. An extremely new face in the chipmusic community, this jazzy, free-flowing piece featuring the iconic Vocaloid is one of my personal favorite pieces on the album. The lyrics are silly and the melody is memorable, and the contrast between bubbly synth leads and square chords is pretty unique. I’m quite excited to see in what direction 5% SODA takes their music!
34. ‘tarinmaa boogie’ by laamaa
The build at the beginning ‘tarinmaa boogie’ and its flawless segue into the chorus is INSANE. This track is just packed completely full with intricate sounds, and sounds sleek enough to introduce your non-chipmusic loving friends to this wonderful world of ours…if you haven’t already exiled these ‘pals’. The last forty seconds of the track feature a twist on the song’s prevalent melody; the triplet structure here is a really nice touch and keeps the track feeling fresh till the very end.
35. ‘Ex-Mirage’ by Petriform
As to be expected, Petriform’s track ‘Ex-Mirage’ is energetic, loud, and masterfully written. The track has three moods: intense, which can be heard at the beginning of the track; relaxed, to which the listener is briefly introduced after the intro; and MORE intense, through which ‘Ex-Mirage’ gradually progresses. As the song heats up, sounds layer over each other and the music itself almost sounds as though it overheats at the 3:11 mark. A change in tone, tempo and chord progression evokes images of vast sands and rolling dunes before the main theme of ‘Ex-Mirage’ emerges from the fray. A brief aural easter egg can be heard close to the end of the track; the hook to Petriform’s ‘Plasma Luna’, their Volume 5 submission, can be heard if one listens closely enough. See if you can catch it!
36. ‘Wrong Warp’ by Brick BRKer and Rhyphte
‘Wrong Warp’ is the name of a glitch commonly used by Ocarina of Time speedrunners to bypass an enormous portion of the game. This song is filled with references to OoT, including numerous vocal samples from the game (AAAAAAAHHHHHH) and the descending scales that play when warping out of a dungeon. ‘Wrong Warp’ has some of the most serene passages on the entire compilation between the track’s ending moments and its gorgeous, swelling chords at 2:12. The stark contrasts in volume and mood in this piece, combined with its nostalgic references to a game that was a major part of many of our childhoods, makes this a truly standout track.
37. ‘Souvenir with a Banal Diptych’ by Czyszy
School bells chime at the beginning of this song, which wouldn’t sound at all out of place in a remastered Megaman Battle Network game. While Czyszy notes in the track liners that due to time constraints, this track is probably 99% of his potential rather than the 110% he intended to give, this artist’s 99% sounds pretty damn good to me. Organic guitar and drums are featured throughout the song, but a solo during the more mellow ‘B’-section of the track in particular is sure to blow you away.
38. ‘Bass Itch (feat. 4ntler)’ by DEFENSE MECHANISM
DEFENSE MECHANISM’s second appearance on a ChipWIN compilation is one helluva beat. The track starts off sweetly enough, but right off the bat it’s obvious that there’s going to be a LOT of building-up to the climax of ‘Bass Itch’. A toe-tapping verse leads into a chorus with some vocal samples that definitely didn’t make me spit water mid-drink. I particularly like the use of staccato effects during the chorus, and I’m also a pretty big fan of the metallic, twangy effects utilized in the square channels in the first rendition of the chorus. The vocal samples are used simultaneously close to the end of the track, just in case you forgot about them like I did on my first listen and thought it was safe to put anything in your mouth. This is the only track I’ll be rating on a numeric scale: Ass Bitch/10. Because you can’t spell ‘Bass Itch’ without ‘ass bitch’. In all honesty though, this is one of my favorite tracks on the compilation and I would love to see these two artists working together more often in the future.
39. ‘Automaton’ by Arcane Toaster
Straight out of the 80’s is Arcane Toaster’s ‘Automaton’. This song paints aural pictures of late-night cruising through neon-lighted streets, with chipmusic elements playing a supportive role for cyberpunk-inspired synths and percussion. ‘Automaton’ is a song in which one can discover more nuance to its composition with each listen; for example, a nervous, frantic sequence occurring at the 4:08 mark crescendoes into a slight change in melody and pitch for the remainder of the song. I do wish that the percussion was a little more varied and higher in volume in this song, but the track is well executed nevertheless.
40. ‘Don’t Dance’ by Knasibas
How can you do something like this to us, Knasibas? Are we at least allowed to bob our heads to this up-tempo, heavy-kick-filled track? Knasibas grabs the listener’s attention from the first moment of this track, rarely letting off the gas as ‘Don’t Dance’ plugs along. A brief calmness overtakes the track at the 1:16 mark, as though the listener is nearly caught dancing and stops briefly before resuming their head-banging and moshing. This track is firing on all cylinders for nearly its entire duration, and with the amount of energy contained within ‘Don’t Dance’, it’s sure to be difficult to obey its eponymous command.
That’ll do it for my Volume 7 track reviews! Come back next week and check out Glenn‘s reviews of the final 11 tracks!