Everyone has a high-pitched scream reserved for something, and I have to confess I had one especially loud waiting for this moment. That’s right; the time has come for me to write about some quality tunes. So let’s put the long introduction aside and let’s take a look over ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 8’, tracks 31 to 40.
31. ‘Scooter Rally’ by dogs++
Dogs++ makes the intention clear from the beginning and introduce us to a realm of authentic enjoyment. The main motif makes its appearance showing off a wacky tone and is restated a few times, securing it will stay in the listener’s head for a while. The little variations at the end of each phrase and the more serious midsection give to the track the roundness needed to keep the cohesion and feel complete. All the effects used, the little bark near the end, and the ‘fake final’ before it fades out make more than obvious that dogs++ had a blast making ‘Scooter Rally’, which is transmitted to the listener – and that’s always appreciated.
32. ‘Elbel’ by Viktor Kraus
Bright and cheerful are two adjectives that could describe ‘Elbel’, but, even when those two words fit perfectly, they can’t contain the whole liveliness and intensity this track radiates. Beyond the cute character of the tune and the discernible technical features that can be heard, Viktor Kraus adds a sparkle that, at times, seems to go beyond my grasp to put into words. The notable sense of direction and purpose the guitar provides is the support necessary to ‘fluff’ the melody and sustain the tone of the track allowing a major evolution of the theme. The little future bass-like transition is a nice detail. It serves not just as a little ear refresher, but it also acts as a silky bridge between instrumentations.
33. ‘Try Hard Life’ by Boy Meets Robot
Boy Meets Robot doesn’t mess around and directly delivers to us a majestic piece of music that will fill our hearts with determination. The masterful use of white noise combined with arpeggios makes manifest of the upbeat energy necessary to connect with the listener, these resources are complemented by the skillful performance of his guitar and vocals and crowned with a wholesome message that, every once in a while, we all need to hear. The little details contained on the song, from the panning effect to the powerful and well thought-accents, are more than enough to provide a warm and sincere tone that enhances the intention and makes sure to us to enjoy and remember this experience – especially when the guitar solo appears.
One little thing I’d like to make mention is that Boy Meets Robot made the save file available to download. So a huge thank you to him, for the save file and the inspiring tune.
34. ‘Galactic’ by National Broadcast Network
National Broadcast Network hits the listener from the second one with a crunchy bass that doesn’t stop. The openness and depth provided by the heavy guitar and the drums are the perfect formula to establish an aggressive mood, almost defensive. The arpeggios added on some sections augment the crispiness of the entire sound and somehow help to bring in contrast and variety. The amalgam of those elements builds a scene of slight tension as if it was ready to attack, but it contains itself from the action. ‘Galactic’ is an interesting work, not just because of the election in the sounds, but because it shows us a work out of the ordinary.
35. ‘1cc’ by ナイトテラー
‘1cc’ has a mysterious quality that will haunt the listener for three minutes and forty-nine seconds. The obscure pads and deep bass attract the attention as the piece advance little by little setting an odd ambience. It’s just when the track gets to the drum break section that it feels like a chase. The speed of the drums followed by the bass is faced to the sustain pedals played by the pads in a wild, breath-taking episode. ナイトテラー (Naito Terā) makes excellent usage of the instrumentation to give us a fascinating, thrilling, and not necessarily unsettling experience.
36. ‘Home’ by PICE
A warm feeling takes over the listener as a colorful melody opens its path through a diffuse start. That mild sensation is tightened when the track gets to a more calmed stage and a piano can be clearly heard on the background, giving some nostalgia hints that are countered by a later reiteration of the main theme. That short, but expressive, passage speaks directly to the listener’s heart in a tender yet very direct way. The comfy and peaceful atmosphere that PICE creates not just transport us to a little, heavenly space, but it actually feels like home.
37. ‘On Fire’ by Kabayama
Kabayama kicks down the ‘New Challenger door’ with ‘On Fire’. The refreshing harmony and the patent inclination to glitch-hop, alongside with the clever usage of two LSDjs, make of this track an exciting journey. The composition allows the listener to create expectation at the time the song builds up tension that, inevitably, finds its way of resolving through a crazy drop. The appealing melodies topped with tasty arps are just one of the things that make this tune memorable. Probably one of the most alluring aspects on this track are the drums. The captivating swing and general structure and design of the drum section stands out, without mention the use of samples in some sections that help to keep the interesting and emphasize the mood. ‘On Fire’ is a perfect illustration of dedication to the craft and the attention to detail. So I’d recommend you to keep an eye on Kabayama’s work, I know I will.
38. ‘Date with Density’ by Karl Brueggemann
Every single time an FM tune pops out on a Chiptunes = WIN compilation my wish is granted, especially if Mr. Brueggemann is behind said synthesized goodness. ‘Date with Density’ is a wonderful combination between a relaxed aura and an energetic background. The sweet melody floats gently over the bouncing bass line, making the interaction between the PSG and FM patches flow with a remarkable sense of lightness. The strong drum groove completes the scene and pushes forward the track, of course, all of this in the most natural way possible and with a clear bet for balance. Everything around this tune is so organic, so pure, so genuine: so human.
This track is really deep and solid, not just in the compositional sense, but also in the emotional dimension. It has a nice contrast between the slow melody and the fast drums that create a delightful, dreamy sensation. It gives its place to the melody, but it doesn’t put aside the instrumentation, making clear, one more time, the line between working with the sounds and working for the sounds. It’s a magnificent work that will drift us beyond our mental boundaries and to our date with destiny.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: the world needs more people as devoted to their practice as Mr. Brueggemann is.
39. ‘Colourful Harvest’ by Robyn
‘Colourful Harvest’ continues the jazzy train, but this time giving us a shady take on it. The tension provided by the initial chords establishes a somehow darker sensation that is promptly attenuated by the relaxing effect of the main motif. The splashes of color that the melody brings in are supplemented by the depth of the chords, the subtle arpeggios, and the tiny elements on the background that complete the richness of its musical landscape – at the time it serves as a highlight to the aforesaid chromatic value. Every part and section flows smoothly and in consonance with each other and along with the impeccable sound design. The breaking point near the end featuring a piano solo is a little bit unexpected, but it doesn’t transgress the spirit of the track. It’s more like a natural movement that gives to the listener a really pleasant surprise, or, to say it in other words, is the cherry on the cake. Robyn made an overwhelming combination of sounds, and the results are indisputable.
40. ‘Supersonic Proving Grounds’ by Blake Inc.
The progressive and vigorous nature of this track gives me goosebumps. Blake Inc. builds an enchanting piece of music that will take the listener through the different stages of an incredible adventure. The amazing evolution of the theme is the engaging point that will keep the people at the edge of the seat all the time. With an undeniable allusion to VGM, ‘Supersonic Proving Grounds’ makes exquisite use of the tension and release principle to boost the storytelling and take the melodic and rhythmic development to the next level. Blake Inc. doesn’t contain himself and, using just the base channels for the NES, gives us a track that feels full all the time and makes sure to keep the listener’s attention for over five minutes – that’s something not everyone can make achieving such level of greatness, which makes of it a sublime piece of music.
Well, that makes a wordy review of this portion of the compilation. It’s always nice to see and listen to how many people from all over the world give their best and unite their forces to make this happen with astonishing results. I want to put emphasis on the fantastic work of Kubbi who, like other times, was in charge of the track order for this Volume; but also the effort made by everyone in and around this compilation. You wonderful people are the best and I feel honored of being a witness of this; please keep up the good work. In the meantime, please stay tuned, because there’s still one more round of music, and it’s Rhyphte’s turn to show us what is good.
See you soon!