What’s up, avid chip blog readers! Ya boy Rhyphte here. If you’ve come this far, you already know what to expect. I’m excited to report that the last ten tracks are at least as badass as the ones you’ve already read about and I’m pumped to dive into this final set with you. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got going on here!
41. ‘Ypp-Ypp’ by faRk
Fark is someone so confident in his own ability, he has the ability to just have fun and mess around and still create incredible music (maybe a part of this draws from his background in children’s music). A lot of ideas here seem like he just came up with ’em on a whim. He found something he liked and just rolled with it. It’s dancey, strange, lovely, and a lot of fun. I especially appreciate the Windows error sample at 1:23, and the breakdown that follows shortly after. The vocals sound like they’re gonna be another of the many one-off samples at first, but Fark really kicked the stops out on this one and went full synthetic acapella on us. The fart sample at the end really closed things out with a bang ;)
42. ‘Warcry’ by Jakk & Dya
To be completely honest, I’m not normally a fan of growly hardcore but this jam is well-fucking-executed and I can certainly dig it. Above all else, the mixing here is phenomenal. The staticky vox effects complement the punchy percussion in the track quite nicely, and of course Dya’s super recognizable instrumentation lends a strong, balanced sense of completeness. The stellar breakdown commencing at 2:00 took my damn breath away, one of the highlights of the compilation for sure. The soft melodic piano outro is an excellent foil to the heavy, in-your-face guttural nature of a track befitting the name ‘Warcry’.
43. ‘The Tale of Kingsville Harbor’ by Jentu
Okay, the instrumentation here is fucking sick. Electric medieval? I wish Jentu did the soundtrack to Kingsquest. A whole soundtrack of this would have been so memorable. A FUCKING sitar, wow. Are these ’70s medieval vibes??? This one has so many modulation schemes and key changes, you just have no idea where it’s going to go next. The chordal breakdown near the end (3:00+) leads to an excellent climax to boot – an extremely solid all-around.
44. ‘Reconstitution Pipeline’ by Lemonectric
This one is tight and compact. The silver hammer percussion is an excellent choice for the bright dancey groove this track brings to the table. It starts out pretty simple, then opens up into a wide synth ensemble at 0:40 and again at 1:30. ‘Reconstitution Pipeline’ really adds a fun, lighted sense of adventure to whatever you’re doing, whether you’re farming fresh tomatoes or flying down I95 in a desperate bid to get home.
45. ‘Supernova’ by Jamphibious
Oh, this is some SWEET, SWEET SYNTHESIZER HEAVEN we got here, folks. ‘Supernova’ would have fit PERFECTLY onto ‘SpaceWIN’! This absolutely marvelous jam is chill and relaxed, never stale, and constantly brimming with subtle swells of activity. I noticed a lot of development happening bit by bit (lol) behind the scenes, and I loved that choppy staccato voice unison closer to the end. The climax of ‘Supernova’ is absolutely explosive, as well. Truly an all-around banger.
46. ‘Abya Yala’ by Uctumi
Look out, chip Drum & Bass; chip reggae is the new fad. I mean, it better be. I mean it. The expositional countermelody is very technically active here. It’s got more of an involved mood to counteract the lazed, swingy voice. It’s hard to make a song at this tempo truly interesting, but Uctumi really managed to make it work! ‘Abya Yala’ stuck the ending SUPER hard. I’m with Brandon about fade-out endings being pretty low-effort and unimpressive, and a LOT of y’all got lucky that the crossfading work during the release party hid it pretty well. Not Uctumi, though. I’d bet Uctumi doesn’t even know HOW to write a sloppy ending.
47. ‘Revelation Station (Original Mix)’ by Totality
So here we have the second track from Totality. These guys planned their songs to link together (as you’ve probably already realized), but they actually never got that idea ‘officially’ signed off on. But when Kubbi did the track ordering, he heard what he heard, and he knew he just had to give it to them. It all starts here, with a long ethereal intro that just screams at you that something epic is on its way at light-speed (well technically not light-speed because that’s not possible for sound but like it’s really moving fast, okay). ‘Revelation Station’ has a lot going on but at no point does it wax cluttered, which I know from firsthand experience is tricky to pull off and very technically demanding. I really admire these guys’ control over the instrumentation of LSDJ, as well as the ways that all kinds of signature elements from their individual talents come out and harmonize with each other. It’s really something to behold.
Also, ‘Original Mix,’ eh? I wonder what that means… ;p [Editor-in-chief’s note: it means the artists responsible for naming the song are huge damn nerds…]
48. ‘B E G’ by Awesome Force
First thing I noticed here was a reverent, angelic opening which served as kind of a throw-back to the tone set at the beginning of ‘Revelation Station’. But then we dive straight from heaven to hell with a fiery, commanding, powerful bassline and drumkit. The insane technical section at 2:50 is one of my favorite parts of the whole space block. I can see why Auxcide was going bonkers in chat during this. And then the song gives way to a splatty fucking drum & bass banger. Sean is truly a master of the gritty and dramatic dynamics LSDJ has to offer. His control over the range of sounds you can employ is dominant. One thing this track does NOT do is leave you BEGging for more.
49. ‘Dustwalker’ by Guérin
Man fucking horror chip? So experimental. Defined by excellent panning, complex layering, and laser-precise control over the noise and wav channels, you really get that visceral, pressing sense of danger in this track. It’s like the movie ‘Psycho’ taking place on a DMG before my very ears. Then the NUTTY breakdown hits – you know the one – and right before it hits, you think to yourself, ‘oh LAWD it’s comin’, and then it’s there and it’s fucking ALL OVER YOU. Man, what a sick experiment in sound design. But nothing I’ve said can do this track justice. For that, you need to check out the crown jewel (in my book) of the judges tweets for 2019:
50. ‘Meteor’ by Auxcide
In true Auxcide form, we dive right into an intense buildup. The instruments start piling on, we get a clear sense of direction we’re allowed to enjoy for all of 15 seconds before everything fires up and just blasts off. This is one of the most engaging lead melody and chord prog combinations I’ve seen from Auxcide to date. At 1:30 we’re delivered into an incredibly chilling and expressive snare hit that really takes your breath away. Each of the tracks in the space block really had that one pivotal, characterizing moment, and this one just sends all of your built-up energy and reflections on this fantastic comp to just come spiraling out all at once. A truly remarkable way to close out the space block.
51. ‘Despite Everything, It’s Still You’ by AZD0wn
This track is full of gradual change, commanded by the driving chords. A textbook example of musical minimalism. I swear this track is like 75% instrumentation, and it’s so peaceful and soothing. Soft, echoey delays add a gentle, flowing ambiance that fills space very effectively and makes the track feel whole. And you know what? This song will make anyone feel whole. I’m really proud of ya, Zach. You fucking killed it dude.
52. ‘8-Brick Block’ by Hoji ‘is this castle boss again i swear to god brandon’ Hondo
I’M REVIEWING THE BONUS TRACK BECAUSE I THOUGHT I SAW BRANDON PUT IT IN THE OFFICIAL TRACKLIST BUT IT TURNS OUT THAT WAS JUST THE EARLY REVIEW COPY OF THE ALBUM BEING FUNKY BUT MORE TO THE POINT NO ONE CAN STOP ME FROM DOING THIS. AND SO:
HOJI HONDO GREW UP A RICE FARMER IN THE HUNAN PROVINCE OF CHINA. HIS HARVESTS WERE BOUNTIFUL AND HE WAS ABLE TO SUPPLY FOR THE EXPANSION OF SEVERAL NEARBY VILLAGES. BUT HOJI WANTED MORE OUT OF LIFE. IN HIS SPARE TIME, HE STUDIED THE NOISES OF THE WORLD AND DREAMT OF ONE DAY ENSLAVING ALL OF THEM. BUT THEN, IN THE WARM SPRING MONTHS OF EARLY 2019, HE STUMBLED UPON SOMETHING HE HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE: GADUNK. IT WAS EVERYTHING HE NEEDED TO CONTROL ALL OF THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD. AND SO, HOJI KNEW WHAT HE HAD TO DO, AND BEGAN HIS QUEST TO REALIZE HIS DESTINY.
FOR SEVEN DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, HOJI CLIMBED THE STEPS OF THE OLD MONASTERY ON THE NEARBY TIANZI MOUNTAIN AND PRAYED FOR THE POWER OF THE GADUNK, THE ONE TOOL HE NEEDED TO DESTROY OR AT LEAST SUBVERT OUR COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCES OF MUSIC. AND ON THE DAWN OF THE 8TH DAY, AFTER HOJI MADE HIS WAY UP THE STEPS HE SAW THAT UPON THE ALTER, A TOMATO LAID WAITING FOR HIM. “WHAT KIND OF A JOKE IS THIS,” HOJI THOUGHT TO HIMSELF. ‘WHAT GOOD COULD THIS POSSIBLY DO ME?’ AND THEN HOJI SQUEEZED THE FRUIT (VEGETABLE?), AND FROM WITHIN IT’S SUCCULENT RED FLESH, A RANDOM ASSORTMENT OF SOUNDCHIPS BEGAN CLATTERING TO THE GROUND, AND ON THEIR COLLECTIVE SAV FILES, WERE THE REMNANTS OF THE INSTRUMENTS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING THE WORST SOUND IN THE WORLD. HOJI WASTED NO TIME, AND GOT TO WORK IMMEDIATELY. AND SO, COME AUGUST, AT THE END OF THE CHIPTUNES = WIN VOLUME 8 RELEASE PARTY, THE 8 BIT BLOCK BEGAN, AND WE ALL SAT TOGETHER AND LISTENED TO FUCKING CASTLE BOSS YET AGAIN.
Anyway. Yeah. These tunes were killer — make sure to check out the other review segments if you haven’t already!
‘Til next time! :D