The sublime sounds of french keyboardist Yoann Turpin are among the best in all of chipmusic. I first became aware of his work with the release of ‘Rhythm’n’Bits’ via the Ubiktune netlabel, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Its infectious blend of funk and chip quickly landed it as being one of my all-time favorite chiptune albums. Since that now classic release, Yoann has kindly contributed to the ChipWINter Wonderland album, and has been releasing loads of masterful music on his own at an astonishing rate. Among them has been an ongoing collection of songs called the ‘Chip Songbook’, which is a true gift for any chiptune fan. Let’s take a listen to ‘Chip Songbook Vol. 6’!
‘Chip Songbook Vol. 6’ has a theme of childhood memories running throughout its nine tracks. While the mood may shift from the bubbly and carefree vibe of ‘Slow Blips’ to the more moody and mysterious tones of ‘Dark Forest’, the music always uniformly presents itself from a child’s perspective. It’s a theme that I love to hear taken on, and a perfect fit with the nostalgic feelings that chipmusic can inspire. The theme is not only reflected in Yoann Turpin’s endearingly upbeat musical style, but also through the use of vocal samples and audio effects. The gleeful squeals of children playing can be heard bookending the mellow and fun-loving groove of ‘Toy’s Life’, and the synthesized vocals of ‘The Bitcrusher Child’ are hauntingly beautiful.
Speaking of childlike, there’s also a song called ‘President Hoodie’! Haha I kid, but our ChipWIN prez was pleasantly surprised and honored to have a Turpin track named after him. When Hoodie asked Yoann about the track’s title, he replied: “Because it’s you! Your presidential campaign music!” I’d have to agree that this track would make the greatest campaign music of all time. It’s a bright and sunny jaunt that gorgeously combines a chip lead with piano and even electric guitar. Listening to this track evokes imagery of waking up as child Hoodie in 1988, strolling through the park while eating cotton candy, and into a Toys R’ Us to discover that a shiny new yellow game just released called Super Mario Bros. 3.
Those familiar with ‘Rhythm’n’Bits’ will have a huge smile on their face when the familiar and catchy melody of ‘Sci-Robot Society’ gets a callback in ‘Sci-Rob Remix’. Whereas the original was a lively open mix of funk and DJ scratching, this new remix takes a lo-fi approach, playing out like a lounge verison of the original. There is a very warm texture to the overall sound production on this track that blends well with the soft and steady drums. Noticeable analog drift can be heard in the organ which gives the track a warbly, lived-in characteristic. Even still, the soothing take on this classic track doesn’t stop Yoann from heating up the keys with some truly impressive improvisational solo work and use of dissonance during the track’s second half.
Yoann Turpin is extremely skilled in capturing specific feelings and emotions in musical form. There’s always an element of serene wonder pocketed within his funky grooves. On a personal note, when I had finally successfully quit smoking earlier this year, I was constantly listening to his track ‘Extra Bonus Time’. It had such a victorious and reassuring quality to it that perfectly supported what I was feeling at the time, and I took it to be a kind of theme song to that moment in my life. What I’m getting at is, don’t be surprised if Mr. Turpin’s music grows on you to the point that it starts to become a soundtrack to your life.
It’s also worth pointing out that the audio production continues to be absolutely top-notch. In fact, all 6 volumes of the ‘Chip Songbook’ series are every bit as well-crafted as what some might consider the more mainline albums such as ‘Chip Ship’ and ‘FriendChip’. Overall, ‘Chip Songbook Vol. 6’ is an absolutely delightful journey back to the carefree days of youth, performed by a true virtuoso. How lucky we are in the chiptune community to bear witness to such a massively talented composer express his love for this glorious sonic aesthetic. For only 6 euros (just under 7 dollars), this is an excellent experience that you’ll enjoy repeating again and again. I just can’t recommend that you dive in to Yoann Turpin’s entire discography hard enough.
Keep your hands and heart held high! \m|♥|m/